2017 Book List

1. The Magnolia Story- I am a huge fan of this Gaines couple, not in the sense that I follow everything that they do (I have only seen a handful of episodes of their show- although I did love them!) just in that I like who they are as people. I think the empire they have created is really cool, they create beautiful spaces,  but more importantly they have done it while still focusing on whats most important, God and their family. I really admire them for not caving to pressure to change their beliefs based on what is popular with the media even though they are in the spotlight. This was a fun quick read and I'd totally recommend it for a beach book!

2 Essentialism: The Disciplined Art of Pursuing Less- I read this book at a time where I felt like everyone I knew was joining an MLM or working some kind of side hustle and I was inside a game of musical chairs for mommy businesses, hurry pick a seat before the music stops! This book helped reiterate to me a choice I have to consciously make over and over: to be the kind of parent I want to be and have the kind of family I want to have, I personally have to focus all of my effort here in my home (I realize this is not the case for all women and more power to you for knowing whats right for you). I especially found the business examples he used just fascinating like Southwest stripping out all the fluff like first class seats and meals at a time when that was revolutionary. I think its very trendy right now to follow the "minimalism" practice- particularly with possessions. This book to me was about a minimalism practice in your whole life- do less things so you can do the most important ones well instead of all the things at a mediocre level.

3. Natural Hospital Birth- The Best of Both Worlds- This book had a huge impact on me! After a pretty freaky epidural experience with Cosette my doctor recommended I skip the drugs so I was looking for some direction. I borrowed a friend's Hypnobirthing book but Evan was not into practicing so this worked better for us. I loved how she had me evaluate previous births and "rights of passage" to figure out how to keep labor progressing by eliminating stressful situations/people. It was so interesting to hear the science behind stress hormones and their effect on labor. Her advice to continue eating during labor and to relax my hands during contractions were huge helps, I will read this again before any other future babies. I always made fun of those people who wanted to have natural births to prove something, like I Am woman Hear Me Roar! But I have to be honest, Vivians birth was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

4. On Becoming Babywise- How many times have people recommended this book to me! I read it with Winston and it didn't work. I decided to give it another try with Viv. Nope still hated it. This sleep training method is not our jam.

5. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls- Like every girl who was a teenager in the early 2000's I devoured Gilmore Girls. I have to say i was surprisingly disappointed in the remake they released recently and just as surprisingly delighted by this book by Lauren Graham. Another quick beach read that gets a thumbs up from me.

6. At the Pulpit- Still working on this book. I generally like to read books the way most people watch movies- from beginning to end in one sitting if possible, or at least not longer than a week. this book is simply not built to be devoured that way and has therefore spent a little too much time on my bedside table instead of in my hands. I did have a favorite it quote from it so far though- " Women should be women and not babies that need petting and correction all the time. I know we like to be appreciated but if we do not get all the appreciation which we think is our due, what matters?"- Eliza R. Snow puts me right in my place, thank you very much.

7. Present Over Perfect-  I listened to this one as an audio book and  at the time I was a little annoyed at how flowery it gets- too much hyperbole for me in some points BUT that being said, this is a book I think about quite often now and probably the one I would recommend most of all the books I read last year! It is a collection of essays guiding you to these themes- simplify, be present, ect. I'm sure you're seeing a theme in my books by this point. My favorite essay was one where she was in the driveway shooting hoops with her son and chatting with her younger college age brother who was about to leave on yet another exotic trip across the globe. She told him he was brave and he looked her right in the eyes and said, "This isn't brave. What you're doing is brave. Getting married, having children, staying in it and fighting for it every day. That's brave." AMEN. She also has me convinced to wear night cream and real pajamas, go to bed early on vacation, and all kinds of other nutty ideas. hmmm I might need to listen again soon.

8. An Unseen Angel- This book is heartbreaking but also a beautiful window into what it feels like to lose someone you love to death. I thought so much of my dad's best friend Bryon and of Kate's dad while I read this book. It was amazing to see how connected this world is with the afterlife.

9. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up- Because you have to right? I didn't finish and have not fully executed this procedure. Maybe this year?

10. Babyproofing your Marriage-  Didn't want to admit it but I learned A LOT from this book, particularly the chapter on sex and the dramatically different way husbands and wives view/experience it. Everything about the sex chapter is a must read if you have had kids. Also I love their idea of calling a 3 month truce on your marriage every time you have a baby. Hormones and sleepless nights wreak havoc so don't get any bright ideas, just call a truce.

11. Peaceful Parent Happy Kids-  I started this book when I was at a point of desperation and frustration with one of my children and it has some brilliant points and ideas, but this is another one I haven't finished. We were dealing with doctors and therapists and there was only so much I could take on this topic so I need to revisit it at a later date.

12. The Smartest Kids in the World and How they Got that Way. - Okay. This book was life changing. This is actually my number one recommendation, particularly for anyone with children or is interested in education. This was a really fun read for me because it coincided with one of Evan's classes on Global Competency and we got to have some really intelligent discussions on how education is approached across the globe. It has ended up influencing our plan on education both for our own children and for Evan's career so this is pretty exciting for our family!

13. Yes Please- We had recently finished Parks and Rec which was hilarious especially now that we live in Indiana so I had high hopes for her book but alas too much swearing for my taste, I only made in a couple of chapters.

Okay with this list in mind- what recommendations do you have for me for the upcoming year??? Ready for some new books!


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