January 2024 in Books

I’m starting something new here: a monthly recap of the books I’ve read – for my sake and yours. I’m guilty of quickly moving on once I complete a book instead of giving it some good reflection time. Writing a recap here lets me think about the book’s impact on me and hopefully gives you some recommendations for books to check out (or avoid!). 

My reading goal for 2024 is to read 30 books, significantly higher than previous years because I’m banking on my nursing-with-kindle-in-hand strategy coming into play when sweet baby girl arrives. Do you have a reading goal for the year? Please share!

I’m on pace with 3 books completed in January. Here’s my reading recap for the month.

January Books I Finished

Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy, Helpful Little Humans by Michaeleen Doucleff

A co-worker told me this was the new “it” book for parents, and since I can’t get enough parenting advice I had to know what all the other ‘rents were learning. 

Hunt, Gather, Parent stood out among the dozen parenting books I’ve consumed over the past few years. It’s written by an actual parent of a small child who is in the trenches rather than by a child development specialist. The author, Michaeleen Doucleff, is a journalist, and she takes her battles with her rowdy toddler as an opportunity to study parenting in other cultures. Doucleff takes her 3-year-old daughter with her for extended stays with families in three of the world’s most venerable communities: Maya families in Mexico, Inuit families above the Arctic Circle, and Hadzabe families in Tanzania, studying their parenting strategies.

Of course she comes away with several tips that differ widely from things I’ve read in other parenting books and from what we typically see in America’s parenting styles. I’ve incorporated a few things I learned and have seen great results, while one trick (read the section on monsters) did NOT go well for my kiddo.

My key takeaways:

  • Avoid planning your life around child activities, and instead incorporate them into your everyday life and let them help with basically everything.
  • Give them a purpose in the family, aka jobs to do, responsibilities. They don’t need to think your purpose is cooking dinner while there’s is only to play.
  • Instead of always saying no, explain the consequences of what would happen. For example, “You might fall and hurt yourself if you don’t close the trampoline net behind you.”

My rating: 4.5

The Psychology of Money: Timeless lessons on wealth, greed, and happiness by Morgan Housel

Kyle recommended that I listen to this episode with Morgan Housel on The School of Greatness podcast and I was pleasantly surprised that a finance guy could keep my attention. Any time Kyle talks finances I immediately tense up and try to change the subject. Last year I wrote 70 blog posts on financial topics for the credit union I work for, yet talking about finances still terrifies me.

But Housel is easy and enjoyable to follow. I got his book because the podcast episode left me feeling smarter, and I have to say the book did too. It’s not really about how to manage your money, but more about why some people become rich and why some rich people lose all their money. It’s psychology behind why we make the financial choices that we do, and it’s quite enlightening.

Housel is a financial blogger, so his writing feels relatable and personable. The book is told in about 20-minute chapters that all tell a story around a money lesson. This is one I want to gift to people in my financial world at work, because it’s a different way of looking at the way people view money that we’re not used to seeing. Highly recommend!

My key takeaways:

  • If you care less about what people think about you, you’ll be able to live off less money.
  • You don’t need an excuse or big reason to save money; it’s just a good thing to do.
  • “Not all success is due to hard work, and not all poverty is due to laziness.”
  • “Luck and risk are both the reality that every outcome in life is guided by forces other than individual effort.

My rating: 4.5

A Winter in New York by Josie Silver

This was my holiday pick that I chose to start at the end of 2023 for all the cozy Christmas-y feels, and it delivered on that front.

Set in wintery New York, as the title says, Iris hopes to start fresh in a new city and country after a breakup from a verbally abusive man. Also grieving the loss of her mother, she chooses New York based on her mom’s rich personal history there. She discovers the local Italian family-owned gelateria that her mom happened to have the family gelato recipe to, and as romance books go, she falls in love with the Italian man who is in desperate need to locate that recipe and keep his family’s shop alive. But of course she can’t reveal her connection to this family without ruining everything, so thus ensues a long haul of “should I” or “shouldn’t I” that drove me a bit mad.

Still, it was worth seeing through to the end. Not my favorite romance, but it did give me the wintery vibes that I’d rather live out through fiction while I sunbathe here in Arizona.

My rating: 3

Share your book recommendations!

What have you read or started reading in 2024? Share your book suggestions in the comments below, and happy reading to you!

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