Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

April 14, 2014

For The Love Of Books | Reading Updates


Are you guys one-book-at-a-time readers? Right now I’ve got multiple books going and sometimes I think that’s a good thing (nice to have choices based on mood, time available, etc) and other times it feels like I just lack commitment.

Either way, one of the things I wanted to make happen for myself this year was to read more books and I’m definitely making it happen.

I’m a big non-fiction reader – it’s just what I’m most interested in reading right now. I like reading about the way people think and work and I like reading memoirs and stories of real people. That said, it’s hard to beat a great fiction story.

Here’s a look at what I’ve got going on right now:


  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain | The first fiction book I’ve read in quite a long time and man was I consumed. I studied American Literature in college (my degree is in American Studies – literature, history, and political science) so I’m definitely familiar with Ernest. I read this one when Aaron and I went to Hawaii and I had to tell him more than once that he was going to need to let me know if he wanted some conversation because otherwise I was going to be immersed in this story. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
  • Notes From A Blue Bike: The Art Of Living Intentionally In A Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider | I’ve been a longtime fan and daily reader of Tsh’s blog (formerly and now There’s always a dose of something good on there. As I wrote above, I like reading true stories and learning about the how’s and why’s of their lives (choices, values, lifestyles, how they overcomes challenges, etc). I’m interested in simplicity and living with less and family time and all these topics were covered in Tsh’s book.




These are ones I’ve started or pick up here and there and haven’t made it all the way through just yet or are the one’s I want to start soon.

I’m also back on Goodreads if you want to follow along and see what I’m reading, what I’ve read, and what’s on my to-read list.


  • 1.
    Michelle t. said…

    I generally like to read off the grid English mysteries for fiction. But right now I’m muddling thru The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron. Big huge lightbulb moment for me. Realizing the kind of person I am and little hints to get by has started to make a difference. Couple other books on my nightstand about mothering with chronic illness rounds out the list. Michelle t

  • 2.
    A. Sanborn said…

    Our family joined where you can track, rate and join up with friends for encouragement.

    Check it out…

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Yep – I’m on there. I mentioned it at the end of my post :) .

    • ….
      Tracy said…

      Yes!! I love Good Reads too. I love the different shelves you can have. I have read, to read/own, to buy.

  • 3.
    Elizabeth said…

    My sister just got hired on as a contributing writer for The Art of Simple : ) I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book. All of his books are so fascinating to me–he is such a good storyteller.

  • 4.
    Nicole said…

    Ali, you and I enjoy/have read many of the same books. I recommend the book to add to your list to read, “The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old with Autism”. This is a book originally written by a Japanese child with autism (Naoki Higashida), but translated by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell in English.

  • 5.
    Meredith said…

    How did you capture yourself reading? I’m the photographer in the house and so there isn’t a lot of pictures.

    • ….
      Kristen said…

      I’m wondering the same thing.

    • ….
      Caroline said…

      My guess is Ali is using a remote trigger for her camera. :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I used a self-timer on an app for my phone called Gorilla Cam. The timer feature works great! I just set it up on a little table near the window and hit the button.

  • 6.
    Bonnie Lamothe said…

    I love this post… I love books and reading. I’m taking a few ideas of books to read from your lists. Thanks for sharing. Also, I’m assuming you used a timer to capture that photo?? I think I will use that idea for a scrapbook LO sometime soon. Enjoy the day!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Bonnie – I used an app for my phone called GorillaCam that has a self-timer feature. Works great!

  • 7.
    Paula said…

    I am on the reading bandwagon too, it is part of my goal for OLW, to feel whole = to do what you love, and since I was given a Kindle Fire for my 50th last year, I have read almost 12 books. It has been one of the best moves I made, seriously.

    I have made it a point to read some “fun” stuff so that when everything feels overwhelming (too often), reading is my escape. I take advantage of some of Prime memberships free library – finished The War Brides recently – enjoyed it. Learned by coincidence while reading it that the moms of 2 of my friends at work actually WERE war brides!

    I’m gonna check out your list on Good Reads!

  • 8.
    kelly X said…

    I loved Bittersweet! Did you read Cold Tangerines? I read both last year and it really helped me get through some difficult stuff. I’m going to read her newest book Bread & Wine this month.

    • ….
      Janet Kemper said…

      Bread and Wine was one of my favorite books I read last year.

    • ….
      Alison D. said…

      I just put Bread and Wine on hold at my local library! Can’t wait to look into the other books you listed :)

    • ….
      Leigh said…

      Bread and Wine was my favorite book of 2013 too. Ali,I imagine after you read Bittersweet you will want to read Cold Tangerines, too.Shauna is an amazing writer. And the recipes in Bread and Wine? Fabulous!

  • 9.
    Lisa said…

    Im close to half way through “Packing light”. Took me a bit to get into, but enjoying now. Hoping to finish this next week while I’m on vacation:) And thank you Ali, I ordered this book and another per your recommendation a month or so ago. Happy reading!!!

  • 10.
    Janet Kemper said…

    I always love reading posts about books! Last year I set a goal to read 52 books. I ended up with quite the mix of fiction, and non- fiction. Die Empty is on my list to read. I love using Goodreads to keep track of what I have read.

  • 11.
    Marge G. said…

    I’m a big time reader, also, and like you am involved in several books at one time. I thought of you today when I read a review of a book called Thrive (your OLW!!!) by Arianna Huffington. It sounds really interesting, and I’ve added it to my wish list on Amazon. You may want to check it out, Ali.

  • 12.
    Sharon F. CA said…

    I totally enjoyed The Paris Wife. You might also like Z, The story about Zelda Fitzgerald.
    I highly recommend, I know it may sound crazy, but both books by Rob zlowe. They are so interesting and very well written. I listen to books on Audible. In his case, he also narrates- his stories in his words and voice. Thanks for sharing your list.

  • 13.
    Kathy said…

    Aaaahhhhh. Brigid Schulte is my boss’ sister! She was in Portland last week for several speaking engagements … none of which I was able to attend. :( Her book is on my summer reading list.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      So far I’m totally engaged – it’s awesome. Let me know if she comes back!

  • 14.
    Tracy said…

    I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but when I do I definitely need a fiction book going at the same time. Sometimes non-fiction books are to wordy, complicated, dry even if they are something you are interested in so have an quick simple fiction on the go is a way to break the monotony.

    Usually I have one fiction on my e-reader and one paper book on the go. More than 2 fiction books and I might start blending them together and get confused.

  • 15.
    J Allen said…

    I’ve most generally read more than one book at a time, one fiction, one nonfiction, and one faith biased, but so far this year I’ve read one book at a time. One of my goals this year is to read more too. Reading just for myself, to increase me in some way, and for no other reason!

    The book I’m reading now is A House In The Sky by Amanda Linhout. It’s a memoir, and WOW! Loving it! Happy reading ;)

  • 16.
    Patti L said…

    I’ve only ever done like 3 at the most at one time, but usually just one. I go through phases also. Some years I read 100 books, other years it’s 20. But I figured out that I am much more balanced and feel better when I’m in the middle of a book. I think the idea that I can get out of my own head for a while is a relief.

    Your choices are interesting, I will have to check some out.

  • 17.
    Caroline said…

    I have a large and growing stack of unread books and not quite so much momentum for reading them! Some books are on my nightstand and some are on my Kindle. I tend to go through “reading phases” and then I’ll work my way through a large number of books in a small amount of time.

    I attended a conference last year where Charles Duhigg spoke, and I ended up winning a copy of his Habit book and meeting him afterwards so he could sign my copy. I’ve dipped into the book (I agree, fascinating topic) but have yet to finish it. I guess procrastination is a habit that’s hard for me to kick! ;-)

  • 18.
    Karen G said…

    The only book I have read on your list is Mr. Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. I found that book fascinating and I think you will too.

  • 19.
    Kathy L said…

    As a busy working mom of 2, how and where do you find time to read? I LOVE to read and am seriously struggling to find the time.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Kathy – it’s what I do when I go to bed. Last year I ended up in the habit of playing games on my phone before bed and I read significantly less as a result. This year I put the phone away and have been reading most nights. I’ve also been carrying my book with me in my bag and pulling it out if I have “waiting” time. Ha. Also when the kids are with Chris I have a little more time as well. And I don’t watch tv. And we also have quiet time where Simon will read, I will read and Anna will look at books on the weekend. Making time ;) .

    • ….
      Kathy L said…

      Ali, Thanks for your tips. They are all things I am capable of…put the phone down, turn off the TV. My son also reads every night, I should just join him. You inspired me to head to our library today, my son is on Spring Break for a few days. Funny enough it is National Library Week! We each renewed our cards, and I took out two of the books that you mentioned; The Paris Wife, and the Power of Habit. Thank you for your continued inspiration. Kathy

  • 20.
    Jenni Hufford said…

    i’m a huge fan of shauna niequist!!! she’s just great!

  • 21.
    Robyn G. said…

    Keep the book posts coming! Love them! For a great fiction book I highly recommend The Light Between Oceans. The best book I’ve read so far this year!

  • 22.
    Tiffany said…

    Just finished Me Before You by JoJo Moyes…loved it! Prior to that I read Cold Tangerines (loved also), Mindy Kahling’s memoir (a fun, fast read), Wild (took me a long time to get through, but enjoyed it) and am just starting The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. Have on my Nook – The Husband’s Secret and Tina Fey’s memoir. Like you, I got back into reading this year and am finding so much gratification. Will head over to Goodreads now. Fun topic with great suggestions as always!

  • 23.
    jeni said…

    I’ve got a few nonfiction books started but usually stick to one book at a time. Currently on my 20th book this year.

  • 24.
    Jennifer said…

    My friends always laugh at how many books I am in the middle of at one time! My friend came over last week and commented on my house being a book haven. I proceeded to count seven books that I am in the middle of right now. I love reading fiction and nonfiction alike and at the same time. Different books for different moods and purposes. I agree with Ali, I carry my iPad around with me at all times in case I have to wait, sometimes it happens and guess what? I have something to do! I would rather read a book than just about any other time filler including TV, cell games, email, web surfing, etc. So current list: The 100 Thing Challenge, Sports Nutrition Guidebook, The Body Book, a marriage book, a devotional, the Bible, What in the World is Going On, and Running & Being. Oh wait, that’s eight!!

  • 25.
    Raylene said…

    Love to read books! I have a few on my iphone and love to dig in while waiting. I have at least half a dozen non fiction, many by Marianne Williamson, but I usually only have one fiction going at a time. I love big series . . . eagerly awaiting Diana Gabaldon’s latest in the Outlander series!! I love fiction that sit around 1000 pages . . . otherwise I speed through and am ready for another!! Game of Thrones for example!

  • 26.
    Katie said…

    I am a librarian – I am ALWAYS reading several books at once. I will quickly drop a book if I am not engaged and pick it up at another time. Thanks for sharing your current reads :)

  • 27.
    christi in ma said…

    I love GoodReads for tracking what I’ve read.
    I mostly read fiction. Non-fiction just isn’t my thing. The best two books I’ve read this year are Resolve by JJ Hensley and Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

  • 28.
    {vicki} said…

    I always have several books going at once. I keep one by my nightstand and read every night before bed to wind down. I have one in the car for times when I’m having to wait for someone/something. Like picking up my son at school or at a doctors office. And if you won’t tell…I keep one at work.

    Just finished Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (enjoyed it)

    Just starting…Tell me the truth, doctor by Richard Besser
    and My cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier ( I LOVE HER BOOKS)

  • 29.
    Aimee O. said…

    I’m just like that! I love non-fiction reading and I always have several books going at one time on various topics. I used to feel like I never finished any of them, but now I combine reading them on my kindle and listening to them on audible during my commute to and from work each day. I find that I really enjoy listening to non-fiction books (I use the audible app). Last year I made it through 30 books or so this way and I finally feel like I’m getting something good and useful out of this time! Fiction I reserve mostly for reading on my kindle–and boy can I become consumed with a good book!! Nothing too serious though–I love a good romantic comedy. Lately, I’ve been reading through the series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, an author my mom turned me on to. Can’t put them down until I’m finished.

  • 30.
    Ruth DeClercq said…

    I’m currently reading ‘Zealot, the life and times of Jesus of Nazerath’ by Reza Aslan. I used to read several books at same time but now find that I have to rest my eyes more often so I read one at my leasure. Favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez..

  • 31.
    Ruth DeClercq said…

    Correction to spelling of above title: ‘Zealot, the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth’ by Reza Aslant.

  • 32.
    Jess said…

    Recently I’ve read ‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers which was an interesting take on extremeist social media. I’m on the last book of the Divergent Series which are pretty good. MUST read the book before the movie. I read a fantastic memoir called ‘Summerlandish’ by Summer Land. A great book with funny, rude and outlandish stories from a 20 something. FANTASTIC read. Also a fan of John Green…. his books are fantastic.
    Looking forward to picking up some of the books listed here for something different. trying to be more concious of reading this year. You can never read too many books. :)

  • 33.
    Karen C said…

    I usually read more than one book at a time. I just finished “Glitter and Glue”. It’s a memoir, a quick read and I really enjoyed it. It had some great insights into motherhood. I’m also reading a YA sci-fi book, a math book, a thriller and I’m going through the Harry Potter books again. I like variety! Reading is great!

    • ….
      michele said…

      Just put Glitter and Glue on hold at the library and just heard this am on NPR “A Year Without Sugar”

    • ….
      Robyn G. said…

      Just starting Glitter and Glue. Loved, loved The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan also!

  • 34.
    Stacy said…

    Great post! I’m an avid reader, so I really enjoyed this…Plus I got some great new books to add to my list!

  • 35.
    {vicki} said…

    Forgot to mention….

    I really love

    It’s great if you don’t want to buy a lot of books. I don’t usually buy books. I use this website and frequent the library often.
    Check it out!

    Also I wanted to recommend a book for Simon
    The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (ITS WONDERFUL–the illustrations are AMAZING!)
    He also has another book called Wonderstruck–its good too.

  • 36.
    Courtney said…

    I’m currently knee-deep in The Paris Wife. It’s not something I usually read, but a friend passed it along. I’m loving it. It’s such an interesting take on that time period. It is definitely one you can’t put down.

    I just finished The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and it is a MUST read!

  • 37.
    Angelia said…

    I’m one book at a time reader! I have not read much in past 3 years since my mother’s passing. It’s been very hard concentrating on the stories and characters. It was something she and I always loved doing and sharing the context of each book we finished. As a young child I started out having trouble reading, she put me in a special program at school and purchased some books that she thought would interest me (such a smart woman) and have read ever since. I remember days where she and I would sit on the couch reading in total silence but I always loved that! Anyway, I do keep buying new releases from my favorite authors and I know one day I will get back in the routine and enjoy the solitude reading provides. I find it so awesome that you block time for your son to read, it’s so important in life! As a mother of 3 girls myself, I have always instilled that into my childrens minds. If you can read, you can do anything!

  • 38.
    Beth Hardage said…

    I love fiction mostly and usually have several books waiting to be read – both electronic and the kind you can read in the bathtub !:) What I have found most interesting lately is what leads me to read certain books. I have read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt which led to books on art history. The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan – I am a long time fan of her books. Listening to Sirius XM Radio Classics led me to read Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man, I Sing the Body Electric, and am now reading The Martian Chronicles.

    My non-fiction reading consists mostly of true crime books by Ann Rule and others. I am fascinated by what makes people do the things they do. Another favorite non-fiction writer is Oliver Sacks. The human brain is wonderfully complex!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I love when one book leads to another too.

  • 39.

    I may have two books going at the same time but they will have to be completely different genres or it’s too confusing! I have Notes from a Blue Bike on my to-read stack right now (which has about 10 books on it) I read The Paris Wife and it was great! My dad’s favorite author is Hemingway (he was an english major) so I grew up hearing all about Ernest so it was a fun read. I think you will like “Habit” I read it last year. I have “overwhelmed” and “die empty” on my to-read list. Just spent this morning weeding through 2months worth of NYT book reviews and have a nice little stack of notes of books to read!

  • 40.
    Lindsey said…

    I’m a few chapters into The Paris Wife and I can tell that it’s going to be really fabulous! I underline passages that stand out to me and needless to say, the pen has been out a lot for this one! Just ordered Bittersweet and can’t wait for it to arrive!

  • 41.
    Lisa P said…

    I am a one at a time reader usually but right now I have three going! One is a fiction, another is a book a friend and I are reading together and the last is dealing with some specific situations in my family right now. By the way, I have read Bittersweet and you won’t be disappointed. My friend sent it to me during a tough time. Good read.

  • 42.
    Kathleen said…

    Had to chime in on the post about reading…I tend to rotate between fiction and memoir or self-help. I am currently reading Brene’ Brown’s Daring Greatly…it took forever to get it from my library as there were so many “holds” on it. I just got an email from Amazon recommending books and one of them just seemed to call your name…it is called THRIVE by Arianna Huffington. It sounds so good and I know it is your OLW for 2014.

  • 43.
    Andrea said…

    I read “The Paris Wife” and I also was CONSUMED in it. I read constantly and I just couldn’t put that one down for anything. I’m glad that you enjoyed it.

  • 44.
    telisj said…

    The Night Circus is fantastic! I highly recommend this fiction book. So creative and engaging. Had to read it in two days! :) Love your reading posts!

  • 45.
    Alison D. said…

    Ali, I used your list to make a display at the bookstore I work at on the weekends. :) Thanks for the inspiration. This morning I read “Carry On, Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Melton it was fantastic!

  • 46.
    Gayle said…

    So glad to know there’s another American Studies major out there!

  • 47.
    Cherylle said…

    Since I was a kid (WAY back in the 60s), I have kept what I called a writer’s notebook. I did this on my own without any prompting or guidance. When I was teaching third grade, I was introduced to Ralph Fletcher and his books; among them was A Writer’s Notebook in which he detailed how writers write. I was amazed that I had been doing something right–I kept a gripe list, copies of my poetry, and lists ad infinitum to aid me in my writing (I was an English major). Just recently, I was introduced (through the written word) to a young writer who had done in her young life what I had already done in mine many years before. I believe she did it naturally. I ordered her book, a collection of poems, stories and essays, which was published posthumously after she graduated Yale. That book, The Opposite of Loneliness, blew me away! I could not do a review justice, so I suggest you and anyone else check it out. Even the reviews touched my heart.

    • ….
      Cherylle said…

      I forgot to add the author’s name–Marina Keegan, The Opposite of Loneliness.

  • 48.
    Tinka said…

    I’m mainly a one book at a time reader because once I start I don’t usually stop reading until I reach the end. But the last few months I’ve found myself more easily distracted and actually had three books going at the same time! In the past couple weeks, I’ve read the Divergent series, Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green,Evidence of Life and Safekeeping by Barbara Taylor Sissel, two travel guides for Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands (!), along with several historical romances and a couple contemporary romances. I am about 2/3s through 12 Years a Slave. The waiting-to-be-read list includes The Letter by Marie Tillman, Orange is the New Black, The Night Circus, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Feng Shui Simply by Cheryl Grace, Breakfast with the Birds by Jack G Hyman, and several others. :-)

  • 49.

    Ali, have you read The Accidental Creative also by Todd Henry? Just curious. I have Die Empty on my wish list.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I’ve read some of it and listened to some of it – I like his style for sure.

  • 50.
    Noreen said…

    I have read several of the books on your list & have several of those on my own “to read” list!! Shauna Niequist is one of my favorite writers & I think you will enjoy any of her books. I LOVED the Paris Wife also….and then I felt so in the know when I saw Midnight in Paris hahaha!! I read that at the beach several years ago – it’s wonderful.

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