Good Mama Reads

While I was in grad school I noted a comment that my supervisor used in regards to his wife. He said, “she’s a voracious reader.” Wow. I thought, I want to be a voracious reader! I want my husband to describe me that way to others!

At any rate, fast forward a few years, I’m a housewife and as passionate about learning as ever. In fact, sometimes I can’t wait to crawl into bed in the evenings to crack open my kindle to read one of the several books that are waiting on my Amazon shelf. I must confess, though, that the content that gets me these days is far different than when I was young, single and plotting to save the world one English lesson at a time.

Now I get excited about books that give me tips on helping my daughter learn more, sleep better and get her out of diapers sooner. I’ve found that I’ve turned into a bit of a hippy mom that all started with a homebirth that I certainly never would have dreamed of for myself a decade ago! Additionally, I think I’m reliving my childhood and reading the classics I avoided like the plague and shoved aside for stupid Goosebumps that surely did nothing for my brain cell development.

So here you have a random sampling of books that have been helpful and enjoyable reads for me in the past few years.  Happy reading fellow voracious readers.


Little Women– Ah…. My all-time favorite book. Is there anything sweeter than spending an evening with Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy? Not only do I love this book for leisure, but I find that the poignant lessons I take away from reading it each time helpful in my own personal development. I especially recommend this read in the months leading  up to Christmas. And it’s free on Kindle! 

Heidi– As of late I was craving a sweet, simple read. Heidi seemed to fit the bill and I must say I’m so glad I decided to read it. It’s a delightfully charming book, and in the first few chapters I’ve already learned a new word which is humbling considering it’s a children’s book. Wondering about the word? Obdurate.  I’m still reading, but I think as each chapter charms me more and more, this is quickly making my top five list of favorite books. Also free on Kindle! 

East of Eden– Okay, this may be an odd addition. I read this book while I was pregnant with Ellie and on vacation with my husband. It was the end of the summer, and the thought of reading another no-brainer book wasn’t quite appealing. So, I picked up a pretty recent classic and dived in. Oh this has  opened up a can of worms for me. I think I can never be satisfied by modern literature again, although I hope to be proved wrong in that! This book isn’t as light as some of my other favorites, but deeply poignant and easy to read.

The Know it All– This book redeems modern literature. It’s hilarious, hard to put down, and quite educational. The story goes that there is a guy who sets off to read the entire encyclopedia in a year and this book chronicles his journey. You’ll learn some interesting facts along the way that you might be able to drop at dinner parties in the near future. I reread this book occasionally just for the fun of it.

From Muhammed to Burj Khalifa: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History– My husband wrote this book that highlights important factoids in the history of the Middle East to help we readers understand how those facts relate to us and modern day history as it’s unfolding. I think he’s taken what can be considered a pretty heady topic and made it understandable to the average Joe (or Jane!) while adding bits of humor along the way. A good book to shake up the usual repertoire breastfeeding and childrearing books!

All in: From Refugee Camp to Poker Champ– I’m sure I’m not the only one out there that sometimes needs a kick in the rear end to remind me how great my life is. This book absolutely challenged me and my sometimes sour attitude. It follows the life of Jerry Wang from small child nearly suffering from starvation in Laos to being the poker champion of the world in Las Vegas a few decades later. Sounds a bit random, and it is. But it’s also absolutely a fascinating and a compelling story nonetheless.

Nourishing traditions– My all-time favorite cookbook. This book isn’t just a collection of recipes but rather a great informational tool on the why and how of cooking with nourishing, traditional foods. You’ll learn a little bit about some people groups around the globe that are known for their longevity, and also get to learn a bit about the food they consume that helps them to obtain such a healthy standard of living.

Slow and Steady get me Ready– This book is great for moms like me who are excited to be my child’s tour guide to the world, but not always certain how to do that. This book gives you an idea for one activity per week that is appropriate for your child’s skill level. For example, my daughter is 12.5 months old. This book gave me the idea to teach her how to take items out of a bag and to put them back in. She now can walk across the room to fetch a flower and walk to the other side of the room to put the flower in the bag. This means shared clean-up. Hooray!

I have tons more to share, but that should be a good start for now. Let me know how you enjoy them. Also, any other good reads to add to my list?



About Melissa

Melissa is a wife, mama and fan of all things Turkey. Among other adventures, Melissa loves living life in Turkey while raising her daughters. On IstanbulMoms you can hear about her adventures and escapades, tips for success, strategies for untangling the culture, and ideas for enjoying life in Istanbul to the fullest.

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