5 Books That Stuck With Me

Hopefully, the weather is getting chilly where you are - and if so, send it my way. Fall is my favorite time of year, period, bar none, but it's also my favorite time of year to curl up with a good book. 


When my babies were small, I never had (or made) time to read. I was "on" 24/7, exhausted, feeling like a failure at All The Things, surviving on coffee and unfinished scraps of my kids' pre-chopped meals. But about four years, it occurred to me that: 

a) self care is essential to survival and reading = self care for me.

b) audiobooks are a THING and I have a smartphone and earbuds - I can "read" a book while doing laundry and dishes and meal prep and editing

c) the kids were more self sufficient and needed sliiiiiightly less of my all consuming attention for their survival needs to be met.


(photo by

Davina Fear

of me and my Baby Disasterface)

So I joined a serious book club (BOOK CLUB FOREVER, those girls are my PEOPLE), made yearly reading goals (and MET THEM), and remembered why I majored in English (and theatre, but that's another story) in the first place. Four years later, I'm devouring everything I can get my hands on - even though I'm busier than ever - because it's important and I prioritize it. You gotta make time for what matters, whatever it takes. 

So here are 5 books that I can't shake; they've stuck with me and brought beauty, clarity, grace, insight, and new perspectives - some of them all at once. 

  • I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy

  • If you're desperately needing hope and joy like I am, I highly recommend this book by the ancient Sufi poet Hafiz. No matter your religious tradition or personal creed, his message of love for all and self and God, and intimate friendship with the Creator is beautiful.

  • The JapaneseLover

  • Isabel Allende is one of my favorite authors; this book is so lyrical and unexpected and poignant. It's historical and present day and some of the loveliest fiction I've read all year.

  • Gilead

  • Oh my friends. Read this book immediately. It is good for the soul. Sad and beautiful and kind and just the perfect balance of heartache and joy. The writing is stunningly beautiful; the main character feels like a dear friend; the story is quiet and lovely.

  • The Bright Hour

  • As the subtitle says, this is a memoir of living and dying. Poet Nina Riggs journals through her battle with cancer, and her thoughts on death and memory and living a life well lived. It's real, it's raw, it will break your heart. I sobbed through several of my son's baseball practices reading this on the bleachers.

  • Braving the Wilderness

  • I know, I know - this one changed EVERYONE'S life and absolutely everyone has read it and it's nothing new - but I snatched it up as soon as it came out and poured over it twice. This is the book I need in my life, like every day. Brené Brown is a genius.

Currently reading: Less by Andrew Sean Greer; Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff; Devotions by Mary Oliver. 


(some of my favorites from last year)


Emily Lapish is a family documentarian and birth photographer in Chattanooga, TN. She likes storms, coffee, and bulky sweaters. To book your session or consultation, click here

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