5 Books That Will Change Your Perspective (and the secret to having time to read them)

I know it’s hard to find the time to read – life is so busy and loud, full of to-do lists and errands and social media and Netflix and when on earth is there time to sit and casually read a book?

Two answers:

One, there’s this magical thing called Hoopla that uses your library card to set audiobooks and ebooks right into your lap, at zero charge to you. You can listen while you’re doing dishes, driving to the grocery store, or taking a shower. You can read while you’re sitting in a waiting room, breastfeeding your baby, or when your toddler unexpectedly falls asleep in the stroller. It’s not hard to find a few extra minutes in this way.

Two, just read this quote from Lauren Graham’s new book (which, incidentally, is the first one I’m going to review for you):

"What with your phone and the Xbox and the taxi TV and that music player you wear on your arm and the headphones that look like donuts on your ears, doesn’t it make life so much smaller? If absolutely everything important is only happening on such a small screen, isn’t that a shame? Especially when the world is so overwhelmingly large and surprising? Are you missing too much?

"...There's a checked-out, drugged sort of look we get when on our phones that's different from the look we get when reading a book, or even just staring into space. I get that look too, and when I catch my own reflection, it gives me a chill. It's like Gollum's face just before he drops his Precious in the water."
- Lauren Graham

I read differently now. For one thing, half the time I am listening to books instead of reading them on paper. 

For another, I miss parts. When the dog jerks me to a stop mid-run to stalk a dear or a rabbit, I skip a sentence. When the baby starts using her high chair as a "walker," I miss a chapter because the audiobook is playing in the other room. I read and/or listen in disconnected tidbits, which means that I don't always grasp the whole of the story.

It's a bit of a struggle for me, to not be able to devour a book all in one sitting, but with this method I've managed to plow through five books in the past month! Also it allows for multitasking (sort of a necessary part of momlife). And those bits that I manage to hold on to? They're like gold to me, and they are so worth it.

Disclaimer: some of these books were not written from a Christian worldview, so you can expect a few curse words, some references to sexual things, etc. Read at your own discretion! Email me if you have further questions about the content.

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She understands! She, too, is perplexed and annoyed by the fact that Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life “ended” on a freaking cliffhanger! If you’ve watched Gilmore Girls or Parenthood, then you’ll be enthralled to get these behind-the-scenes pieces. But even if you don’t have that connection to Lauren, you can’t help but laugh your way through this narrative. Reading her book was like having a conversation with Lauren herself. It breaks all the rules of "normal" non-fiction; it’s more like an email, or a very entertaining text conversation. And she makes some excellent points about how celebrities are just people...that have video cameras trained on them all the time.

"But life doesn’t often spell things out for you or give you what you want exactly when you want it, otherwise it wouldn’t be called life, it would be called vending machine." 
- Lauren Graham

Meet a (somewhat) crazy woman who decides to head into the Australian desert wilderness on her own. I don't know if you know anything about Australia, but there's a vast difference between the cities or coastal areas and the greater part of the country, which is a wilderness filled with things that are quite deadly. So basically this is not your average trip on the Pacific Crest Trail (not to downgrade anyone who has hiked that! Each has their own challenges).

I got a little bogged down in the details of this one, especially in the beginning. A lot of what she includes in her story is not something I’m particularly interested in, BUT I think it’s so important to branch out of your comfort zone, even in reading. If you enjoyed Wild, with its dark background and gritty reality, then I think you’ll like this one as well. It will make you think about a 
lot of things differently. The ending is especially full of insightful things.

"It was the most honest hour of unselfconscious fun I had ever had. most of us, I am sure, have forgotten how to play. We've made up games instead...The desire to in, to beat someone else, has supplanted play - the doing of something just for itself."

"[I learned] that to be free one needs constant and unrelenting vigilance over one's weaknesses."
- Robyn Davidson

This is the book that Ashlee herself says is, “the book I wished I was given when I was pregnant.” It’s full of stories by many different mothers, about everything we face when we are given the MOM title. From crying in the bathroom to accidentally exposing our boobs to adopting from other countries to finding a new balance in our relationships with our husbands…yeah, you’re gonna want to get in on this. I actually teared up a bit at a few places. It’s like a bubble bath for a mama’s soul. And it’s so good to know that we’re not alone in this motherhood thing – we are surrounded by others who are in the trenches with us, and who have also gone before us. READ THIS ONE NOW.

"If I measure each day by my list, the days are not always very good, but when I look at each day like it is their [the children's] day too, because it is their day, well, then most days are better. A lot better."

-Ashlee Gadd

I can't properly recommend this book to you, as it's full of ideas and innuendos that I do not approve of (I did skim over some of the more risque bits). Despite this, if you're curious about French culture, this is a witty way to learn about it. I personally adore glimpses into other cultures. It provides a sense of how a French woman thinks, eats, dresses, and exercises, though much of the focus is on French women's sex appeal (wearing matching underwear is the secret - oops, that's a spoiler).

This book makes it clear that French women have an obsession with looking beautiful 24/7. While this is obviously ridiculously vain, I do respect that they enjoy being "well turned out" for the sake of themselves. I think we mamas could pick up a little bit on this: do what you need to make yourself pretty for the day, no matter if all you're doing is cleaning up messes. Don't complain that you never get a chance to dress up or that you don't have a reason to look nice. You don't need a special occasion to be beautiful!

"Is it true that French women are thin and perfect looking, but don't have much fun?...I am going to take what is useful from their way of life (and there is a lot) but stay fundamentally English. If this means drinking a bit too much Chardonnay at times or not having perfect nails three hundred and sixty five days a year, so be it.
"My husband says the key is to 'keep your sense of humour but still be able to fit into your trousers.' Sounds like a good plan to me."
- Helena Frith Powell

This is one of those pivotal books that speaks volumes about womanhood and how beautiful it was meant to be (it reminds me of Captivating, another book that delves into God’s purpose for women). This is the book that made me decide to wear lipstick. The one that convinced me to run akimbo like Phoebe from Friends, my dog and I trotting haphazardly in the mornings before I am fully awake. The words that made me realize that doing a women’s Bible study is not about me trying to turn other women into versions of myself, nor is it necessary for their relationship with God to look like mine.

I totally dare you to read this book. You’ll find it freeing to realize that you don’t have to be a woman according to everyone else…you’re a woman made by God, and that is enough.

"The world may tell us we’re too much and never enough. But we can walk wildly in who God created us to be and rest freely in the work Jesus did for us. We do not have to be confined or conformed by cultural expectations. We are unchained from our past and unafraid of our future."

- Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan

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There you have it! Whatever you do, don't be a dolt and read #2 and #4 simultaneously. The two conflicting cultures will give you a headache trying to sort it all out, and you'll be caught between the urge to disappear alone into the wilderness and also buy hundreds of dollars' worth of French clothes.

Like I said, headache.

It's so important to learn about other ways of doing life. This broadening of knowledge is less about being "tolerant" and "well-informed," and more about breaking free from our boxes. Through others' perspectives, we learn that all of us are simply people, with different ways of doing things - from walking down the street to finding a job to eating breakfast. Maybe there is no "right" way to mother, or to wash dishes, or to keep house.

Be challenged today by someone else's ideas. Then turn right around and challenge someone else to think a little differently, too. Happy reading!


  1. I love reading and I just did a blog post about some books that I love too! I definitely need to check out the ones from your list here =)

  2. I really need to start listening to more audio books, and I really want to read Lauren Graham's book, it's always checked out!

    1. Pretty sure I was #50 on a waiting list at the library, but then it was FINALLY my turn and I gobbled it up haha...

  3. I LOVED Captivating, I'll have to check out Wild + Free!!

  4. Thanks for the reviews! I've had wild and free on my wish list forever. Thinning it's time to squeeze in some reading time!

  5. Great recommendations and reviews! I want to read Wild & Free, The Magic of Motherhood and Talking as Fast as I Can now! I hope your week is off to a good start!