stacks of books

Introducing twaddle-free books… for moms!

I love to read. My childhood memories are defined by well-loved books, its pages worn from devouring eyes. I still love reading – but I rarely make the time for it I want.

I also love running my home. I love every part of it – the organizing, the money management, the cleaning (well… okay, not the cleaning), the hospitality, and especially the parenting and establishing a legacy with my husband.

A mom has very little time, and the spare time she does have is often spent prying her eyelids open in order to finish folding the laundry, or to have an adult conversation with her spouse after a long day of work.

We do our best to provide an environment of twaddle-free books, playtime, and learning for our kids. So why do we so often let ourselves have the scraps that fall off the floor?

Won’t we be much more productive, effective, and influential women in our homes if we take care of ourselves?

We need to keep our minds sharp. Learning what happens when we give a moose a muffin is important, to be sure – but so is learning about mutual funds. And how to maintain a compost pile. And how to parent with love and logic. We give our children mental steak. Let’s do the same thing for us moms.

Starting in January, I’m starting a little book club here on Simple Mom. We’ll tackle six books in 2009 – that’s one book every two months. I think we can manage that, don’t you?

It’s called the Sound Mind, Sound Mom Book Club. These books will be practical, full of time-tested wisdom and helpful advice we can apply in our everyday lives at home.

Fiction is great, of course, and I’m all about immersing in a great novel over a cup of joe. But I’ll venture a guess that you haven’t enjoyed a useful book in awhile – and I could wager even more that you haven’t enjoyed a conversation over a useful book with fellow women in an even longer while.

Topics covered will be what’s covered here on the blog – food and drink, green and frugal living, making your home a haven, kids and parenting, money management, organizing, productivity, and taking care of yourself.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to join the book club. It will be geared towards moms, but you don’t have to be a parent to join in the conversation. All I ask is that if you join, you get into it.

I’m still working on the details of how it’s actually going to work, but I’m thinking it’ll be some sort of forum or message board here, with a possible live chat once a month. I’ll cook up some questions based on the book of the moment, and we can take it from there. And I’ve got a few books in mind, but I’m still mulling over a few more.

And if you want to be a part, feel free to share the Book Club’s button on your blog.

Are you up for it? Do you have a book to suggest? What’s one you’ve always wanted to read? Or perhaps you have a favorite you read regularly… Please share your thoughts in the comments!

top photo source

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. a real live chat thru skype would be fun…

    ps – just found your blog and love it. thanks for all that you do to refill my drained mommy brain on ideas for family management

    Kimberly´s last blog post…Wes & Laura { m a r r i e d } Post 3 of 3

  2. As usual, your ideas sound fantastic – count me in!

  3. ooh – and my favourite – Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney. I read it every year.

    Emma´s last blog post…Shared with a friend.

  4. I’m in! Your site is so awesome and so is this book club. 🙂

  5. Love this! I’m SO in.

    Kendra´s last blog post…It’s That Time of Year Again

  6. This will be such a wonderful thing to look forward to!

    Thank you!

    Allison J´s last blog post…The Best Parts

  7. I am in – interesting to go the non-fiction route rather than novels. i read a LOT of nonfiction and can’t wait to see what selections you make. For the parenting AND taking care of yourself categories i highly recommend Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali. Please don’t be put off by the Buddhism reference as it is not trying to convert anyone to Buddhism nor is it preaching at all about religion. It is a fabulous book where the author shows how using certain Buddhist practices you can cope with parenting challenges, change your perspective and examine “who we are and what makes us happy”. It is a must read IMO for every mother no matter your background

  8. I love ‘Living Your Yoga’. It is a brilliant way to bring more peace and harmony to our every day typically hectic lives. And it is applicable to everyone! Even if you don’t do yoga!

  9. Count me in!

    Kelly from Almost Frugal´s last blog post…Questions Anyone?

    • I forgot to add… my favorite frugal book to read is the Tightwad Gazette but I would posit that most of us have already read it. I would love to read Playful Parenting for the kids and parenting section, or maybe that Judith Warner book on mothering Perfect Madness. I think that would be a GREAT bookclub book.

      Kelly from Almost Frugal´s last blog post…Questions Anyone?

  10. sounds like great fun! I’m in

    CC´s last blog post…The Lunar Beasts

  11. As an avid reader about to become a first time Mom I’m definitely in! Looking forward to seeing all the details

    Francine´s last blog post…I seem to be into making books

  12. Wow, this is such a great idea! Would love to be a part!

    Laine Chambers´s last blog post…Haven: Inviting and Giving

  13. Awesome idea. I love, love, love books.

    Two of my fav’s which spring instantly to mind:

    Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
    The Unmistakable Touch of Grace by Cheryl Richardson

    Peace, love and chocolate


    Carole Fogarty´s last blog post…Shake Off Your Afternoon Slump:

  14. This sounds fun!
    I live overseas and would need as much time as possible to get the books. So announce the titles ASAP!

  15. It sounds great. Count me in.

  16. Can’t wait for this! I’ve been toying with starting a book club where I live, but no one I know would have time to join. So this will be perfect for me – so many times I read something & want to discuss it, but there’s no one to do that with.

  17. I’m definitely interested! One of my favourite books for sharing is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – our year of living locally” by Barbara Kingsolver – it’s a fascinating and inspiring read about food, the environment and community, and beautifully written.

    Mel x

  18. I’m definitely in – I was an avid reader growing up and have just neglected the habit, much to my dismay! With #2 due in Jan, know it won’t get “easier”, but it’s time to make some changes and make it necessary – I told my husband last night that my goal for next year is to read 18 books, so this will fit in quite nicely! Can’t wait to see what you pick!

    jodi´s last blog post…Christmas Planning – 5 Weeks & Counting

  19. Oooh, this will be fun!

    Avlor´s last blog post…HDR photo tests

  20. I have read so much more non-fiction since I’ve become a mom and homemaker. I would love to do this. Some of my favorite non-fiction reads:

    The Gentle Art of Domesticity – by Jane Brockett — recently published by the authour of the blog yarnstorm. She talks about enjoying what she calls the Gentle Arts — knitting, quilting, baking, gardening , and considering yourself a Domestic Artist rather than a homemaker. She discusses Domesticity in movies, books, art, and travel. Plus the book has recepies, descriptions of her creative process and funny little odds and ends like what she would keep in a Domestic Travel Survival Kit. As you can tell, I loved it.

    Raising Your Spirited Child — this book is really about understanding temperment in children and adults. It really helped me to see myself and my sons (especially my oldest) in a different light. It discusses temperment and extroversion / introversion, then has a thorough discussion of how to deal with “difficult” temperment traits such as extreme intensity or being a slow to adapt. Then the last section relates these ideas to daily problems like getting dressed, getting out the door in the morning, travel, school, etc. I don’t know if its totally applicable, but definitely worthwhile reading for any parent or teacher or manager.

    jill´s last blog post…Look Who Decided to Come Calling Today . . .

  21. I second the vote for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Great, thought-provoking book about what we feed our families, where it comes from, why we should care, etc. Also, Ten Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer led to the best discussion in my neighborhood book club (all moms). Not everyone liked the book, but the conversation sparked by it was incredible!
    Being in a “book club” with you and all the interesting women who comment here would be a lot of fun!

    Amy´s last blog post…what we’re making

  22. Oh cool! I was actually just pondering coming up with a reading list for myself as I get ready to buy my twins’ first set of curriculum! I’m in.

  23. I’m in. 🙂

  24. Count me in, too! And I love that it is only 6 cooks instead of the full 12. Less pressure…


    Thanks for all that you do. You’re GGggggggreat (said Tony the Tiger style).

    Suzanne´s last blog post…movies, movies and more movies

  25. I’m in!

  26. I would love to do this! I’m not a mom yet but hopefully, I can learn something valuable. Thanks!

  27. This is a great idea. I’m usually reading fiction, so some valuable non-fiction is just what I need.

    Thanks, I can’t wait to join in.

  28. Love it. I enjoy reading non-fiction, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone to *chew* them over with. 🙂

    stephanie´s last blog post…Not a Baby Anymore

  29. Count me in! If I may request, I would love some books that are available on the Kindle 🙂 I have some gift cards that I could apply toward the books and I am loving my new little gadget 😉

    I know….so not Simple Mom of me 😉 It was a holiday gift 🙂

    I am so excited about this! Live Twitter chatting would be great, as well!

    Amy´s last blog post…Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

  30. So glad so many of you are up for joining!

    Simple Mom´s last blog post…Link Love :: The It’s-late-and-I’m-tired-not-too-mention-out-of-town Edition

  31. I’ve just started thinking about goals for next year (I have a lot of time to think while nursing a newborn!) and one of my goals is to be intentional about reading. I was thinking about setting a goal of a book a month and have started a list of books. This would be a great addition to my goal! Can’t wait.

  32. Count me in.

    I am most interested in seeing what book suggestions you have.

    Mel´s last blog post…Tweet, Tweet

  33. I know I’m not a mom, but that is an awesome, awesome idea. Very cool.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post…Redbook… An Excerpt

  34. I’m in–and I’m loving many of the suggestions already made (mostly because I have already read and enjoyed them!). I look forward to seeing your picks and possibly re-reading some good reads!

    Meg Evans´s last blog post…Unsolicited Life Advice (an occasional series)

  35. All of those topics sound good and I think I’m up for the challenge. I’m looking forward to the book titles.

  36. Nickle and Dimed…quite thought provoking, very interesting and eye-opening.

  37. oops..that would be Nickel and Dimed (bangs head on desk in shame) 🙂

  38. I’m in! Sounds just wonderful!
    I hear that The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is wonderful.

    Courtney´s last blog post…Writer’s Block

  39. i love your blog (both blogs, really) and I’m so looking forward to the bookclub.

    tara´s last blog post…confession time

  40. Thanks for this great idea! I want to participate!!

    HobbyMommy´s last blog post…Bits and Pieces…

  41. I am so it! I need all the help I can get!

  42. I’d love to be a part of this. I’ve been wanting to read a book that was recommended to me “The Hidden Art of Homemaking” by Edith Schaeffer.

  43. This sounds intriguing. I’m usually into fiction, but I might just try something new.

    Heather´s last blog post…Rancho Loma

  44. This sounds like lots of fun. I love to read, and need to make time to do it again.

    Brooke´s last blog post…Not Me! Monday

  45. I am just, just, just beginning a blog. I followed the link to the code to add the book button to my blog, but how would I go about putting the code for the book button on it?

  46. I wish I could say I LOVED home management. Some parts I find satisfying and others…meh. It’s good that there are people like you out there though. So we can read your blog. And learn.

    Angie (from over at

    Half Assed Kitchen´s last blog post…Noodle soup for needy people

  47. Yay!!!!!! I have been hoping you would start a book club, so I am excited to see you are and the direction it is heading. Very cool.

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post…November 4th, 2008

  48. Cate Greaves says:

    Sounds great- count me in too! My book suggestions are Timeless Simplicity- Creative living in a consumer society by John Lane and Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort.

  49. I would love this, too. Two books I want to tackle are Shepherding a Child’s Heart (can’t think of the author) and the Edith Schaeffer one on homemaking mentioned above.

    Thanks for this idea. I look forward to the discussions. So much to learn!

    Holli T.

  50. i think I’m in too. I love these types of books. Right now I am reading One Year to An Organized Life (goes thru your entire house month by month and organizes you) and Living Simply with Children.

  51. I’m in!

    I’ve got a few books on my “to read” list- Adventures in Missing the Point (Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren); Everything Must Change (Brian McLaren); Hope in troubled times: a new vision for confronting global crises (Dr. Bob Goudzwaard).

    I’m looking forward to your list of books- here’s hoping the public library has them *fingers crossed*!!!

  52. Love this idea! I’ve been wanting to join a book club but don’t have “time” to actually get out of the house to go to one at night. This will work! Like the Twitter idea to0 – would finally give me a reason to actually sign up! No one else I know does Twitter …

    TheRoadtoHobbiton´s last blog post…The games kids play

  53. Oh what fun! Count me in!

    AgnesMinerva´s last blog post…What is a Good Parent Like?

  54. I agree with everyone — great idea, and I’m totally in! I only read school books these days, so maybe this will motivate me to take the time to read outside of what is required!

    Kelli´s last blog post…Productive Sunday

  55. I’ll second the Shepherding a Child’s Heart. I have it on my bookshelf, but have never made time for it. I recently read Eat, Pray, Love, and it was this beautiful amazing story of a woman who took a year to focus on herself and find herself. While we can’t all take a year off to search ourselves, it was very inspirational.

    Crystal´s last blog post…Portraits: Teen

  56. I’m in!

  57. You put such thought into your posts I know you will do the same with your selection of books. I am very excited!

    Thank you

    Rachel Bowen´s last blog post…Crochet baby blanket, Brown and Blue

  58. Once again, marvelous idea. 🙂

    I will second Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

    My parenting book recommendations are Last Child in the Woods and Protecting the Gift.

    Heidi @ Mt Hope´s last blog post…In the Spirit of Thankfulness

  59. Me, please. I would love to read books on simplicity or greener living or better parenting.

    Lisa- Domestic Accident´s last blog post…It’s back

  60. Sounds great- I’m in! I’m interested in the Kingsolver book mentioned above- she’s my favorite author. I also read Nickel and Dimed- which stirred a lot of conversation in my book club last year. It’s a little depressing, but very good. It may be geared more to a US audience though, since it discusses minimum wages in the US.

  61. This is a great idea. I’ve played with the idea of joining a book club for a while now, but have not done it because it would be just one more thing in my schedule. This is perfect. I don’t have to do hair or makeup beforehand!

    Last year I read You Matter More Than You Think by Leslie Parrott. It really encouraged and challenged me in several areas: self-care, parenting, marriage, friendships. The title put me off a little bit at first. Sounds way too self-help…but it’s really not like that. I’ve only read it once, though, and I always hesitate to recommend a book that I’ve only read once. Still, I just remember feeling that it was a breath of fresh air, bringing calm and focus every time I sat down to read.

    Holly´s last blog post…Faith Development

  62. I can’t remember the last time I read a book all the way through. Shame on me! This book club is just the thing to motivate me! I’d love to cover some practical (oh please, make them practical) books that I’ll be glad I took the time to read. Can’t wait! 🙂

    Julie – On the Dot Creations´s last blog post…::That’s a Wrap! Week ::

  63. Great idea! I have enjoyed reading your blog and am also trying to keep life simple in my house. I can’t wait to see what titles you pick.

  64. John Eldredge’s Captivating or Jon Piper’s Future Grace.

    miriam´s last blog post…Composers

  65. I am IN and I CANNOT WAIT! Seriously, last night at our FPU class, my mind was kind of wondering and I was thinking to myself about how intellectually UNstimulated I’ve been for a few months. I am CRAVING something like this.

    As always, you rock.

    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog post…Babywearing Tip: Wearing Baby On Your Back

  66. I would love to be a part of this!

    Amy Carrillo´s last blog post…

  67. What a wonderful idea! Although I’m not a mom yet, I am newly married and just starting to learn about managing a household. I would be so happy to read practical books and hear feedback and opinions from more experienced women. Can’t wait!

  68. I’m so in!

    Looking forward to it!

  69. I am so enjoying your blog, and this is a great idea. I don’t enjoy novels but I love reading something that feels *practical* and *productive*!

    Katherine´s last blog post…Not a Newlywed Anymore…

  70. I am enjoying this blog, and this is a great idea! I don’t enjoy a novel, but I can devour a book that feels *practical* and *productive*!

  71. i would defintely be interested in this. i esp want to read some parenting books. i need all the wisdom i can gather! 🙂

  72. Six books definitely sounds do-able. Thanks for the motivation — I’ll look forward to seeing which books are chosen!

    Angie @ Many Little Blessings´s last blog post…13 Random Household Tips (TT #29)

  73. Count me in too… I love “What is a Family”, also by Edith Schaeffer. It is a thought provoking book on the family… how it is an “art form” worth laboring over, much as an artist labors over a beautiful, priceless piece of art. Because it is such a profound book, I think it would lead to some great discussion and a book club would be an ideal format. I look forward to seeing everyone’s recommendations and ultimately, to see what you pick!

  74. Wonderful idea. Count me in!! 😀

    Suzanne´s last blog post…You could mulch your leaves…

  75. This sounds great! Count me in!

  76. Sounds unimaginable somehow and intriguing at the same time!

    real style real people´s last blog post…Winter 2008/09: Country Chic

  77. This is such a fantastic idea, I LOVE it! I’m not a mom (yet), but I’ll definitely be dropping by to learn some tips from the experts. 🙂

    Sarah H.´s last blog post…Houseplant Hacks – Five ways to save money when buying houseplants

  78. I would love to do this! I don’t read books nearly as much as I would like to.

    Michelle M´s last blog post…We need a break…

  79. Great idea! I would love to read When Organizing Isn’t Enough, SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life, by Julie Morgenstern and One Year to An Organized Life, by Regina Leeds after reading reviews by Erin at Unclutterer dot com.

  80. Fabulous idea! Count me in. 😀

    Suzanne´s last blog post…You could mulch your leaves…

  81. Great Idea! I always want to have a book club, but no one locally will commit!
    My book suggestions would be:
    Finding Your Own North Star ~ Martha Beck
    Unconditional Parenting ~ Alfie Kohn

    Can’t wait to see your selections.

    Tara´s last blog post…Have You Seen The Light Today?

  82. Would love to be apart of this adventure. Thank you.

    Lynnette´s last blog post…Stuart Little by E. B. White

  83. oooh…count me in, I love reading!!! A few I might recommend:
    12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know by Michele Borba, Living simply with Children by Marie Sherlock, Living the Good Life by Linda Cockburn, Living Artfully by Sandra Magsamen, One Month to Live by Kerry Shook, The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner…
    I’ve only read the Borba book, and it was great! The others are on my amazon wish list!
    Amy in CA

  84. I love Mark Tabb’s “Living with Less: The Upside of Downsizing Your Life.”

    Deb´s last blog post…End of Autumn Craft

  85. I’m in. I really like the 2 month time frame. I would read far more than I do, if my life would give me the opportunity. 😉

    Currently, I’m reading “Children are from heaven : positive parenting skills for raising cooperative, confident, and compassionate children” by John Gray and “The 7 habits of highly effective families : building a beautiful family culture in a turbulent world” by Stephen Covey. Both are good so far.

  86. I highly recommend
    Finding the Deep River Within: A Woman’s Guide to Recovering Balance and Meaning in Everyday Life by Abby Seixas.

    How many self help books about de-stressing have you read and thought “yeah that all sounds good, but when will I ever find the time?” This is NOT one of those books.

    She encourages the reader to take baby steps and move at their own pace. I really got a lot out of it and would definitely read it again.

  87. I am sooo excited! Can’t wait until the new year! Count me in for sure!

  88. OK i had to post again to say how excited i am to see so many like-minded women (and men). I have read many of the books suggested (some of which are considered outside the mainstream, but are important to me in my parenting), but am also excited to see so many new- to- me titles that i will be investigating.

    If it is not too much trouble, perhaps later you can compile and post a list of all the recommendations (I am sure the list will keep growing) so that we can look into more than the 6 that get chosen. so many great books to choose from!

  89. A bookclub sounds great..will definitley join you on it 🙂

    dominique´s last blog post…Disneyland Photos

  90. Here are some titles that have come to mind: The Messies Manual by Sandra Felton and Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline, MD and Jim Fay. Although I am a “cleanie” by nature, I reaped many great ideas from Felton’s Messies book. I have not read the Love and Logic book, but I had the opportunity to listen to some video clips by Jim Fay and hear a trainer in the L & L strategies. One of his other books sounds good, too: Helicopters, Drill Sergeants, and Consultants by Jim Fay. Other books that I’d like to read include Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahany, et al; Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahany; Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Trip; and Family Driven Faith by Voddie Baucham Jr. I also have a square-foot/container gardening book on my reading list. There are so many good books out there–how are you going to choose just six?

    Sandy´s last blog post…Sew Moody

  91. I love this idea! I’d love to join! I’d be a married-without-kids-yet participant. Fun to look forward to!

    bashtree´s last blog post…coffee break spanish

  92. I’m in! I’ve already added the button to my blog!

    I lvoe the suggestions so far, except that it seems so many book clubs have done Eat, Pray, Love and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this past year I’d like to see something different.

    I’ve been interested in Malcolm Gladwell’s books lately: Tipping Point, Blink, or his latest, Outliers.

    I’m sure you’ll come up with a great list.

    wesleyjeanne´s last blog post…Soup Sunday #3

  93. What a wonderful idea. I can’t wait to see the list.


    Martha @ Better with less´s last blog post…Show more love for less money

  94. Definitely want to get in on this. I’m a voracious reader….when I have the time. I’ll make time for this1

  95. Great idea! Can’t wait to sign up and see what the first book will be!

    Courtney´s last blog post…Happy date night

  96. Count me in…some food for thought for this mom-centric brain! Looking forward to seeing the list!!!

  97. I’m joining in too 🙂

    dominique´s last blog post…Disneyland Photos

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