5 Mini Book Reviews


Every so often I share a list of the books I’ve been stacking on my nightstand. Have you read any of them? Share your thoughts in the comments! NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase a book, I’ll receive a small commission.

Over Easter weekend my parents were visiting, so we packed up the car (dog included) for a family trip to Asheville. This mountain town has been on my list to visit ever since we decided to make the move to North Carolina, and I’m already scheming up ways to get ourselves back there soon. Before our trip I finished reading a book about Biltmore estate (see below!) which was a wonderful primer to better understanding the glamorous Gilded Age. Read on for more of the books I’ve recently finished reading.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
What caught me off guard about this book in a really good way was how it managed to make what appears to be an ordinary story in suburbia so intricate, layered, and compelling. When it ended, I was actually a little bit sad. I wanted to keep going. I wanted what the characters had set in motion to continue on the page instead of my imagination. Luckily, the novel’s being turned into a Hulu miniseries soon so that should help fill the void.

Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
This book has been on my “to read” list since it came out in 2017. (It was actually published the same day as Eat This Poem!) What a beautiful novel. The story is filled with a lot of longing and heartache, and a few sections were difficult to get through, but there were also threads of hope throughout, and I quickly felt invested in the characters, particularly Li-yan, following her quest to become the first woman in her family to become educated, her travels from rural China to Los Angeles, her ascent into the world of tea trading, and how her choices affected her for years to come.

Maybe the things that have happened to me are punishment for what I did in a previous life, maybe they were fate or destiny, and maybe they’re all just part of a natural cycle—like the short but spectacular lives of cherry blossoms in spring or leaves falling away in autumn.

Wild Power by Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer
Curious about tapping into your menstrual cycle in more meaningful ways? This book is for you. It’s a primer on learning how your body works, the gifts of each part of your cycle, and how to tune in and listen to what your body’s saying. It might feel “woo woo” if you haven’t gone down this road before, but if you’re inclined to think there’s more to your period than meets the eye and that your body has wisdom to share, give it a read.

Our Wild Power empowers us to live and organize our lives by our own rhythm—following our innate sense of timing an intuitive knowing in concert with nature, rather than being dictated to by that of society.

The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation's Largest Home by Denise Kiernan
After finding out we were moving to North Carolina, this was the first book I bought. It wasn’t actually new to me—the author was a keynote speaker at a conference I attended in 2017, but back then, western North Carolina wasn’t exactly on my radar. It’s a detailed look at the lives of George and Edith Vanderbilt, who erected the largest home in North America, and managed to make it survive through the ages. If you’re a fan of the Gilded Age, don’t miss this one.

Though George Vanderbilt was not a statesman, his contributions to history, culture, and forestry cannot be denied as he employed some of the greatest minds behind America’s civic, private, and untamed places.

Do Less by Kate Northrup
I wrote an entire blog post about how to bring the Do Less philosophy to your writing life, but I’ll sum it up here: Doing less is an essential part of my strategy for living life these days. It’s not easy to undo the conditioning we have to constantly be pursuing more, but Kate’s experiments are flexible, achievable, and bound to offer insights for how you can function more effectively as a woman.

We need to revolutionize the way we work. It’s no longer acceptable to work as through we don’t have bodies, as though we are not of nature.