recent reads // 03

2015-06-10_0001 Summer is here, which is my favorite season of all to devour good books. I recently discovered how perfect our front porch is for afternoon reads, so I think I'll be spending a loooooot of time out there this summer snuggled up with a good book. Preferably with this in hand, which looks + sounds delicious.

Since I've given up hope of updating my GoodReads account (too many social media accounts, amiright?!) I'm just going to keep posting my recent reads here! Cool? Cool! Here are the books I've read of late. Some fiction, non-fiction, but mostly all super good. It's been a good year for books so far. Hoping that trend continues!

1. The Bonesetter's Daughter: This is not normally something I'd pick up (although I just realized I did put it on my official reading list for 2015) but my mom happened to have a copy when we were in Mexico last month, and I finished the other book I'd brought super quickly so decided to dive in! It was a little slow at first, but I ended up loving it. It's really a story about mothers and daughters, and was beautifully written. It's nice to branch out of your normal genre every now and then, huh? I'd highly recommend this as a good summer read. The story is compelling and pulls you in--once you get through the semi-slow beginning!

2. 1,000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are: Confession: I have put this book into my Goodwill box twice and pulled it back out each time. I started to read it sometime last year and could not get in Ann Voskamp's writing style. I guess it just wasn't the right time for me to read it! I picked it up again last month and really loved it this time around. I've had people tell me they read it all in one sitting, but I am not sure how that's possible. Her writing style is SUPER different and still took a lot of getting used to, so I read this slowly and deliberately took it little by little so I could digest it. Overall, I super loved it. The very last chapter was a total turn-off, though, so fair warning on that. The analogy of making love to God wasn't up my alley and was veryyyyy weird to me, but that's my personal preference. It could be really beautiful to others, who knows. Thankfully the rest of the book was SO good that I just kind of skimmed the last chapter. It did inspire me to start a list of 1,000 gifts of my own -- and the practice is totally changing my heart.

3. The Kitchen house: I added this book to my Amazon wish list because it popped up as one of the "recommended for you" picks after I added another title, but I truthfully didn't even read the description before adding it. Apparently I put a lot of faith in Amazon's recommendations! My sweet bff, who does things like check my Amazon wish list when buying gifts, gifted it to me for Christmas and I just got around to reading it last month. Oh. My. Word. This one of the BEST books I've read in a looooooong time. I cannot recommend it enough. I cried--sobbed--throughout this book. This is one of those stay-up-until-2am-and-your-whole-body-is-tense-as-you-turn-each-page books. It is gritty and parts are very hard to read (it's a story of slavery in the South, told from a slave's perspective) but it's deeply compelling and incredibly good. I heard the best description of it today actually on Jamie Ivey's podcast with Emily Lex -- it's one of those books that "when you close it, you're sad to see the people go." That's totally how I felt, too. As soon as I finished the last page and closed the cover, I was so sad there wasn't more. Add this to your list ASAP, it's amazing.

4. The Golem and the Jinni: This was our book club pick for June and to be honest, I was not excited. This story blends two fairytales, Arabic and Jewish, and is part-fantasy, part historical fiction. Not my usual genre at all (I'm not a huge fantasy fan, besides the obvious Harry Potter) and I was dragging my feet reading it. BUT! I was immediately hooked from the get-go, took it on vacation and finished it in 3 days! It's loooong too, but it just flies. Helene Wecker is a masterful storyteller and the way she weaves characters and plot lines and imagery is amazing. It sounds a little out there, but it's truly a story about relationships and humanity and it's beautiful. I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for something a little different!

5. Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep Everyone seems to have opinions when it comes to parenting books so I'm a little hesitant to even post this, but whatever. I saw that Nancy Ray had it on her reading list and I've always enjoyed books recommendations I get from her blog, and I found a used copy for super cheap at a consignment sale, so decided to read it myself. I don't have a ton to say about it that you can't find online--it's a pretty basic baby book, after all--but I did enjoy it! I had to laugh at some parts that seemed a little outdated, but overall the tips and advice were really helpful to me and totally aligned with what we plan to do with Baby K. There's a million ways to parent  and sleep train and everyone has to find what works for them, but I'm grateful to have read this and to have the knowledge in my back pocket to draw on once our little guy is here!

6. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto: Y'all, this book made me MAD. Not at Michael Pollan at all, but at the food industry in this country and the blatant deception we've all been fed (pun intended.) Whether you're "into" any of the new "diets" -- be it paleo, vegetarian, vegan, GAPS, whole30, whatever, I think this book is valuable. It was super interesting to see how we've gotten to this point, about what the government recommends food wise, and even more interesting (and infuriating) to read that soooooo many of the diseases killing millions of Americans a) don't exist to the same degree elsewhere in the world and b) are totally preventable through better nutrition. I won't lie, I'm always going to enjoy a good McDonald's french fry or Dairy Queen blizzard (or both in the same night) but after reading this I was totally recommitted to investing in the food we eat and choosing quality over quantity. It was also interesting to read about how the quality of our food really does matter. I've always wondered about the organic/free-range/grass-fed/blah blah blah debates and how much it really matters. I don't want to get into a super debate here on the blog, but the bottom line is that I personally believe it does matter and this book does a great job explaining that. It is a super science-y, research-heavy book so it was slowwww going for me to read it. Pollan has sentences that are literally paragraphs using big words I had to sound out in my head (haha) so be prepared for that. But if you're interested in food/nutrition/politics/lobbying/medicine, this is a must-read! I'm excited to read The Omnivore's Dilemma next.

What are you reading lately?! Anything super good I should add to my list? I'm all about a mega list of books for summer. Send your recommendations my way!