New Year, New Books. Yes? That is how it works for me.
I still haven’t had a chance to work on my goals (sick kids, no school). But books? That list is going strong and I’ve already dived in.
I’m sharing what I’m currently reading and what is on my list for the year.
Just as am cool with Goal As You Go, I’m also way cool with selecting books as you go. In fact, I hugely believe that the right books will find you at the right time. BUT…. I totally geek out at making a reading list for the year. Because I love reading and books (like as in the tactile feel and look of them) so much this is pretty much as fun as a kid with toy catalog and marker in hand at Christmastime.
I’m not austere about the process or the plan. The listing actually goes on throughout the year in places like my Amazon wishlist, Pinterest and in the Notes App on my phone. When I see something that strikes my interest or that someone recommends I take note. In January I put it all together. The list is always incomplete because inevitably I will always add to it and, in all truth, I don’t usually finish my list. Some books get bumped to the next year or off the list entirely because I stay attuned to my heart and the whisper of the Spirit and my own whimsy.
Since this list is a little lengthy I’m going to categorize my (as I do in my journal).
Also, I should note that I read categorically. I read several books at a time, rather than reading one at a time. I usually always have some form of spiritual/ personal growth book going along with fiction or story….If I get completely carried away in a story then the other may sit for awhile. But I love to read growth books in the morning and then story based ones in the afternoon or evening. Now if find a learning booked that is based in story or beautifully written, then I could read it anytime of the day. But I try to read only for relaxation in the evenings. What are your reading habits? I’m always intrigued by the reading habits of others.
OK, here goes…
READING NOW /
The Last Mrs. Parrish / I saw this one on Reese Witherspoon’s bookclub and thought I’d give it a go. I’m a few chapters in and I’m not so sure. Girl pretends to be something she is not to get something that is not hers to take. I’ve seen enough of this in real life. Have you read? Should I keep going? One reading habit I changed last year, was giving myself permission to quit a book.
Busman’s Honeymoon I love a good mystery. But not the gory kind. I recently saw a fellow book lover reading this and thought I’d give it a go. I’ve put in a lot of hours watching British Mysteries this year (Midsomer Murders-ahem) and I like to read a few now. I’m only a short way in but, I have a feeling I may be reading more Dorothy L. Sayers this year. Also, I’d like to take a stab at Agatha Christy Books (no pun intended).
Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle. This has been on my list for awhile and was put on the shelf while I was writing my book. In just the first chapter my creativity tank is refueling. I’m eager to get to writing—yes, to begin another book—but first to observe, to be, to behold beauty and to ponder what cosmos I can find and express from the chaos (Cosmos from chaos, as she calls it). You know when you read something and think…they are my people? Madeleine is my people. I want to devour this book but I also want to read it very very slowly. A few things, from the first chapter that I can’t get away from:
“The artist is a servant who is willing to be a birth-giver….I believe that each work of art, whether it is a work of great genius or something very small, comes to the artist and says, ‘Here I am. Enflesh me. Give birth to me.’ ”
“The artist, if he is not to forget how to listen, must retain the vision which includes angels and dragons and unicorns and all the lovely creatures which our world would put in a box marked children only.”
Emotional Healthy Spirituality / This book is a game changer. It’s going on my special shelf that is for life-changing books. Ones I plan to share about. Ones I plan to re-read. Ones I plan to pass out. I kept seeing this title floating around the internet and knew that I wanted to read it. In fact, I downloaded a sample and began it sometime last year, but there it sat on my Kindle. Last month this author’s name kept coming up in a meeting I was in. I said, “Wait, I’ve been wanting to read that book….I think this is a sign that now is the time.” My friend went into his office and came with a copy in hand. This book is one that I believe everyone should read. It’s been a gift to me and I’m trying not to speed through it. I’ve been on a journey towards emotional health, for the past two years, and this book has really confirmed the path that I’m on and is giving me tools to continue on. We must go back to go forward. Our family of origin and childhood have much to do with the adults we are today and how we view and respond to life. Scazzerzo says, “Looking to the past illumines the present. But make no mistake about it; it is painful.” This is hard work, but it is good and worthy work. My copy is filled with red-pen-underlines (another reading habit of mine: I must have hard copies for growth books to accommodate my red-pen-underlines and notes). I use my Kindle mostly for fiction and travel).
I love letter writing. My sister and I have been writing letters back and forth for years (we’ve been on a long hiatus but are about to begin again). Those letters are prized possessions to me. We are both writers and I hope that one day our letters will tell some of our story to our children our children’s children. I think letter writing is a lost art and I’m hoping to do a little letter writing project in this space sometime this year—so stay tuned.
Amy, my sister, got me these two books for Christmas and i can’t wait to read them. Letters by two of my all-time favorite authors. Sigh.
Charlotte Bronte Selected Letters
Jane Austen Selected Letters
To Kill a Mockingbird / I feel rather ashamed to admit I have never read this book. I don’t know how I didn’t read it in school? Anyways, I’ve schooled myself through much of my adult life and this year my curriculum includes To Kill a Mockingbird.
The Novel Cure / I’ve been wanting this book for years. It’s the book lover’s medicine cabinet. A pharmacy for the bibliophile. Feeling sad? Happy? In love? This book will point you to the notion for the state of your soul.
What is your favorite classic? I’m always looking to add a classic to my list.
Truth and Beauty: A Friendship / The writing is supposed to beautiful. But it sounds like there is some sorrow and at this point in my life, I can’t do tear jerkers. Anyone read?
The Glass Castle / Another that I can’t believe I haven’t read. I love a good memoir.
The Hazelwood / I love fairytales and imaginative stories. Part of the storyline of this book is a grandmother who wrote fairy tales and a granddaughter who has to work it out in the real world. The plot intrigues me. I just hope it isn’t dark.
Bear Town / Fredrik Backman is my new favorite fiction author. I fell completely in love with his writing when I read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry— it was magical and real in the way life can be if we keep our eyes and hearts open (I wrote more about it here)—my favorite read of last year. I hear A Man Called Ove is amazing, albeit sad (which is why I’m having to hold off on this one) but I did follow up with Britt-Marie Was Here and am still thinking about the character and a few sentences that have stuck with me.
I love historical fiction…I still have to research thee. Any faves?
PERSONAL GROWTH /
The Highly Sensitive Person / I’m certain I am one and I want to be better educated.
The Empath’s Survival Guide / Another book that I think may help me my over sensitive soul.
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life / I’ve been wanting to read Richard Rohr for a while now. And as timing would have it a friend read me a quote from this book that also has everything to do with the journey that I’m on. This one is next after Emotionally Healthy Spiritually.
Writing Down the Bones / I want to be a better writer. I guess I can call myself an author now, but what I really am is a writer. I can’t not write—it would be like holding my breath. It’s what I’ve been doing since I was a kid. It’s what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.
Tools of the Titans / One person I love to follow for book recs is fellow book lover Laura Tremaine. She’s been sharing bits of this one on Instagram and I’ve really enjoyed the wisdom.
Dance Stand Run / I got this one before the holidays and just haven’t had the chance to fully dive in. This is book breaches the topic of holiness, which can be taboo and rarely talked about these days. I’m ready for Jess’s fresh take on a “The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy-Ground.”
How the French Live / I’m super excited about this book by Si of the popular design blog, French By Design. I’ve long followed this blog so I have no doubt it will be gorgeous. The book follows several French families and tells a bit about how they live (and also includes a family recipe). I’m fascinated by how families live in other parts of the world. And to me, it’s obvious that the French know how to enjoy life. Enjoying life with my family is a high priority, for me, this year.
A Simplified Life / Finished this one but will likely use it as a reference throughout the year. Emily Ley has some really great tips for simplifying life. I’ve found a few game changers from her.
Nourish / In the past few years I have discovered how our physical health has much to do with our spiritual and emotional health. I’ve become aware and tried to incorporate small changes, but I still have much work to do. The approach of addressing the spirit, soul, and body is one that I want to take and that is what this book is all about. I’m looking forward to reading this book by Katie Farrell of Dashing Dish and learning more about health as it pertains to what my body and my soul.
Recharge / This book by Julie Montagu (of Ladies of London fame…I have no shame in admitting I watched Ladies of London… I loved Julie and she is from an almost neighboring town…Midwestern girl in London). It’s is about a year of self-care. I listened to a tip Julie had, on Instagram, about dealing with toxic people and it was really profound. Self-care is not just “treat-yo-self” days (shout out to my Parks and Rec peeps)…sometimes it has a lot to do with the way we think and the tone of the inner dialogue. I love that this book broaches the foods we eat as well as our self-esteem.
CHILDREN’S BOOKS /
Harry Potter / Another confession…haven’t read. Haven’t watched.
A Wrinkle In Time / Have been wanting to read for years. Now is the time for the movie coming out. Hoping to read this one aloud to my kids.
The Spiderwick Chronicles / Liam and I picked this one up at the library. We’ve just started it. I’m really intrigued and hoping it doesn’t get to creepy for my kids.
I la la love cookbooks. I love to buy them.
Five Ingredients by Jamie Oliver / I love the simplicity of this and I love Jamie Oliver (always and forever).
At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking / Nigella is my favorite. While I truly love her recipes, I often watch her (FYI- I found her Simply Nigella episodes online here) shows to relax. Listening to her talk about food is like reading a beautiful novel—her vocabulary and descriptives are thoughtful—she is a writer after all. Also, I adore scouring every last detail of her kitchen and her jaunts out in London. I dream of perusing her larder (aka pantry) and bookshelves in real life. As an Anglophile who also loves to watch cooking shows…well, this is pay dirt. Back to the book….I love to see what people cook in their everyday—for their family, friends and loved ones and that is what this cookbook is all about. Not fussy (Nigella is never fussy which is yet another reason I adore her) just everyday feasting.
The Forest Feast / I received this last year (as in 2017) for Christmas and it is sooo cool. Unfortunately, somehow, it got covered in water and ruined. I loved it so much I want to buy it again. If you love cookbooks with a lot of pictures…this one is for you.
Some other books that have been on Amazon List for a while:
A Room Called Remember
Braving the Wilderness
Cure for the Common Life
The Obstacle is the Way
On Becoming Fearless in Love, Work and Life
What is on your reading list this year? OR what have you read recently that you’d recommend? I’m all ears!