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Favorite Books of 2009

January 13, 2010

I was fortunate to read a lot of books this past year. Most were “informational” and based on the themes of eco-living, simplicity, food, parenting, and home life. There were a few novels and nonfiction stories, too.  To see a complete list of my books, check out my Shelfari page .

Below are my favorite books of the last year, in no particular order.

Little House in the Big Woods: I have read this series a few times in my life, but this is the first time as an adult. I just loved it. (A note: Ainsley has a special children’s book entitled, A Little House Birthday, which she loves. I look forward to sharing this series with her more as she grows.)

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: This was by far the most powerful book on parenting, specifically the mother-child relationship, I read all year. I picked it up to read about weaning, and ended up reading it cover to cover.

The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Gentle Ways to Stop Bedtime Battles and Improve Your Child’s Sleep: Such an encouraging book. So specific to children’s ages, stages, and sleep problems. Wish I had read The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Babies.

Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally: A random pick off the library shelf ended up being one of the most influential books I read all year, at least when it comes to our food/eating habits. Can we really live on a 100-mile diet? Two journalists take on the challenge for one year and create this incredibly personal and pleasant book about their journey.

Flanagan’s Smart Home: The 98 Essentials for Starting Out, Starting Over, Scaling Back: Oddly, one of my favorite books. It gave me the freedom to let go of possessions that were really just excess and stress in my life. It also explains what products you should invest in vs. what you can just get on the cheap. As a bonus, the author focuses on products that are long-lasting and good for people and the planet. A very smart book.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time: A powerful, true story of Greg Mortenson’s call to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It challenged my thinking and blessed me. I can’t wait to read his newest book, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Clean Home, Green Home: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Eco-Friendly Homekeeping: A great resource with simple techniques for housekeeping and handy “recipes” for homemade cleaners. It is incredibly detailed without being too wordy or complex. Lots of colorful photos. Sorted by areas of your home: bathroom, garage, laundry, etc. Makes “green” cleaning completely accessible and inexpensive.

Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?–A Scientific Detective Story: Probably the most complicated book I read all year. “Identifies the various ways in which chemical pollutants in the environment are disrupting human reproductive patterns and causing such problems as birth defects, sexual abnormalities, and reproductive failure.” (New York Times) This book was published over a decade ago, and unfortunately, many of the problems persist, and are worsening, despite the plethora of data available.

The Hungering Dark: This is one of the few books to survive our bookshelf purge this year. It was originally published in 1968, but its themes and words are completely relevant to our lives today. My favorite book on faith.

No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process: A well-written book on one man’s (plus his wife’s and daughter’s) year-long eco-experiment — living without electricity, using only non-human powered transportation, and eating food from within 100 miles. All in New York City. Surprisingly, a book that’s a lot less about being “eco” and a lot more about finding meaning in life.

Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action: A philosophical, biblical, and practical look at why creation care and environmental stewardship (more commonly called “going green,” “eco-living,” and “environmentalism”) should matter to Christians. I’m in the middle of his wife’s follow-up (more “how-to”) book, Go Green, Save Green: A Simple Guide to Saving Time, Money, and God’s Green Earth.

Honorable Mention in the following categories:

  • Heartwarming: Absolutely anything by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • Child Development: Your Child at Play: One to Two Years (Segal), and Touchpoints: Birth to Three (Brazelton)
  • Creativity: The Creative Family, and Handmade Home (Amanda Blake Soule)
  • Food Inspiration: Deceptively Delicious (Seinfeld)
  • Green Guide: Easy Green Living (Loux)
  • Simplifying Your Stuff: Scaling Down (Culbertson)
  • Bible: The Jesus Storybook Bible (Sally Lloyd-Jones/Jago)
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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 16, 2010 10:01 am

    Just found you via Jamie’s. I am a big Little House fan (the Ingalls showed up on my blog today). As a parent, it has been so interesting to re-read these stories and study Caroline and Charles. Both project patience, calm, and gratitude in a way it would benefit me to emulate.

    I have a Buechner on my shelf I need to get to. My favorite quote from all time comes from him (“Listen to your life…”).

    After reading THREE CUPS OF TEA, I got my students to donate to Pennies for Peace. We raised $450+ for schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Very exciting to see children caring about other children.

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