I am a life-long reader.  A lover of books and storytelling.  I will read anything, anytime.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I have read more than my fair share of Harlequin romances and otherwise trashy novels.  And it never fails to surprise me that, when I mention that I read while brushing my teeth, the person I’m conversing with finds that odd.  I just think it’s an effective use of time.

As a child, I remember reading under my desk (Grade 4, Mr. Sankey, when I probably should have been memorizing my times tables).  I even read while walking to school – the pre-cell phone equivalent of walking and texting.  And most often, hanging off my bed late at night to catch the dim glow from the bathroom light my Mum left on.  Which, by the way Mum, does not ruin your eyesight!

Today, I’m a little more discerning. While I still love to read, work and other priorities don’t permit me quite the same time to do so.  Which is why I love when vacation time rolls around and I have the freedom to indulge myself in mindless reading.

It’s the perfect time to catch up on every magazine I haven’t read for the past few months.  Or to read all of the newspapers from front to back every morning.  And finally, to really enjoy that book that I’ve been planning to read for a while. 

So what’s on my current reading list?

Well, there’s a little bit of everything. 

Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn

A New York Times best seller by the author of Gone Girl and an HBO limited series. Who knew?  This is the last book I picked up at the Ottawa airport while travelling, something I do frequently.  For those of you who are frequent flyers (and readers), it’s good to know that there is now a Read and Return program at many airports that offers you a 50 per cent refund when you buy, read and return a book.  Really!

Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg

It’s my second time reading this one.  Although I had heard wonderful things about it, I found it difficult to reconcile the suggestions and stories in the book with my own reality as a working mother with young children, a mortgage and bills.  Still I believe strongly in the importance of professional balance and opportunity for women so I wanted to give it another shot. 

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

In the last little while, I’ve added a couple of superstars to my team at CHFA.  We’re in a time of transition and opportunity, and being in a place like that makes me want to up my own game.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur 

I’ll be honest.  Although I love to read, poetry isn’t often on my list.  However, one of my tribe kept posting great quotes and thought-provoking statements by Ms. Kaur on Instagram and so I  bought this one on impulse in the checkout line at Indigo.

What Makes an Effective Association, Benchmarking for Performance, by Richard Paton

Even though I think the CHFA is a bit of a unique association, it’s always good to look at what others associations are doing and measuring.  They don’t call it best practice for nothing.

Reading, for me, is an opportunity to learn, to grow and to escape.  It has enhanced my vocabulary and improved my grammar.  And, according to some studies, it can also help to preserve brain health as we age.  In the words of C.S. Lewis (one of my favourite writers), “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

Emily Arsenault