Can Beach Books Be REACH Books?

Ah summer… sun, warmth, time off, the beach, a good book… We all love beach books, but sometimes we need ‘teach books” because life for the over-40 woman requires more focus and drive. And there are plenty of great books that are entertaining and diverting for a beach read, while still delivering the punch of advice, and even introspective inspiration.

Here is my recommended summer reading list:

1.    I Hate Everyone…Starting with Me by Joan Rivers This is Joan Rivers’ new book, and I have to say I completely love her! What a riot. Hysterically funny, award winning, fearless and simply a powerful charismatic force in our insane entertainment industry.  This latest book is a delightful rant on “the morons and losers and cretins who are cluttering up the planet.” Love her or hate her, Joan Rivers resonates with over-40 women DARE-ing to make sense of things.

2.    Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow   What a fun book! You think you know why you make a decision? Subliminal lays out the concept and the evidence that under all of our actions and choices are unconscious processes that are actually in control of our decision-making process. We think we are making a truly rational decision after examining all the evidence. Maybe we are not!

3.    The Start up of You by Ben Casnocha and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.  Women over 40 or 50 need “start-up” help, too! We are in a time of high unemployment and some level of chaos in almost every industry. Hoffman and Casnocha urge us to handle our careers as if they were startup businesses. This means being flexible, entrepreneurial, fast on our feet, willing to take intelligent risks, and becoming comfortable with a level of volatility and change. Great advice and a great read.

4.       The God Box  by Mary Lou Quinlan. Being a fellow St. Joseph’s University alumna and advertising executive, I was especially interested in Mary Lou’s book. Ostensibly a tear-jerker-book on her mom’s unique tool for coping and gratitude, I wanted to resist it, but sat down to peruse it early one morning, and was almost late for work because it was so compelling. It is just so authentic and touching and powerful.

In brief, Mary Lou discovers her deceased mother’s unique system of reflection and prayer. She had, for many years, talked to God via little notes, which she would write on small scraps of whatever paper she had handy and then drop into a private chest. This was the “God Box.’ Ultimately, her daughter Mary Lou finds hundreds of prayers, requests, petitions, and gratitudes, but even more importantly, she finds a deeper connection to her mother, through these, her most intimate thoughts.

The God Box captures a poignant nostalgia for the time when we wrote things down by hand, and to the blessings of true family connections, in an era where Facebook seems to be the only way many families connect.

Grab a couple of these and enjoy the sand between your toes and all that fresh air and sunshine!