The Anti-List for the New Year: Books, Balance & Self-Care

This post is a list of all the books I reference in my talk to the First Saturday group at St. Philomena.  This post describes about the talk and January’s theme–Be Yourself.  Here is where I discuss February’s theme, Pursue Happiness. I’ll do future posts towards the beginning of each month with the  theme, quote and book.   But here is the basic version of all the books & quotes.

January: Be Yourself

An earlier Norton edition was the first P&P I read ( in college).

Pride & Prejudice

Here’s a Kindle version.

“Oh! certainly,” cried his faithful assistant, “no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half-deserved.”

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

February: Pursue Happiness

Just a few of the happiness books I referenced:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Here’s the five-year sentence-a-day journal.
Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness

Quirky side note about Lyubomirsky’s book: I own the hardback of this, and on the front is a cherry pie.  The paperback version appears to show a lemon meringue pie. Meaning? I know not what, but I find it interesting.

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Rilla of Ingleside

Quote (from Rilla of Ingleside)

“Now we won’t be sober any more. We’ll look beyond the years—to the time when the war will be over and Jem and Jerry and I will come marching home and we’ll all be happy again.”

“We won’t be—happy—in the same way,” said Rilla.

“No, not in the same way. Nobody whom this war has touched will ever be happy again in quite the same way. But it will be a better happiness, I think, little sister—a happiness we’ve earned. We were very happy before the war, weren’t we? With a home like Ingleside, and a father and mother like ours we couldn’t help being happy. But that happiness was a gift from life and love; it wasn’t really ours—life could take it back at any time. It can never take away the happiness we win for ourselves in the way of duty.”

March: Be a Pray-er and a Prayer

This is the complete boxed set.
Here is a Kindle version of the Lent & Holy Week volume.

Second book of The Mistmantle Chronicles

Quote from Urchin and the Heartstone (The Mistmantle Chronicles, Book 2)

“Alone all day, Juniper would remember the animals and places he loved, and hold them in his own heart before the great Heart that made them. He was learning to find quietness inside himself. He was learning to pray.”

April:  Focus on Finance (through the eyes of faith)

All The Money in the World is about the link between money and happiness, and how money can be used in our rich society to optimize well-being for ourselves and those we care about. To start, we must stop thinking about money as something evil or soulless,… Instead, we have to start thinking of it as a tool, a means to acquiring, doing and taking care of things that bring us joy. I’ve come to believe that people who are happiest about money operate under three premises of wealth, a word that has less to do with quantity than with outlook:

1. I have enough. There are some people in this world who have more, but also plenty with less.

2. If I want more than I have now to achieve big goals, I can figure out a way to get it.

3. Every dollar is a choice. How I earn it and spend it are up to me.”

May: Start a Garden

(I don’t necessarily mean that literally, as those who know me can attest!).  Just trying to explain/introduce concept of orchids/dandelions as it relates to ourselves and those near us.

Quote from Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain:

“What scientists haven’t realized until recently is that these risk factors have an upside. In other words, the sensitivities and the strengths are a package deal. High-reactive kids (orchids) who enjoy good parenting, child care, and a stable home environment tend to have fewer emotional problems and more social skills than their lower-reactive peers, studies show. Often they’re exceedingly empathic, caring, and cooperative. They work well with others. They are kind, conscientious, and easily disturbed by cruelty, injustice, and irresponsibility.”

June:  Keep a “sharp eye” on your personality

(here’s a handsome recent paperback, but on Kindle it’s only $1.99 because it’s in the public domain).

Quote from Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

“The answer to that question is that she didn’t do it because Cousin Ann was Cousin Ann. And there’s more in that than you think! In fact, there is a mystery in it that nobody has ever solved, not even the greatest scientists and philosophers, although, like all scientists and philosophers, they think they have gone a long way toward explaining something they don’t understand by calling it a long name. The long name is “personality,” and what it means nobody knows, but it is perhaps the very most important thing in the world for all that. And yet we know only one or two things about it. We know that anybody’s personality is made up of the sum total of all the actions and thoughts and desires of his life. And we know that though there aren’t any words or any figures in any language to set down that sum total accurately, still it is one of the first things that everybody knows about anybody else. And that is really all we know! 

 So I can’t tell you why Elizabeth Ann did not go back and cry and sob and say she couldn’t and she wouldn’t and she couldn’t, as she would certainly have done at Aunt Harriet’s. You remember that I could not even tell you why it was that, as the little fatherless and motherless girl lay in bed looking at Aunt Abigail’s old face, she should feel so comforted and protected that she must needs break out crying. No, all I can say is that it was because Aunt Abigail was Aunt Abigail. But perhaps it may occur to you that it’s rather a good idea to keep a sharp eye on your “personality,” whatever that is! It might be very handy, you know, to have a personality like Cousin Ann’s which sent Elizabeth Ann’s feet down the path; or perhaps you would prefer one like Aunt Abigail’s. Well, take your choice.”

July: Enjoy leisure and believe wonderful things

Quote from Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

“Grown-up people find it very difficult to believe really wonderful things, unless they have what they call proof. But children will believe almost anything, and grown-ups know this. That is why they tell you that the earth is round like an orange, when you can see perfectly well that it is flat and lumpy; and why they say that the earth goes round the sun, when you can see for yourself any day that the sun gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night like a good sun as it is, and the earth knows its place, and lies as still as a mouse.”

August: Be Brave

(even in private, like Elinor in Sense & Sensibility)


Quote from China’s Bravest Girl: The Legend of Hua Mu Lan

The ocean hides the oyster.
The oyster hides a pearl.
Bright armor and heavy helmet
Hid China’s bravest girl.

September: Seek out kindred spirits, bosom friends

Quote from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery:

“Marilla,” she demanded presently, “do you think that I shall ever have a bosom friend in Avonlea?” “A—a what kind of friend?” “A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it’s possible?”

October: Muster your wits 

And what does “muster your wits” mean in your life?  What “guns” do you have to fight sadness?

Quote from Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace

Depression settled down upon her, and although she tried to brush it away it thickened like a fog. “Why, the kids will be home for Thanksgiving! That will be here in no time. I mustn’t get this way,” she thought. But she felt lonely and deserted and futile. “A mood like this has to be fought. It’s like an enemy with a gun,” she told herself. But she couldn’t seem to find a gun with which to fight.


“Muster your wits: stand in your own defense.” She had no idea in what sense he had used it, but it seemed to be a message aimed directly at her. “Muster your wits: stand in your own defense,” she kept repeating to herself on the long walk home. After dinner she sat down in her rocker, looked out at the snow and proceeded to muster her wits. “I’m going to fill my winter and I’m going to fill it with something worth while,” she resolved.

November: Be a Pollyanna

yes, really.  topics: what being a Pollyanna really means; the emotional and spiritual maturity of the “glad game”

Quote from Pollyanna by Eleanor Holmes Porter

What men and women need is encouragement. Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened…. Instead of always harping on a man’s faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut of bad habits. Hold up to him his better self, his REAL self that can dare and do and win out!… The influence of a beautiful, helpful, hopeful character is contagious, and may revolutionize a whole town…. People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbors will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes—his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest!… When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it.

December: go with your strengths

I wrote a post for Bonnie at A Knotted Life in her Advent series in 2012, and the title there was “Go with Your Strengths.”  For me, that is books.  Here are probably my two favorite  Christmas read-alouds and ones we read every year.

What are your strengths?

The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy

A quote from The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer

“I’m not alone,” said the boy. “I’ve got a puppy.”

The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden

A quote from Rumer Godden:

“There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual . Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.” 

N.B. This post contains affiliate links.  I’m new to this world, but what it means is that if you click on the link and order a book (or any other item),  I get a small amount of money, though your cost stays the same.

Do you participate in any affiliate programs on your blog or website? I’d be interested to hear your experience/positives, negatives.