Despite the fact that I set a goal to read “fewer books, with more intention”, I managed to read a ton these past few weeks. Although to be fair, I believe a couple of these were titles I simply forgot to list last time.
How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are – Longtime readers know I have a fascination with French women and culture, so I read anything I can find on the topic. I was expecting something a bit more solid with this book, but it was pure fluff. Fun but no substance, and really stupid in places to boot.
The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry – I enjoyed this collection of essays by the esteemed author. As a person he fascinates me, and I appreciate his thoughts on what’s wrong with our modern American society (we’re too disconnected from the land, and from real work and each other). The book left me feeling a teensy bit depressed. (And I tried to read Hannah Coulter, and abandoned it. It was good but just didn’t grab me.)
Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse – I love (LOVE) the PBS show Call the Midwife. Based on mid-century midwife Jennifer Worth’s memoirs, it’s literally the only television show I’ve watched since House went off the air several years ago. I’ve been meaning to read these books for a long time, and when I spotted this at my library I snatched it up. A note for sensitive readers: Worth holds nothing back when she describes the poverty that existed at that time and place. Sections of it were hard to get through, but I’m glad I read it. It’s important to remember how vastly life has changed (and how completely spoiled we all are) in one generation’s time.
Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest For Nutritional Perfection – by Catherine Price – The subject of nutrition and natural health (and the contradictions therein) is one that has interested me for 25 years. This book takes a fascinating and fun look at America’s obsession with supplements. I’ll admit that after a closer look, I have changed my thoughts on regulation of nutritional supplements. When I buy aspirin at the drugstore, it has to be aspirin, but when I buy herbs or vitamins, the manufacturers can put anything (ground seal penis anyone? for reals) and everything in those capsules and get away with it.
The Skinny Gut Diet: Balance Your Digestive System for Permanent Weight Loss by Brenda Watson – Books about diets are legion, but this one has an interesting take on the problem of overweight: it’s not how much you’re eating or exercising so much as it’s about your gut microbiome not being optimal. Based on the research coming out in recent years about the importance of healthy gut microflora, this book prescribes probiotics, fermented foods, fiber and moderate carbs. It got me buying kimchi and Bubbie’s sauerkraut and pickles again. (I used to make my own fermented foods, but I haven’t made the time lately.)
Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain by Pete Egoscue – my chiropractor recommended this book. As I read it, I thought, “I know all this stuff already, it sounds just like what Katy Bowman says”. A great book that explains how our modern lifestyle (couches, too much sitting, positive-heeled, pinchy shoes) causes dis-ease, it’s filled with easy stretches/exercises to help put the body back into alignment, correct asymmetry and ease pain.
The Legacy Journey: A Radical View of Biblical Wealth and Generosity by Dave Ramsey – A book about the Bible’s view of wealth? Pretty scary ground to tackle! I was prepared to disagree with much that was written in this book, but being a huge fan of Dave, I decided to take it on. Surprisingly, I agreed with nearly every word.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – I’m probably the last person in America to discover that Unbroken was a true story. This book was riveting. In fact I picked it up from the library in the afternoon and had it finished by nightfall. Unputdownable. I accidentally picked up the young adult version, this contributed to the speed, but not by much. I’m glad I read it before seeing the movie.
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives – ah, the long-awaited new book by Gretchen Rubin, one of my favorite authors, and to boot, she’s talking about one of my favorite topics – habits! This was a fantastic read. I took notes, and plan on re-reading it to absorb more of its goodness. Right now with a newbornish baby, it’s hard for me to work on my habits much, but in upcoming months when my routine returns to normal, I’ll be putting more of her advice into practice.
Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement by Katy Bowman (is there an echo in here?!) – I’m a huge fan of Katy’s work. Her books and blog are excellent, and I interviewed her here for my podcast when it was still running. I think of her almost every day when I go out walking barefoot, intentionally seek out opportunities for “texture vitamins” for my feet, shop for shoes, hang from things, or sit on my floor. You’d have to be a Katy superfan to understand! Anyone with a human body should read Katy’s work.
Read any good books lately?