Notes from a Blue Bike

Notes from a Blue BikeNotes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic WorldNotes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider by Tsh Oxenreider

Despite enjoying Oxenreider’s book quite a bit, it’s not one that I’d highly recommend. If you’re at all well-read in the simple living area, there isn’t that much that’s original, beyond her own experiences that slightly tip the book into the memoir category.

The personal parts were my favorite, seeing how she adjusted to life overseas, and then back again in the US.

As a memoir, I mostly liked it, although it still felt a bit distant. As a simple living manifesto, it’s sparse. If you go into it expecting it to be mostly personal stories you’ll likely be happier than if you’re expecting a how-to manual. For a better take on what you can do yourself, try her ebook One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler.

My biggest issue with blogger books is that so often they feel thin. Take some posts, flesh them out a bit and string enough together until you’ve got a book. This one manages to avoid completely feeling like her blog bound into a book (in large part because she’s much more open about some of her family details in the book versus the blog), but the overall feel is still very much like a blog-turned-book, with individual essays pulled together under a theme.

Positives for the book include the writing style – it’s very personal and warm. There’s a lot of potential here, but it never comes together completely for me.

Publisher’s Description:
Life is chaotic. But we can choose to live it differently.

It doesn’t always feel like it, but we do have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions.

The popular blogger and founder of the internationally recognized Simple Mom online community tells the story of her family’s ongoing quest to live more simply, fully, and intentionally.

Part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide, Notes from a Blue Bike takes you from a hillside in Kosovo to a Turkish high-rise to the congested city of Austin to a small town in Oregon. It chronicles schooling quandaries and dinnertime dilemmas, as well as entrepreneurial adventures and family excursions via plane, train, automobile, and blue cruiser bike.

Entertaining and compelling—but never shrill or dogmatic—Notes from a Blue Bike invites you to climb on your own bike, pay attention to who you are and what your family needs, and make some important choices.

It’s a risky ride, but it’s worth it—living your life according to who you really are simply takes a little intention. It’s never too late.

Book Details

Title: Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic WorldNotes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider
Author: Tsh Oxenreider
Category: Memoir
My Rating: 3 Stars

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  1. Yup, I agree. Perhaps I expected more, since people all over the blogosphere were raving? But I thought it was just ok.

    Also: is it just me, or does complaining several times about a school district telling you when to have your kids in school sound rather snotty? I kinda want to say “grow up, in adult life you have to be certain places at certain times”. 😛

    • I think I did expect more, after hearing such glowing reviews. I’ve certainly felt that way about other popular books though, which is a big reason I like getting to know someone else’s reading tastes well enough to have an idea whether or not just because they like it, does it mean I will?

      The school calendar thing jumped out at me too. One time it wouldn’t have – that’s one of the advantages to homeschooling that I’ve thought of and am looking forward to, so saying goodbye to it would be a change. But it seems like something that once you’ve decided that’s what you’re doing, well, that’s what you need to do and repeatedly focusing on the downsides of it isn’t helpful.

  2. I completely agree with your review. I did go into the book expecting to be more focused on living simply and how to achieve that. I was surprised to find it was basically a collection of essays about her life, interesting to be sure, but not what I was expecting.

    • Have you read her e-book? Not much at all about her life in there and much more targeted towards to-dos.

  3. I have felt that way about a number of blogs turned books, so thank you for saving me the disappointment of experiencing it yet again with this book. I think I’ll take it off my to-read list.

    I think I’d probably get a lot out of One Bite at a Time, but (ironically?) I tend to get overwhelmed by books like that and end up changing nothing. (Which is probably why parts of my life are so disorganized to start with!)

    • Typically I’d read a book like OBAAT that and think it had lots of good ideas, and maybe put one into practice. This one I forced myself to do them – one a week was just enough to make progress, but not be overwhelmed by trying to do all the things at once.

      Last fall I was dreaming up blog plans for 2014, and I thought about blogging through it again (52 projects makes it super easy to pace yourself). Then I got pregnant and was smart enough to realize that this was not the year for that. I’m starting to think that maybe 2015 would be a good time to try it. I worked through the book before, in 2011 I think? Maybe 2010? Whenever it was it was certainly long enough ago that I could do it again. Anyway, if that’s of any interest to you, I really am strongly considering it, and it’d be a good one to do with someone else.

  4. I had wondered what this book was like. I’ve only read *glowing* reviews, so felt like I had no idea what was true -or not. Your review confirms my suspicions, both that it’s basically the type of book I thought it would be, and that it’s not some amazing book that’s for everybody (as all the reviews seem to imply).

    • It’s definitely not for everybody, and I generally roll my eyes at any review or blurb that claims a book is. Even books that I rave that I want to force everyone I know to read – I don’t *really* think it’s right for everyone.

      Even the cross-cultural lifestyle discussion that might otherwise get me to recommend to you doesn’t really seem like it’d be that much of a fit. She mostly discusses her life in Istanbul, and many of the aspects she focuses on in particular aren’t ones that I’d imagine are the same for you.

      • How long was she in Turkey, do you know? I’ve always wondered.

        Yes, the ‘life abroad’ topic is SUCH an interesting one to me, but more along the lines of how expats talk about it. So many angles and so many thoughts, sometimes also lots of generalizations (oh the irony)!

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