I polled on Instagram asking for insight on content for 2019. One thing that was highly requested was more behind-the-scenes and personal posts. Therefore, I’m going to attempt to share more about our life on here. I used to be better about writing about our days, but parenthood has (rightfully so) taken over much of my free time.

One thing that I do make time for at the end of every day is to read. Some nights, I’ll make it to bed early enough to read for an hour. Others, I’m so tired that I can barely make it through a couple of pages. Reading has become a sacred piece of alone time where I can get lost in a story.

I found that I had more time for it once I shut my phone off before bed. This is a practice I started two years ago and haven’t looked back. I’m less anxious and more relaxed to fall asleep if I can carve out this window to be off screens and in a book.

I like to alternate between fiction and nonfiction, dense and lighthearted, past and present. This month, I had quite the spread of different genres.

Educated // Tara Westover

This book haunted me for days. Heck, it even made it into my dreams this week. Tara’s story blew my mind, and I couldn’t put this book down. Her memoir speaks to the importance of education and the danger of narrow-minded thinking. I can’t recommend this book enough, especially if you enjoyed The Glass Castle.

Jennifer’s Way // Jennifer Esposito

Sadly, there are only a few books about celiac disease, and there are even fewer personal accounts. Since my diagnosis, I’ve been hungry to learn more about the disease, especially from those that have walked this path before me. Jennifer is a highly-regarded actress who was misdiagnosed for twenty years. Her reflections speak to the challenges of the disease, especially to the complexities of the symptoms and diagnosis. If you have a loved one with celiac disease (or are struggling with an autoimmune condition yourself), this is a great attempt to understand what they are going through.

The Room on Rue Amélie // Kristin Harmel

World War II fiction is a guilty pleasure of mine. It is an era of our history that is unfathomable. I get lost in the stories and true accounts of those that weathered such treacherous years. I always leave WWII novels horrified at the evil that our world can succumb to, and yet there is always an air of hope that lingers throughout. Regardless, such stories remind me to be grateful to live in a world that is mostly peaceful at this time. I’ve probably read at least 30 WWII-era novels, and I hate to say that this is not at the top of the list. It was a quick read, and I sprinted to the end. The story was enjoyable, but the writing kind of fell flat for me.

Cold Mountain // Charles Frazier

This is one of my friend’s favorite books, and I was intrigued by the setting, so I added it to my book list. The novel takes place during the Civil War and follows a fleeing solider as he returns to his love in Appalachia. The writing was beautiful, poetic. I enjoyed learning about the culture in the 1800s, especially the medicinal and farm practices of the day. This wasn’t my favorite novel by far. It moved slow at times, and it was a journey to make it to the not-so-favorable ending. But, I won’t spoil it more than that.