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I’ve been feeling anxious and overwhelmed lately. There have been so many changes in my life over the past couple of years that I’m not sure I had time to adjust. In two years time, I became a wife, and then a mother, and then a pandemic took over our lives. I live with uncertainty every day. Am I doing what I’m supposed to? Am I raising my child correctly? Am I a good wife? Am I enough? And then I realized that as I’m trying to be all these things for other people, I’ve been neglecting myself. Maybe this neglect is the cause of all the anxiety and stress.
I realize that self-care is super important to having a healthy relationship with myself. I have to take care of me too. Self-care does not always mean getting a mani-pedi, a spa day or a week long retreat. Not everyone needs to sweat from every pore in their body in a steam room tucked far away in the desert to feel brand new again. For me, on some days, an hour to myself away to read is all it takes. Self-care only works if it works for you.
Here are eleven books that I’ve been reading (or are on my to-read list) on my roof deck during nap time. Some will make you laugh. Some will make you cry. Some will make you something in between. Some will make you think. Enjoy!
1. When Life Gives You Lululemons
Lauren Weisberger. From the author of The Devil Wears Prada is this follow-up read. It’s The Real Housewives of Greenwich in book form. Find out what happens to Emily after she leaves Miranda Priestly. I plowed through this book in four days. It brought me back to life. The ridiculousness, the heartbreak, the journey. Totally worth it.
2. How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids
Jancee Dunn. This one was recommended to me by a mentor/colleague. It’s part book, part self-help. It offers insight on what really happens after children are born. The journey is not always rainbows and unicorns, but there are ways to keep it that way…if you try.
3. Little Fires Everywhere
Celeste Ng. This book, now a Hulu series starring Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon, is about two families living in 1990s Shaker Heights, Ohio, who are brought together through their children and then broken apart again. I haven’t started this one yet. It’s next on my list. I’m intrigued by what secrets, rules and the pull of motherhood can do to relationships, familial and otherwise.
4. Sex and Vanity
Kevin Kwan. I’m ready to get lost again in Kwan’s crazy over-the-top world. Sex and Vanity is a love story, a daring homage to A Room with a View, and a brilliantly funny comedy of manners set between Capri and the Hamptons.
5. Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy
Kevin Kwan. I had to. The entire trilogy. If you haven’t read it, get to it. Now. Get lost in the glamour, the ostentacious, the reality (for some). This trilogy is hilarious and heartbreaking all at the same time. If you can’t find a beach, bring the beach to you with these reads.
Glennon Doyle. Maybe, I’ve watched Legally Blonde one too many times. I’m a big fan of recommendations from Reese Witherspoon’s book club. This novel is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is. It’s a read that supposed to liberate women. I’m in.
7. Midnight Sun
Stephenie Meyer. How could I say no the Twilight story told in the voice of Edward? I’m unleashing my inner teenager for this read. YA novels are great to get lost in.
8. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Gail Honeyman. Human connection and friendship are such important things to have in one’s life. And throughout this pandemic, I’ve realized that human connection is crucial to survival. Eleanor is awkward and can’t seem to find her place in the world, until she meets Raymond. Their exchange is funny and heartwarming. It’s genuine and a great reminder that in order to live truly, you have to let people in.
9. A Man Called Ove
Fredrik Backman. Backman is an amazing storyteller. This book will make you laugh, cry and sometimes both at the same time. I know I did. The story follows an angry old man who’s life matters and who’s existence impacts everyone around him. It’s a story that shows every movement we make, no matter how small, has a lasting affect on surrounding lives. It’s a reminder to be kind, to appreciate everything and to live like we’ve never lived before.
10. The Vanishing Half
Brit Bennett. A story of identical twins, but after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, everything is different as adults. Their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect? On my list. Can’t wait to dig into it.
11. The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas. I’m excited about this one. This book was banned from an entire school district and challenged because it features elements of police brutality, profanity, racism, drug use and violence. Khalil’s murder by a police officer leads to an exploration of racism in law enforcement and the justice system, as well as in Starr’s school and friendships. The Hate U Give also deals with friendships in the face of subtle racial tensions, the struggle to keep family united in the face of differing views and what it really means to pursue a better life for yourself and the ones you love. It’s a book we can all learn from and a conversation we should all be having. This is next on my list.
That’s all I have for now. What are you reading? Leave a comment. Let me know! Share your favorites. I love recommendations!