I was trying to think about what ONE book I’d recommend out of all of them, and it’s like being asked to name your favorite child. I love them all differently. I finally decided I had to put them in categories.
This year was one of embracing the abundance of now, while letting go of the clutter of what could have been, and the guilt of what should be. Here are my top life changing books.
The Top Life Changing Books Overall:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing – This was a bestseller this year, and I think it’s because of the unique take on making your space organized and joyful. I was surprised by how much it affected me. The way Mari Kondo approaches clearing out and cleaning up (with joy as the central focus) allowed me to let go of so much. I cleaned out loads and loads from my house, and while I’m not all the way finished, for the first time in my life I see the possiblity of living in a tidy home surrounded only by what I love best. This ties with The ONE Thing for most important book in my life this year.
- The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – I listened to this (twice) as an audiobook. In it you learn the Focusing Question, and why doing less makes more sense. This book came to me recommended by Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, but it applies to more than just business and can help you make more deliberate, intentional choices in your life.
Life Changing in the Parenting Realm:
- The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World – I like the straightforward parenting advice from Amy McCready. You can read more about this book on my post here.
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life – I got to interview one of my favorite parenting mentors, Dr. Laura Markham, when she released this book this year. You can learn about this book and how to help siblings resolve conflicts here.
- How to Take the Grrrr Out of Anger – Find out more about how we’re using this book to tame our anger in this post here.
- The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind – This book takes a look at how we can work with our kids’ developing minds in order to help them handle big emotions, learn better and enjoy being a family.
Changing my Homeschool Life:
Our Homeschooling is becoming more fun, and I think ultimately more successful, with the help of our Homeschool Journals by Sarah Janisse Brown. They give us a framework for learning about what we care most about. We got these in October. The ones we’re currently using:
- For my 10 year old son – Do It Yourself Homeschool Journal: & Eclectic Learning Handbook
- For my 8 year old son – 1st, 2nd & 3rd Grade Fun-Schooling Journal
- For 5 year old daughter – Ages 3 to 7 Fun-Schooling Journal – Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling for New Readers and Non-Readers!
And finally – Life Changing because it makes my life deeper, more interesting and more fun…
The Most Gorgeous and Enthralling Fiction I read This Year:
(I’m likely missing a few adored friends, but these stick out to me when I think back, so they win.)
- FAVORITE Book I Read This Year: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This book is written so beautifully that I would go back and reread paragraphs just to enjoy them again. It goes well with The Nightingale, another bestseller which takes place during WWII. (PS – If you enjoy books about this time period, I highly recommend the non-fiction In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. It’s an eye-opening look at Berlin in 1933. My grandmother came to the US in 1939 as an Austrian refuge. I found the origin of certain phrases she used to say in this book, and it deepened my understanding of how Hitler came to power.)
- Fun Crime Caper/Fanatasy Series: Gentleman Bastard (3 Book Series). These are characters I am surprised to find myself liking, but beware if you are offended by rough language. These books use some of the absolutely most creative cursing I’ve ever read.
- Books You Can’t Put Down: This year I discovered Liane Moriarty (some of her bestselling books include: Big Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret, What Alice Forgot) and Jojo Moyes who wrote Me Before You, One Plus One and many more. Both of these authors I think are called “chick lit” which sounds like chewing gum, and not nearly so good as they are. I’m not sure if others will find a connection between the two, but I found both to write characters who are quickly relate-able, interesting and funny.
Your turn – I’m always looking for my next great book – what have you read and loved recently? Leave a comment with your favorites!