Thursday, December 3, 2009

Food for the Mind

I thought I'd take a detour away from food this Wellness Week and focus on the mind a bit.  As I mentioned earlier, I love to read in bed; it's such a wonderful way to relax and escape from your own mind before drifting off to sleep at night.  However, when you're truly exhausted and worn out, it is so much easier to get stuck on the couch lazily watching reality tv than to get in bed and read.  Once you're ensconced among the pillows with a juicy read, though, it is so worthwhile.  Some of my favorite books:
Banana Rose by Natalie Goldberg
Probably one of my all time favorite works of fiction, this book is about a hippie, Banana Rose, who falls in love, gets married, and moves away from her commune in Taos, having to grow up in countless ways along her path.  It is beautifully written by Natalie Goldberg, whose books on writing are some of my favorites, and I just love the tale she weaves in this book.  Anyone who has had to grow up and move on from a part of their life (and who hasn't?) will relate, and this is just a delicious read.  I've read it at least 10 times; it's one of those.

Given to me by one of my best friends after the birth of Baby J, this book is required reading for any new mama.  I literally could not put this book down, as I felt Lamott was speaking directly to me.  She perfectly captures the dizzying mix of exhaustion, love, hormones, and mild insanity that characterize the first year of motherhood.  The diary style of writing is perfect for those with little to no attention span due to an infant as well.  If there is a new mama on your holiday shopping list, give her this.  Done and done.

Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser

Amanda Hesser is a consummate foodie and long time food writer for the New York Times.  This book is her recounting of her courtship and eventual engagement and marriage to her now husband, and it includes fabulous recipes.  Hesser is one of those writers you either love or hate, as she can get awfully uppity about her foodie knowledge and standards, but I happen to love her.  I loved this book and it is another one a read multiple times over.  Think Sex and the City meets Top Chef; if you're into that kind of thing and don't mind a little good old-fashioned NYC restaurant snobbery, you'll love this book.

Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Jeannette Dewyze and Allan Mallinger

Had to add a self-help title,  as I am a lover of this genre through and through.  This book is life-changing if you or anyone you know has A-type, obsessive tendencies.  Since this pretty much describes me and my whole family, every single page of this book was like a lightbulb going off for me.  This book is all about recognizing and acknowledging that behavior and then LETTING. IT. GO.  I am hard pressed to think of a woman in my life who wouldn't benefit from reading this, and I frankly want to buy a box of these books and just hand them out to almost everyone I know, as well as strangers on the street who look stressed out.  If you have any obsessiveness in you at all, click the link above and purchase this book immediately.  You can thank me later.

I'm between books right now and eager to dive into a new one.  Snow will be falling soon and there is just nothing better than curling up on a cold night with a good book.  I would love recommendations for what my next reading venture ought to be!
What is your favorite book to unwind reading? 
What life-changing book would you recommend this holiday season?

Lastly, one little business note:  I've created a Facebook page for Sweet Mama Jane.  There isn't much there yet, but I hope to build it out into a fun little extension of this blog.  If you are on Facebook, please become a fan!  Thank you!


  1. Well, maybe this is embarrassing but I recently read the Twilight series and couldn't put it down until I finished the last book (Eric actually ran out to Borders to get me the last 2 on the weekend I was reading them-I had to finish!) Something about that Vampire Looooove.

  2. Fiction I couldn't put down: Eat, Pray, Love. Water for Elephants.
    Health and Wellness: The Jungle Effect. The Omnivore's Dilemna.
    Non-fiction I'm loving: Outliers. My Life in France (Julia Child). Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life.
    Thanks to you, Banana Rose was the first book I ever read that I couldn't put down - poolside and during rest hour at Camp Swig.

  3. Magazines I love: National Geographic, Real Simple
    Recenty Read: The Zahir by Paulo Coelho. Good, but not The Alchemist calibre.
    Authors I love: Barbara Kingsolver, Paulo Coelho, Jane Austen.
    Poetry I love: Leaves of Grass by Thoreau.
    Next on my list: a bunch of classics I seemed to have missed out on (or just don't remember), such as Tom Sawyer, anything by Dickens, Huck Finn....

  4. Good one Kelly we forgot about magazines! Faves: New Yorker, Real Simple, Cooking Light

    Brightens my day to find a new one in the mail box.

  5. Oops, I meant Leaves of Grass by Whitman!

  6. the ski journal, the st. helena star (support your local paper!), mothering (magazine), soule mama and sweet mama jane are all i have time for these days.