One of the great joys of summer is sitting in a comfy chair in the sun and reading for hours with no great agenda. This is my happy place.
When I’m in summer vacation mode I often find myself gravitating towards books that aren’t too dense. I’m looking for light, quick page-turners. The classic beach read. This is not the time for real literature or deep existential mindfulness books… except that I love reading books about mindfulness!
What’s a Mainly Mindful person to do?!
Find mindfulness books that are also light, quick page-turners!
Here are four books I’ve tackled this summer that tick that box. For your vacation reading consideration, I present the Mainly Mindful Book Club: Beach Reads Edition.
Dan Harris’ first meditation book, 10% Happier, is the book that sent me down the mindfulness meditation rabbit hole, and I’m so glad it did.
His follow up book doesn’t disappoint. Dan embarks on a cross-country meditation tour with Canadian Jeff Warren – founder of Toronto’s Consciousness Explorer’s Club – to tackle the myths, misconceptions and self-deceptions that stop people from meditating. Lots of practical tips and meditation instructions, so it’s great for anyone new to meditation or for those with a practice who are in a little rut and need some inspiration.
I’ve been feeling that my meditation routine was getting a little stale so this book showed up when I needed it. It contains some good advice, mostly centred around keeping meditation fun and friendly, in place of an “eat your vegetables” type of obligation. My favorite meditation in the book is called “Welcome to the Party”, which nicely summarizes the spirit of the book.
Truthfully, I’m kind of sick of the “No F*ck’s Given” trend in books. It’s being waaaay over used, and besides, sometimes we need to give a f*ck! But of course, most of these books aren’t actually telling you to not give a f*ck, rather to get clear on the f*cks you want to give, and that’s good advice.
If you read the reviews of this book, people seem to love it or hate it. I landed somewhere in between. It’s written with a bit of a frat boy tone that I found annoying, but yet I still found Manson touched on a few thought provoking themes that made the read worthwhile. Stop trying so hard to improve yourself, figure out what you give a f*ck about and what kind of problems you can tolerate, and life gets better.
I noticed Oprah’s latest book on the one-week express checkout shelf at the library so I decided to pick it up. I questioned if I’d have the time to finish it in one week, but it only took 2 days. This is a short little ditty that you can comfortably read on your beach chair over the weekend.
As you may be aware, Oprah has interviewed just about every spiritual leader, politician and celebrity on the planet. This book is a collection of excerpts from these conversations all organized around the central theme of finding your life’s direction and purpose. Some of the stories resonated for me, others didn’t, but I came away with a few nuggets of inspiration that stuck with me. Essentially the same experience as watching Oprah after school in the 90s.
I picked up this book after listening to Dan Harris interview Light Watkins on the 10% Happier podcast. I was curious to learn more about Watkins as he practices Transcendental Meditation/Vedic meditation, which differs from the mindfulness meditation techniques that I practice.
Transcendental Meditation had never appealed to me because it is only taught in person for a steep fee. As I understand it, during TM training the meditation teacher identifies a “secret” mantra individualized for each student that is to be repeated silently during meditation. The whole secrecy element combined with the high fee just seemed… weird.
This book essentially teaches the spirit of TM meditation, for free, in simple and easy to understand instructions. Instead of a mantra, the book suggests a “settling sound” that you repeat to yourself during meditation. I’ve been giving it a go this week and the jury is still out on if this style of meditation is a fit for me – I’ll save that for a later post. But in the meantime, if you’re curious about the TM type of meditation or want to try something new, save yourself the $1,000 training fee and try this book first.
So, there you have it: four quick reads that you can tackle on a beach blanket or in a Muskoka chair, that will also provide a little inspiration and/or wisdom. Enjoy.
But enough about me. What are you reading this summer? Share below. I’m out of books and need my next reading assignment…
NOTE: All of these books are available at my local library so you can likely find them at yours as well. If you want to purchase any of the books listed in this post I’d appreciate if you purchased them using the links above. I get a small payment from the Amazon Affiliates program for any book purchased which helps to offset the small fees I incur to run the Mainly Mindful site. Thanks!