TBU#46: What we’ve been reading in the 24 for 2024 Challenge

Episode 46 May 28, 2024 00:38:43
TBU#46: What we’ve been reading in the 24 for 2024 Challenge
Two Booked Up
TBU#46: What we’ve been reading in the 24 for 2024 Challenge

May 28 2024 | 00:38:43


Hosted By

Rowena Mabbott Shelley Tonkin Smith

Show Notes

In this episode, Rowena and Shelley are discussing the books they’ve been reading, and checking in on their progress for the 24 for 2024 Reading Challenge.

The Challenge adds more purpose and variety to non-fiction reading choices and aims to inspire them and you to read more and read more widely, perhaps even trying out authors of genres you wouldn’t normally read.  Also, as you’ll hear in this episode, you can make the challenge your own, including how to squeeze more reading into your busy life! 

Join Shelley and Rowena to hear their non-fiction reads, what they recommendation and what they don’t, as well as a few of their favourite fiction reads from the last few months. Listen in for plenty of inspiration to add to your TBR list! 


Episode Links Mentioned


Book Links Mentioned 


Rowena’s List


Shelley’s List



Other Links Mentioned


Connect with us:

Find us online at twobookedup.com and keep in touch with Two Booked Up via email by signing up for the Two Booked Up Bookclub and receive your FREE ‘Read More in ‘24’ Book checklist.

Connect with Rowena @rowenamabbott on IG and at rowenamabbott.com.

Grab Rowena’s FREE e-books, The A to Z of Career and Life Confidence and The Criteria List here.

And you can buy Rowena's novel, Avoiding the Friend Zone on Amazon.

Connect with Shelley on LinkedIn at Shelley Tonkin Smith.

Her copywriting business is at shelleysmithcreative.com, and check out The Word Nerd Store at learn.shelleysmithcreative.com to get Shelley’s Sales Page Step-by-Step Template + Video. There’s also Podcast Jumpstart, a workshop on getting your podcast onto the air, quickly and sustainably.

Use the code: TWOBOOKEDUP or use this link for 50% all products in The Word Nerd Store through 31 May 2024.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] [00:00:02] Shelley: Hello and welcome to Two Booked Up. I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith, here with the person who I consider to be the most prolific reader I know, Rowena Mabbott. And that's going to come in handy for today's episode because we're going to be chatting about the books we've been reading so far. [00:00:21] Rowena: Hi, Shelley. Yes, as you know, I am an avid reader. Some might say obsessive. So I am very excited to be having this chat with you all about books and also sharing it with our lovely listeners. We'll be checking in on our progress with the 24 for 2024 reading challenge, which adds more purpose and variety to our non fiction reading choices, and I've found that that also makes my reading life more enjoyable. [00:00:48] Shelley: Yes, as you'll hear in this episode, you can absolutely make that challenge your own. But our aim is number one, to inspire you to read more. And then number two, to read more widely. So we're going to chat about ways that we're baking more reading into our busy lives. [00:01:09] Rowena: And share some of our favourite fiction and non fiction books we've each read so far in 2024. There is heaps of inspiration and bookish conversation coming your way, so stay tuned! [00:01:21] Shelley: Welcome to Two Booked Up. I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith. Thanks [00:01:30] Rowena: And I'm Rowena Mabbott. We're two well read best friends. [00:01:35] Shelley: And now you are an honorary member of our book club! We're going to fast forward you to the mind blown and mic drop parts of those business and personal development books that are probably on your must read list. [00:01:48] Rowena: Because as busy, multi passionate working parents, we know how hard it is to find time to read. But we also know how much you love learning, growing and making a difference in the world. [00:01:59] Shelley: So treat yourself to a bit of bookish conversation, whether you've read the book or not! [00:02:05] Rowena: With your two friends on Two Booked Up. Okay, so how are we going with the 2024 Reading Challenge? Now, a quick reminder of why we developed the Read More in 24 Reading Challenge. Basically, because reading non fiction can seem kind of serious, especially as books are often geared more towards improving and informing. They're sort of business and professional development books or self improvement books. [00:02:38] So we thought we'd make a bit of a game out of reading more and reading more widely. So we created a very simple checklist with 24 categories of books, 24, because it's 2024, with categories such as a classic or an audio book or Southern Hemisphere author, or one of my favourites, a book with a pink or red cover. [00:03:00] So as you can hear, it's a very playful approach to reading more widely. And when we say read more widely, we're encouraging you to try out a few authors, books or genres you wouldn't normally have chosen. And I bet you'll make a few awesome discoveries. I know I have. So if you'd like to learn more about the reading challenge and the background for it, you can listen to episode 39 of our podcast where we launched the 24 for 2024 reading challenge. [00:03:33] Shelley: Yes. And if you want to get that reading challenge checklist, please go to signup. twobookedup. com and you can get it. It's a nice downloadable printable that you can check off and write down the books that you want to read in those different categories or that you have read. We'll chat a bit more about that in a minute. [00:03:51] But yes, the other part, Rowena, that I love about this challenge is, is just to simply read more. And ideally, that means reading actual books. But listeners, you can expand that to any intentional longer form reading if you want to. So, look, it would be difficult to count scrolling social media as intentional reading, but for example I've been reading a pretty meaty Substack series called Egan Pattern Language that's on The Lost Tools of Learning by Brandon Hendrickson. [00:04:26] And this isn't a book. But I hope that one day it will become one because it's like a series on his on Brandon's sub stack. And he's now up to post number 32. And they're all very meaty. So it feels like reading a book in serial format. And I think that's how Dickens started writing his books. So if you if you're struggling to find books to read, You can expand this to, to more than just books, but we're looking to bring more intentional practices to your reading life. [00:04:58] And in this case with Brandon Hendrickson's, Substack that I've been talking about, I'm kind of noting it down as number 11 on the list, which is a 2024 release. Maybe it's going to be a 2025 release when it becomes an actual book, but just encouragement if you want to stretch the rules like that, then you certainly have my permission to do so. We just want you to read more. [00:05:20] And also, we'll discuss fiction a bit later, but right now, the fiction I'm finding that I'm reading includes, and in some cases is even just limited to, the chapter books that I'm reading aloud to my kids. [00:05:34] So, everything counts. Encouragement to read for what you need. And this is a, probably a good point to remind you that you can make this reading challenge your own. You also don't have to read all 24 books. You could decide to halve that and read 12 books. And our big tip is to put one book into multiple categories. [00:05:59] I'll I also wanna say that I use the Reading Challenge as a system to organize the books that I want to read. I have a very long TBR list , but I've used the checklist to organize the books I wanna read, and in many cases, I've already bought those books and they kind of make it a nice big pile. [00:06:20] So the, the checklist helps me to. categorize and keep track of the books I've got, because I've got hard copies. I've got Kindle versions. Sometimes I've pre ordered. I've got audio books. And, by categorizing them in this reading challenge checklist, my reading life feels a little less overwhelming and more intentional. [00:06:42] So with that said, Rowena, let's start with you. Can you give us an update on how you're tracking with the reading challenge now that we're almost halfway through 2024? [00:06:55] Rowena: Ah, yes. Thank you, Shelley. First, I just want to acknowledge and agree that like you, I have a lot more books on my to be read list than actually checked off. And like you, I've decided to use the system or the reading challenge to organise my reading for my non fiction books. So I sometimes Pre fill in the book I plan to read in a certain category and that way it reminds me that when I'm looking for the next book to read, I should just scan down that and see which one I haven't ticked off yet. [00:07:24] It kind of helps me make the decisions and move past any decision overwhelm because I already know what book I'm going to read next, which is kind of nice. Now, As we mentioned, I have read a lot of books. This is one of my things. Many, many years ago, I decided to read more. And so I've kind of gone a bit too far, maybe some might say. [00:07:43] Anyhow, as Shelley suggested, a lot of, a lot of the books I read could probably sit under multiple categories. So I'm sharing where I've currently placed them, but that doesn't mean they'll stay there for the rest of the year. So this is where I'm at as of the time of recording. And so let's go. The current total nonfiction reads I've done this year is 15. [00:08:08] And I'm going to read out, tell you the titles and tell you what category they fall under or what I've placed them under. [00:08:14] So the first category is memoir or autobiography. That's first to number one. And I read Tell Me Again by Amy Thunig. She's an Australian Indigenous author, and it's her personal story of challenges and enormous resilience. [00:08:27] And I found it Very, very moving and, at times quite distressing. [00:08:31] Number two, Female Author. I read Sustainable Minimalism by Stephanie Murray Sefarian. Now this is an easy and practical kind of book, with great suggestions for how to do our bit for the planet. And I would say that this one was ideal for North American audiences, as a lot of the recommendations and the resources she talks about were applicable only to the US and Canada. But I still got a lot of value from it. [00:08:56] Number three, Best Seller List 2023. The House That Joy Built by Holly Ringland. I've talked about this in a previous episode of the book I just finished. She is an Australian author and the book is all about moving through fear to embrace creativity. [00:09:13] Number five category is the next one I've got. By an author you admire. This book is called Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski. Now this is A highly recommended book. The audiobook was fabulous, which is what I listened to, and it's a guide for all women about their sexuality, plus a whole lot more. And if you are even remotely interested in reading this book, I can't recommend the audiobook high enough. [00:09:38] But more about that soon. [00:09:40] Speaking of audiobooks, that was number seven, an audiobook. I Have Loved the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels. This was another easy read with tips for making the most of where you live. You might notice there's a bit of a theme in my books that I've read. We might touch on it later. [00:09:56] Number eight, multiple authors. The book I have for this category is Build the Life You Want by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey. Now these are two of my favourite authors and the book itself is practical, loads of research about how to be happier and written in a very accessible way. So definitely up there in possible favourites for the year. [00:10:18] Number nine, a quick read. This is a book called For Women Only by Shaunti Felden. Now, this was research I did for writing male characters in my fiction work and it was an eye opening read as the content is based on interviews with 10, 000 or more men sharing what they wish their wives or partners knew about them. [00:10:39] So it was a very different book from anything I've ever read before and yeah, it was quite eye opening. How to Guide. The book I read for this was The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker. He is one of my favorite bloggers and with his very practical approach for simplifying your life via your home. [00:11:00] Okay, number 13, Productivity Theme. I read Feel Good Productivity by Ali Abdaal. Which we talked about in our last episode. The essence is productivity is improved when we feel good. You can check out podcast episode 45 for more info. [00:11:16] Number 14. A 2023 new release. I read the book 4AM by Michelle Andrews and Zara MacDonald. This was not the kind of book I thought it was going to be, but it was advice columns to 20 somethings about friendships and relationships and it took me a little while and before I realized that it wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be, but I kept reading it anyway. [00:11:42] Number 15, recommended on a podcast. The Curated Closet by Anoushka Rees. Now this is a book that I'd been wanting to read for ages because it had been recommended to me and it is a practical and wise guide for creating and curating a wardrobe that makes you both look and feel great. So that's pretty fun. [00:12:02] And it also had a pink cover, by the way. Um, so I could have popped it under that category. It was also written by a female. So again, could have gone in that category. [00:12:11] Number 17, Southern Hemisphere Author. The book in that category is This Year Will Be Different by Dominic Bertolucci. Now she's a Sydney based life coach. [00:12:22] It was a very quick read. I actually listened to the audio book, but she talks about the same stuff I share in my articles and sometimes we just need to have a little, we need to hear the same message, but from someone else. So it was pretty useful. [00:12:35] Number 20, inspiring read. And the book I have is The Year of Less by Kate Flanders. [00:12:42] This is another book I'd been wanting to read for a long time, and it's a memoir, but it's documenting 12 months of her life, during which Kate bought only consumables, only groceries, toilets, toiletries, sorry, not toilets, and gas for her car. So it's a very thoughtful memoir. Very interesting. [00:13:00] And number 22 with a pink or red cover. And I read Wear It Well by Alison Bernstein. And again, this was another, this was a 2023 release as well. Practical and valuable insights again about making the most of your wardrobe. And what I loved about this book is that it had pictures, which if you're thinking about clothing stuff, it really helps. [00:13:23] Shelley: Of course, [00:13:23] Rowena: And then the last one, Number 24, self published, the Power of Content by Mel Daniels. Now, this was written by my good friend, and it is also very practical, super easy to read, and we're excited to say we will be chatting to her on our next podcast episode on episode 47, so you'll hear more about that book very soon. [00:13:43] Shelley: Yes, I'm so excited to chat to Mel about, oh, we've got so many questions for her about the book writing process itself, about content marketing and how we can use that in our businesses. I know a lot of our listeners have their own businesses and yeah, just like showing up and being more of yourself. So I'm very excited about that last book. [00:14:04] But wow, Rowena. Yeah. 15 books. You're already past the halfway mark. That's amazing. As we did expect, as you've said, you've prioritised reading, right, in your, in your life. This is something that's really core to, to who you are and you make time for fiction and non fiction reading. I think that's, that's also important to emphasise to our listeners. [00:14:27] You've, you've wanted to get something out of your reading life and then you've prioritised accordingly. Um, and what's, What you want out of your reading life and what our listeners want out of their reading life and what I want out of my reading life. It's all different, but I love how you've gone about it with intention. [00:14:43] Your intention is to read more and, and to read a diverse range of books. And yeah, I just want to acknowledge and say that like, you're absolutely killing it there. But I think for our listeners to go, you don't have to match Rowena. I don't think, I don't, I think 99. 9 percent of the population are not going to be able to do that. [00:15:03] I think what's, what the lesson here is to kind of set an intention about what you want out of your reading life and you can then customize it and put some of that intention behind it. And I think that's so, that's really so powerful. I also Rowena just mentioned to everyone that you have got your monthly reading log. [00:15:23] So if you've listened to all of these books and you're like, Oh, I want to grab one of those. I think we're going to try and put them in our show notes for Two Booked Up, but Rowena does a monthly reading log of all the books that she's read in that month. So if you want to do that, you can go and sign up at rowenamabbott. com . [00:15:40] Yeah, but I think the themes there, I've seen a lot of. I know you love your decluttering, um, your home life, living simpler life, the minimalist life. I think that's one of the themes that has come up, but I think the other theme that's come up for you, Ro, is just being who you are, like, showing up as yourself. [00:16:00] Yeah, tell us what, what are some of the themes that have come up for you and also maybe just to speak to that idea of making reading intentional in your life. [00:16:08] Rowena: Sure, I would love to. So I think the other thing that was coming through was the wardrobe stuff. I noticed when I was going back through my list of books read that earlier in the year I'd been doing a particular challenge. I love my challenges. It was called Evolve Your Style and it was a fun challenge. [00:16:24] You had to try, you got prompts and then each day you had to kind of put together an outfit like that. And it made me think about my clothing choices. So I started reading books about it because that's kind of what I do. I get my interest is piqued about something and then I dive into books about it. [00:16:39] So I think that was the other thing I noticed, but yeah, Shelley, definitely that it's just, I'm just being me. If the thing is of interest, then I'll read it. Um, but in terms of, intentionally making time. I would, I would also add that intentional time, I've worked up to this very slowly. I started deciding to be more intentional about my reading back in like 2017 or 2018. [00:17:02] So I have taken many years to get to a point where I can read as many books as I do now. Whereas in that first year I think I wanted to just read 26 books in the whole year and that felt really hard I've not read very many books at all for years before that, even though as a kid I used to read a book a day almost, um, so it's, it's, I built up to it slowly, um, so I think that's part of it. [00:17:26] Audiobooks, as you probably hear. I'm a big fan of audiobooks. And I also, as I hinted at, I love tracking and taking up challenges. So I love our Read More in 24 book challenge because it diversifies my reading. I also do a 52 book challenge, which is got different prompts on it as well. Yeah, for fiction. So sorry, I do a 52 book for fiction and 24 for the nonfiction. And then sometimes I read books that don't really sit on to either list. So they just go on my other general, you know, total tally list. Um, because sometimes they're just a book that says I need to be read now [00:18:01] Shelley: Yes. [00:18:02] Rowena: or because it's fun. Um, the only other thing I've do is I always like, yeah, I would like to have an audio book available. [00:18:09] at all times so that I can listen to it when I'm walking the dog. And I do quite like to have an ebook available on my phone just in case. And when I was a lot, when I was younger and when my kids were younger, probably that's more accurate when the kids were younger, I would pretty much always have a paperback or some book in my bag so that when I took them to an activity that might be a little bit boring for me, like sitting in the swimming center for an hour while they had swimming lessons, I could read my book. [00:18:36] Um, and I managed to get through quite a lot of books that [00:18:39] Shelley: That's cool, that's really nice just to, just for some tips for, if people want to incorporate more reading into their lives, just how they can, yeah, how they can find the time, because I think we are often, it's surprising that we have more time than we think for things like reading, but we kind of need to set ourselves up for it. [00:18:58] And I, I agree with you, the audiobook idea, uh, for me then, it does mean then having my AirPods with me, like, you know, in my bag or something like that, which I don't always have, but having a, a Kindle app or an e book app on your phone. We've always got our phones with us. And so instead of social media, you know, to go and read a book at that point, I think is, is really cool. [00:19:20] So now you have given us a whole list of your 15 books so far. Which one of those, Which one is your favorite? [00:19:28] Rowena: It was very tough. There were a couple of contenders and it was very hard to decide, but I'm going to choose Come As You Are, the fully revised and updated edition by Emily Nagoski. I wanted to read that book for years because I listened to Burnout, which was one of her earlier books, written by her, but with her sister Amelia. [00:19:46] And because I listened to it, I knew that Because Emily reads it herself, I knew I loved listening to the way she read her own work. She's very funny and just the different intonation when the author reads their own work is so valuable. So I knew I'd enjoy listening to Come As You Are and I loved it. Now I should warn people, the cover illustration and the title are very suggestive, but And yes, it is about sexuality. So it's not necessarily one you want to listen to with little people if you're doing an audio book, but it is entirely accessible, very informative. And I think the key message that I would love everybody to know is it's not about how our parts are arranged it's how we feel about them that matters. Um, so you can take that how you want. I will listen to this book again. I do own it. I actually purchased the audiobook version because there was so much content in it. It's quite a long book, it's very dense with information and a single read or listen in my case will not suffice. [00:20:47] But I would recommend it it's fantastic. Really good book. [00:20:51] Shelley: Well, Rowena, the fact that you are planning to re read a book is high praise indeed, because I know you like, you like covering more and more books, sounds like a very informative read and another example of where embracing some diversity in your reading choices. [00:21:08] Stretching a little bit out of your comfort zone has been a really good call and a really pleasant surprise. Um, plus I see that the latest version has a pink and red cover, uh, so that covers the Category 22 and the Reading Challenge as well. [00:21:22] Rowena: Yes, yes it does. And yeah, you're right, rereading is not something I generally do, so for me to even consider that it is high praise indeed. So look, enough about me and all of my reading. Shelley, I'm going to put you in the hot seat now. So what non fiction books have you been reading this year? [00:21:39] Shelley: Oh, yes, it's been so fun to reflect on this. And I think that's one of the benefits of this reading challenge, is just to take a minute and reflect on the books that you are reading. So it's been fun for me to do that. And I have covered now, and just to also say that I've got, and Rowena, I'm going to show you, I've filled out the whole list of books. [00:22:01] So, all my to be read books are on this list, and then when I do read them, I give it a little circle. So, I'm telling you listeners today about the ones that I actually have read and completed, and that are circled on my list. Which is nowhere near 15. But I've like, I've used the checklist to, to give some organisation to the pile of books that um, you can't quite see behind me. [00:22:27] But yes, number one is a memoir or autobiography. And that's it. This book I have read is called Make Your Own Rules, Stories and Hard Earned Advice from a Creator in the Digital Age, and that's by Andrew Huang. So Andrew is a YouTube sensation. And in this book, he offers practical tips and hard won advice for creatives seeking financial stability while still staying authentic. [00:22:56] So I'm listening to that one in audiobook, so yeah, again, could be number seven, category's number seven as well. [00:23:03] Number six is a classic. So that, that one I have put Start With Why by Simon Sinek. And this is one of these what's become a classic. The core idea of this book is based on Simon Sinek's wildly popular TED Talk. [00:23:21] And that is that people won't truly buy into a product or a service or a movement or an idea Until they understand the why behind it. So we're going to talk more about that one in a future episode. So I won't say any more about that one. Tune into a future episode because I feel like this book does require, because it's such a classic, it requires a little bit more discussion and maybe bringing it into current day. [00:23:52] Then number 10 is the business theme book. And this one's very literal, it's called How to Grow Your Small Business. A six step plan to help your business take off, and that's by Donald Miller. Now this one is a super practical guide to growing a small business, I would say, into a medium sized business. [00:24:16] So for us solo preneurs, I found there were some of the things that, like, it's going big, you know, it's going big. Bigger than I would imagine, but I really admire Donald Miller. So again, it could be a book by a person I admire. I use his story branding process in my copywriting and this was a really, a really great practical step by step kind of book. [00:24:40] Then in category number 14 is The 2023 new release, that one I've read, Think Faster, Talk Smarter, how to Speak Successfully When You're Put On The Spot by Matt Abrahams, and this is a book on impromptu speaking and it goes about answering the question. How can we learn to be more inspirational, more confident, and more eloquent in the moment, if we're put on the spot? [00:25:09] So, I've enjoyed it. I've found that a lot of the lessons can be applied more broadly, but possibly not my favourite. [00:25:18] Although, I have re read a favourite, and that is category number 23. To re read a favorite and my favorite is Profit First and the subtitle of that is Transform your business from a cash eating monster to a money making machine by Mike Michalowicz. [00:25:36] So Profit First is a money management system for your business that essentially makes money. profit a habit. And as you can tell by the subtitle, Mike's writing style is super funny for a money book. And I'm really a big advocate for this method. And the reason that I've actually been rereading it so thoroughly is that I'm leading a readalong for this book in my friend Anne's Leaders Library membership. [00:26:04] So yeah, those are, those are the books that I've completed. I'm excited for our next round of probably in a couple months time, in about four months time, to tell you about the other ones that I've written down on my list. And it's been, as I say, really fun to reflect on what I've read. [00:26:21] Rowena: Shelley, they are great books. And I really love that you have a very clear theme coming through, and I'm hoping the listeners can spot it as well, because what I'm seeing is that these are all very practical, supportive books for actually helping you in your creative business. So unlike mine, which are a little bit, let's say random, yours are a lot more intentional. [00:26:43] So I feel like this, you've done really great role modeling of intentional reading. So, on that I'm going to ask you the same question you threw to me, which is, which one of the books you've read is your favourite, and can you maybe tell us why? [00:26:59] Shelley: Yeah, absolutely. So my favourite of that list, I'd have to say, is Make Your Own Rules by Andrew Huang. Obviously, Rowena, with a title, Make Your Own Rules, I'm going to be like, yeah, I want to read that book. It grabbed my attention immediately. But I've always enjoyed Andrew's YouTube videos. for, for many years now. [00:27:22] Uh, he produces electronic music, but he's, he's famous for doing things like recording the noises of his kid's toys or going to a lake and then recording the different sounds he hears around that lake. And then he manipulates those sounds to create a full set of instruments, like a snare drum and a guitar. [00:27:43] You know, a whole drum kit and then different, uh, melodic sounds to create a whole musical track. So he's super creative in the work that he does, but I feel this book is, is more than just for musicians. It's for any person who identifies as being creative and then wanting to make money from it and wanting to make a career out of your creativity, While still staying authentic to that creativity. [00:28:10] And yeah, so this book, I put it in the memoir category because it is part memoir, but also part inspiration to other creators. So it's also an inspirational read. I have gotten so many insights into things like content creation, the creative process, and then like some really practical things like getting organized. [00:28:32] So that You can pick up your work whenever you're ready to come and do your work. It's for me as a mom and, you know, a homeschooling mom, I'm finding I'm getting to get into my computer and I've got far too many tabs and far too many things open. Hearing from Andrew, who's quite a prolific creator, it's just been encouraging to me to go, no, you know what? [00:28:55] I can do this. I can actually get myself organized so that I can be more creative. And the other thing that I found very inspiring about the book is, is just his encouragement to, to finish projects and finish things. It's a real challenge for the creative type. And One of his, again, sort of famous YouTube projects is he does this thing called the 1st of October where he and his buddy Rob Scanlon, another YouTuber, They write and record a whole album of 11 songs in one day. [00:29:29] So I think it's a 12 hour day that they arrange a studio and they write the songs, they record them. Some of them are silly and like, you know, obviously they're not going to have the deepest lyrics because they need to do it But I love that idea of putting the time constraint on a creative pursuit. And he says at least, you know, three of the songs from all of the albums that they've created over the last, I don't know, five years. They have been really good. You know, some of them you can just throw away, they're just silly, but they hit on some really good ones. So just this idea of maybe bringing down the constraints of time and going, what can you create in that amount of time? So that's been a bit of a, like, yeah, just a challenge for me and something that's really inspired me from the book. [00:30:15] Rowena: I love that, Shelley. I especially love that it sounds like it's been quite galvanising for you, so it's kind of like a call to action or a call to arms to say, you can do this. Like the premise is kind of permission to be creative however you want and when you want, but also in a way that is very aligned with how you want to roll and how you want to spend your life. [00:30:36] Well, I think we're probably at the point in the show where we need to start switching our focus from nonfiction to fiction. And so I might jump in because I have shared so many books that I've already read. [00:30:47] I could go on for days talking about the fiction, but I've decided I'm just going to share one. I'm going to share my favorite fiction read of the year so far. And listeners, as we mentioned earlier in the show, if you want to check out what else I've been reading, you can see my post. Very literally named what I've been reading. [00:31:05] And so it's very easy to find and you can find more recommendations there and it's on my website. So my favorite book so far is Wayward by Amelia Hart. Now I mentioned this one back in episode 40. I really loved it. And I can also see why it was awarded two Goodreads wins in 2023. It won best debut novel and best historical fiction. [00:31:24] It has three strong lead women across three different periods. It is complex. It is spellbinding. It is a story that I just had to keep reading. I couldn't, I had to, you know, I just had to keep, kept turning the pages. I couldn't put it down. I just needed to know what was going to happen next. And even though I read it way back in February, I still think about it now, which I think is a sign of a book that really got under my skin. [00:31:49] So Shelley, what about you? What fiction have you been reading? [00:31:54] Shelley: Rowena, here's my current season with fiction, or my current situation with fiction. Uh, maybe I, I need to try wayward. That sounds amazing. But the reality is, I've just not been vibing with any of the fiction books that I've picked up at the moment. I just start them and then I'm like, no, I, I abandon them. [00:32:14] But what I've noticed is that I've been loving the books that I've been reading aloud to my boys. And currently, these are Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. That's book five of the seven book series. And the Penderwicks at Point Mouet, I think you pronounce it like that. That's book three of five. [00:32:31] That's by Jeanne Birdsall. And of course, Harry Potter's by J. K. Rowling. And then, uh, Another beautiful one called Odder by Catherine Applegate, and it's written in three verse, so it's a different kind of read. And so, you know, I just decided I am going to lean into this. And Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a classic example of Just trying a different genre and being pleasantly surprised. [00:33:00] In fact, all the Harry Potters. Uh, I never read Harry Potter when I was young and my husband predicted, he called it, he said, I would get obsessed with them when I would read them to our children. And of course he was right. The, the only minus points that I'm given Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is that I managed to drop it onto my foot, and it's probably the thickest book of the series, and it landed on the corner of the spine, between the ligaments of my foot, and I've got a huge bruise, thanks to the book. So yeah, I feel like I need to head down to Madam Pomfrey and get some magical medical treatments. [00:33:37] Rowena: My goodness. Shelley, [00:33:40] book injuries, people, book injuries. It's a real thing. We need to be very careful about book injuries. Yeah, it is a thing. [00:33:48] Shelley: Yes, totally. But yes, I've just leaned into the joy that I've been finding with kids literature, and I would encourage you, if you are feeling in any kind of rut, lean into the joy. Just follow the joy. And, yeah, I've been so gripped by Harry Potter and Order of the Phoenix that, you know, That book now has two bookmarks in it, uh, one where I'm reading with the boys and I'm, I'm just decided I'm reading ahead. [00:34:12] And really, I'm, I'm nearly done with this tome of a book that is weighty enough to cause injury, but I've really been loving it. So that's, that's my fiction recommendations. [00:34:23] Rowena: I love that you're reading with your kids and double yay for Harry Potter. I also think that a story that has captured your imagination and now you're reading ahead is a pretty good sign because that is a surefire indicator of a great book when you just have to keep reading and you feel that reading to out loud to your kids is actually holding you back from enjoying the story. [00:34:43] And I think Harry Potter books are absolutely brilliant. You're like, sorry, kids. Mom's got to keep reading. I love that. [00:34:52] Okay. So, it is time for a Choose Your Own Adventure task or two. [00:34:58] And Shelley, can you give us two options for actions that listeners could choose to take after this episode? Okay. [00:35:05] Shelley: Okay, so option number one is to play along, go to signup. twobookedup. com to download your copy of the 24 for 2024 reading challenge. It's not too late. And as we've said, you can make it your own. And for a quick win. See what books you've already read that fit into those categories. And option number two for choose your own adventure, you might want to up the game a little bit and diversify your reading. [00:35:35] So try a new author, try a new genre, or something a little bit different from your usual choice. So, There's two options for you. [00:35:47] Now, Ro, we've just been chatting about what we've been reading, and we always have a little segment at the end of our show about what you're reading, so I don't think we can leave that off. [00:35:56] Even though we've been chatting books, what are you reading right now? [00:36:00] Rowena: Oh, I've just finished like literally minutes before we started this podcast, uh, the book called Tom Lake by Anne Patchett. And it was one I'd heard a lot about. It was a bestseller last year in 2023. I think it's an Oprah's book choice and all sorts of other things I just had heard a lot about it and I really like Anne Patchett's writing. [00:36:19] It is set across two time periods. When the narrator was in her twenties in the 1980s and now in her fifties during the summer of the 2020 shelter at home orders. And she is telling her 20 something daughters about her experiences as a 20 something actress who dated a famous actor, but then ultimately met their dad. [00:36:37] It was just a lovely story. I, again, another one that I just wanted to keep turning the pages and keep reading. [00:36:44] Shelley: Okay, now, Rowena, I think I have some fiction recommendations that can rival Dear Old Harry, so I think Wayward and, Tom Lake sounds amazing, and I've also only heard great things about Anne Patchett, so I'll report back to you. Maybe I'll give that one a try. All right, so that's where we're going to wrap things up today. [00:37:04] Rowena: It is, but let's continue the conversation. You can find me at Rowena Mabbott on Instagram. You can visit rowenamabbott. com for everything about my coaching services and my books and what I've been reading. And Shelley, where can listeners find you? [00:37:20] Shelley: You can connect with me on LinkedIn. I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith, and you can learn more about my copywriting business@shellysmithcreative.com. And just a little note that mompreneurs and small business owners everywhere, go and check out my Learn dot Shelly Smith Creative. For my steadily expanding range of copywriting templates and workshops, I've been adding lots of cool stuff to a little shop on my website to help you to build your business and do your own copywriting. [00:37:54] Rowena: Oh, that's fantastic. That is so exciting. And as someone who's utilized some of those templates, I heartily endorse them and say to everybody, if you're interested in doing that, check them out. And of course. Please remember to visit twobookedup. com for all the show notes, including links to every book that we've mentioned, as well to download the 24 for 2024 Reading Challenge PDF for free, so you can play along too. [00:38:16] And then when we do another update, you can share and find what you've been reading. [00:38:21] I'm Rowena Mabbott, encouraging you to have fun with your reading. [00:38:25] Shelley: And I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith. We'll see you in two weeks time for another episode of Two Booked Up.

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