On My Bookshelf

April 2016 Must Read List

My 2015 New Year’s Resolution was to read more fiction books. Prior to that, I had been reading nothing but non-fiction parenting and other such books, and really wanted to start reading for pleasure again. And unlike 99% of my other resolutions that I make each year, I actually kept this one. Since January, 2015, I have read at least 4 books each month. And I don’t have any plans to stop. But I do want to expand from here, and challenge myself to read a wider variety of books. Fiction, non-fiction, personal development, and more.

So I am interested in your reading habits!

Are you intentional in the way you choose books to read, or do you pick up whatever looks good at the moment? If you start a book that you don’t love, do you push through to the end, or do you give yourself permission to not finish? Do you try to mix up the genres of books that you read? Do you match the type or style of book to the time you will be reading it?

This is what is On My Bookshelf for April:

Pretty Girls  |  Three sisters. One disappeared over 20 years ago, and the other two haven’t spoken since. But after one sister’s husband is murdered, they come together to try to figure out how this could be related to what happened to their sister so long ago. I seriously could not put this book down. Every time I thought I had it all figured out, the author threw another sick twist in the mix. My main complaint about the book was that it was just far too graphic and violent for my liking!

Outliers  |  What makes the high achievers different from everyone else? This book examines the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful and attempts to understand what sets them apart. His conclusion? “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.” 

The Kinfolk Home  |  Utilizing the same beautiful aesthetic of Kinfolk magazine, this book takes a look inside 35 homes around the world. If you like minimalist decor, muted color palates, and lots of white and natural wood, you will love this book. I especially appreciate the section on living with kids, by Margaret Everton. “What may seem to be wild cohabitation to the uninitiated onlooker is actually a home that’s evolved past the need for perfection; one that revolves around creative living and growing. Relics of experiences and projects fill every corner: That pile of wooden safari animals symbolizes a dangerous adventure, and the books tossed on the disheveled bed are remnants of a reading party.”

The Expatriates  |  Three American expats living in Hong Kong, whose lives become intertwined after a tragic loss. My favorite part of the book was the few paragraphs about Gerry, from the US Embassy in Seoul, because it hit so close to home! “Gerry’s apartment was one of four in a two-story house, and spacious. But when you stepped inside, it was like stepping back into America. Everything was from the United States, courtesy of the State Department courier, which shipped things for free regardless of size or weight. Whereas most people who lived overseas had local brand strollers or televisions, Gerry had everything straight from Amazon. It was the oddest experience, having dinner in a house in Seoul, and being served Crystal Light and Duncan Hines chocolate cake, as if they were sitting in Atlanta, two miles from Target.” 


How to Raise an Adult  |  My new favorite parenting book, and a must read for anyone who has children, or will someday have children! I usually find a few takeaways from each book I read, but this is just so right on that I found myself taking notes and writing down passages from every single section. Just a few of my favorite parts:

  • “Not only does overparenting hurt our children; it harms us, too. Parents today are scared, not to mention exhausted, anxious and depressed.”
  • “Believe it or not your kid will be eighteen one day, and although you adore them and love doing for them, you don’t want to keep them dependent upon you until they turn eighteen and then dump them out into the real world cold-turkey and wave goodbye; we’re supposed to raise them-to parent them-in a manner that inculates in them a sense of how to be adult in the world, in age-appropriate ways, beginning in early childhood.”
  • “Not only are we measuring our worth by our children’s accomplishments, but we’ve set the bar for achievement so high that it requires our constant and intense involvement.”
  • “An overscheduled, checklisted childhood doesn’t afford time or opportunity for real free play; instead play is planned and organized by parents for a future date when both parents and children are available, and parents accompany the play, often generating ideas for play and watching out for those just in case moments when the children aren’t getting along…but even if we must create and protect the time parameters for play, we really need to get out of kids’ way as they play. Play is the first real developmental ‘work’ children are supposed to do.”
  • “Discover your passion and purpose, and chart your path accordingly. If you’re overfocused on your kid, you’re quite likely underfocusing on your own passion. Despite what you may think, your kid is not your passion. If you treat them as if they are, you’re placing them in the very untenable and unhealthy role of trying to bring fulfillment to your life. Support your kid’s interests, yes. Be proud—very proud—of them. But find your own passion and purpose. For your kid’s sake and your own, you must.”
  • “When children aren’t given the space to struggle through things on their own, they don’t learn to problem solve very well. They don’t learn to be confident in their own abilities, and it can affect their self-esteem. The other problem with never having to struggle is that you never experience failure and can develop an overwhelming fear of failure and of disappointing others. Both the low self-confidence and the fear of failure can lead to depression or anxiety.”
  • “There are parents everywhere who, like you and me, feel it’s time to say enough is enough. Right now we may be in the minority. But we need to stop going along with a manner or raising kids that we know is wrong; we need to summon the courage to do things differently. Banding together will help us find the courage to do what our gut tells us is right, and be the parents we want to be.”

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