So I have a book club (don't I sound all sophisticated and smart-like?) and they send me books to read if I promise to blog about them. And since I'm not only an avid reader but also out here on the Interweb blabbing about all kinds of stuff anyway, it turns out that it's a match made in Heaven.
The most recent book to show up on my doorstep was The Noticer by Andy Andrews. (Just as a disclaimer, Andy Andrews was a friend of a friend of the family when I was growing up. I don't remember if we ever officially met, and it was really before he was a world-famous inspirational speaker and all that, but he was a household name when I was a kid, and I can still recite large chunks from Tales from Sawyerton Springs).
Anyway, The Noticer is about the mysterious "Jones" (not Mister, just Jones), who shows up in Orange Beach, Alabama, to offer a bit of perspective to its various citizens who are going through a rough patch in their lives. It's a bit of a cross between an inspirational story and what I call self-help fiction, which is basically like one of those self-improvement books made more palatable with a story and characters. (Which if you ask me, is the best way to get your self-improvement).
Here's the thing about this book through. You'll be reading through, following the characters, minding your own business, and all of a sudden, WHAM! Jones will toss out some little nugget of common-sense wisdom, and it will smack you right between the eyes and you'll be all, "Holy Moses! That applies to me too!" It happens over and over again. For instance, somewhere around chapter three, Jones is talking to a couple that is having trouble communicating in their marriage. Jones spits out this lovely little nugget about how everybody communicates love in one of four different "dialects". Some people need to hear it...they need someone to actually tell them that they are loved. Others need to be shown with favors, like washing the dishes or cutting the grass. Still others need to feel it through touch, like hugs and pats and the like, and the last group needs love through distraction-free quality time with the other person.
And I kid you not, when I read that, I almost fell off the couch. Because I know people who fall into one of each of those categories, and all of a sudden it made sense why they kept doing the things that they were doing. (In case you are wondering, Tony falls into category 2, the favor-doer, and I'm category 4, the quality-timer. It was interesting to see ourselves through that lens).
The whole book is full of little nuggets like that...ones that make you go back and read them again because they are so profound, yet at the same time, so glaringly obvious that you'll wonder why you didn't realize it before. It's short too, a little over 150 pages, so you'll be able to read it cover to cover in a single sitting. (Or at least, I did).
By the way, there's also a website and grassroots movement that goes along with the book. It's call the Noticer Project, and it encourages people to take the time to "notice" 5 people who have greatly influenced your life. You can find out about it here.