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Good Things I've Been Reading (and Cooking) Lately

I'm not going to lie, I love January.

I know, I know, the weather is terrible, winter blues, holidays are over. I get it. Yet I love the calm and quiet of the low-key January days. If I'm honest, my kind of day is a day spent "puttering." Those days where you might cook a little, read a little, nap a little. These puttering restful days are perfect for January.

Here are a few things I've been reading, cooking and puttering my way through lately.

*This post contains affiliate links for book recommendations.

Part of me is mad that I'm not Italian and don't have an Italian grandmother to cook with. I decided to do the next best thing - buy myself a pasta maker for Christmas and teach myself how to make homemade pasta. If you are searching for a very satisfying winter project - check out this book (and YouTube channel). Now we both can enjoy being nurtured by our own virtual Italian nonnas.

Whether you like it or not, here comes the election year. I love historical fiction and have read almost everything by Marie Benedict. There was so much I didn't know about First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, especially her relationship with Civil Rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune. An insightful read that left me inspired with a richer perspective on this era in history.

If you are on the new year's health train (or even if you're not), this is a good read to support healthier living. I find it fascinating how our gut is so connected to all aspects of our health and am re-reading this one again. Even though this book is full of medical research and studies, it has many practical ideas and down-to-earth lifestyle suggestions. Will's writing is fun and engaging. A great read if you want to learn about how to improve your overall health by improving your gut.

I picked up this devotion because I thought, "This is what I need!" Yet this was the most "un-devotiony" devotion ever. This book feels like an honest conversation with a friend who shares difficult perspectives. As a result, you can't help but ask yourself some hard questions. Ness's authentic, surprising writing style reminds me that life is not some neat little journey, but just like Jesus, changes you in expected yet necessary ways. An authentic, soul-stirring read that leaves you wondering about where you need to surrender a few (or a hundred) things.

I've always thought one-dimensionally about journals - as a daily rant or a memory capture place. But Leaving a Trace explores the variety of ways famous and not-so-famous people have made journals a part of their journey in life. It starts with the author receiving a journal from the previous homeowner, a lonely woman in the 1910s. Journaling can be more than a capture of emotions - it can be a time capsule, a healing balm, a creative exploit, or a solitary companion. It invites so much more to explore than simply a blank book. Some beautiful journal excerpts are paired with inspiring ways people have used journals over time. A lovely read if you long to be creatively inspired with paper and pen.

What About You? What Are You Enjoying This Winter?

Whether you enjoy puttering through books or cooking odd things, January is a lovely time to peruse something new. As always, your local library is full of fun stuff to explore if you need some inspiration. Or you can see all my booklist recommendations here at - I'm a fan of this site simply because a portion of profits go back to support local independent bookstores.


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