Make America Read Again

Believe it or not, I averaged reading one book a week while on maternity leave with my youngest child 17 years ago. Always an avid reader from childhood, the pace of feedings and cuddling actually lent itself to my being able to get through as many books as I did. I also had a good baby who slept as long as he was fed and dry.

With the advent of smart phones and Netflix and other streaming apps, my reading habit went by the wayside. And that’s no bueno. As a writer, reading is crucial to my craft. It’s the way one stretches their brain with new perspectives and use of language. But man, it’s just so easy to curl up with your phone to catch the latest episode of whatever I missed from days before.

Alas, I have recommitted to my love of books (memoir, biography, and historical fiction are among my faves). I’ve been really working on shutting off my phone an hour before I sleep and reading, and every time I do that, I notice a significant difference in the depth and overall quality of my sleep. So, I highly recommend that.

During quarantine, books have been a lifeline for many and let’s be bluntly honest: people who read are smarter than people who don’t. We just know more. You want to know more? Read.

With two weeks left before Christmas, I highly recommend gifting books for those on your Christmas list. And here is a list to get you started.

  1. A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Not only is this a behind-scenes-look at his rise to the presidency, but it’s peppered with stories of his journey as a father and husband. You’ll also learn a ton about the inner workings of American government, which has actually been very interesting to me.

2. Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis

Are you detecting a theme here? This is a fascinating, courageous look at a once-in-a-lifetime type of person. It’s humorous at times, inspiring all the time and honest. Though written in the 90s, many of the issues he grappled with in congress are still issues pressing us today. And that will make you think.

3. Becoming by Michelle Obama

There is a reason her book tour was a mega block buster event with a Netflix documentary to boot. Michelle Obama’s life thus far is extraordinary, and she still has so much more living to do and her story will inspire you.

4. Becoming by Cindy Crawford

That’s right two books with the same name, but very different. Both Michelle Obama and Cindy Crawford are born and bred Illinois girls, super smart, and legendary in their own rights. Crawford’s book features some of her best-known photos from her modeling days with the back stories behind them. Additionally, she tells the story of her ascent from small town girl to one of the most iconic models of our time. If you have fans of fashion and photography on your list, this is a good one.

5. Finding My Voice by Nadiya Hussain

If you are a fan of the Great British Baking Show, you will remember Nadiya Hussein’s season and her amazing win. That event catapulted a simple mom and wife from her traditional and somewhat inhibiting life to cooking/baking/presenting superstardom. And, she’s got some of her favorite recipes in it. The book is honest and raw at times, but always hopeful and positive in tone. It’s a great read (and mini cookbook).

While all of these titles can be found on Amazon, this is a great time to support local indie bookstores or even indie bookstores online. They are really hurting right now, and Jeff Bezos has made enough money off this pandemic, don’t you think?

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