I started many books but finished only three this month. It was a busy, fall-ish month (here it is in pictures) with family coming in to town, getting organized to host Thanksgiving, and prepping for Advent. Perhaps the greatest wrecker of my free reading time this month was a sweet baby boy with a cold and two new (top) teeth that came in! He got me in the bedtime reading department pretty bad.
After things quieted down (and the teeth got in safe and sound), I finished my last novel at nap time with a slice of leftover pumpkin pie. (Is it just me or does pumpkin pie taste better after Thanksgiving? It’s like it get’s overshadowed with all the other holiday flavors and just needs one-on-one time.)
By the way, I have to tell you that there are affiliate links in this post. If you want to buy any of the books I mentioned, just click on the title and it will take you right to Amazon!
Here is what I read in November:
The Life-Giving Home by Sarah and Sally Clarkson
This book is a staple in my library. Re-reading books is a funny thing; they seem to speak to me differently in different seasons. This book came more alive to me after having listened to Sally’s podcast, which I have been tuning into for over a year now. I have read a lot of Sally Clarkson books, and this one is my favorite. It also happens that it was my gateway into all things Clarkson, of which I am now an avid fan.
Mother and daughter team up to write this practical and philosophical book about how to create life-giving rhythms and traditions in the home. There is one chapter for each month of the year. Over the years I have adopted many Sally Clarkson routines and traditions, including long daily walks, book baskets, and fifteen minute tea times in the afternoon (well, coffee for me!). I happened to finish the November chapter a few days before Thanksgiving this year, so I was inspired to borrow the tradition of passing corn kernels around the table. It turned into an unexpectedly beautiful time of thankfulness.
Remembering by Wendell Berry
My gateway into Wendell Berry was the novel Hannah Coulter (I recommend reading it first, to establish the network of characters). My dad has been harping on me to read Berry for years now. He’s right, everyone should read Wendell! I didn’t get into his essays right away, but I have loved his novels! I think I might like his essays better now that I have befriended him as a writer. Berry really speaks to what is missing in our modern culture: community, belonging, relationship with the land.
This short, poetic novel was more of an experience than a story. It takes you along with middle-aged farmer Andy Catlett as he begins to to emotionally recover after losing his hand in a farming accident. Remembering his heritage and reflecting on the membership to which he belongs in his hometown of Port William begins his journey of repentance and self-forgiveness. Berry’s descriptions are incredible; they really make you feel and see what the character is experiencing. Jayber Crow is up as my next Berry read!
Atomic Habits by James Clear
I really loved this read! I’m sucker for habit and productivity books, no matter how many I’ve read. I am just a nerd on this subject. This book is all about the power of tiny habits; how to make and keep them. A lot of it focuses on changing your environment to make habit development easier. The author makes a great case for tiny, accumulated 1% improvements (hence the “atomic” nature of habits) which I found really inspiring. Sometimes I feel like productivity books only apply to an office or work environment, but this one is universal and can certainly apply to the homemaker! It was fascinating but still practical. I would recommend this book alongside Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before, which is another book on habits that I also loved and talked about here!
Sharing the Bread
We have a small but growing collection of Thanksgiving picture books in our children’s library. This one is my favorite. Every one has a job as a large family works together to make a Thanksgiving meal. The story is told in rhythmic verse and the illustrations are so enchanting. The story harkens back to old-fashioned family meals, which have a soft spot in my heart growing up as one of nine (sometimes more) around the table.
I’m curious, what did you read this month?