One of the gifts winter gives us is time to do things that we normally wouldn’t carve out when the days are longer and full of sweet sunshine. Lighting fires, making twelve hour stews, writing a letter to a friend that has been on your heart, knitting a scarf for your little one…all of these things lend themselves to rest as they restore us in a slow, but wholesome fashion. I love the feeling I get when opening a book in our comfy bed. I’ll light a candle or diffuse calming oils, get in my stretchiest sweatpants and pull back the covers like I’m unwrapping a new present. This feeling, this excitement, has always allured me. I can remember doing the same sans candle back when I was little and into Harry Potter and Roald Dahl. I would make it a special time when I was about to hunker down and read my book. It made the whole ritual a special one that I looked forward to, something I still find joy doing even as a mother of three.
I get this question from time to time, “How is it, that I get time to read with little ones?” There isn’t a magic trick I can share with you, or a even a simple instruction guide for how to carve out this time I’m afraid. If there is one out there unbeknownst to me, I’d be delighted for you to share it below! I suppose it comes down to making time the old fashioned way and saying “no” to other things that come as a distraction. Television, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, all of these things though wonderful in small doses, take up a lot of time we could pour into other things that feed our soul and quiet our hearts. Reading is one of those things that for me is completely renewing and worth replacing those other admittedly distracting pursuits. I think we are so accustomed to wanting short cuts to everything now days, that we have forgotten to simply take time and go about things we love or want to do without multitasking or needing a way to do it faster. That’s the secret I think, or lack of one. But gosh, why it is so hard? Alas, here is my small but mighty winter library:
- Home Economics: Vintage Advice and Practical Science for the 21st Century by Jennifer McNight Trontz – This guide is a handy one to have in your collection for it’s chalk-full of tips and tricks and everything practical regarding keeping one’s home. It’s not something I’d sit down and pour over for hours or anything, but picking it up now and again has been fun. The section on manners and etiquette is well, interesting to say that least, but the pages on gardening and crafts and the simple science of home keeping contains some really valuable and entertaining material. It’s clever and well put together, a little gem I’ll be referring to for a long long time I presume.
- With Bold Knife & Fork by M.F.K. Fisher – This witty little book is one of my all-time favorites, one I revisit every so often for inspiration and when craving simple recipes if feeling overwhelmed in the kitchen. Fisher writes about food in a beautiful, uncomplicated way that ultimately guides you down a path towards finding joy in life. I wish I could sit down with her over some coffee cake and just chat for hours. She seems like such a wonderful person. I adore the way she writes and approaches cooking…it reminds me of Midwest in so many ways. Fisher goes into little anecdotes about her childhood and announces simple truths throughout the chapters that are just so refreshing. You’ll love it.
- Felicity: Poems by Mary Oliver – Oh this book. This sweet, soulful book. It’s a breath of fresh air and really something special, one I have been journaling in and underlining and doodling all over the margins. It’s a beautiful collection about love and spiritual renewal, something I really wasn’t expecting from Oliver but adore. It coveys the same tone she has been using for decades, one that I am familiar with when reading her poetry, but she dances into new territory in a surprising way has ultimately left me feeling really uplifted and inspired each time I read. I haven’t gotten through the whole thing as I am savoring this one. And can we talk about the colors on the book cover? Gooorgeous.
- Good News for Weary Woman: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps, and Bad Advice by Elyse Fitzpatrick – I am currently reading this with my bible study mamas and am a few chapters in. Every ten weeks or so we choose a different study to follow and this season we landed on this book. To be honest, I am not sure how I feel about it yet. The title alone sounded refreshing but I am wrestling with some of the themes Fitzpatrick has highlighted here. That being said, I love books that challenge my way of thinking and give me pause to stir a bit. If anything, this book has gotten some really good conversations going in our group and has lead to some wonderful journaling experiences for me personally, even if I do think the author is a bit bold in some of her accusations.
What books do you have stacked on your nightstand or shoved in your purse? I’m needing recommendations for spring!
For the curious, here is my autumn library.