Summer reading recs: A happiness project, a memoir and a hermit in the woods

Summer reading recommendations from Kale & Compass

Hey, friends! Happy summer. I’ve been reading up a storm over here and I figured I would share the updates on the blog because there have been some real winners that I can’t wait to recommend to you.

Before we get into the roundup, I wanted to share a reading app that I use religiously and love. It’s called Goodreads, and it helps me keep track of what I’ve read over the years. It’s also wildly helpful for finding NEW books when you’re in that in-between period. You can also follow your favorite authors and receive updates from them via Goodreads.

I’ll probably do a roundup every handful of books I read. So, can we consider this roundup a virtual book club? Cool. I hope you’ll join! 🙂 If you’ve got some good book recs, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett

This was the first book I’ve read by Ann Patchett and now I want to read more. It was recommended to me by a friend. For a memoir, it’s written from an unexpected point of view, kind of. It’s about two women who are friends through their early college years and continue that friendship after college as they both work to become professional writers. Not a super light read but really, really good.

I’m a real quote junkie and I want to share some of my favorites here but the ones I saved give too much of the story away. You’ll have to read them yourself!

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

The idea of living a life completely remote and disconnected from today’s society is extremely interesting to me. What’s more, I’ve been increasingly intrigued by Maine; the lifestyle, the scenery, all of it. It’s probably also because Maine and Washington are like sister states flanking the northernmost tips of the U.S. This story was not quite what I had expected, but was very thoughtfully written and I enjoyed it. Beware, it might make you want to leave everything behind and walk into the woods. Or it might have the opposite effect!

Here are some of my favorite quotes, without giving too much away 😉

“The internet steadily chips away at one’s capacity for concentration and contemplation.”

Physiologists believe our bodies relax in hushed natural surroundings because we evolved there; our senses matured in grasslands and woods, and remain calibrated to them.

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Me in my natural habitat. 😂

I love that quote and I think it makes so much sense – it’s the reason I feel instantly more relaxed when I’m walking through the woods.

“Life isn’t about searching endlessly to find what’s missing; it’s about learning to live with the missing parts.”

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I’m so glad I found this book! I can’t remember where I first heard about it, but as soon as I did I knew I’d enjoy it. I’m always fascinated to find new ways to appreciate life and be happier and to improve productivity and creativity. Gretchen takes a very formulaic approach to her happiness project, and the book is a documentation of her experiment over the course of one year. Plus, she starts a blog as part of her happiness project, so there are a ton of great insights for bloggers and creatives alike.

There were some truly great takeaways that I’m currently working on putting into practice over here. For example, here are just a few:

  • Get enough sleep. (Seriously, it makes SUCH a difference.)
  • The anticipation of an experience is almost more fun than the experience itself.
  • On finding your true passion: What do you think about when you’re sitting on the toilet? Because that’s what you want to think about.

Lately, I’ve been trying to live by this quote in particular:

“Pouring out ideas is better for creativity than doling them out by the teaspoon.”

I’m 100% guilty of doling out creativity by the teaspoon.

Sometimes I’ll save a blog post or schedule it to post far in the future because I’m afraid of running out of ideas to write about.

But you know what? The more I write, the more ideas I have.

And you know what I’ve got now? A backlog of incomplete posts and half-formed ideas and not enough time to get caught up. 😱 So I’m working on posting more frequently, even though it’s scary (to me).

Don’t be like me – let that creativity flow!

Anyway, this book. I really highly recommend. Also, Gretchen’s got a podcast with her sister called Happier with Gretchen Rubin and it’s really a fun listen if you’re into that.

A few (photography) updates:

As I get more serious about my photography, I’ve come to the realization that I can’t edit my photos in the Photos app anymore. Nothing wrong with the Photos app per say, it just doesn’t cut it for the type of edits I’m trying to do. Instead of enjoying the editing process, I was dreading it, because I knew deep down it wasn’t going to give me the functionality I needed for what I wanted to portray.

So, I’m working my way to up switching fully over to Adobe Lightroom (not Photoshop) for editing. I’m not quite there yet. I’m currently checking out the in-browser version of Lightroom as a test-run, and so far I’m super happy with the results. I didn’t even KNOW about the browser version of Lightroom. Maybe this is a new addition? It’s kind of like Lightroom Light. The obvious functionality it lacks is the layering feature and localized editing (the ability to edit only a portion of the photo instead of the whole thing).

I used to use Photoshop to edit photos wayyyy back in the day, but the more I research tools professional photographers use for editing, the consensus seems to be Lightroom over Photoshop. The draw here is that Lightroom allows you to keep an “original” version of your photo intact – the changes you apply during editing are saved in a catalog that tells the program how to process the photo when you export the file.

I’m planning to start using the full version of Lightroom this month, and I’ll let you know how it compares to the free browser version.

We went back to Vashon Island!

Here are some recent photos from our trip to Vashon Island, and they’ve been edited in Lightroom (Light :P).

Summer reading recommendations from Kale & Compass
An awesome hammock at Dragon’s Head Cider
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Fern Cove

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Two dweebs.

Summer reading recs: A happiness project, a memoir and a hermit in the woods