1) Marriage Rules by Harriet Lerner This is an easy read, easy format book by a clinical psychologist. You could read this book in a day but I don’t recommend it. Scott and I try to read a couple chapters and then stop (even though I always want to race to the end) The rules are simple and anything from avoding criticism, challenging gender traditions, how to connect more, listen better and how to forget about normal sex. They are simple but profound statements. However I really do reject her #56 so if you read the book, just remember to take that one with a grain of salt.
2) *Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton THIS BOOK. If you READ anything from ANY books READ THIS BOOK!!!! Her writing is so authentic, sincere and tender. It is brave and unapologetic and delightfully irreverent. Her ministry to women is truly unlike any other I’ve seen. I continue to re-read her memories and her unabashed stories of recovery, addiction and faith. AND she is witty and hilarious. I have had everyone I know read this book. How can you not love this woman?! She is friends with Brene Brown, Donald Miller and Shauna Niquest for crying out loud! Every Christmas all her bloggers find a way to help families and single mothers in desperate need of hope and encouragement. If I can be half as brave as this woman someday I will be floored.
3) Yes Please by Amy Poehler What can I say except who doesn’t love Amy Poehler and her empowerment to women? Also if you are about to move into mourning since we are in the LAST season of Parks and Recreation read this book. However be aware that while this book is funny, it is also sincere and tender. It caught me off guard because I was still expecting a constant laugh at every line like in Jim Gaffagan’s book or Mindy Kaling’s book. She has some honest moments and even some life lessons in her book. It’s also funny. There are few lines I felt were possibly making light of something that is too serious but then again my tenderness and profession causes me to feel this way. I didn’t even read her chapter on her drug use because I’ve worked with too many clients who have struggled and can’t find it super humorous.
4) The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin I really liked this book. This is going to sound weird but I read it before bed every night and it was a great way for me to calm down before sleep. Sometimes I get too lost in psychology and theory that I forget to read something a bit more light. She had a ton of great suggestions on how to create more happiness in your life. Each month she had new goals for herself, thinking such as cleaning out your closet, starting a book club, or time management. Some of it was a bit too “fake it till you make it” cheese for me but then again I appreciated her optimistic attitude.
5) One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp Ann Voskamp is prolific writer and a tender soul. She talks about radical gratitude and her faith journey. I’ve been working on gratitude in my own life via a gratitude journal. Scott and I have also started listing off things are we thankful for each day before we go to sleep. However I should note her writing style takes some getting used to. It is almost like she is writing poetry. She tends to remove a lot of prepositions and articles and sometimes I can’t follow her. Truth be told, I like to read really fast and I can’t read fast with Ann. You have to kind of let the words "soak you" before you can move on. I’m pretty excited about reading her “The Greatest Gift” advent book next.
6) Found Art by Leeana Tankersley This is a memoir of the year Leeana lived in the Middle East with her husband during the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. She tells of the unexpected beauty and art she collided with upon her adventures in the Middle East. I liked this book because it was good to think about where I can find beauty, hope and art in my own life in strange or foreign places. It made me want to travel more that’s for sure.
7) Seriously I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres It’s just so funny!!! You will laugh out out loud. I especially like that she has a chapter called "The Secret of Life". It only include one word. Go read it for yourself.
8) Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffagan So hilarious!!! I admire his humor his humor as he talks about what it's like to be a dad for 5 young children and live in a two-bedroom apartment in New York City. His floor plan graphics are especially amusing in his chapter "How to Put Five Kids to Bed in a Two-Bedroom Apartment" In the drawings, the baby is moved to four different beds I think and also looks like a beetle.
9) Wonder by R.J. Palacio My mother-in-law gave me this book. I immediately fell in love with this novel about a boy named August who was born with a facial deformity that has prevented him from going to mainstream school. The book journeys his first year in school as a fifth grader. The author does a great job of writing from the perspective of a 5th grader, his friends, his sister and his parents. It is a sweet, tender book with great character development. I recommend this book if you are traveling and need a plane companion or want something to read on vacation that is meaningful but not overly “heavy.”
10) The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks Well I wanted to make 10 on this list. I can’t say I HIGHLY recommend this book, however I have read and enjoyed a couple of Sparks books this past year. There is something so endearing about the predictable southern setting, the crazy thunderstorms, and the quaint towns.
*Indicates my favorite
*Indicates my favorite