Don’t you sometimes wish someone would pick out your next book?
I frequently think that when I’m standing in the library or bookstore and completely overwhelmed by the options.
Whether you’re looking for things to read on your own this year or trying to pick titles for your bookclub, these books are perfect for reading each month in 2016.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam
What could be a better way to start out the year than this book? You may want to roll your eyes and think, “Another time management book. . . ” but this is the best thing I’ve read on the topic – it made me feel so empowered to fit the things I love into my life, get more sleep, and strengthen my family relationships. Seriously, read it.
A Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub
With New Year resolutions still in full force and lots of people giving up sugar, this is a fascinating look at what a whole year of zero sugar would look like. Eve O. Schaub, her husband, and their two daughter give up all sugar – honey, cane syrup, sugar, all of it – for a full year, and it’s so interesting to see how much a part sugar really is in daily life. You might not want to give sugar up yourself, but you’ll probably find it fascinating to see what it takes to avoid all sugar, all the time.
I think everyone has their parenting role models, and this is the book that one of the mothers I look up to most in the world recommended to me. She said it changed her and her husband’s entire way of parenting, and that was enough for me to want to pick it up immediately.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Spring break time means it’s time to enjoy a book that’s just pure fun. This best seller is full of science, but even a totally non-science person will completely love it. It’s the story of a US astronaut who is accidentally left behind on Mars by his crew when they think he’s dead. But he’s very much alive and now he has to fight to stay that way until he can somehow get rescued. When you’re finished, check out the really fantastic movie version starring Matt Damon.
It’s the end of the school year, and everyone is just trying to make it to the finish line. I love Jen Hatmaker because she’s full of real talk and you’ll laugh out loud on nearly every page. It made me want to be a better wife and mother and, more importantly, a better all-around person. Plus, I sped through it in about a day.
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden.
Summer blockbusters are hitting the big screen, but this book is the story of the making of one of those cult classics, The Princess Bride. It’s written by Cary Elwes, who plays Wesley, and it’s just so delightful and fun. If you can get your hands on the audio version, I highly recommend it since it is narrated by Elwes plus most of the cast of the movie. And then you’d better have a movie night and watch it as a family.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Everybody needs a good summer beach read, and this is one of my very favorites. Lincoln works the night shift at a newspaper, monitoring the company email. Journalists Beth and Jennifer email back and forth like crazy, and their emails keep getting flagged. But after an email or two, Lincoln finds he quite likes these women and their amusing emails and doesn’t have the heart to send them a reprimand. Instead, he just keeps quietly reading their missives, day after day and eventually finds himself falling for Beth. Is there any way to TELL Beth he’s read hundreds of her most personal emails without scaring her off? The fact that he doesn’t even know who she is also might be a stumbling block.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
I know this sounds like the most depressing (or dull) book in the universe, but I couldn’t stop thinking about and it made our cross-country road trip last summer fly by as I listened to it. Atul Gawande is a Boston surgeon and has written several different books about various aspects of medicine, but I think this one is the best.
The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley
With kids going back to school, this is the perfect pick about education in different countries around the world. Ripley focuses on three countries with top test scores (South Korea, Finland, and Poland) and follows different students there and compares their educational methods and strategies to those in the USA. I especially love that the end of the book talks about how to get a world-class education for your child no matter where you live.
Upstairs at the White House: My Life With the First Ladies by J. B. West and Mary Lynn Kotz
I always love some good historical non-fiction and this one I found fascinating, written by the Chief Usher who worked there for six presidents (FDR through LBJ). It’s full of interesting (though not salacious) details and stories that I’d never heard and it made me want to go read a thousand more books about the U.S. presidents.
If you’re looking for new opportunities in the new year, this is a great book to read as the end of the year approaches and before the holidays get too crazy. Early chapters focus on figuring out what your dreams and passions are and then move into specific and detailed ways to deal with the issues of self-employment or side passion projects. Each chapter concludes with a list of action items, a time period for doing them and which order to do them in. It’s useful, to the point, and definitely worth reading.
A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny’s Story by Brenda Ashford
Brenda Ashford is as close to a real-life Mary Poppins as you can get. She was the longest-serving nanny (62 years!) in England and took care of over a hundred little ones in the course of her career. It’s especially fun to see the change in child-rearing beliefs and practices over her tenure in various nurseries. Be warned that it will make you wish for a night nanny!
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