Every year, I track the books I read and write short summaries of the books all on one page. This page is my ongoing reading list for 2019. (I also did this in 2017 and 2018, this is my third year in a row.) Recording what I read has improved the quality, breadth and number of books I read, which inspires me to keep doing it. If you’re curious, you can read more about why I track the books I read, how to decide what book to read next, and how to finish a book. Or you can read my book summaries, below, for new book ideas and recommendations.
Read 36 books, read at least 50% books by women, read at least 50% books by people of color. To see what books I’m currently reading in 2019, scroll down the page. I update my book progress monthly.
Stats as of the end of June 2019
- 18 books
- 16 by women (88%),
- 5 by people of color (28%).
January? I was returning from maternity leave, figuring out daycare and a nanny, and beginning to set up the plans for launching our Startup Pregnant community mastermind, and I don’t think I read a single book.
The Fifth Vital Sign: Master Your Cycles & Optimize Your Fertility, by Lisa Hendrickson-Jack. In health, we often look to the four vital signs (body temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiration rate) as our key indicators of wellness. Women, however, have a very clear and regular pattern that most health providers do not track, and it’s a huge clue and window of opportunity for learning about our own health: our menstrual cycles. Lisa Hendrickson-Jack shares how and why to track our menstrual cycles (and also what to look for if you’re not yet cycling or post-menopausal), and why this immense amount of data and information can be so important for our long-term health, our fertility, and our own body awareness.
GuRu, by Ru Paul. I picked up this book in the library because I love the body positivity, self-awareness, and philosophical perspectives by this gender-defying, drag beauty who constantly challenges us to rethink what we think we know and how we think we’re supposed to show up in the world. The book was a very quick read, filled with single-page quotes and full-color images and playful stories, I flipped through it while on the subway one week while doing daycare pickups and dropoffs, and very much enjoyed it.
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet And Why It Matters, by Priya Parker. We used Priya’s book as the foundation for our yearlong mastermind program, to meet and gather together as a community. We kicked off our time together talking about how to best come together in community. I loved the intentionality of having a purpose, designing the beginning (which comes far before the “start” of an event), and thinking through not just the sequencing of events, but also the closing. Perhaps my biggest takeaway was that intentionality requires edges and boundaries. It’s okay to say no in pursuit of a better event. A twelve-person table is very different than a party of 45 people. Decide what it’s for, and then design from there.
Do Less: A Revolutionary Approach To Time And Energy Management For Busy Moms, by Kate Northrup. I always feel like Kate is reading my mind, and she and I joke that we’re swimming in a similar ocean during this lifetime. Her recognition of the physical and bodily cycles we inhabit and how they relate to our work and ‘productivity’ has been instrumental in women shifting their work schedules to align with their cycles of energy and creation. It’s a magical process. In this book, she has 14 different ‘experiments’ to tap into a new way of managing your time and reducing your workload, both literally and energetically. Even just doing one experiment could shift things.
Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos, by Lucy Knisley. This stunning graphic comic is a heart opening novel of the trials of getting pregnant and how hard pregnancy can be. Lucy shares her stories around how hard it was to get pregnant, having surgery to help get pregnant, and then suffering through preeclampsia and swelling up during the third trimester. She undergoes a traumatic and intense delivery and has to return to the hospital after the delivery. Ultimately, they decide that the risk is too high to try for another kid, and decide to be a one-child family. The story is beautifully written and illustrated, and full of pause moments that open up a chance to educate the reader about the realities of miscarriage, pregnancy challenges, nausea, and trauma.
Weird Parenting Wins: Bathtub Dining, Family Screams, and Other Hacks from the Parenting Trenches, by Hillary Frank. This book is a collection of advice from parents. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes painful, it’s a quick and easy read to skim through parent wins, even the weirdest ones. I liked the narration by the author most—I found myself craving more of Hillary’s stories, and being a little disappointed that it was a collection of quotes from other parents. Still, I laughed and by the end I was really enjoying it.
Best Articles: The Open Secret of Mom Bias At Work, I Was A “Lean In” SuperFan But Lean In Failed Me, It’s Not Enough To Be Right, You Have To Be Kind, The Rise Of SnowPlow Parenting, Where Are The Mothers?
New Podcast: The Double Shift.
What No One Tells You: A Guide to Your Emotions from Pregnancy to Motherhood, by Alexandra Sacks, MD, and Catherine Birndorf. MD. How can a book cover all of the emotions and feelings you have about getting pregnant or becoming a parent? This one does a really good job. I felt seen and heard, but also witnessed hundreds of other threads that I’ve also seen and heard in my friends, and left feeling relieved, because the complex and layered emotions of becoming a parent are just that: complicated, overlapping, intense, and totally normal. It’s okay if you feel these things, and it’s normal to feel like everything is changing. From your relationships with your partner, your own parents, and your family, to the way that you feel about work, to being unsure about what’s next—this book was a guide to feeling a little less alone and a little more aware of all that was going on for me in my inner world and mental landscape. Highly recommend for new and expecting parents.
Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool, by Emily Oster. Another winner from Emily, a book that deals with so many of the conflicting parenting choices that can come up when raising young kids. From vaccinations (get them!) to screen time (not as bad as everyone says) to her personal household management tools (asana, #geekalert), to whether or not sleep training is something you choose to do (your choice, and kids are fine either way)—I love the way she presents data and evidence and shows how to make choices within a range of evidence, and why many choices can be the ‘right’ choice in some cases. I think her Expecting Better book was such a standout; this one repeated the idea of “using that data” a few too many times (in my opinion), but on the whole was a great read and very informative.
Forward: A Memoir, by Abby Wambach. I LOVED this book. It was easy to read, fluid, and the story just unfolded over the pages. Abby shares her memoir and the inside of her journey as a gay teenager to her soccer playing to her addictions and struggles on and off the field. One of the longest USA champion players and a dominant force on the soccer field, Abby is an incredible leader and powerful voice in our generation.
Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game, by Abby Wambach. Short, sweet, and punchy: this book is the manifesto companion to her memoir. This is a rally call for girls and women everywhere to become a unit, to band together, and to join the wolfpack.
Articles that stood out: The Truth About A World Built For Men
Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad, by Austin Kleon. I’m a huge fan of Austin’s work and books, and loved this book overall. I keep it on my nightstand because the cover is a mantra to my life right now: Slow down, okay, but don’t stop. Just keep going. At times I wished I could hear more of Mr. Kleon’s voice—the number of quotes and assembly of characters was well-done, but almost too well done. I wanted to know more of what he thought, too. Still a solid, wonderful book.
All The Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership, by Darcy Lockman.
Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work, by Jenny Brown.
🎧 Podcast episode with Jenny Brown coming!
Little Fires Everywhere
The Body Has Its Reasons.
The Making of A Manager
The Library Book
Dare To Lead, by Brené Brown.
Brave, by Rose McGowan.
City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Books I want to read next: Birth Strike. Programmed Inequality. Hunger, by Roxane Gay. How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin. Eloquent Rage, by Brittney Cooper. Dare To Lead, by Brene Brown. Overcoming Underearning, by Barbara Stanney.