Book Lists

In My Book Bag: Mara and Danny from A Blog About Love

I’ve been reading A Blog about Love for a long time now.

It’s a blog about life, love, marriage, and relationships, and it’s so inspiring.

Both of them were married and divorced before they met each other, and their blog is just unbelievably thoughtful and sweet. I liked them immediately when I first read their blog and the longer I read the more I admired them.

After a final round of failed IVF, they decided to move to Ecuador for a new adventure and, wow, I had no idea Ecuador was so gorgeous. Every time I read a post about their experiences there, I want to book a plane ticket immediately.

In January, I met them at Alt Summit, and we spent a few minutes talking about how hard it is to get rid of books when you move (they were just preparing to move to Ecuador). I was so thrilled when they agreed to share books they love (and don’t love) – they had such fascinating recommendations.

I am actually a terrible reader! To me, reading is SUCH a luxury that I rarely make time for. I still absolutely love reading, but as long as I can remember, it seems I’ve always working my butt off on something whether it be working full-time through college and taking night and weekend classes, working late night hedge fund hours in NYC while buying real estate and renovating on the weekends, becoming an entrepreneur and starting a clothing line, or now working on my blog around the clock. But, when we first moved to Ecuador, we did not have the internet for one week and so my blogging came to a halt. I read like crazy. And it felt so, so wonderfully indulgent. 

Childhood Favorite: 

  • Mara: Anne of Green Gables. I’m tempted to re-read these. I devoured them as a teenager. 
  • Danny: I LOVED a series that some will remember reading called Childhood of Famous Americans.  I probably read 20 of them, and I think I read them all more than once.  Some of my favorites were on Jim Thorpe, Henry Ford, Lou Gehrig, Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, and George Washington.  Maybe that’s why I grew to love history books so much.  That and I owned 8 Calvin and Hobbes editions.  

Currently Reading: 

  • Mara: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom 
  • Danny: I’ve just started reading Marcus Aurelius: Meditations – I love the study of philosophy and particularly identify with the Stoics….this one has some real gems in it 🙂

Comfort Reading: 

  • Mara: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup. I often read this while in the bath when I’m trying to focus on caring for myself and my body. 
  • Danny: Jonathan Livingston Seagull – such a short and yet powerful reminder to push past barriers of personal growth.  You can read this one in about and hour or two.

A Book Everyone Else Seemed to Love, But I Didn’t Like/Get/Finish: 

  • Mara:  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes, I know. You would think I would just LOVE it. eeks. I feel funny admitting that I didn’t. But…something about it left me feeling uninspired. I don’t remember exactly why, as it’s been so long. But I know that I didn’t finish it and I didn’t quite resonate with her truths about love and life. Also, another one that might be shocking: I don’t love the The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I don’t love the idea that people are born to just love in only one or two ways ways or that people should expect to be loved by another in a certain way in order to feel loved and appreciated. I think we as humans are capable of SO much more! Real love is not based on expectations. And real love also has no limits as to how we might express it. Real love is going beyond our own natural ways and reaching heights that are greater than we ever thought possible. 
  • Danny: Crime and Punishment.  I really wanted to love it, I had friends and co-workers who loved it, I usually really like the Classics, but for some reason I just couldn’t get through it.  It was probably the wrong book to bring on a beach vacation.  I think I stopped three quarters through and picked up a John Grisham book…now that’s beach material!

A Book on My To-Read List: 

  • Mara: Ah, so many! Here’s a couple: Indian Givers by Jack Weatherford and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. 
  • Danny: The Anatomy of Peace – I read a book by the Arbinger Institute in college and loved it! It helped me form many of the ideas Mara and I talk about on the blog today.  I’ve heard this one is amazing too, and have been meaning to grab it for over a year now.  

Book I’m Most Likely to Recommend to Someone Else:

  • Mara: I can barely narrow it to 3! Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl – it’s an absolutely fascinating book about trials and choice. Also, Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I would recommend this book to any woman. It’s a short but beautifully written book that goes straight to your heart and seems to unite us all on our journeys as women in life, womanhood, relationships, and motherhood. My friend gave me a beautiful vintage copy and I treasure it. And, if someone is interested in transforming their life: A New Earth and The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle. These played a part in my own transformation as I learned to heal and be at peace with life, rejection, divorce and infertility.
  • Danny: Mara already said some of my favorites and most recommended, so I’ll just add a few more that go in a different direction.  Les-Miserables – the size is daunting for so many, but man is it worth it (you must read a good translation though).  And There Was Light – A powerful story of one man’s childhood and key roll in the French resistance to Germany’s occupation during WWII.  He is blind, and yet he sees in very powerful ways.  Truly one of the great books showing just how far our spiritual developments and disciplines can take us into the Love and Light of the Divine, and into seeing the world in a whole new way.  The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas is a true master, nothing more need be said. 
Thanks both of you! My to-read list is getting longer by the minute. 

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  • Reply Jessica June 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    These book bag posts always confuse me at first – I don't pay a lot of attention to the title, but think I'm reading the other blog. I was all 'why are Mara and Danny introducing themselves? And in the third person??'

  • Reply Feisty Harriet June 12, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I also really really disliked Eat, Pray, Love. It just, it does not sit well with me, any of it.


  • Reply Fleurthefearless June 13, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Love The Hiding Place. True story and my favourite book ever!

  • Reply Alysa Stewart June 14, 2014 at 3:50 am

    Aw, hi guys! (I'm also a long-time reader of A Blog About Love.) And I think I'd better read Man's Search For Meaning soon, my dad recommended it to me some time ago.

  • Reply Karlyn June 17, 2014 at 3:36 am

    Love them too! The Hiding Place is one of my all time favorites.

  • Reply Creole Wisdom June 19, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    "Womens Bodies Womens Wisdom" is amazing 🙂

    I like them, too. I don't agree with always being happy no matter what, but instead leaning into those unsavory emotions for a time and then returning to joy– But I can appreciate their perspective! 🙂

  • Reply Carol June 27, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    I absolutely LOVE The Anatomy of Peace. It is my all time favorite. I was going through a dark time in my life and this was the "textbook" my therapist used. It is so amazing and helped me change my thinking.

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