Sometimes, as parents we need to take a temporary vacation from the kids and enjoy some quiet time with a good book! I have compiled a great list of books that will make you laugh and cry the whole way through, teach you to create a culinary masterpiece, or take you on a journey into the lives of others.
Laughter Is Good for the Soul
Bossypants by Tina Fey – Fey recounts her life and rise to fame in this funny, relatable book. She will have you laughing out loud at every turn.
Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan – This is a hilarious perspective of a father living with his wife and five children in a two-bedroom, walk-up apartment in NYC as he deals with the trials of small children. It’s an honest, but funny look at parenting.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling – You will feel as if you are having a conversation with your witty, self-depricating girlfriend. The author discusses her hysterical and honest thoughts on life and random observations.
The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin – A feel good book that is uplifting and full of insightful anecdotes that will have you inspired to create happiness in your life instead of waiting for it to come to you.
When You Need a Good Cry
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – A moving and honest fictional coming-of-age story that is elegantly told and will touch your heart. Told from a child’s perspective, this book gives insight into the lives of the less fortunate during the turn of the century.
All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg – Rick Bragg, a New York Times reporter, shares in his memoir about his life growing up dirt poor in segregated Alabama in the 1960s. His story focuses on the love of his mother and her perseverance to provide for her family no matter the circumstance.
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls – A memoir of a dysfunction family, Jeannette and her siblings are left to fend for and support each other through their parents’ betrayals. This is a powerful story of survival and becoming successful despite the circumstances in which we are raised.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – This haunting and gripping tale depicts two Afghani women struggling to survive in a volatile and hostile world. The book shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice. Although fictional, you will feel the pain and sorrow of these women.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne – This novel brings the childhood perspective to the Holocaust horrors at Auschwitz. It’s a story of two boys with completely different realities who become unlikely friends, weaving a tale of wonder, loyalty, and sadness.
Enjoy with a Glass of Wine
Apron Anxiety: My Messy Affairs In and Out of the Kitchen by Alyssa Shelasky – A hilarious memoir of a city girl’s journey to empower herself by cooking and baking, learning the ups and downs of relationships, and finding her way in life.
Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist – A collection of essays celebrates that eating together is what brings faith, family, and friends together. It reminds us that food is not only for nourishment, but also a time of celebration.
My Life in France by Julia Child – A look at Julia Child’s time at culinary training at Cordon Bleu, struggles to get published, and her time with her beloved husband, Paul.
Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) by Amy Thomas – This mouth-watering memoir takes you on a journey exploring the best French bakeries and chocolatiers in NYC and Paris.
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl – Take a glimpse into the life of a food critic as she shares her experiences at the best and worst restaurants in New York and the great lengths she took to be anonymous when reviewing the most high-profile establishments.
Chick Lit at Its Finest
The Innocents by Francesca Segal – After a long engagement, the groom finds himself questioning if he should marry the bride-to-be. He must decide to take a chance at a different kind of happiness or stay the course.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay – Before her family is arrested and sent to a concentration camp, Sarah locks her 4-year-old brother in a closest thinking she will return home within a few hours. Sixty years later a journalist comes across the trail of Sarah’s family and is on a quest to discover her fate.
Home Front by Kristin Hannah – This fictional story looks at life on the front lines, both at home and in war. It will have you laughing and crying while cherishing your family and friends.
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult – After a long and shameful secret comes to life, the main character begins to question the expectation she’s made about her life and family.
First Love by James Patterson – This beautifully written love story is about two young sweethearts facing the greatest test of life. Can they survive their carefree adventure once it starts to spin out of control?
What book are you currently reading?
The only one I’ve read from your list is Bossypants because I really like Tina Fey. I want to read Dad is Fat too – forgot about that one. I wrote a review of the best book I’ve read recently: http://bigteethclouds.blogspot.com/2014/04/crazy-stories-sane-god.html
Please consider reading some of the books your children are reading. There are some extraordinary novels being written for children and youth. You could do a read aloud or read it at the same time your kids are reading it and discuss. Ask your kids for their favorites and read them. Ask the librarian to recommend titles for family reads. Please do this even when your children are teens! There is some awesome children/teen literature out there. Where do you think Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent, and Book Thief came from?? Young Adult literature! This year books going into movies are The Giver, The Maze Runner, The Fault is in Our Stars, and If I Stay.
This is a great list! Pinned to my “reading” board on Pinterest!