Lately, self-care has been really important to me. I’m usually a big proponent of encouraging women to take care of themselves first so they have the energy and wellness to bring their best selves to the world.
In the last month, I’ve had to work really hard at cutting some things out in order to prioritize taking care of me for a while. Our house hasn’t been the cleanest, our dinners haven’t been the healthiest, and my kids spent far more time watching TV than I’d care to admit, but I recognized that my sanity and mental health were on shaky ground and needed some prioritization.
I’ve gone on a few longer runs, taken several extra bubble baths, done a lot of extra journaling and writing, gone for a haircut and a pedicure, and read a whole lot of books. Books are my escape, especially novels. I’m all for facing our problems and dealing with them, but sometimes when your problems are here to stay, books can give our brains a little extra rest in the middle of our struggles.
And so, I present to you a list of the ten books that I’ve read in the last few months. I’ve started several others, but these are the ones that I actually enjoyed and finished. If you need a little brain escape this weekend, you might consider trying one of these books out. (This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.)
1. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – This is the book that I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning reading. I could not put this book down. It made me cry. It challenged my thinking. And it inspired me to live my best life. I know, that’s a lot for a silly little novel, but this one is really good. And I learned that there is now a sequel that just came out, so I’m adding this to my must read list – After You
2. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin – I guess this kind of book is considered “chicklit” so don’t read this if you’re looking for an inspiring, life-changing read. It also has a pretty scandalous story line so it’s not for everyone. But it was a good book to zone out with for a couple days. It has a very “Sex in the City” appeal.
3. Paper Towns by John Green – If you aren’t familiar with John Green books, this is actually written for a teen audience (although I’m not sure I’d let my teens read them). It is a story about a group of teenagers, so it is filled with teen drama, adventure, and language. It is a pretty good story though and an easy read.
4. The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant – This is a beautiful story of the life of an immigrant woman from the early 1900’s. The woman’s granddaughter asked the question, “How did you get to be the woman you are today?” and the book is essentially her reply. I love stories that transport us back in time and teach us about the history, culture, and lifestyles of long ago.
5. The Red Tent also by Anita Diamant – This is another historical novel going all the way back to the story of Dinah in the Bible. I absolutely loved this book and was fascinated by the explanation of life during the early days of Genesis.
6. Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist – One of the few non-fiction books that I’ve read recently. This is actually a 365 day devotional. However, I read it cover to cover like a regular book, just pausing to think and ponder a bit as I went. This is not an in-depth Bible study type of devotional, but rather a short writing for each day allowing the reader to think, ponder, and savor the quiet and everyday moments of our lives.
7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Another John Green book for teens, but this is the book that made him famous, I believe. This is a really good story, but the topic (teens who have cancer) is sure to elicit many tears from just about every reader.
8. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – I really loved this book. It is an historical novel set in France during World War II. This book gives a glimpse into the often unmentioned women of the war who were left behind at home. It is a story that involves adventure, survival, love, and passion.
9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I feel like I’m really behind and everyone else has already read this book years ago. But if you haven’t, let me just say that you should read it soon. This books is set in Mississippi in 1962 and tells the story of what it was like to be a black maid during that time.
10. Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference by Crystal Paine (to be released in November 2015) – I have received an advanced copy of this book as part of Crystal’s launch team, but you can pre-order it now and get some extra goodies by visiting MoneyMakingMomBook.com. I’m only about halfway into this book, but it is phenomenal. It has lots of good questions and suggestions to help you discover your talents, passions, and brainstorm ways to use them to not only make some extra income for your family, but change the world. I’ll be sharing a full review on this one when I’m finished reading it.