Be Our Guest Fridays {15} – Reading to Understand Life’s Transitions

Welcome to Be Our Guest Fridays!

Be Our Guest Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Tanya from Mom’s Small Victories and Helen from My Novel Opinion where we feature guest posts by our favorite bloggers and authors. We started this feature as a fun way to give back to the blogging community. We are excited to share with you these creative, inspiring and knowledgeable bloggers.

My Co-Host Helen from My Novel Opinion

You can find my fabulous co-host Helen on her blog, on Facebook, on G+, and on Twitter. See her blog for more ways you can find Helen.

Today’s Guest Post

I’m happy to have Savvy Working Gal as my guest blogger today. Savvy specializes in reviewing non-fiction and has great discussions about work etiquette and issues concerning professional working women. She co-hosts the Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge with me and is undertaking a 2015 challenge to Live Healthy on a Budget that I am following closely. I can always count on her for interesting non-fiction books to read that will teach me something valuable. Thanks for being our guest today Savvy!


Reading to Understand Life's Transitions by Guest Blogger Savvy Working Gal. How books can help us transition through life's challenges and what books inspired her in her lifetime.

Images courtesy of: David Castillo Dominici (little girl reading), Ambro (confused teenage girl), and marin (woman reading book at home) at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Reading to Understand Life’s Transitions

By Savvy Working Gal
(book titles link to Goodreads)

I didn’t get out much when I was growing up. My parents were dairy farmers and needed to be home every morning and evening to milk the cows. In addition to living in a remote area, I was also shy and an introvert. I longed to know what the world was like outside my small corner and how I would one day fit in it. To do so I read every book I could get my hands on. Some of my favorites from that time period that helped me understand the world were:

Patch of Blue by Elizabeth Kata
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Go Ask Alice by James Jennings
Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This began a life-long habit of seeking out a book every time I contemplated a change or my life was in transition.

When I graduated from college I realized the world wasn’t quite as I had imagined it to be. It was not nearly as just. The glass ceiling and gender pay gap prevailed despite the feminist movement. I was poorer than I had thought I’d be. I came to realize hard work and good grades weren’t nearly as important as networking and good communication skills. I quickly retreated to books beginning with Games Mother Never Taught You by Betty Lehan Harragan.

When I considered becoming a financial planner, investing books appeared on my nightstand. To better understand the business world after I was promoted to manager I read Jim Collin’s Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t. This book triggered a fondness for business books, especially those that provide insight into the creation, growth and sustainability of a business; some of my favorites include Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture by Taylor Clark, Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams by Michael D’Antonio, Sweet and Low: A Family Story by Rich Cohen and my latest read Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local – and Helped Save an American Town by Beth Macy.

Even my blog challenges ultimately were about books. I was so impressed with Fannie Lou Hamer’s strength while reading her biography This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer by Kay Mills I created my “Be Strong” challenge – where I attempted to become a stronger person in my 50th year. This challenge eventually evolved into a reading challenge when I decided to read one book covering an element of strength each month.

2014 was a difficult year for me; I spent most of it worried about my mother after she was diagnosed with cancer. Then my husband lost his cousin, who was also our next door neighbor, at 75 to heart disease. Once again I feel as if the world is not what I imagined it to be, 50 is not the new 30. As I accept this chapter of my life – middle age – I again want to learn everything I can about it. I’m putting together a reading list.

Do you have any book suggestions I can add to my list?

About Savvy Working Gal

Photo Credit: Savvy Working Gal
Photo Credit: Savvy Working Gal


These were the books that really motivated me to look at my own home and personal life. They inspired me to take a closer look at what kind of mom I wanted to be, helped me decide to be happy and urged me to work towards my personal goals since 2014. I have enjoyed reading more non-fiction more as I always find a valuable lesson that I can apply to my life and feel like I’m working to make myself a better person and mom.

What books inspired you during your life transitions? Let us know!


  1. Another wonderful list of go-to books…and I would expect nothing less from Savvy!! Books and reading are so, so important because as you’ve indicated here, they can bring you through even the toughest times. I always knew the most important thing I would ever teach my kids was to read. Even if mom can’t be there, a book can, and what comfort that gives me as a parent. Lovely to read your post, as always.

    1. Thank you Jen. My mom loves reading as much as I do and was the one who encouraged me to read. When I see her she always pulls a list of books out of her purse for me to take home. Of her six kids I’m the only reader, perhaps because I’m the oldest – I think she plopped a book in my lap to keep me entertained while she took care of my younger siblings.

  2. Wonderful post! I think reading to understand our world’s and life’s continuous journey is important. I have read to deal with grief, to recover from an emotionally abusive relationship, and to deal with becoming chronically ill. I think nonfiction books have been lifesavers to me in many ways. I now want to make a list of books that I would like to help me through my next life’s transitions.

    1. I’ve read to deal with grief and an emotionally abusive relationship also. Books are always there for me. I think when you learn that at a young age reading becomes our solace.

  3. What a great post! I love how books can provide knowledge and inspiration for life.
    Books are a great escape, when I was younger I loved those escapes.
    I’m loving that right now, my daughter (12) and I can enjoy discussing books. She is such an enthusiastic reader, she devours them 3 at a time!
    I have to admit, sometimes I let life get in the way of my reading….

    1. I have to admit it – I have a hard time fitting reading in as an adult too. Reading and commenting on blogs does interfere, so I now pick a night each week to read instead. Love that you can talk books with your 12-year old. I have two nieces that I talk books with and enjoy every minute of it. Plus, my five year old nephew loves to read and write. How cool is that.

  4. I think reading is a great way to understand the world around us and find out more about ourselves in the process. Reading is a rewarding hobby – great for an escape from reality as well as a learning experience.

  5. Tanya,
    I enjoyed your list of books that inspired you – especially your take on 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I read that one years ago and don’t recall it having a major impact on my life – perhaps I need to revisit it.

  6. Dear Savvy Working Girl,

    Thanks for you very thoughtful post on reading across one’s lifetime. I would recommend Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9963483-falling-upward. It is as much about the two halves of life as it is about spirituality. It has some great insights about special features of the second half of life (I’m there too!) and living it in greater joy and freedom.

    1. Thank you! I’m looking forward to reading Two Halves of Life. Spirituality is one of the first things that gets pushed aside when my life gets busy which is often – perhaps that is what I need to snap out of my current funk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *