On My Nightstand | Fall 2014

Healthy 2014 Booklist

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an avid book reader, but only non-fiction. I know this irks some of my novel-reading friends as the last time I read a fiction book was probably in high school for English class (if you don’t count the bazillion times I’ve read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my two boys over the years, even though I think there are some undeniable non-fiction elements hidden in that one — caterpillars eating ice cream? I’m sure somewhere around the world caterpillars have eaten ice cream). I’ve also noticed that I’ve been reading more since we’ve gotten rid of our cable/satellite, even though I still wonder where the time has gone by the end of the day?!?

So, in keeping with my non-fiction tradition, my nightstand is currently overflowing with books about food, healthy lifestyles, design, and God. I’ll admit I rarely read books from start to finish (a perk of reading non-fiction!) and always read them simultaneously, which means it takes me awhile to get through them all. Right now, here’s what’s been keeping me up late at night.

1 | Eat, Move, Sleep | Tom Rath

This book is all about making small changes in the way you eat, move and sleep in order to make big changes in your health, mood, productivity and life overall. I used to love watching Oprah whenever she’d have some sort of health guru like Dr. Oz or Bob Greene on her show. It was always a nice kick in the butt for me to start exercising more or watching what I eat. So, this book was a great read with lots of studies about how our lack of movement and carb-overloaded diets are slowly killing us. My husband would never read a book like this on his own, so before bed, I periodically read aloud little tidbits of knowledge for him, like the detriments of eating fried and barbecued foods — I know he appreciates it in his own special way ;) 

2 | The Oh She Glows Cookbook | Angela Liddon

This is a vegan cookbook based off the author’s blog, Oh She Glows. Although I’m not vegan (tried that & failed miserably), I’m always wanting to eat less meat and incorporate more veggies into my diet. Plus the pictures in this book are really well-done, which is unfortunately not true of many vegan cookbooks with very unpleasant looking pictures of their food. Why does healthy food often get portrayed so terribly? Anyways, I made her Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies and had my friend and her meat-eating husband try one. They scarfed down about a half dozen of them between the two of them, so I’d say that recipe was a keeper. 

3 | The Paleo Kitchen | Juli Bauer & George Bryant

I am not a paleo nor do I necessarily agree with everything paleos choose to eat in their diet, but I think there is lot to learn from paleos and their food choices. I appreciate their desire to avoid processed foods, refined oils and sugars and eat fruits and vegetables, but I do like my beans and prefer to go easy on the meat. This cookbook has a lot of mouth-watering photography and simple ingredients, which are a great plus for real-world cooks like myself. There are also tips about what to eat, what to buy and equipment to use, all in a fun design with illustrations. It’s hard to resist Cinnamon Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread or Candied Bacon. Cauliflower Rice is next on my to-make list!

4 | Anything | Jennie Allen

I actually read the book that was written after this, Restless, first because I was too afraid to read this one. The tagline for this book is “The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul.” For those of you who are Christ-followers, you know that praying to God that you’d be willing to do anything He calls you to do is a very scary thing. I am constantly searching for my purpose in this world and how I can be used by God to love Him and love others, but it’s no easy task to say to God that you’ll do anything that He calls you to. I am learning a lot through this book, both about myself and about God, and I especially encourage any Christian to read it — it will shake up your life — in a good way!

5 | Show Your Work | Austin Kleon  

The tagline (I love these little one-line synopses) for this book is “10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered,” and it’s mainly about the importance of artists sharing their work and ideas to not only help each other, but also to promote their work. He uses tips like “You don’t have to be a genius,” “Teach what you know,” and “Share something small every day” to help readers learn how to engage with their audience and to share their work and process without all the ugly self-promotion that so many us are uncomfortable doing. He has also written the book, Steal Like an Artist, which is another easy and inspiring read for artists and designers about creativity. I personally love sharing resources and ideas, but often feel like I don’t have much to offer or that everyone already knows this information. However, we all have something to share whether we are experts or not, which is how my Tips and Tricks posts started.

Anyone read any good books lately or have books you’d like to recommend? I’d love to hear about it! Also, check out my other On My Nightstand posts for other late night read ideas!


  1. I’m a book scavenger, Neely. On my nightstand is a stack of novels, mostly thrillers, that I’ve found in various building lobbies (in non-doormen buildings in NYC, neighbors frequently place their no-longer wanted items in the lobby, on the premise that one neighbor’s discard is another neighbor’s found treasure). Each night, I read aloud to my sweet husband who’d never read a novel in his life until I corrupted him! xoxoM

    • What a cool idea to swap books — I’ve seen that recently in bakeries and other little shops. I’ve heard thrillers are great fun to read — I’ll have to give one of those a try sometime :). And how sweet that you’d read to your husband — my husband is the same way — he’ll only read something if someone forces him ;)

  2. I’ve been reading “The smartest kids in the world and how they got that way” by Amanda Ripley and “Dinner: the playbook” by Jenny Rosenstrach. Both pretty interesting and keeping me busy!

    • Those books look really interesting! I’d love to read The Smartest Kids as I read NutureShock which was really fascinating. I also enjoyed Jenny Rosentrach’s other book, Dinner: A Love Story, so the one you recommended will be something I hope to read, too! Thanks for sharing :)

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