Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

February 13, 2013

On My Nightstand

Some of you might have noticed to note-to-self I included in Project Life 2013 | Week Five about reading more. I go through phases where I’m completely immersed in reading and others where the last thing in the world I want to do at the end of the day is pick up a book. I definitely feel ready to carve out some time again. The words are calling to me and the pile on my nightstand has been growing tall.

As you read my book list below you might notice that they are all non-fiction. That’s where I’m at right now. The common themes are openness, bravery, courage, mindfulness, taking action and memoir. These are the things that I want to fill my head with, what I want to invite into my life as I take the next steps on my own crazy, glorious adventure.

Here’s what’s currently there to read (or in-progress):

What are you guys reading now?

I’m super excited that Cathy’s 12-week workshop Clean & Simple is open for registration.

Here’s a bit about the class:

Say goodbye to your rulers and hello to a solution that allows you to use Photoshop Elements (or Photoshop) to build scrapbook pages in the digital method, which you’ll print and piece together—using additional supplies from your stash—to create beautiful hybrid layouts. Digital sketching has been the core of Cathy’s approach since her very first layout, and it’s a key part of the Clean & Simple process. You’ll learn how to use Photoshop Elements to plan and design pages, just like Cathy does.

Read more and sign up here.


  • 1.
    dawn said…

    Thanks for the lists of books, I will have to check our library for them. I go thru stages of reading too, winter is the best time for reading.
    Happy Reading!

  • 2.
    Janet Kemper said…

    I have read Wild and Daring Greatly and loved both. I have a Field Guide to Now and just have not read it yeat. Currently I am reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t Stop talking by Susan Cain, and also a novel Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I have a goal to read 52 books this year! So far on track.

    • ….
      Karen said…

      I absolutely loved Quiet! It is a must for every parent, teacher, or supervisor. I would recommend it to everyone, actually, because if you’re not an introvert you know someone that is! It will give you great understanding about introverts and how WHAT you are (introvert/extrovert) effects your life. Also, I just started Gone Girl yesterday! I heard it was a must read!

  • 3.
    rossana said…

    I’m reading “Middlesex” of Jeffrey Eugenides. really a story that absorbe me.

  • 4.
    stephanie said…

    Have you read Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lammott? SO good. Very encouraging for life in general, and she is hilarious.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I have – long time favorite.

  • 5.
    Katrina said…

    I’ve read Daring Greatly, A Field Guide to Now, and Broken Open – loved them all. I recently read Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lammott – highly recommend. Carry On Warrior, by Glennon Melton is fantastic (but it doesn’t release until April). I’m currently re-reading Soul Centered by Sarah McLean. It’s an excellent resource if you’re interest in meditation.

  • 6.
    Suzie Perrie said…

    I’m in the middle of Daring Greatly, and it’s wonderful!

  • 7.
    {vicki} said…

    Broken Open is on my to read list.

    I’m off to a slow start this year—I’ve only read 7 books so far—last year I read 77 books—My very fave was

    BLACK HEELS TO TRACTOR WHEELS by Ree Drummund (the Pioneer Woman)—if you have not read it—Its a must—HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!

  • 8.
    Mel said…

    My One Little Word for this year is writing, and I made a commitment to read one writing book per month. For this month, I’m re-reading Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg and re-learning a connection to how the mind works that I’d forgotten. I’m also reading the third in a Nora Roberts trilogy for fun. Thanks for sharing your reading list. Some of those books sound like ones I need to get my hands on.

  • 9.
    molly said…

    Hi Ali!

    Non-fiction is my usual. I’m reading Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford. Good insights. It’s meeting my mind well.

    Also: To Kill a Mockingbird

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Oh that sounds interesting. I also grabbed To Kill A Mockingbird and put it on my table last month – wanting to re-read that one this year.

  • 10.
    j. said…

    Oh….you will adore Wild…one of my favorites from last year. My book choices look very much like yours…and several are the same. I just finished Bend not Break…a very good memoir. Just finished Twelve Tribes of Hattie and also The Last Runaway……excellent…both books! Thanks for the Broken Open title. Remember, when you are reading to the kids, “that counts” for reading more! :) And it is double “good” as you get to snuggle and spend time with the kids. Enjoy your reading time.

  • 11.
    J Allen said…

    I read several books at once…maybe not the best thing to do but none the less that’s how I do it!

    I’m reading Wild, Long Walk to Freedom, and The Girl That Played With Fire. I have started and stopped the last so many times, I will complete it this time!

    At the beginning of the year I made a list of things I wanted to do this year. One was read more, at least a book a month.

    By the way my night stand looks like the local branch library!!!

  • 12.
    Cathy L. said…

    I listened to “Wild” on audiobook. Very interesting. I also go through phases where I devour books, then sometimes when I pick one up I can’t keep my eyes open!

  • 13.
    Jen said…

    I love these posts… Such a wealth of recommendations plus the comments are so helpful, too! Thanks for sharing, I’ve added quite a few to my wish list!

    I’m reading The Thirteenth Tale for my book club, and Daring Greatly.

  • 14.
    Michelle M. said…

    I LOVE sharing what we are reading. My favorite author (Kristin Hannah) does that over on Facebook and I love hearing what other people are reading. I just finished my 11th book this year and am debating about what to read.

  • 15.
    Suz said…

    @Ali: Thank you for sharing this list and your thoughts on reading. I, too, have a very tall collection of reads atop my nightstand. Right now I am reading Resolve, (by Jenni Hufford’s grandpa). I like to mix in some non-fiction with my fiction reading here and there and I am enjoying his memoir. My oldest son, Ian, is reading To Kill a Mockingbird for his Honors English class in 9th grade. I am so enjoying that he wants to tell me all about it after school and in the evenings and that he outwardly says he really likes the book. So cool to be able to stay connected through reading at the age he’s at. Such a blessing! Going to savor those little moments as much as possible.
    Also, I find I read much more in the early months of the year then spring/summer when it’s all about family and friends and outdoor activities.I will go weeks reading a book or two a week, and then it will be like one a month during the summer. Ah, well…the ebb and flow of life!
    Thanks again for sharing!
    Take care you.

  • 16.
    Angie said…

    I’m an avid reader (I typically read 80-100 books a year), but decided to devote myself to two projects this year. One is my Jane Austen project- I’m rereading all of her novels (Pride & Prejudice is my absolute favorite book) as well as reading several biographies of her and her surviving letters. I really want to immerse myself into her life to better understand her books.

    My other project is to read all of the Pulitizer Prize winners for Fiction. I’ve already read To Kill a Mockingbird and Gone With the Wind (two big faves of mine as well) and I’m reading The Good Earth next.

    • ….
      Kathy L said…

      The Good Earth was a great book. I loved it.

  • 17.
    Patti L said…

    I go thru phases with reading too, but I tend to go from book to book, even tho the genres change. I have the easy read type series which are crime mysteries and can be finished in a day at the beach, then there are those much longer ones. Best book I read recently was Stephen King’s 11/22/63, a time travel tale about the JFK assassination. I’m not the biggest King fan overall, but that was good. I find I have been drawn to time travel in books, movies, stories lately.
    Right now I’m reading Les Miserables. I try to read one classic a year, it takes me a long time but I’m ok with that.
    Thanks for the non-fiction suggestions!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Oh Les Mis – I have it and I still want to read it – totally on my list.

    • ….
      Kathy L said…

      I share your goal of reading one classic a year. Well worth the effort. This year for me it is Pride and Prejudice.

  • 18.
    emily ruth said…

    icarus is in my pile, too (i love seth, his daily emails are so wonderful!)
    ‘the painted girls’ which i can’t wait to dive into…
    ‘the house at teynsford’ which is my book club book this month & very downtony…
    i have great hopes of reading ‘the great gatsby’ before the movie comes out…
    & i found ‘naked’ by david sedaris at goodwill & threw it on the pile too :)
    hooray for reading!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Great Gatsby is my all-time favorite.

  • 19.
    emily ruth said…

    oh & ‘wild’ is so wonderful! especially as an oregonian. you can picture places (or at least know generally where they are :)
    her book of her advice column ‘tiny beautiful things’ is absolutely heart squeezing. highly highly recommend (& it’s non-fiction, too, so it wouldn’t break your trend :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Oh I didn’t know about the advice column – thanks Em!

  • 20.
    Leslie said…

    I just finished Wild, you will love it. It’s an amazing journey.

  • 21.
    Cori said…

    I loved Rowing It Alone by Debra Veal and I think you would like it too!

  • 22.
    dona B said…

    That’s an awesome list of books. Wild was my favorite read from last year. I’m just finishing Joseph Anton, Salman Rushdie’s biography of his years under the fatwa. Fascinating on many levels. I’m planning to start Daring Greatly next!

  • 23.
    Carmel Keane said…

    Would love to suggest to you “The Art of Deliberate Success”
    All about being mindful and very Deliberate in our daily actions to achieve what ever it is we wish for. Available on Amazon and here is the website:

  • 24.
    Terianne said…

    I recently read The Journal Keeper by Phyllis Theroux — it’s excerpts from her journal, and maybe because I’m an avid journaler, I found it very engaging. I also really enjoyed The Writing Life by Ellen Gilchrist.

  • 25.
    Melissa said…

    Ali I wanted to say thank you for posting these books. I sometimes skim your blogs as I don’t typically scrapbook but find your work inspiring for the paper crafting I create. The most impactful was when my curiousity about Brene Brown. I typically, well never read non fiction. I watched her TED videos. I can’t tell you how it resinated in me where I am in my life. How hard it is to be vulnerable because then I am weak. She is smart,articulate, humerous and real. I cried I laughed. I think I was mean’t to see this today and get through the stuff I currently dealing with. I know being vulnerable is one of the hardest things for me to do. I know I will be thinking about this for some time. Maybe even journal about.

    Again thank you

    • ….
      Ali said…

      So glad to read this Melissa. I love when things come right at the time we need to see/read/experience them.

  • 26.
    Jenny said…

    I have been trying to read some of the books my boys have been reading. I loved to read and still do, but less often, but all my books are “girl” books: Anne of Green Gables, Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew. I just finished the first 3 Guardian books by William Joyce. It was nice to read something that level for a change and not heavy as real life is at times.

  • 27.
    Sarah said…

    Thanks for sharing these! I’ve actually been digging through your site for some of your previous reading lists! I need more ideas!

  • 28.
    Hilary said…

    I’m reading The Happiness Project and I’m looking forward to reading her 2nd book, Happier At Home. I recently finished On Gold Mountain which is an interesting family history.
    I have a large stack of books to get through, mostly fiction, but also some non…The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lack and Invictus are in there as well as a couple of Stephen King and Jodi Picoult books and even a few classics I’ve never gotten around to reading (Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility). If only there were more hours in the day!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      The Henrietta Lacks book is a favorite.

  • 29.
    Debbie said…

    Perfect opportunity to say thank you, I’ve been meaning to tell you that. I first heard of Brene on your blog, then saw her on Katie and am now reading her books. It takes time to read them as they are quite thought provoking. I just love that the two of you value “wholeheartedness”. It is what is all about. It is so nice to have my thoughts validated. We all have our not so perfect moments and you and Brene are there to inspire us on. What a wonderful gift your friendship is to each other. Thanks as always for your inspiration!

  • 30.
    Michele said…

    Wild is a great book. Just picked up QUIET and looking forward to reading that one.

  • 31.
    Kathy L said…

    Ali this was a great post. Inspired by what is on everyone’s list. Your approach with a book list related to your OLW is a great idea. Thank you for sharing.

  • 32.
    Linda E said…

    I read Wild on vacation last summer and loved it!

  • 33.
    Glenda J said…

    I too have a long list and never read enough (I should be doing that right now). Thanks for sharing your list. I’m currently reading Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell… cool book. Thanks for sharing… always love your inspiration.

  • 34.
    Elizabeth A said…

    You have to read “The Language of Flowers”… a great story with the meaning of flowers intertwined throughout!

  • 35.
    falwyn said…

    Some favorite books of mine: The Orchid Thief; Princess Academy and Book of a Thousand Days (both by Shannon Hale); The Last Unicorn; the Little House books.

    I love keeping track of my books on

    I’ve also started listening to audiobooks (mostly through and I am really enjoying that, especially on long car rides. My kids loved The Secret Garden (the Yorkshire accent is so much fun in audiobook form!) and Lord of the Rings, and we are listening to the Ramona books now.

  • 36.
    Paula said…

    I am reading Sensational Kids: Hope and Help for Children With Sensory Processing Disorder – it’s not a new book, but it is really helping me work through challenges with my 15 year old daughther who has Aspergers and anxiety/panic. I am also reading The Maze Runner series aloud with my daughter, which has been great fun! If you liked The Hunger Games, you’ll probably like The Maze Runner!

  • 37.
    Bonney said…

    Ali, you have a great bedside pile of books. I also love reading all the responses here with many great suggestions. I tend to read more non-fiction than fiction. One title that has stayed at the top of my “recommend to all who will listen” list is Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down about “a Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures.” Riveting and thought provoking on so many levels.

    Fiction I would recommend includes anything by Louise Erdrich (recently finished The Round House, am rereading Tracks), Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson, and Brooklyn by Colm Toibin.

  • 38.
    Melanie A. said…

    I am currently in the middle of two books…A Dog Named Boo and Beyond Ordinary; When a Good Marriage Just Isn’t Good enough

    I too love to read and have stacks waiting on me and can never resist getting more. Someone mentioned The Happiness Project, that is on the list.

  • 39.
    Evelinne Lopes said…

    Just finished Gone Girl, it is AMAZING!! I will be done with Thirteen Reasons Why today, very good too. Ali, you would love an app called GOODREADS, it’s so cool, you can keep track of your books, and you can be friends with people and there is reviews, it’s so cool!

  • 40.
    Darby said…

    Great reading list! I love Brene Brown’s books. I am reading A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver, Poemcrazy by Susan Wooldridge, and Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach

    A favorite author of mine is Paulo Coehlo…favorites of his books are – The Pilgrimage, The Alchemist, The Valkyries, and By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept.

  • 41.
    Sarah said…

    I often search your blog to see when you make reading lists like this one… I have so many of your recommendations on my bookshelf as well as those from the comments. Thanks for sharing everybody!!

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