Welcome to our series Charleston Moms FAVORITES! Our team is excited to share some of the things that are making us happy and helping us get through the dog days of motherhood.
I love to read. I’ve loved books since I was a baby. Instead of a security blanket, I carried around a security board book. In elementary school Thursdays were my favorite: Library Day! Other kids lived for Gym Tuesdays or Music Wednesdays but the promise of checking out the next The Babysitters Club paperback or Where The Sidewalk Ends for the tenth time made Library Thursdays the best for this 80s kid.
Now that I’m 40, my love for reading is as strong as it ever was. The actual act of reading tends to be more infrequent, though. My Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf overflows with hundreds of books I hope to devour one day. However, finding the time and the quiet to read is a struggle amidst the chaos of parenthood and the responsibilities of proper #adulting.
My girlfriends and I meet for a monthly book club that has been going strong for nearly fifteen years. Although our discussions often veer away from literature, it just feels good to be surrounded by other women who find joy in reading. Being in a book club has an added bonus: it makes me accountable for finishing a book at least once a month and gives me a good excuse to take some “me time” in which to accomplish this task. Luckily the task of finishing a book doesn’t feel like one at all but more of a well-deserved and relaxing getaway from everyday life.
I encourage you to take your hard-earned escape from work, household chores, or mommying and check out some of the books I’ve enjoyed lately. These books aren’t brand new so you should be able to find them without a waitlist on Libby or Hoopla (ebook and audiobook versions) or a hard copy at your county library. Think about joining a book club for a monthly dose of lively conversation and a valid reason for getting lost in a good book. You deserve it, Mama!
Here Are My Five Picks for Some Summer Reading:
Becoming by Michelle Obama (2018)
This memoir from the former FLOTUS is such an inspiring read. She is open, honest, funny, and brilliant in the telling of her life story. She comes across as down-to-earth and relatable – someone you’d want as a friend. The book is still worth reading even if you don’t agree with her politics because her thoughts on motherhood, marriage, career, and life balance are universally smart and insightful. Check out the audiobook, it is narrated by Obama herself.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (2016)
I’ve noticed that most Picoult novels have a formulaic style: ethical dilemma followed by court case then controversial conclusion. This novel follows the same predictable plot sequence but the compelling subject matter and well-crafted characters make it unique. An experienced Black labor and delivery nurse named Ruth is told by the hospital that she can’t work with the newborn baby of white supremacists, per their request. When their baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth has to decide whether to administer CPR and go against their directive or not lay hands on the baby who may otherwise die. Picoult’s book explores race, prejudice, medical ethics, and white privilege; this is not a light summer read but definitely worth it.
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman (1990)
Chapman’s self-help how-to has left quite an impression on a lot of people as it’s been in publication since 1990 and is a bit of a pop culture phenomenon. Chapman outlines five categories that most people fall under in giving love and receiving love from others. He proposes that our relationships can be strengthened by acknowledging our own “love language” and that of our partner. Showing love to our partner in their preferred language and vice versa helps open up communication and improve intimacy, thus deepening the bond of love. The concept is surprisingly simple for how beneficial it is once put into practice. And it’s a quick read: only 232 pages!
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (2014)
I feel like this should be required reading for Charleston residents! This historical novel is based on real-life 19th century Charlestonian Sarah Grimke, a white girl who is “gifted” a ten-year-old enslaved girl named Handful for her eleventh birthday. The story follows Sarah and Handful for over 35 years and takes them through the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the women’s rights movement. I had a hard time putting this book down because I was so invested in the characters and captivated by their struggle for freedom, racial and gender equality, and acceptance.
100 Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi (2013)
This novel was hands-down my favorite read of last year. I hadn’t heard of it before but was attracted to the image of donuts on the cover. They say you should never judge a book by its cover but I’m glad I did with this one! It tells the story of Lucio, an Italian man in his late thirties who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 100 days to live. He chooses to make those 100 days the best of his life. The story is incredibly funny, devastating, thought-provoking, and quirky. I’ve never cried so much while reading a book before, but it was a nice cleansing, therapeutic cry. And can’t we all use one of those sometimes?
Moms of Charleston: let us know which books you’ve loved recently!
Check out more in our Charleston Moms FAVORITES series!
Charleston Moms FAVORITES: 8 Things Giving Me Life Right Now
Charleston Moms FAVORITES: 5 Things That Keep My Head Above Water as a SAHM
Charleston Moms FAVORITES: Fast Food App Hacks Every Mom Should Know
Charleston Moms FAVORITES: How to Look More Put Together at Home
Charleston Moms FAVORITES: Favorites Found in My Quest for Simplicity & Connection
Charleston Moms FAVORITES: 16 Audiobooks for Every Mom