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PMB Book Club: Winter Reading List

Now that Christmas is over and the kids are busy playing with all their new stuff, what do YOU do with your winter down time? Sure, you could catch up on laundry or start some winter cleaning project, but come on, you’re on vacation, too! Take a break and do something for you, like read a new book! But don’t just pick one from the bestseller list; we have you covered with our first-ever Portland Moms Blog Book Club Winter Reading List, featuring four contributor picks to cozy up with this new year while the cold and wet northwest weather rages outside!

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Here are our favorite reads, including a heart-wrenching memoir, a fascinating mystery solved by an autistic teen, and two thought-provoking nonfiction titles geared just toward women, all hand-picked and highly recommended by our own talented team of writers! (Contains affiliate links.)

Kendrabook’s Pick: Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

The author’s second memoir, details the ups and downs of motherhood and her relationship with Craig, the father of her three children and her husband of 13 years. 

There are many ways that my life’s path has diverged from Glennon’s. I have never suffered from bulimia or addiction to alcohol. I have never found myself sitting on a bathroom floor feeling young and scared facing an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.  I have never bared my soul and my struggles to millions of readers as Glennon does every day. But so many of the experiences that Glennon reveals in her blog and in her memoirs are so familiar to me, like gazing into my newborn’s face and being simultaneously filled with awe and terror, searching for my life’s purpose, crying in yoga class, trying to find my “tribe,” and realizing the strength of vulnerability. Glennon speaks my language from her admission that life is “brutiful” (brutal + beautiful) to her frequent reminders that “we belong to each other.”  This memoir, like her first, had me crying and laughing in equal turns.  She is real and raw in everything she says and does. 

If you are looking for a book to soothe your soul and help you believe in redemption, read Love Warrior. You may just lose yourself in its pages and find yourself again.

Available new, used, or on eBook at Amazon.

Charabook’s Pick: Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen

Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard is for the woman who has wondered if she is enough — enough for her children, enough for her community, enough for the world. Sometimes a synopsis can build up expectations only to disappoint, but in this case I found my expectations surpassed. The back of the book blurb rang true, “Jennie Allen understands the daily struggle with inadequacy and insecurity. And she invites us into a different experience, one in which our souls are content and epic dreams unfold through our lives.”

Jennie talks about the adoption of her youngest son from Rwanda, her struggles with an eating disorder, and how she found real freedom through faith in Jesus instead of continuing to numb the longings in her soul. As someone who has often binged too long on Netflix and chased hollow pursuits only to be left wanting, I found this book inspirational and encouraging. It has helped me find greater joy in the circumstances of my life, and magnified my desire to see that happen for others. 

Available new, used, or on eBook at Amazon.

bookMolly’s Pick: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. Fifteen-year-old Christopher lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day his neighbor’s dog is killed and Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favorite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

I love this book for the captivating way that Haddon is able to write so convincingly from the perspective of a child who is quite obviously on the Autism spectrum. This style could come across as trite or contrived, yet it doesn’t. He is masterfully convincing and superbly entertaining. This is not just a book about a childish mystery, but a book about family dynamics and living with Autism.

Available new, used, or on eBook at Amazon.

Sarabook‘s Pick: Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time by Bridget Schulte

This book (almost) literally jumped off the shelf at me. Overwhelmed? Um yeah, I can relate! While many books have been written on the seemingly never-ending struggle moms face for work-life balance, few are as thorough or relatable as this one. Schulte is a married, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and working mom. The book looks at the feeling of overwhelm that most of us carry from two sharp and unflinching angles. The first is our busy lives, from how we use our time, to how chores and childcare are divided up in our households, to the history and current state of parental leave and childcare in our country. The second angle is through the lens of Schule’s own life; her battle to be the perfect worker, the perfect spouse, and the perfect mom (spoiler alert: it’s not possible) and her journey toward a better balance.

One of my favorite sections of the book was learning about the Third Path Institute, a non-profit devoted to helping families find their own path toward harmony between work and home life. Reading this book I laughed, was outraged, felt inspired, and maybe most importantly, encouraged that I am not alone in my struggles. I recommend this book to just about every mom I know!

Available new, used, or on eBook at Amazon.

Like what we suggest? Have a favorite book you want us to include on future reading lists? Be sure to let us know in the comments! And enjoy the rest of your winter break!

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