five star books

I talk a lot about books here on the blog but I realized I needed ONE post with a good overview of my very favorite books to direct people to! You can hear all about why I love a good book on @jennaskitchen Insta Stories today!I should’ve been a humanities major because that is my favorite way to learn… about politics, pop culture, art, music, war, invention, social climates shape an era or story. These stories will transport you to a different time or teach you in a really well rounded way.

These Is My Words – The Wild Wild West from a woman’s perspective (If you like this read Maude next. // A Short History of Nearly Everything – This offers exactly what the title says, it blew my mind!! // What Alice Forgot – If you’ve been married awhile, find yourself taking your spouse for granted, read this. // Daring Greatly – Concepts in this book changed my life for the very best. // East of Eden – A classic and a must. I think of this story and characters within often. // A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – A peek into 1900’s Brooklyn and family life then. // Peace Like A River – 1960s Minnesota all about miracles and the bonds of family and siblings. Beautiful! // The God Who Weeps – This has a Mormonism tilt but it covers how all religions define God and what to make of His true nature based on all of this information. Super fascinating. // David and Goliath. I LOVE Malcolm Gladwell’s style. He is such a craftsman and weaving stories together and finding meaning and thinking in a new way. This will change the way you think about power and advantage.

And more thoughts:

Why do I read?

My mom and dad instilled a love of reading in me. Both of them are ALWAYS reading something. Growing up my dad took long baths each night and read in the tub. He had a book light by his bed and a stack of thick suspense novels. Most nights I’d come in after being with friends and he’d be rolled on his side with the book light illuminating his face. No matter what time I came home. His scriptures for our church look like a crazy person’s because they’re colorful and there’s notes in every margin and lines drawing connections. My mom is constantly taking in new info. Whether its talk radio, articles, magazines, books, seminars, retreats, classes. She is a huge example to me of never being done learning. I admire that so much. We had an entire office of wall to wall books and it’s just a part of my entire life that I cherish and have happy memories at every turn.

When did I begin to love it?

I was really small, probably first grade when I read Matilda by Roald Dahl. It was the first book I remember being engrossed by. When it is revealed that the Trunchbull is Miss Honey’s Aunt I remember audibly gasping. Such a real emotional and physical response that hooked me ever since.

Now I read mostly historical fiction, memoirs, self-help/parenting and novels because it provides me with understanding and insight into life and worlds and situations I would otherwise know nothing about. TV and Movies can do the same (if done well), but reading is the only thing that truly captivates my anxious mind. I can watch a great show and still be running through my to-do list or working on a project while I watch. When I read I am all in. It’s sort of meditative for me in the sense that I am fully present and my mind is quieted from the rest of the world.

I asked my mom why she liked to read a long time ago and she said “There are a million things I do each day that get undone. The house gets messy, the clean laundry gets worn and needs rewashing. I can sweep the same room three times. But when I read it doesn’t get undone.” I totally agree with that now being a mom: progress you get to keep forever!

If you are on Goodreads, you can add me there. It’s a system I started using 10+ years ago and so it has pretty much everything (I can remember) I’ve ever read. I trust the reviews and have friends with similar tastes that give me lots of recommendations. I of course am not reading books without a good review (who has time for that!) but I am in a book club that someone new picks a book each month so I am reading things and genres I wouldn’t normally. Anyway, Goodreads works for me so I keep it up and I am glad I have a reference somewhere! I rate things like this:

5 Stars – Loved it, changed my life. Changed my perspective, paradigm shift, inspired long term change because of reading it. I realize that’s not a very unbias way to rate but I had to have a way to keep track of these types of books!

4 Stars – Amazing story and well written. So many good 4 star books on my list!

3 Stars – Good book. Whether it be the story or the writing.

2 Stars – Didn’t like the story and or couldn’t connect to the writing style.

1 Star – Usually when I feel the book is socially irresponsible, uncalled for content, poorly written, or a waste of my time.




  • Kristen Barstad
    September 26, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I totally just added you on goodreads! Almost all of these are my favorite books of the year too! I literally just rebought what alice forgot because I loaned it to someone and i dont want to not have it at my house. And daring greatly was life changing! And my malcolm gladwell is just amazing. I have been struggling with depression really badly this year and my friend told me that reading helped her with hers and I have found it is the absolute best thing for mine. It transports me and teaches me and encourages me. I love it. Thanks for sharing! And for letting us follow you! I Love goodreads so much!

    • Small Fry
      October 9, 2017 at 8:44 pm

      Yay! I will find you on there because I always need more recs from people with similar taste! Reading helps me so much as well. Its a perfect escape from my worried mind!



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