I love to read and I love passing on this hobby to my children.
We read aloud various books for our homeschool every morning and most evenings.
While libraries were closed most of this year, I utilized online eBook library services, added to my Kindle reading with Kindle Unlimited and even purchased some eBooks and physical books I couldn’t find anywhere that had great reviews and I really wanted.
I didn’t read very much fiction this year! I read a few eBooks when I needed a break from all the seriousness, but they were nothing special.
It certainly has not been an ordinary year. I watched shows a lot more, played more games, wasted more time than in previous years.
I tried to maintain a semblance of normalcy with our homeschool and household, but some days and weeks were really hard.
My Favorite Books We Read in 2020
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
I read this book aloud in our homeschool and it was very enlightening. I highly recommend it. I love the writing style of Jason Reynolds!
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.
Yes, I know he is problematic and there are better books out there now.
Trauma is a fact of life. Veterans and their families deal with the painful aftermath of combat; one in five Americans has been molested; one in four grew up with alcoholics; one in three couples have engaged in physical violence. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the world’s foremost experts on trauma, has spent over three decades working with survivors. In The Body Keeps the Score, he uses recent scientific advances to show how trauma literally reshapes both body and brain, compromising sufferers’ capacities for pleasure, engagement, self-control, and trust. He explores innovative treatments—from neurofeedback and meditation to sports, drama, and yoga—that offer new paths to recovery by activating the brain’s natural neuroplasticity. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score exposes the tremendous power of our relationships both to hurt and to heal—and offers new hope for reclaiming lives.
This book is imperative for anyone who has experienced trauma or to help us understand loved ones.
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.
David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.
Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.
I enjoyed this book – part parenting, part coaching. I see parents pushing their kids too early and I want to make sure my kids are balanced.
The Color of Compromise is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people. Starting today.
I read this book almost exactly a year ago. It was fascinating and I learned lots and confirmed things I thought I knew. Really helped my deconstruction.
Jemar Tisby just released another book too: How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice
Motherwhelmed: Challenging Norms, Untangling Truths, and Restoring Our Worth to the World by Beth Berry
Today’s mothers are struggling; though, it’s not for the reasons most moms tend to think. We’ve been conditioned to believe our inadequacy is the reason we can’t seem to “keep up” or enjoy mothering more, but nothing could be further from the truth.
We aren’t failing as mothers. We’re mothering within a culture that is misleading and inadequately supporting us.
Motherwhelmed is a deep, yet lighthearted exploration of the messy frontier of modern-day motherhood we’re all struggling to navigate. With compassion, realness, and rich storytelling, Beth Berry:
- Illuminates the mindsets and narratives keeping us feeling overwhelmed, disempowered, anxious, isolated, and riddled with self-doubt
- Provides the perspectives and tools needed for mothers to rewrite their stories and reclaim a sense of wholeness
- Shares from her 25 years as an idealistic, passionate, all-in mother of four daughters
- Reminds us of our worthiness and reframes our importance
This is not a book about parenting. It’s a book about mothers, our greatness, and how important it is that we thrive. It’s about untangling ourselves from the stories keeping us trapped and deconstructing those we’ve outgrown. It’s about daring the lives we’re here to live and, thereby, giving our children permission to do the same.
Until we begin to organize our lives around not only our children’s worthiness but also our own, mothers everywhere will continue to bear the brunt of cultural pain and dysfunction. This matters because we cannot be the changemakers we’re meant to be while so heavily burdened.
I’m actually still reading and rereading this. It’s so, so good and I have to step away every chapter or so to process it all.
In Pursuit of Flavor: The Beloved Classic Cookbook from the Acclaimed Author of The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis
Decades before cornbread, shrimp and grits, and peach cobbler were mainstays on menus everywhere, Edna Lewis was pioneering the celebration of seasonal food as a distinctly American cuisine.
In this James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame-inducted cookbook, Miss Lewis (as she was almost universally known) shares the recipes of her childhood, spent in a Virginia farming community founded by her grandfather and his friends after emancipation, as well as those that made her one of the most revered American chefs of all time. Interspersed throughout are personal anecdotes, cooking insights, notes on important Southern ingredients, and personally developed techniques for maximizing flavor.
Across six charmingly illustrated chapters—From the Gardens and Orchards; From the Farmyard; From the Lakes, Steams, and Oceans; For the Cupboard; From the Bread Oven and Griddle; and The Taste of Old-fashioned Desserts—encompassing almost 200 recipes, Miss Lewis captures the spirit of the South. From Whipped Cornmeal with Okra; Pan-Braised Spareribs; and Benne Seed Biscuits to Thirteen-Bean Soup; Pumpkin with Sautéed Onions and Herbs; a Salad of Whole Tomatoes Garnished with Green Beans and Scallions; and Raspberry Pie Garnished with Whipped Cream, In Pursuit of Flavor is a modern classic and a timeless compendium of Southern cooking at its very best.
I loved reading Ms. Lewis’ stories and trying out her recipes, some of which are very similar to what I remember my grandma, aunt, and cousins making.
The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table by Rick Bragg
Margaret Bragg does not own a single cookbook. She measures in “dabs” and “smidgens” and “tads” and “you know, hon, just some.” She cannot be pinned down on how long to bake corn bread (“about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the mysteries of your oven”). Her notion of farm-to-table is a flatbed truck. But she can tell you the secrets to perfect mashed potatoes, corn pudding, redeye gravy, pinto beans and hambone, stewed cabbage, short ribs, chicken and dressing, biscuits and butter rolls. Many of her recipes, recorded here for the first time, pre-date the Civil War, handed down skillet by skillet, from one generation of Braggs to the next. In The Best Cook in the World, Rick Bragg finally preserves his heritage by telling the stories that framed his mother’s cooking and education, from childhood into old age. Because good food always has a good story, and a recipe, writes Bragg, is a story like anything else.
This book felt like home to me. I remember hearing similar stories about my matriarchal ancestors. I am seeking my lost heritage.
What was your favorite read of 2020?
I have a big stack of books and more eBooks waiting for me this year!