Winter is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. You may have a stack of books sitting on your nightstand or piled up on your eReader waiting for you to get to them. Now is the time to schedule reading into your day. Many parents try reading before bed. However, if you are anything like Mr. Tankersley and I, we are usually too worn out from the day to get very far. Find what works for you. An eReader is a great choice for portability. Take it with you to work and read on your lunch break. Audiobooks have become my favorite choice. I download them from the library right onto my computer and/or iPhone. While I create new lists or drive to pick up my children from play practice, I listen to a book. My family has developed a practice of getting ready for bed at 8 pm. Then Mom or Dad takes a turn reading aloud. We’ve ready The Swiss Family Robinson, Watership Down (twice), Indian in the Cupboard, Tom Sawyer, A Wrinkle in Time, and many more. At 8:30, we all part to do our own reading for 30 minutes. Even with 30 minutes a day, you’ll be surprised at how far you can get through a good book. Here is a recent list of books that I have added to my reading to do list.
The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea It is 1889, and civil war is brewing in Mexico. A 16-year-old girl, Teresita, illegitimate but beloved daughter of the wealthy and powerful rancher Don Tomas Urrea, wakes from the strangest dream–a dream that she has died. Only it was not a dream. This passionate and rebellious young woman has arisen from death with a power to heal–but it will take all her faith to endure the trials that await her and her family now that she has become the Saint of Cabora.
The Imperfectionists: A Novel by Tom Rachman Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, Tom Rachman’s wry, vibrant debut follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English language newspaper as they struggle to keep it-and themselves-afloat.
Reading Women: How the Great Books of Feminism Changed My Life by Stephanie Staal When Stephanie Staal first read The Feminine Mystique in college, she found it “a mildly interesting relic from another era.” But more than a decade later, as a married stay-at-home mom in the suburbs, Staal rediscovered Betty Friedan’s classic work—and was surprised how much she identified with the laments and misgivings of 1950s housewives. She set out on a quest: to reenroll at Barnard and re-read the great books she had first encountered as an undergrad.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novelby Helen Simonson In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson’s wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more.
Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendshipby Gail Caldwell They met over their dogs. Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp (author of Drinking: A Love Story) became best friends, talking about everything from their love of books and their shared history of a struggle with alcohol to their relationships with men. Walking the woods of New England and rowing on the Charles River, these two private, self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either of them could ever have foreseen. Then, several years into this remarkable connection, Knapp was diagnosed with cancer.
Wench: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez Situated in Ohio, a free territory before the Civil War, Tawawa House is an idyllic retreat for Southern white men who vacation there every summer with their enslaved black mistresses. It’s their open secret. Lizzie, Reenie, and Sweet are regulars at the resort, building strong friendships over the years. But when Mawu, as fearless as she is assured, comes along and starts talking of running away, things change. To run is to leave everything behind, and for some it also means escaping from the emotional and psychological bonds that bind them to their masters. When a fire on the resort sets off a string of tragedies, the women of Tawawa House soon learn that triumph and dehumanization are inseparable and that love exists even in the most inhuman, brutal of circumstances— all while they bear witness to the end of an era.
The Good Earthby Pearl S. Buck In 1931, John Day published Pearl’s second novel, The Good Earth. This became the bestselling book of both 1931 and 1932, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells Medal in 1935, and would be adapted as a major MGM film in 1937. A poignant tale about the life and labors of a Chinese farmer during the sweeping reign of the country’s last emperor.
Girl in Translation: A Novelby Jean Kwok When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but also herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.
A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Womanby Lisa Shannon Lisa created a foundation called Run for Congo Women, with the goal to raise money to sponsor 30 Congolese women. What started as a solo 30-mile run has now grown into a national organization in connection with Women for Women International. Run for Congo Women holds fundraising runs in four countries and ten states, and continues to raise money and awareness. In A Thousand Sisters, Lisa shares firsthand accounts of her experiences visiting the Congo, the women she’s helped, and the relationships she’s formed.
Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin Weaving together memories, recipes, and wild tales of years spent in the kitchen, Home Cooking is Laurie Colwin’s manifesto on the joys of sharing food and entertaining. From the humble hotplate of her one-room apartment to the crowded kitchens of bustling parties, Colwin regales us with tales of meals gone both magnificently well and disastrously wrong.