The Best Books I’ve Read Lately

Hello! Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. It’s so nice to catch up on everyone’s blogs and just feel welcomed back into the blog world 🙂

Best Books

I’m pretty sure 2015 has been the year of reading for me, and I’m absolutely loving it. Since 2011, I have been trying (and trying, and trying) to read 50 books in a year and I’m glad to say I finally reached my goal this year! I’m happy that I never gave up after coming somewhat close to hitting the big 5-0 mark each year.

I think two factors contributed my success this year. The first being that I graduated, thus I have had much more time to read. The second factor is the fact that I started listening to audio books. They have been a game changer for me because I listen to them while I walk Lola, work, and drive. I get all of my audio books through my library on an app called Overdrive. I definitely recommend it. There’s also e-books and movies available through the app!

Anyways, the last time I really blogged about books was in late March, so it’s been a while. I want to share five of the best books I’ve read lately, plus one I’m reading now.

Best Books Photo 1

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (Fiction)

The Boston Girl is about a young Jewish immigrant, Addie, who tells her life story to her granddaughter when asked how she became the woman she is. Addie’s story begins in 1915, and follows her through quite a few life changes. The book has a strong feminist theme, and proves that the author has a keen eye for history. When I first read about The Boston Girl online, I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it but I was dead wrong. I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to know what would happen next in Addie’s life. There are so many plot twists and turns, I was never bored with this book for a second.

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth (Fiction)

If you’ve read my blog in the past few years, you probably know that I’m fascinated by midwifery. I read a lot of books (fiction and nonfiction) on the topic, and this one was a winner. The Secrets of Midwives is about Neva Bradley, a young third-generation midwife who is pregnant, but keeping the details of who the father is under wraps. Neva’s secret mirrors her grandmother’s past in an eerily same way, and her grandmother must choose whether or not to share her past. I was fond of this book not only because it was about midwifery, but because the author totally nailed the mother-daughter relationships in a way that was very real to me. This book was a page-turner, but I wouldn’t read it if you’re squeamish about details concerning childbirth.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (Fiction)

The Red Tent details the story of Dinah from the Old Testament in the Bible. Though her life story in the Bible is very short, the author (fictionally) expands up it in The Red Tent. According to ancient law in the Bible, women were to spend time in a red tent while menstruating or giving birth. The story is told in Dinah’s voice as she explains what life was like as a woman growing up in the tribe of Jacob and tells the stories she learned in the red tent. I’m currently about halfway through this book, but I’m really enjoying it for its historical and Biblical narrative.

Best Books Photo 2

The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife’s Memoir by Patricia Harman (Nonfiction)

Another midwifery book, surprise! The Blue Cotton Gown had me hooked from the very first page. It’s a memoir about nurse-midwife Patsy Harman’s life as she manages a health clinic in West Virginia with her husband, who is an ob-gyn. The author share stories of her patients as well as her own financial and health struggles. The memoir covers five seasons of the author’s life and is at times hilarious and utterly heartbreaking. I loved this book so much that I read the author’s other three books. Again, if you’re squeamish about childbirth, I wouldn’t recommend this book. Otherwise, it’s a wonderful read.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower (Nonfiction)

The title of this book is exactly what it’s all about, the private world of the White House. The author interviewed many of the past and present staff of the White House, who gave a respectful inside look at not only the White House, but the various first families who have lived there, from the Kennedy family to the Obama family. Prior to reading this book, I was fairly interested in the ins and outs of the presidency and White House, but the anecdotes within the pages really sparked my interest in all things White House/presidency. For weeks after reading, I was googling past presidents and asking my parents questions from what they remembered about scandals and other happenings at the White House before I was born. I wasn’t sure if this book would be a bit dry, but it is far from it. I finished it in just a few days and was actually sad to be done with it.

Growing Up Amish: A Memoir by Ira Wagler (Nonfiction)

Growing Up Amish is a memoir by Ira Wagler, an Amish-born man who tired and tried to find his way within the Amish community. Wagler recounts the first time he left the Amish at age 17, and a few times afterwards. He did an amazing job at sharing the good and bad about growing up Amish, from his family’s unconditional (and oftentimes tough) love, to the challenge of trying to fit in with the Old Order Amish when he was curious about life in the English world. If you’re interested in what it’s like to grow up Amish, this is a must-read.

What are some of the best books you’ve read lately?



  1. I was wondering about the Boston Girl. I read another book (cannot think of the title right now!) instead, but this has been on my radar. I’ve read SO much this year it’s nuts! It’s the year of reading for me, too. I kind of want to join a book club but I think if I feel like I “need” to read something it would take the joy out of it!

    1. I’m glad you’ve been having a good reading year, too! I feel the same way about book clubs… I can get somewhat picky/bored with books if they aren’t “my type” (like they’re a guy or something… hahah), so I would feel uneasy about forcing myself to read a book I’m not interested in just to participate in a book club. But if I could find a book club that was specifically about books I’m into (midwifery, memoirs, Christianity), I would be all over it! Anywayssss, I recommend Boston Girl! I was unsure of it, but got hooked really quickly!

  2. All of these books look really fun, I’ll have to check them out. I’ve been reading YA books lately because I like light, easy, reading for the pool. Your lists of books you read are awesome though and I’ve looked at them for ideas before.

    I hadn’t thought of audio books, but that would be GREAT for car trips, long walks, runs, etc.

    1. Awesome! You’ll have to let me know if you like any of them!! I totally agree with you on YA books!! Sometimes my sister lends me one or recommends one every once in a while, and I love it! They’re usually love stories, but sometimes I just need something easy and light to break up all the other reading!

      I think you would like audio books! If you do long runs alone, I bet you would like them! Jimmy and I almost read (well, listened haha) to a Harry Potter book on our way to vacation together since it was an 8 hour drive. I don’t know why we didn’t!

  3. I read the Red Tent and it was fantastic! I wanted to watch the mini series but don’t have HBO 😦 I really enjoy biblical fiction so if you have any other recommendations I would love it. I best book I read recently was called “The Kid” by Dan Savage. I’m not sure if you would like it, but it was good for me to read 🙂

    1. Oh my goodness, the mini series! I literally just heard about it on Friday night, and I thought it was a movie. I was like “JIMMY, THERE’S THIS MOVIE WE NEED TO WATCH” and then I realized it was a mini series and we couldn’t preview it, so we didn’t watch it…. yet?! I’m going to try to! Jimmy has something with Amazon, so we can watch HBO stuff through it (can you tell I am sooo tech savvy?), maybe you could look into it?!

      As for Biblical fiction I recommend
      Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (it’s about Hosea and his wife)
      A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers (it’s a big book with five stories in it about Tamar, Ruth, Bathsheba, Rahab, and Mary)


      1. Thanks for the info! I read Redeeming Love and it was AMAZING! I wish there were more like that!

  4. Every single one of these sounds excellent! I’m adding them all to my GoodReads!

    Also, I have the OverDrive app on my phone too and use it to borrow books from our library. I LOVE it!

    1. Aww, I am so glad they all sound interesting to you! I feel like I have a very random taste in books, so I’m always happy when I share my recommendations and people aren’t too weirded out, haha.

      And YAY for the OverDrive app. It is soo amazing!

    1. Are you really?! I could talk about it for hours and I feel like I can’t learn enough about the topic. I’m so happy to know that you’re interested in it, too!! I hope you can find some of the books at the library 🙂

  5. What a varied and interesting collection of books! I haven’t read any of them, but my mum has a copy of The Red Tent and I think she really liked it. I’m curious about the Growing Up Amish one… I watched a documentary about the Amish people a few years ago and I found it fascinating to learn about them. Maybe I’ll see if the library has a copy.

    I’ve heard of Overdrive and I’ve recently been thinking that I’d like to get some audiobooks to listen to during my commute. On an average day, I spend around 60 – 90 minutes in the car and I always listen to music, but it would be fun to listen to audiobooks too. Do you download them onto your cellphone? Perhaps I can get some kind of cable to attach my phone to my car stereo, so I can play audiobooks through my car speakers.

    1. Thanks, Grace! I finished the Red Tent a few days ago, and I think it was wonderfully written! Growing Up Amish was absolutely fascinating. Definitely check it out if you get a chance!

      I highly recommend Overdrive. It’s amazing, especially if you have a long commute. You can download the books to your cell phone (or any other device that has the ability to have apps). Getting a cable to attach your phone to your car would take everything to the next level, too! I want to get one, but I always forget for some reason, haha.

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