My Summer Reading List (and why I quit the blogging madness)

Once upon a time, I was a voracious reader. In a good week, I devoured three to four books, taking in chapters while kids were playing or sleeping (thankfully, I’m a pretty fast reader).

My Summer Reading List (and why I quit the blogging madness)
Ok, sometimes I just couldn’t put my book down and I’d suddenly notice four sets of eyes staring at me, wondering if I was, in fact, making dinner. Oops.

However, I’ve noticed something, oh, in the past year or so. I’ve not been reading much. As in, I can’t remember the last time I finished a book.

Ok, I take that back. It was Notes from a Blue Bike (read it, you’ll love it). But even that was the first book in a long time and I read it back in November.

The problem? I’ve been too busy creating a blog about a lifestyle and forgetting to live it myself.

Sure, I’ve simplified. A lot. But rather than taking all the free time I have because I’m not cleaning all the time and using it to engage more with my family, learn new things (oh, how I love learning) and just plain enjoy every bit of my life, I’ve done the opposite.

I’ve stopped learning about things I love, choosing instead to agonize over blog statistics and trying to figure out the best time to engage on social media (guess what, there’s no clear answer). Writing has become a chore, not the creative outlet it once was.

My family complains about how often I’m on my computer and, frankly, I’m sick of it. That is not why I chose this path. It’s not why I simplified and moved into a bus. It’s not why I started writing in the first place.

I quit the blogging madness.

No, I’m not quitting this blog. I love helping you on this journey and connecting with wonderful people. I am, however, quitting the crap that doesn’t matter.

  • I quit letting social media own me.
  • I quit agonizing over the number of visitors I get in a given day.
  • I quit stressing about my business every chance I get.
  • I quit trying to keep up with everyone else, sacrificing that which makes me me and attracted people in the first place.

Stepping Back from the Madness

This week, I was blessed with a spontaneous retreat with my best friend. We’ve been trying to plan it for months, but our schedules just didn’t match up. Late last week, however, I got a message saying she had Monday and Tuesday available and asked if I had that time available as well. Indeed I did.

We rented my pastor’s beautiful mountain cabin (almost exactly what I want in a small house) for an amazingly low price and spent two days doing whatever the hell we wanted.

Rental cabin of awesomeness
That included lots of hot tubbing, business strategizing, dreaming about trips to Paris and, of course, amazing food and coffee. That’s just how we roll.

retreat foodie goodness
It was exactly what I needed. It put the brakes on the crazy roller coaster I’ve been on and I came back with more clarity, calmness and confidence about what life and business will look like. And even a book idea (more on that later).

Part of the retreat included me binge-reading this woman’s blog. I love so much of what she has to say and have made my own vow to French Kiss life.

And, best of all, I’m putting more joy and peace back in my life:

  • More time spent laughing with my kids.
  • More passionate kisses with my husband.
  • More time with the people we love.
  • More leisure.
  • More learning.
  • And, of course, more reading.

Back in the Habit

As it turns out, getting back in the reading habit is even easier than falling out of my running habit. 😉 When I got home, I logged into my Goodreads account (for the first time since I opened it in 2012) and made a list of books I want to read.

Then, I checked my library’s website and started requesting books. I was even able to download one of them right to my phone’s Kindle app, thanks to my library’s digital download program. Awesome.

If you’re feeling a pull back to reading more (or want to get in the habit for the first time), I encourage you to make a list of what you’d like to read and get started. Just dive in. And if you can enjoy your book with a glass of wine or cup of coffee and chocolate, even better.

My Summer Reading List

Here’s what I’ll be reading this summer. I’m sure I’ll add to the list, but, for now, this is where I’m starting.

:: Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living (Reading it now. I love how these women write.)

:: Bonne Femme (Because what’s better than simplified cooking? Simplified French cooking!)

:: The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

:: Mere Christianity

:: The Red Tent

:: Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

:: Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

:: The Power Of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential 

:: The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful

:: A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live

I’m also pretty sure I’ll be taking this Online Intermediate Herbal Course.

Just reading this list makes my soul (and brain) light up. Happy sigh.

What are you reading? Any book suggestions for me?


  1. says

    I love this post, Nina! Great tips and inspiration! I can totally see how blogging and having a presence on social media can take over your life – there isn’t much time for a break when you’re building a “brand.” I’ve yet to commit to reading daily. My current goal is just 30 minutes before bed! And, that cabin is so adorable as well – does your Pastor rent to the public? 😉

  2. Heidi Jones says

    I LOVE this. I have been so tempted in the past to start a blog, but balk at the amount of time it would suck from me. I’m a type-A, goal-driven person, but I’ve started to notice that my life, also, doesn’t resemble your list of peace and joy. I can totally understand how you arrived at this conclusion (even though I haven’t lived the blog-author aspect of it). For me, getting a Kindle Paperwhite was a huge step towards greater reading. as it doesn’t have apps or anything else distracting on it, but also my 20-month old nursling can’t kick the book and make me lose my page :). I love your blog, but I’m so happy to read whatever you publish based on what YOU feel is right…instead of what you think you have to write.

  3. says

    So true! Blogging can be that way for me. I’ve not set up mine to be a business as yet. I’ve often thought I should, as writing and photography are my loves. But I’ve used them in different ways: a photography business and writing articles for websites. My blog can feature those things but to come up with new content all the time on top of my other “jobs” it can just be too much.

    As for reading, I’m reading “The Language of Flowers” right now and it’s an amazing novel!

  4. says

    This is such a great post! This is exactly what I’ve been going through as well. Thanks for confirming my conviction. :)

  5. says

    It’s easy to get sucked into blog stats. I think that happens to most bloggers at some point, but it’s good that you recognized it and reassessed your priorities. That is a great looking little cabin, I can imagine it’s a great place to rest and recharge.

  6. says

    Yes, I find myself on the computer way too much. I enjoy blogging but have yet to find the sweet spot. I too can be a voracious reader, but instead of four sets of eyes staring at me I have four sets of eyes crying and whining that they are hungry :) great list of books – I really miss having a library. And that cabin is idealic!

  7. restoringsimple says

    I like you. Can we be friends? :) I don’t have 4 kids, or any, but I LOVE your heart and how you communicate authentically.

  8. says

    Good for you, Nina!!! So happy you enjoyed your retreat and found some clarity. <3

    …great reading list, too!

  9. Amy says

    I LOVE The Red Tent! I’ve read it several times, and now I want to read it again. I’m on a fast-read fiction kick right now and just finished What Alice Forgot. I liked it. Another one that I read a few months ago (the autobiography genre) is Miss Brenda and The Loveladies.

  10. Heather says

    The Red Tent is fabulous! I had no idea of who any of the characters were supposed to be when I read it, but I fell in love! The idea of embracing your femininity is a wonderful concept that I think women need to get back to! I hope you enjoy it!

  11. connie says

    The Waiting is a must read…written by my neighbor, Cathy LaGrow :)
    ~Connie (from Tualatin)

  12. says

    I’ve read and immensely enjoyed (and now recommend everyone I meet read them also haha!): The Kitchen House and And the Mountains Echoed. Loved them both!!

  13. Linda says

    Loved the red tent too! This was a fabulous blog post. Keep going. I love your voice. Add The Good Earth to your list. I read it every year. So simple and powerful.

  14. Sophie says

    I suggest you add a current popular novel-The Goldfinch – to your reading list. The list you have is heavy on non-fiction which helps us learn and light on fiction (just The Red Tent – if you like it try Anita Diamant’s novel – Day After Night- about Jewish Holocaust survivors) which helps us be who we want to be. Fiction makes us better humans.

  15. says

    Love! Found you via The Art of Simple Podcast and I’m adoring pouring through your posts :) Definitely nodding my head along to this post!

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