A House in the Sky: This is the memoir of Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian journalist who was taken hostage in Somalia and held there for over a year. Though in no way easy to read, this is an incredibly powerful story- at times haunting and tragic, but also full of hope and the strength of the human spirit. I picked this book up in Canada, after meeting someone who is friends with Amanda and I know that particular scenes will stay with me for ages.
The Happiness Project: I'm sure I've mentioned before how much I love year-in-the-life books. I have no idea what exactly appeals to me about them but I just can't get enough! This book is no exception. Gretchen Rubin spends a year pursuing happiness in her daily life. I learned SO much from her experience, and really appreciated how most of her action steps were simple things she fit into her everyday life. She didn't really change all THAT much, yet at the same time, everything changed. Also, now I'm dying to start my own children's literature book club!
The Glass Castle: This memoir by Jeanette Walls has been on my to-read list for ages. It's the story of the Walls family's nomadic wanderings and struggle with poverty, but also the story of their loyalty and love for one another. I thought this book was honest and moving. It challenged some assumptions I had made, and inspired me.
My Life in France: I really enjoyed reading Julia Child's memories of her time spent living abroad (mostly in France), learning to cook, and writing her first cook book. I think it's so inspiring that she didn't even learn to cook until her late 30's, and then it became her life's work and passion. This thought encourages me to calm down a little bit. To stop worrying that I'm going to run out of time and instead, just do what I love.