Best Reads of 2009….

Ah, the plans of mice and men…

So much to tell you about but so very little time! Huge changes going on behind the scenes here at the blog and in real life. Life in the Making is moving to its new home January 4th if the bits and bytes will mind their manners. That is, if I can find the keyboard underneath all the packing boxes…

Our house went on the market yesterday. As my mother said: "I thought I heard a giant leap of faith today!" I want to tell you all about it in detail, why we're making this choice right now, and a million other things. I hope to, in time…but right now, there's those boxes. 

Instead (inspired by Stephanie) I thought I'd do a Best of 2009 series to end out the year. Hope you enjoy!


My reads this year have been in a practical bent…I haven't had a whole lot of time to read recreationally and I sorely miss it. As you can tell by the titles, I have been studying to improve my 'job performance', particularly in the frugal cooking and money management areas. The reasons are probably obvious! ~big grin~(If you haven't been reading LiTM very long, my husband lost his job a year and a half a go, at the beginning of the crash.) 



Hearthside Cooking by Nancy Carter Crump

This was a library read…I happened upon it while looking for something else and it looked fascinating. One of the few books I read 'for fun'- also the book I was reading when I realized that Ben could, really, really, read. (He had been pretending that 'he couldn't do it'. Long story.)- I was drawn to this book for many reasons, but mostly because I live in a rural, mountainous area of Tennessee where these skills have not yet been lost. This book is half encyclopedia, half journal, half cookbook, half history lesson. You'll learn a tremendous amount of information about the roots of 'modern cooking'. It might surprise you!  




 Food, Inc. edited by Carl Webber

My husband picked this one up, and then I filched it because I was curious- needless to say, he sort of lost his book for a few days. James and I have read extensively on the modern state of food (you can click on my Sustainable Living category for more links and books), so this isn't a random pick. That being said, if you're wondering what everyone is referring to in the media or whatever about the 'food crisis', this is a good primer book from a lot of people involved in non-industrial food production. Joel Salatin, Michael Pollan, and Eric Schlosser are just a few of the writers included. This is now my 'start here' book when people ask about my passion for local, organic, minimally processed food.



A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising A Large Family by Mary Ostyn

What can I not say about this book? Blog on steroids with tons of practical, useable suggestions, written in a witty, friendly style. Lots of "I've been there" anecdotes from other mothers of many. Mary Ostyn herself is mama to ten, and has written for a long time. I got this about three, four weeks ago- the beginning of December? It's already dog-eared, well-loved, coffee and ketchup splattered because it is going everywhere with me. Lifehacks for moms of many. Hallelujah! (Honestly, an answer to a very desperate prayer!) 




Family Feasts for $75 A Week by Mary Ostyn

This I bought on a recommendation from Hannah, at Cultivating Home. DUDE. It can be done! I am doing it! It's blowing my mind. You can really eat well and healthfully and have fun doing it for less than we would spend at a good restaurant! This is great for any family- the recipes are written for 4-6 people, but all are easily doubled. This is sort of half instruction manual, lifehack for frugal cooking, and half recipe book. Lots of advice, pointers, and recommendations. Let's put it this way- I think this is going to be my new 'gift to give' for the families in my life! It pays for itself a thousand times over. Heck, it paid for itself in the first week, for me…



 Photo Freedom by Stacy Julian

I have to preface this with the fact that this is a book written by a scrapbooker to a scrapbooker. For those of you that aren't into that, just skip down to the next. Now, if you're a scrapbooker like me that used to enjoy it and weren't worried about all the photos and then suddenly, life happened…and you can't stand chronological scrapping…run, don't walk to get this one! (It's rapidly disappearing after the CK shut-down, transfer, whatever brouhaha thing happened.) It gave me the courage to dive back into scrapping after a year and a half hiatus. This system makes a lot of sense to my non-linear, non-chronological, very story focused, moment-focused way of scrapping. It is what it says- freedom to create and have fun again!



 "Parenting is Your Highest Calling" and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us Into Worry and Guilt by Leslie Leyland Fields

I read this one at Ann's recommendation. I don't know how to explain why this one was so essential to my development as a parent this year. It's hard. I've spent a lot of time shooting myself in the foot with a lot of these myths, edging on clinical depression (there, I said it…). I remember crying and praying and reading, going to the Bible, coming back to the book, crying, praying, reading some more. It would not be too far off to say that this book had a part in saving me from myself. I was getting to a pretty dark place before this book came along. This was a ray of light. I don't know how to talk about my depression- maybe I'll get the nerve to talk about it more in the coming year.




 Learning to Live Financially Free by Marybeth & Curt Whalen

Marybeth writes Cheaper by the Half Dozen. She's a homeschooler. She and her family are like a lot of families I know. And while I've read a few books about financial stewardship, this book stands out to me for it's "we're right here in the middle of this", sitting across the dining room table with a cup of coffee, practical conversational style. So many books are from a finance guru who has never been smack in the middle of life with a regular, run-of-the-mill life with a regular-run-of-the-mill income who've gotten into debt. I cannot recommend this book enough. A lot of the decisions we're making right this second have come from working and talking through this book. It is above all, practical. Doable. Full of encouragement!

So that's my round up for 2009! What did you love reading this year? Link me to your posts or the books you love- I am in the process of making my book list for 2010 and would love suggestions!


  • Sandi

    Ack! Moving… sympathies :o) I will think of you as I fill my own boxes.
    The tree goes down today and the boxes come out around here. Less then 4 weeks and counting.
    Love your list.I read In Defense of Food a few months ago and it really opened my eyes. I saw Food inc but still want to read the book.
    I am hoping to get my reading list up for 2010 but all my books are going in boxes so maybe in Feb.??
    Love the family pic….you’ll all so adorable.

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