I have always been that person who wants to devour books. You know those people who curl up with a good book for hours and they enjoy it? That was wannabe me. For years and years I always thought I didn’t have as much time to read as I hoped. I read a book every couple months, but I wanted to read more. Well, enter quarantine life that coincided with a month long digital detox of sorts that I recently emerged from (and am still sorting out where to go from here after learning a lot) and I have come to find out I actually have way more time to read than I though. I just have to prioritize it. EARTH SHATTERING, I KNOW.
Things that get in the way of reading for me:
- non urgent life tasks in the evening vs down time
- instagram ….because my brain would rather default to the constant noise of a screen
- a continual productivity mindset where I choose to check off a box instead of take 20-30 minutes of down time during Cal’s afternoon nap (I am laughing as I type this because this “time” won’t exist come July)
- blog reading – I have a few life giving blogs I like to read, which is good, but they do take time away from book reading
I read the book, Digital Minimalism, in a couple days at the beginning of March. The author suggests that you come up with hobbies to fill your down time when you would usually be using technology because if you don’t, the pull to bop back on social media or get online or whatever you do digitally is that much stronger. So, some things I wanted to do more of in my “down time”
- cook (like in a relaxing way, not a rushed, chaotic, toddler-so-adorably-helping-but-also-making-a-massive-mess kind of way)
- learn to use yeast – cinnamon rolls, bread, pizza dough….all the things I feel intimidated by but are so dang tasty
- write letters to friends, you know like actual letters sent to a mailbox
- journal – my last entry was like 4 months ago and before that another 4 months ago
Want to know how many of the above things I’ve done more of? ONE. Read. But I’m calling that a win.
Nick gave me a Kindle for my birthday and it has been the best gift. There is something irreplaceable about turning the pages of a physical book. But also a Kindle, it’s wildly convenient for reading on the go. I’m a fan. Most of what I’m reading lately is on Kindle. I also love getting books from the library (hi, free and the library vibes are too good) when the world isn’t shut down. And some I buy to keep that I think I’ll be referring back to often.
Books I’ve recently read
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport
I checked this out from our library. Read it in a couple of days and it sobered me up in the best way. But it’s a book that’s easy to read and then forget about and not be changed by. I was SO HYPED UP about the concepts right after finishing it, but have found myself having to be pretty intentional about keeping all the info in mind and actually changing habits.
The Call of the Wild + Free by Ainsley Arment
Nick thought I went off the motherhood deep end when I was going on and on to him about what I was learning in this book. I do hang out on the weird fringes sometimes lol. Regardless of how we decide to school our kiddos, this book just made me so excited about raising humans to be curious, lifelong learners who never lose their wonder. I’m into that. It’s $20 for the hardcover, but I bought it on Kindle for only $2.99!
Your Mom Walk with God by Sally Clarkson
This book was free with my free trial of Kindle Unlimited. I would like to be Sally’s mentee in real life. I love her. She speaks/teaches/mentors from a Christian perspective and has been such a breath of fresh air to me as I navigate motherhood as a new mom. I’ve never heard of someone talk about motherhood like she does. I started with The Life Giving Home, then read The Mission of Motherhood and have so many of her books on my want to read list. Her podcast is in my ears at least a few times a week.
The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
I don’t ascribe to any parenting philosophy, it feels better for me/us to read and learn and pull stuff from different people and sources that resonate and sound like they will be a good fit for our family. This book is super practical (vs theory) which I found really helpful and not overwhelming. I can get overwhelmed when learning about Montessori because we live in the age of Pinterest. I liked the simple, budget friendly approach to this book.
Books I’m currently reading
The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos
I want to read more fiction. I mostly read books that provide new knowledge/learning but I think there is so much value in a good novel. Help me out with some of your favorites in the comments! This book was also free with my trial of Kindle Unlimited and I am loving it so far. It’s about a Jewish girl during World War II. If I’m going to read a novel, I like stuff like this. I’ve also heard great things about Lilac Girls and want to read that.
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
I’m re-reading this one after finding it really helpful leading up to Cal’s birth. This book & The Birth Hour podcast are what I found most helpful in preparing for the wild ride of labor & birth.
Book on my list to read
The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
I ordered a used copy from Amazon a few weeks ago, but then got my Kindle so haven’t started this one yet.
The Tech Wise Family by Andy Crouch
I’ve heard this one is pretty good and very practical. And a quick read. I’ll report back.
Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
We started watching this series on Netflix that is based on the book. I am so excited to dig into this once our library opens back up and I can borrow it.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
I’ve heard many people, including Cal’s pediatrician, recommend this so it’s on my list.
Share your favorites (especially novels good for bedtime!) in the comments. And hang in there with this quarantine life, I’m hopeful we will see a positive shift over the next couple months. In the meantime, know I’m right there with you stumbling through these uncertain times.
I loved Montessori Toddler as well! The book How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber (aimed towards toddlers/preschoolers verses the original which is great for older children) is such a good book. My favourite parenting books of all time though are Peaceful Parent Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham and the sequel Peaceful Parent Happy Siblings. They’re so insightful and I go back to them all the time.
I was just going to make pretty much this exact same comment about “How to Talk so Little Kids will Listen” and Peaceful Parent Happy Kids” 🙂 I also love both of Janet Lansbury books! AND Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson! And so many more – I love reading 🙂 And I also find Montessori to be super overwhelming. I tried to get into it early in my motherhood journey and it made me feel like a huge failure. I think I do better with a more intuitive approach to education.
I have to take Montessori with a grain of salt – I like thinking about is as a overarching philosophy (whole person, independence, etc) vs the “work” itself
Robyn I’m so happy you’re back to posting! I love your blog and have often referred to old posts just because they always feel positive. I feel like I get practical ideas for how to improve my quality of life. Congratulations on the new baby and thanks again for coming back to this space!
I just made yeasted bread for the first time. The recipe was from jocooks and was amazing and incredibly easy.
Books recs: The German Midwife, The Marriage Lie, Talking to Strangers, A Spark of Light.
I’m a full time mom and make it a priority to read for a bit during nap/rest time. It is so important that I give myself a break during the day even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes.
For the past year I have been on a huge reading kick!
Some stand outs that I would recommend:
– The Great Alone
– Consider The Fork
– The Way We Eat Now
– City of Girls
– Where The Crawdads Sing
Books that I have on hold at the library:
– Train Happy
– The Queen of Hearts
– What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding
– Where The Forest Meets the Stars
Hi! I love to read and the convenience of the kindle in quarantine rocks. I would highly recommend the Libby app if you have a library card. You can have the books downloaded to your kindle and a loan is 2-3 weeks. Its a life changer in these times and a money saver (it is way better than the Overdrive app that turned me off digital loans from my Library for a long time) plus so many of the books that said they would be on hold for ages (think 6 months) have come up early (less than 4 weeks) because so many people are devouring books!
I could go on and on with books I love but start with Celeste Ngs books for fiction reads.
I LOVE a good book but am having a hard time focusing my brain enough to read in the past month. I’ve gotten a few Kindle books from the library lately but a couple of them were hard to get into, which didn’t help! Can’t wait until libraries are open again but Kindle is great in the meantime.
If you like a good WWII historical fiction, I’d highly recommend:
– The Nightengale
– We Were the Lucky Ones
– The Things We Cannot Say
– All the Light We Cannot See
Kendall Kronenberger says
Hey Robyn! Can you please list some of the blogs you love? Yours is the only one I subscribe to right now but I would love to find more.. thanks!
See my comment reply above!
I’ll echo the comment about ebooks through your library. I much prefer a paper book to an ebook, but with libraries closed right now, I’m happy to get ebooks through my library that I can read on my Kindle app. Most libraries also offer audio books for checkout, along with access to a lot of streaming video content. Happy Reading!
Yes! But Cville library is far more limited than BPL when we lived in Boston – that library was an ebook gold mine and I miss it!!
What blogs do you enjoy reading? I’m looking for some new additions. Thank you!!
I really enjoy Pinch of Yum personal content and the Faux Martha. I also enjoy Kylie’s content on motherhood (Immaeatthat.com) Those are really the small handful I read.
So glad you’re back to posting more frequently! Would you mind sharing what blogs/podcasts you recommend? I’m a huge bookworm and enjoy a good mix of spiritual/learning mixed with some fiction! Definitely recommend:
The Sound of Gravel (a little intense/heavy so maybe not right now, but it was so good)
Small Great Things
The Silent Patient
The Wife Between Us
Theology of Home
My Sisters the Saints
Three to Get Married
Life of Christ
Maybe in a future post! Thanks for this list!
So glad you are back posting again!!! I just got digital minimalism on my kindle, inspired by your post, so I’m looking forward to reading that!
A lot of the books I was going to suggest have been captured already but two I don’t see are: A Man Called Ove, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
I’d love to hear what blogs you enjoy as well❤️
Hillary Gras says
Yes read Eleanor!
Hillary Gras says
Does your library do digital? I’ve been checking out books via Libby at my public library!
Yes! But Cville library is far more limited than BPL when we lived in Boston – that library was an ebook gold mine and I miss it!!
Genevieve Miller says
I can’t wait to read Untamed by Glennon Doyle! Her recent podcast interview with Brené Brown absolutely blew my mind.
Reading is my favorite past time🙌 So agree it’s grounding and nourishing for the soul right now. Love all your recommendations ( I have a five five month old so interested in a lot of the same topics my topics )
I have literally read about three do about three dozen books in quarantine already (addicted and also stressed😂) But some of my favorites recently have Been:
The choice Edith Eger (PLEASE READ!) a memoir like no other (she survived Auschwitz, moved to America and became a trauma specialist)
All that I am by Anna Funder (stunning and important)
The Joy luck Club (Classic!)
Garlic and sapphires by Ruth Reichl (Yum and surprisingly insightful)
Stoner by John Williams (Highly recommend! It’s subtle and unfolds beautifully, also the writing itself is achingly good- I literally marveled at passages and had to re-read them! Stunning)
I could go on and on but I’ll leave it there💛🙏🥰
Sorry for the typos! Phone typing eek🤦♀️
“grounding and nourishing for the soul” love that Emily
Abigail Murrish says
Have you read Call the Midwife? One of my favorites… warm, encouraging, hard and inspiring. Lovely to listen to.
You might enjoy the Lager Queen of Minnesota if you’re looking for a bedtime novel.
I recently finished The Day the World Came To Town… absolutely delightful for these days. I am currently reading Wise Counsel (the letters of John Newton) and looking to start listening to Emma by Jane Austen.
Also, highly recommend stuff about Charlotte Mason if you’re enjoying Sally Clarkson and Montessori. Really beautiful approach to children, education, home life, etc.
The Tech-Wise Family was one of the most influential books in my life the past few years… One of the most underrated Christian writers of our day IMO. His book Culture Making (though too long) is really excellent too and I used that when I led a theology of food, agriculture and eating reading group for my church a few summers ago. If you’re interested in theology of culture/food/creation, highly recommend The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon. The most influential book in my life, period. Capon was my intro to a solid theology of food a few years back, and I discovered your blog a bit later and they’ve been a delightful pairing.
Whew. Books make me ramble. Loved reading your list. Happy reading!
So many people have recommended Call the Midwife so I will have to look into it! I have Charlotte Mason’s books on my list as I’m so excited to read her stuff. You’ve got a treasure of good recommendations Abigail – thank you!
When I retired from teaching, I was determined to read more. I asked around for friends’ suggestions. The best one was any book by Karen Kingsbury. Christian fiction at its finest!
Oh I’ll have to look into her books!
Audiobooks were a game-changer for me last year. I am a lifelong reader, but in my late 20s I realized I wasn’t reading as much as I did/reading wasn’t that first leisure activity that I reached for – I think because of the feelings of non-urgent tasks, a productivity mindset, and social media consumption being in play. That said, I have always been a fervent listener of podcasts and then something just clicked last year – audiobooks. As a librarian, I can say that reading is reading no matter the format, and cognitive skills are exercised on both sides. Like other parts of our individual identities, reading is deeply personal and also vulnerable to other’s criticism and definitions of what reading “is”. There is more than one way to read like print books borrowed from friends, digital audiobooks borrowed from the library, and print books purchased and read over time – read the way that works for you.
I love a good audiobooks Cassidy! I love your words on what reading “is” <3
If you’re looking for good medical books, anything by Atul Gawande! He’s a physician and writer in Boston (at the Brigham I believe?) Personally, my favorites of his are Being Mortal and Better.
Ohhhh I’m totally checking him out. Thank you!
-Crazy Rich Asian series (3 books, fiction, light, easy, fun)
-A Man Called Ove (so heartwarming)
-Call the Midwife (LOVED this series and the TV show as well)
-No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (sweet, light), as well as anything by Alexander McCall Smith
-Strange Situation: A Mother’s Journey into the Science of Attachment
-American Royals (haven’t read yet, looks light and frothy and interesting)
-Shameless, Nadia Bolz-Weber (LOVE, she’s an amazing Christian pastor)
Goodreads will make reading more fun!
Maggie Getz says
Love this, Robyn! I got an iPad as a gift and have finally started reading again! I highly recommend “Bringing Up Boys” by Dr. Dobson if you haven’t read it already. I think you and Nick will both enjoy it.
So happy for you and your sweet family! Sending lots of love and hugs.
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One of my favorite fictions books is redeeming love. It’s a longer books but so worth it! Sally clarkson is the best I have almost all of her books as well.
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So excited for you that you’ve gotten back into reading in your spare time- I’ve always loved reading, but like you get stuck in the social media black hole. Here are some of my top suggestions that I’ve been crazy about lately!
-The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (it’s the prequel to the Hunger Games Trilogy!!!)
-Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows/The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal
-Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
I’ve definitely been on a fiction kick and these books are so wonderful! I hope you are enjoying your reading! 🙂
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I loce this forum! Yeah…this method really help you… try! https://bit.ly/3f2LUZq
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