4 years ago if you asked me what I was reading, I would've said, "Reading? Who has time for that? I was probably reading "The Happiest Baby on the Block" or "The Sleep Lady" because let's be honest as a first-time and new mom the only thing I cared about was sleep. And I wasn't getting much of it at all.
Fast-forward to life now with an almost two year old and a four year old and I thankfully find myself reading once again! (throw that confetti! - for the record, I run an educational publishing company with the help of an amazing team, so if you're looking for educational or back to school books for teachers - check them out here. )
When I'm not working with authors or teachers, my go-to genre is personal development (aka self-help) and memoirs.
My favorite way to read these days is through Audible. I LOVE me an audiobook. And with my audible membership, I find myself paying $14.95 a month and it's totally worth it because I'm reading at least 1 book every month if not more. As a member you also get exclusive access to audible sales where books will suddenly go on sale for $4.99 and you can opt-in to Audible exclusives and get 2 free books a month. It's a win-win because I'm in the car enough on the way to pick up the kids from preschool or driving myself to the gym that I find listening to books so easy. (Also great for my long walks or runs!) Try Audible and Get 2 Free Audiobooks.
Here's my top 7 books from the last 7 months.
(in no particular order)
1. The Universe has your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
This one I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked it up. It sounded a bit new-agey to me or a bit out there. But I found when I listened to it, it seemed as though everything was meant to be. It's about looking for purpose in your life and living with belief in what is happening. Whether you're going through a difficult or confusing time, or looking for some peace, I really enjoyed this read.
I'll be honest, I was hesitant to pick this one up a year ago when it was such a "fad" to read this book, but it came at the exact right time. I ended up listening to it on a 10 hour road trip while I was traveling for another work event from Colorado to Wyoming while pumping for my 8 month old daughter. Rachel's chapter on being a working mom was everything I needed to hear at that moment. I wrote an excerpt about it on Insta - read here.
The follow-up, Girl, Stop Apologizing took me a couple listens to really feel like it resonated with me. But it's part of the reason I've been motivated to tell my story and write even when others might not understand. I also got to hear Rachel Hollis live in April and loved every second.
3. The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg
Just finished this one last week. Each chapter is filled with anecdotes of ways that habits make us who we are with real-life examples in history whether it's shedding light on Target's marketing team knowing when women are pregnant even before they announce it based on their purchases or why we feel the need to buy a toothpaste that leaves our mouth feeling fresh. It talks about the cycle of habits: triggers, action and reward. 70% of what we do on a daily basis is from habit, not choice - but we can choose to change our habits.
4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This is such a powerful story and brings us back to a time not too long ago in US history about the discrimination many felt and still feel. It's the story of a girl who raised herself, taught herself in the wild and became a recognized botanist without any formal education. It's also the story of her resilience in the world where men can get away with rape and as a woman her voice is harder to made heard. Cry alert, this one brings on the tears, but it's so inspiring - read it!
5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Such an influential book on systematic racism in our society. This book was recommended to me by my niece and I couldn't put it down. It's a tough, gut-wrenching, tearful story of a teenage girl using her most powerful weapon - her voice - to change a community after witnessing not one but two of her best friends killed before her eyes. This is a must-read to challenge your own perspective on gang violence and fighting the system. Definitely read the book before watching the movie.
6. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Born a Crime impacted me so much I had to write a blog about it. Listening to Trevor Noah talk about his childhood in South Africa and his need to survive with an abusive stepdad and broken system is inspiring. His smart wit and storytelling skills shine through in this powerful memoir.
7. Becoming by Michelle Obama
I have always been a Michelle Obama fan and this book helped me love and respect her even more. The best part of the audio version is listening to Michelle tell her story. You end up feeling like you are her best friend as she talks about what it was like to grow up in Chicago, work hard and put herself through law school. I had no idea she was Barack's mentor when he first started working. And to hear this powerhouse woman talk about the difficulty of putting her own career aside for a small time while helping her husband on his campaign path to presidency only to find her own voice and passion come through in so many areas is inspiring.
1. Educated by Tara Westover
2. Good to Great by Jim Collins
3. UnF*ck Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life by Gary John Bishop
4. The Latte Factor: Why you don't have to be rich to live rich by David Bach, John David Mann
5. Grit: The Power of Passion and Endurance by Angela Duckworth