In the interest of full disclosure, this post really should be called “On My iPhone”. I go through most of my books by listening on Audible .* I pay a monthly membership to have someone read to me while I drive, cook, clean, run, or fold laundry because I find I have a lot more of that time available than I have sitting down and reading quietly time. As a bonus, I find I’m much more eager to cook, clean, fold laundry, etc. if I am deep into a book! So it’s a win-win. I don’t fall asleep (which often happens when I sit down to read–I blame motherhood) and my household tasks get taken care of with less grumbling from me! Also on the topic of full disclosure, all links with an asterisk indicate an affiliate link.
You’ve probably noticed that I didn’t spend a whole lot of time writing in December and January. I did, however, spend a lot of time reading. Or at least, I spent a lot of time cleaning and moving (*again*), which for me, equals a lot of time listening to books! Here are a few of my favorite recent reads.
The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism* by Kristine Barnett
This book was fascinating! And while this memoir centers around the author’s son and their family’s journey with autism, Barnett points out very clearly that this book and her philosophy of finding and feeding a child’s spark is not unique to children with autism. It’s a message for all children and all parents: Find the spark. Celebrate it. Feed it. And don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail. This book was really inspiring to me both as a parent and an educator.
Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul* by Stuart Brown
This is one I’m actually reading in paper form, so wish me luck! Stuart Brown is THE expert on play and I’ve found what I’ve read about him and from him to be fascinating, so I’m excited to finally start turning the pages on this book. I’ll keep my highlighter and post-it notes ready!
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are*
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead*
both by Brene Brown
I love Brene Brown. I love the way she talks right to my soul when she gets all “let’s cut the crap” on us and talks about accepting our imperfections and getting out of our own way. Listening to her is like talking with my close friend, who makes you feel amazing, but also isn’t afraid to say it like it is….she happens to be the one who recommended these books to me. In fact, my only complaint with the audio versions is that they weren’t read by the author. Which was a shame. Brene Brown has a style of delivery that is so authentic, and it’s hard to capture that with a narrator. But if you want a taste, check out her TED talks here or here.
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results* by Gary Keller
and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less* by Greg McKeown
Essentialism does not come to me naturally. But I have been learning a bit about this practice from mentors and friends and realizing that I could use a bit more of this. (Or is it a bit less of everything else?) These two books dovetail quite nicely and are great to listen to as you’re cleaning out closets, as I happened to be doing. They also made me realize that I multitask too much. That seems ironic at first, as I was multitasking when I took in the books, but the type of multitasking they talk about isn’t the listening to a book while you mop type. It’s running 4 major projects at once, when in reality, you can only work on one at a time. They will really only be completed one at a time. I’m beginning to realize that when I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, it’s often because I’m constantly shifting gears, bouncing from one project to the next, rather than diving into one with total focus. We’ll see if I can put their words into application!
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics* by Daniel James Brown
I have another friend who tells me I need to step away from my nerdy reads now and then and take in a good story. This story is amazing! And it’s true, which makes it even more amazing! I loved it as an inspiring story on its own merits, but I was particularly attached to this story as it is set in Western Washington, where we have just relocated our family. It was fun to hear references to all these places that are so new to us, and to gain this sense of history about them. This is a book I hope my boys will read when they get older, so we picked it up in a hardback to slide onto one of the shelves in our family library.
Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy* by Donald Miller
I just downloaded this book the other day, so I can’t give an endorsement quite yet, but it is by the author of one of my all time favorite books, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story*, so I have high hopes. This one deals with the topics of authenticity and vulnerability, which are things a close friend and I have been discussing lately (hence the Brene Brown books at her suggestion). Amazon’s description reads, “a book about the risk involved in choosing to impress fewer people and connect with more, about the freedom that comes when we stop acting and start loving.” Doesn’t that just nail it? I’m excited to jump into this one!
Dad Is Fat* by Jim Gaffigan
And for those with a funnybone, this is a great read! The chapters are short and hilarious! I’ve just started, but it’s easy to pick up, read a few pages, and then walk away laughing to yourself. Written by comedian and father of 5, Jim Gaffigan, this book is a great read for parents who have enough perspective to step back and laugh at the hilarity of parenthood! Check out Gaffigan’s standup video below for a taste of what his book holds in store:
What are you reading these days? What books have made a big impression on you lately?
Check out my previous recommendations on my book list!
Ann Ricketts says
Thank you for the Book List! I am also a fan of Brene Brown. Your webpage and hers’ are accessed often!! She has a wonderful Parenting CD and it is in her own voice!
The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion, and Connection Audio CD – Brene Brown
So good to know, Ann! I bet that CD is an outstanding resource! (And I love that you just put my webpage in the same sentence with Brene Brown’s. Made me smile!)
Thanks for sharing! I’m always looking for good books to read. Audible is great and definitely allows me to “read” more books than I otherwise would as well. I tend to gravitate towards non-fiction and am currently reading the Highly Sensitive Child. But over the past two months I’ve also listened to stories such as American Sniper and Unbroken. Loved them both. I even listened to a fiction book–The Lions of Lucerne. It was fun to have something completely just for fun. I’m not sure what to read next. There are a bunch of Alfie Kohn’s books on my list, Glennon Melton’s Carry On Warrior, Emily Post’s Manners for a New World and the original Peter Pan. I’ve never read any of Brene Brown’s books and they’ve been on my list a while as well.
I haven’t read Unbroken yet, but I think I need to! I get the feeling that if you liked that you’ll like Boys in the Boat (and vice versa for me!) I love the original Peter Pan, but I haven’t read it in ages! I need to convince my boys we need it for our read aloud — and then we can move on to the Peter and the Starcatchers series!
One more on my list: You’re Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation by Deborah Tannen. It supposedly explains the mother-daughter dynamic. Definitely information I could use!
That sounds like an awesome read, Tina! Now I need to find the equivalent for mothers and sons!
Erica Layne says
I’ve read more than half of these, which doesn’t happen to me a lot when I read reading lists (and on the rare occasions it does, it makes me feel good! haha). I figure this means you and I have common interests. No surprise there! 🙂
I’ve read quite a bit of fiction lately, in particular Between Me & You as well as Three Wishes. Both made me think, in a good way.
Thanks for this list!
You know what they say about brilliant minds, right Erica? ;0)