This year I was inspired to find more ways to read actual paper pages with words on them. It often seems like an impossible feat. Reading books was one of those things that I let go of during postpartum. I honestly could not imagine a time in my life when reading would come back into play…but luckily, it did!
Want to make reading a habit in 2018?
I didn’t have the time to physically go to the library and browse, so I just made a google doc, and kept a list of the books I wanted to read. I added a recurring task to Asana to order new books from the library (online), and simply keeping a stack visible in the house was motivating.
Pro tips: Get a library card, request all books online, and make peace with the fact that 5-10 minutes of reading is an accomplishment.
How did my new habit pan out?
My friend Sarah K Peck tracks her reading in great detail, and I was inspired by her to reflect on my new reading habit.
Here are some stats and learnings:
- I read 23 books this year
- I did all my reading in 3 quarters, I read NOTHING in Q1
- 18 of the 23 were by women, 6 out of 23 were by POC
- The month I read 5 books (July) I was on vacation with lots of family to help watch the toddler
- I truly loved 5 of the 23 and would read them over and over again. I’ve noted which ones below.
- There were 5 books I tried to read but could get into – I decided it’s not worth the time if I don’t enjoy the first chapter. I listed these at the very end.
I finished 0 books during January, February, or March.
Quarter 2 – read 8 books
Being Boss, by Emily Thompson & Kathleen Shannon.
From the creators of the hit podcast comes an interactive part workbook, part inspirational business autobiography from creative entrepreneur. They share their best tools and tactics on “being boss” in both business and life.
Built to Sell, by John Warrillow. (LOVED IT)
According to the author, the number one mistake entrepreneurs make is to build a business that relies too heavily on them. This book uses the story of one business owner’s story to communicate the power of building a business with selling potential.
How We Work, by Leah Weiss PhD.
A practical guide to bringing our whole selves to our professional work, based on the author’s popular course at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
But Don’t Call Me White, by Silvia Cristina Bettez.
Based on the author’s doctoral research, this book highlights the words and experiences of 16 mixed race women, exposing hidden nuances of privilege and oppression related to multiple positionalities associated with race, class, gender, and sexuality.
A Uterus is a Feature Not a Bug, by Sarah Lacy. (LOVED IT)
A rallying cry for working mothers everywhere that demolishes the “distracted, emotional, weak” stereotype and definitively shows that these professionals are more focused, decisive, and stronger than any other force.
Entrepreneurial You, by Dorie Clark.
Dorie provides a blueprint for professional independence, with insights and advice on building your brand, monetizing your expertise, and extending your reach and impact online. She shares the stories of entrepreneurs of all kinds—from consultants and coaches to podcasters, bloggers, and online marketers—who have generated six- and seven-figure incomes.
Real Food for Pregnancy, by Lily Nichols.
Prenatal nutrition can be confusing. A lot of the advice you’ve been given about what to eat (or what not to eat) is well-meaning, but frankly, outdated or not evidenced-based. In Real Food for Pregnancy, you’ll get clear answers on what to eat and why, with research to back up every recommendation.
Unfinished Business, by Anne-Marie Slaughter.
Building on her article in The Atlantic “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” the author presents a compelling conceptual framework for understanding the problems of working women at all wage levels. The final chapter presents a wish list of public policy changes that would enable parents to meet family responsibilities without jeopardizing their jobs or careers.
Quarter 3 – read 11 books
The Fourth Trimester, by Kimberly Ann Johnson.
This holistic guide offers practical advice to support women through postpartum healing on the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual levels—and provides women with a roadmap to this very important transition that can last from a few months to a few years.
Overwhelmed, by Brigid Schulte.
Overwhelmed is a book about time pressure and modern life. It is a deeply reported and researched, honest and often hilarious journey from feeling that, as one character in the book said, time is like a “rabid lunatic” running naked and screaming as your life flies past you, to understanding the historical and cultural roots of the overwhelm.
The Postnatal Depletion Cure, by Oscar Serrallach. (LOVED IT)
While postpartum depression has become a high profile condition, this books seeks to illuminate and address the root causes of mommy brain, baby blues, and other symptoms that leave mothers feeling exhausted.
Pregnancy Brain, by Parijat Deshpande.
In this cutting-edge resource—the first of its kind meant specifically for women with high-risk pregnancies—Parijat Deshpande explains why effective stress management is a critical component to prenatal care in order to manage and prevent pregnancy complications.
Expecting Better, by Emily Oster.
Described as “What to Expect When You’re Expecting meets Freakonomics” and written by an award-winning economist, this book challenges standard recommendations about pregnancy to empower women while they’re expecting.
I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam.
Everyone has an opinion, anecdote, or horror story about women and work. Now the acclaimed author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast shows how real working women with families are actually making the most of their time.
Evicted, by Matthew Desmond. (LOVED IT)
In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, The author takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
Overcoming Underearning, by Barbara Stanny.
Overcoming Underearning is filled with inspiring, real-life stories of underearners who turned their lives around. Stanny brings a message of empowerment and hope to all those who chronically undervalue themselves.
Emergent Strategy, by Adrienne Maree Brown.
In the tradition of Octavia Butler, here is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help to shape the futures we want. Emergent Strategy teaches us to map and assess the swirling structures and to read them as they happen, all the better to shape that which ultimately shapes us, personally and politically.
You Need a Budget, by Jesse Mecham.
The first book based on You Need A Budget’s proven method that has helped hundreds of thousands of people break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and live the life they want to live.
Drop the Ball, by Tiffany Dufu.
A bold and inspiring memoir and manifesto from a renowned voice in the women’s leadership movement who shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go.
Quarter 4 – read 4 books
Here’s the Plan, by Allyson Downey.
An inventive and inspiring roadmap for working mothers steering their careers through the parenting years. The author —founder of weeSpring, the “Yelp for baby products,” and mother of two young children—advises readers on all practical aspects of ladder-climbing while parenting, such as negotiating leave, flex time, and promotions.
When They Call You a Terrorist, by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele. (LOVED IT)
A poetic and powerful memoir about what it means to be a Black woman in America—and the co-founding of a movement that demands justice for all in the land of the free.
Ask For It, by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever.
Ask for It explains why it’s essential to ask (men do it all the time) and teaches you how to ask effectively, in ways that feel comfortable to you as a woman. Features compelling stories of real women will help you recognize how much more you deserve—whether it’s a raise, that overdue promotion, an exciting new assignment, or even extra help around the house.
We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
In these “urgently relevant essays,” the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me reflects on race, Barack Obama’s presidency and its jarring aftermath”—including the election of Donald Trump.
Becoming Wise, by Krista Tippett.
The Courage Habit, by Kate Swoboda.
Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Essentialism, by Greg McKeown.
Getting to Yes, by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury & Bruce Patton.