Hello, By My Pen readers! I’m Rachel Waxman, aka PrincessRachL. I’m a graphic designer / web designer / digital marketer living in Philadelphia and I’m really passionate about macaroni and cheese, time travel, sparkly black leggings, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You can see more of what I’m up to on my Instagram.
There are usually at least two books on my nightstand at any given time – I tend to gravitate toward young adult, sci fi, fantasy, self-help, business, or memoirs. And here are some of my top 5 must reads…
The final book in this young adult action/fantasy series was released in the fall so naturally, I reread the entire series to prepare myself for the final installment. If you’re looking for a fast-paced page-turner that will totally consume you for a few weeks — forget binge-watching Netflix — do yourself a favor and pick up Throne of Glass. (Not mentioned here but definitely an honorable mention is Maas’ other young adult fantasy series starting with A Court of Roses and Thorns, which is another lose-yourself-in-the-story type of tale.)
This is one of the more formative self-help books I’ve read in the past few years. I am always trying to do all of the things — personally, professionally, in my relationship, in my friendships. I found Dufu’s advice and tips to be exceptionally relevant. She herself is an incredibly accomplished businesswoman who is also a devoted wife and mother. Her book provided me with a solid example of the kind of woman I’d like to grow into someday, while also providing tangible tricks and tools I could start using today.
I read recently that young adult novels are the new activism. A lot of them are sneakily teaching teenagers about leadership, empowering them to be confident in themselves and their decisions, or making other comments on the state of our society in this day and age. The Power is a great example of that. The story explores a world where women have a physical power that allows them to dole out potentially lethal electric shocks, leaving men feeling threatened and unsafe. It’ll make you think long and hard about what it means to have power and how far-reaching the implications of that power could be.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
Here is another self-help book that redefined the current phase of my adult life. Kondo teaches the KonMari tidying method, which — I kid you not — actually changed my life. I am, by no means, a minimalist, but this book helped illuminate the fact that I was collecting and holding onto objects that didn’t mean anything to me. The sheer volume of things I owned was causing me discomfort and a sense of feeling overwhelmed in my own home. It’s a short book but it has some genius ideas and very tangible tips for getting rid of things you don’t need in your home and organizing the things you have. My favorites are her brilliant tips for folding shirts and socks!
I LOVE Dolly Parton. I am a fan of her music, but, mostly, I am a fan of her as a person. First of all, she literally did so well in the field of country music that she was able to start a career in amusement parks. Not just professionally, but also personally, Dolly sticks to her guns, she is authentic and true to herself, she places an enormous value on family and faith, and she is incredibly philanthropic. In her autobiography, she writes out all of the stories that inspired her songs and elaborates on some of the parts of her life that are less famous. Her life is a true rags-to-riches story and I just found her autobiography to be really inspiring.