Could there be a better time of year to dive into a great new book than right now?! Chillier weather means evenings spent indoors with a cup of chai tea (or pinot noir or hot chocolate – let’s be honest, fall beverages dominate.) If you’re on the hunt for something new to dive into, I’ve got you covered with my best book picks of the month. And please leave a comment with whatever you’re reading right now – I’m on the hunt for my next one!
Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience, by Allison Pataki
Wow. I started reading this memoir on last week’s trip to New York and ended up staying up way too late in my hotel room because I couldn’t put it down. Pataki shares the story of her young, healthy 30-year-old husband having an unexpected and rare stroke when she was 5 months pregnant with their first child, and her telling is at once heartbreaking, tragic, raw, and beautiful. It’s a haunting reminder that our lives can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye, and the way we respond is the truest test of our resilience, faith, and love for others.
Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts, by Brené Brown
As the unofficial president of Brené’s fan club, I’ve had the release date of this book on my calendar for months. It’s turning out to be as great as I’d hoped, but to be honest I am crawling my way through this book at a snail’s pace since it’s packed so full of truth, I’m afraid of missing a nugget of wisdom. This book is written for leaders, and Brown defines the term broadly as “anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential.” Hello mothers, teachers, entrepreneurs, and activists! I’ve personally felt challenged to examine the way I lead our team and conduct group discussions and meetings. One of my favorite passages so far talks about the importance of creating psychological safety in any group setting. “Psychological safety makes it possible to give tough feedback and have difficult conversations without the need to tiptoe around the truth.” I’d love to hear if any of y’all have read this one yet!
Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi
I love pretty much anything that Yotam Ottolenghi does – his first book Plenty introduced me to the world of Middle Eastern cooking with bright, bold flavors that I would have never thought to put together, but that make my dishes sing in a whole new way. His newest is basically my dream version: simple dishes with his signature flavors: made in 30 minutes or less, with 10 or fewer ingredients, in a single pot, using pantry staples, or prepared ahead of time. The Cauliflower, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Salad is my new seasonal favorite thing to bring to a dinner party.
I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death, by Maggie O’Farrell
This book left me captivated and stunned. O’Farrell crafts her memoir through the lens of 17 brushes with death she experiences at different points throughout her life. Yes it’s miraculous she survived them all, but the way she relates her experience somehow feels everyday and relatable. Perhaps it’s a reminder to each of us that unknowns and mysteries lie just beneath the surface of our days, and though we may sometimes take this life for granted, every breath we take is actually its own miracle.
The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids, by Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl
Two words: game changer. I absolutely tore through this book, and that’s not typically the descriptor I’d use for most parenting books. 😛 In a nutshell, Denmark has been named “the happiest country in the world,” by multiple research groups year after year. But why? Theories have ranged from attitudes towards healthcare and education to various lifestyle choices, but in this book, Alexander and Sandahl assert that the way Danish kids are raised is the key factor in creating the well-adjusted and happy adults they grow into. The authors (one American, one Danish) explore the Danes’ approach to creative play, empathy, and togetherness (that hygge you know!) and y’all: this is absolutely the way I want to raise my children. I’ve recommended this book to all my friends who have kids – there are so many applicable tips in here. Read it and let me know what you think!