Last week, I shared how I’m using this time at home to embrace a slower pace, savoring the chance to go for long walks, cook with my kids, and just be instead of always having to be somewhere.
One of my greatest allies in this journey? Books. Unlike other reading material (articles, websites, social media), books require us to settle in and take our time – to commit to spending a few hours being completely unproductive in the name of enjoyment (and okay, sometimes learning.)
I’m a proponent of reading whatever books personally speak to you — if you’re feeling a novel, then by no means feel as though you “should” be reading a personal development book. Or if, say, you really just feel like curling up with a new cookbook and reading the recipes, then go for it (my personal favorite – I know, I’m weird.) And if you get a few chapters in and find that you’re not loving it? Then by all means, ditch it and move onto the next. Life’s too short to read mediocre books!
I’ve been reading a ton these past few weeks, so this list is made up of books that I have not ditched, loved until the very end, and been dying to share with you guys. Scroll on for the 7 books on my spring reading list.
There I Am: The Journey From Hopelessness to Healing, by Ruthie Lindsey
Y’all have likely seen me talking about this one on my Stories; it is truly one of my favorite reads of the year. Ruthie is a gifted storyteller, and combined with the fact that she’s already lived an incredible story, you’ve got the makings for an un-put-downable read that is perfect for right now. It’s both heartbreaking and joy-filled. You must read this book.
Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving, by Celeste Headlee
This quarantine has resulted in two main reactions from most of my friends. There are those who feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do every day between homeschool, WFH, cleaning, etc. Then there are those who are diving into the opportunity to do less than they ever have before, embracing a clear calendar and all this time at home. Much of it is based on our personal circumstances, but whichever camp you fall into, Do Nothing is an excellent read as so many of us grapple with the desire to make the most of this time, keep growing as individuals, and carry these lessons with us into post-quarantine life.
What’s Gaby Cooking: Eat What You Want, by Gaby Dalkin
I love everything Gaby does, and her latest cookbook is no exception. Chock-full of simple and delicious recipes inspired by her easygoing California style, it’s one of those cookbooks that has me earmarking every single page. I’ve been making the “LA Chop Salad” on repeat for lunch lately, and the Garlic Kale Pizza is another one that’s been in rotation. Next up? The Mini Bananas Foster with Mascarpone Whipped Cream that I’ve had my eye on…
The name says it all: you will want to eat everything in this book.
How Not to Diet, by Michael Greger
Anyone else love reading all the latest nutritional research, but then get confused by conflicting data and don’t know whether to go vegan or keto? It can be frustrating and overwhelming, and it’s often hard to know which studies to believe. So when I picked up Michael Greger’s latest book, How Not to Diet, and read about his unbiased scientific approach, I was intrigued. The book identifies twenty-one weight-loss accelerators available to our bodies, incorporating the latest discoveries in cutting-edge areas like chronobiology to reveal the factors that maximize our natural fat-burning capabilities. As the title suggests, it’s not a diet — it’s about understanding what it truly means to live a healthy lifestyle.
Love is Served: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes from Southern California, by Seizan Dreux Ellis
If you’ve ever eaten at a truly hip vegan restaurant, chances are, it took some inspiration from Café Gratitude, the OG plant-based California café. I often stop in for brunch when I’m in LA for work, and I’ve always loved the zen’d out, joyful vibe as much as the abundant, healthy food. I’m very excited to have gotten my hands on their new cookbook, full of that same simple ethos: “that joy derives from loving and being grateful for food, health, and good company.” I’ve been making their famous vegan chocolate chip walnut cookies, and the Barbecue Tempeh Scramble with Vegetables and Shiitakes is on the menu for next week. It’s inspiring, heartwarming, and the perfect way to experiment with plant-based cooking right now.
Searching for Sylvie Lee, by Jean Kwok
You may have noticed that I don’t read a ton of novels, but sometimes, a gripping mystery is just what’s needed. This is a perfect, suspenseful read for when you need to crawl under the covers and get lost in a great story. At times, I found the romance parts a tad cheesy, but overall, it’s a beautifully written narrative that makes masterful use of language to portray the experience of an immigrant family and some dark secrets held by its members.
The Power of Showing Up: How Parental Presence Shapes Who Our Kids Become and How Their Brains Get Wired, by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
It occurred to me the other day that I’ve never spent as much focused time with my kids as I have during this quarantine. No babysitters and no school — just our family at home — and it’s been more wonderful than I could have imagined. I’ve been trying to use this time to become a more intentional parent: to really listen and be responsive to what my kids are telling me (both verbally and non-verbally), and to be aware of them in a way that’s difficult when we’re in the usual rush of everyday life. The Power of Showing Up has been the perfect companion on this journey. By the authors of The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline (two others that I loved), it’s based on the premise that one of the best scientific predictors for how any child turns out—in terms of happiness, academic success, leadership skills, and meaningful relationships—is whether at least one adult in their life has consistently shown up for them. Then they show us in doable, non-stressful ways how to make that happen in our own families.