I made a goal to read 52 books in 2016, and so far I am on track. I’d love to share with you what I read this winter, if you’d like to see…
1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
In her newest book, Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) explores how to live a creative life beyond fear. It may be the season of life I am in, but her words were truly so good for my soul. She talks about what it means to move out of fear and embrace your creativity. Basically, getting out of your own way in order to meet your potential. If you are a creative or haven’t figured out what your “calling” is, pick this one up. bonus: she started a podcast on the sam subjects and interviews people like Brene Brown and Rob Bell.
2. Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
When I was pregnant with Marlow, I devoured as much information as possible in preparation for her birth. While I appreciated learning how to swaddle and what to do if she gets a fever, I particularly treasured two books about parenting philosophy. Simplicity Parenting (my other favorite is this one) makes a strong case for slowing down and establishing a calm rhythm. While Marlow is too young to directly apply most of the ideas, Payne’s wisdom has shaped our approach to parenting. It’s one of those books I think I will pick up countless times over the years in “check in.”
3. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
This is a sweet one. It’s a coming-of-age story that follows a young Irish immigrant through her new life in Brooklyn. Eilis (isn’t that a beautiful name?) is endearing and I related to her. This was a good winter read because I felt transported to Ireland when I picked it up. And sometimes in the long and cold month of February, you just need to pretend like you’re somewhere else for a while.
4. After Birth by Elisa Albert
The first few months postpartum were no walk in the park for me. My anxiety heightened as I wondered if I’m the only one feeling this way, so I found comfort in After Birth. There are parts of Ari I resonated with so completely it shocked me. This story is deep, witty, raw, and important.
5. Rising Strong by Brene Brown
Breneeeeee. She is everything. Can she run for president? I underlined the entire book. While this is a natural progression of her other work, Rising Strong was refreshing in it’s story-based approach. It is stock full of wisdom about shame, vulnerability, and the lies we tell ourselves. I’m not drawn to this genre, but I am always glad when I read Brene.
6. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This memoir has become very special to me. Paul was a surgical resident at Stanford when he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. His book was his last contribution to the world, and the urgency in his voice is a constant reminder of his mortality. My Dad has a traumatic brain injury, so I valued learning about Paul (who was a neurosurgeon). These were the very last thoughts he wanted to share to the world, and he shared them eloquently. He gives you a lot of think about, even after you put the book down. also: A piece Paul wrote for the New York Times, and one by his wife, Lucy.
7. The Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal
This is a cute story (with recipes!) about a father-daughter duo and their love for the kitchen. Eva follows an unconventional path to her dream career. It felt warm and cozy, perfect for blustery days.
8. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Shoot dang. I need to write a separate post about this book, but I learned so much! We are all creatures of habit. Duhigg says that we can be in control of every choice we make if we understand how habits form. It is fascinating. Highly recommend.
9. Felicity by Mary Oliver
I haven’t read much poetry since college. I read so much Shakespeare while at school, I had iambic pentameters coming out of my ears. Mary Oliver is so refreshing, though, and has restored my love for poetry. She is a breath of fresh air. I read a poem a night right before bed and it makes me happy.