You might have seen the list of 26 Books to Read in 2015 – I filled mine out in January – but I wanted to also share some of the books I’ve been loving lately, in case you’re looking for something but don’t want to get overwhelmed by 26 books. Here’s a list of five books to read this winter, whether you’re a new mom, a seasoned parent, looking for a laugh, or just having a hard day.
A Book for a New Mom – Admittedly, I’m 34 weeks pregnant so I’ve got babies on the brain. But whether you are a new mom or you’re just looking for a gift for one, I really enjoyed the book, On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo. My sister-in-law recommended this when we were pregnant with our oldest, and I’ve re-read it each pregnancy. There are a lot of things in the book that I ignored, honestly, but easily the most valuable advice is establishing a rhythm with a newborn. Rather than allowing a child to fall asleep while nursing/eating, the book recommends feeding them, keeping them awake for a little bit, then laying them down in their crib or bassinet for their nap. Fair warning: People either love or hate this book. For us though, it worked wonders: Even though Elise was a preemie, she still slept through the night by 12 weeks; Noelle was sleeping through the night by 8 weeks. Again, for as many people who love this book, there are those who hate it – and I get the pros and cons, really, but for me all I could think was SLEEP! Sweet Lord, please let my child sleep so I function!
A Parenting Book I Actually Want to Read — The Love Dare for Parents by Stephen Kendrick. I’ll be honest by admitting that I’m often intimidated by parenting books. I don’t want to feel like I’m doing everything wrong, so I sometimes stick my head in the proverbial sand by avoiding them altogether. However, Tim and I did The Love Dare several years ago and really enjoyed the daily challenges, so I’m looking forward to reading the parenting version of the book. 40 days to helping me “daily demonstrate love…and keep (our) relationships respectful and close long-term”? Awesome. I know my girls are still young, but when we did our Advent calendar this year, they looked forward to it every single day. How much more will they like me going out of my way to express my love for them over a 40-day time period?
A Book for When Life Just Feels Hard — Breathing Room: Letting Go So You Can Fully Live by Leeana Tankersley. I just started reading this book and I love it so far. Leeana spoke at the Allume Conference last fall, and I found myself fighting tears as I heard her story about children and miscarriages and living in the Middle East with her Navy Seal husband, with all of the in-betweens and ups-and-downs. Her language is so lovely — like how she talks about how she felt following the birth of her twins:
“We all became wet ink. Our colors running into each other. I had no idea where I stopped and they started. Where they stopped and I started again. I felt as though we were artwork on a page that had been dunked in ice water–shockingly and abruptly cold–and our distinctions bled. Which is to say, I felt I had lost myself. How disillusioning to be struggling when things were so perfect.”
I love her message, especially for women who are moms or wives and feel like they are just surviving, desperately in need of some breathing room, a bit of grace — and I’m excited to finish it.
A Book for a Day When You’re in Need of a Good Laugh: A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by Sophie Hudson. I’ve heard Sophie Hudson speak before, and I love her sense of humor. I also adore her insight into Southern living, something I know very little about. I’ve read an excerpt of this book, but I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing. Ann Voskamp has referred to her as “Jerry Seinfeld in a skirt and a huge heart for Jesus,” if that gives you an idea of what you might expect. She also just released another book that looks good and is on my list, Home Is Where My People Are.
A Devotional I Keep Returning To: The Uncommon Woman by Susie Larson. I’ve read plenty of devotionals over the years, but I’ve returned to this time and again. In part, I love to reread all the prayer requests I’ve scribbled in the margins, battles and worries long past, victories remembered. But I also need the reminder that even my ordinary life can be extraordinary.
What’s on your reading list right now? I’m always on the lookout for a new book, so I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!