The 2009 reading list for the Sound Mind, Sound Mom book club

woman reading by the water
Photo by Lori Greig

In one month, the Sound Mind, Sound Mom Book Club begins.

It was not easy selecting the six books for 2009 – there are a lot of great ones out there, and you all suggested so many.  In the end, the final decision was based on variety, topics that were broad enough to (hopefully) appeal to many, and books that have held up to scrutiny and review by a wide audience.

The goal was not to find books on which everyone would agree.  In fact, a slightly controversial perspective on some topics is a good thing, especially for a book club.  We learn from conversation, from hearing another side, and from questioning what we always thought we believed.

But I did want each selection to benefit our jobs as women, moms, and home managers, and I know your time is precious.  There’s no need to whittle away your time on silly reading material.

All the links below lead to the books in the Simple Mom Amazon Shop.  By purchasing the books through these links (along with any other Amazon purchases), you’ll support this site.  This blog being about simple and frugal living, however, I also encourage you to check your local used bookstores and libraries for these titles.

So without further adieu, here are our books for the year.

1.  Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

  • reading dates: January 1 – March 5, 2009
  • topic: money management
  • pages: 400

review: This has been heralded by many as the classic on personal finance, the foundation for the why behind good stewardship and wise money management.  From it stems a rational ideaology for simple and debt-free living.  I’ve always wanted to read this, so now I have a good excuse.

2.  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver

  • reading dates: March 19 – May 21, 2009
  • topic: food, green and frugal living
  • pages: 400

review: For one year, Barbara Kingsolver and her family vowed to only eat food that was raised in their neighborhood or grown in their garden – or they would learn to live without it.  The book journals their culinary adventure, and it investigates the many steps in food production.  Several of you recommended it, which just sealed the deal in the direction I was already leaning.

3.  Last Child In The Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv

  • reading dates: June 4 – July 16, 2009
  • topic: kids and parenting
  • pages: 390

review: This book was the tipping point in starting an international movement to adopt a Leave No Child Inside initiative in 30 U.S. regions and four different countries.  Our kiddos today are increasingly disconnected from the natural world. Not only does nature nurture our kids’ creativity, but nature needs our kids – they’re its future stewards.  As an urban dweller who sees far too much concrete on a daily basis, I’m really looking forward to this read.

4.  For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men, by Shaunti Feldhahn

  • reading dates: July 30 – August 27, 2009
  • topic: taking care of yourself, relationships
  • pages: 208

review: I read this two summers ago in Thailand, and it took me all of two days.  Not only is it a quick and easy read, I just could not put it down.  Novelist Shaunti Feldhahn interviewed scores of men as research for her last novel, whose main character was male.  She was floored at her findings, so she decided to continue with a professional survey.  The survey substantiated every single bit of her previous data, and it also applied to almost all men.  I purposely picked a short, easy, fascinating read for the height of the summer, and it should spark some good discussion.

5.  It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, by Peter Walsh

  • reading dates: September 10 – October 22, 2009
  • topic: organizing, making your home a haven
  • pages: 240

review: Peter Walsh is a professional organizer, but his approach deals with both the practical and the psychological issues behind clutter.  He attests that people hide behind their clutter, avoiding real issues in their lives by holding on to stuff that’s… well, just stuff.  This book’s goal is to help you face a really big question – what is the vision for the life you want to live?

6.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, by Stephen R. Covey

  • reading dates: November 5 – December 10, 2009
  • topic: productivity, simplicity
  • pages: 390

review: Stephen Covey is the epitome of a self-improvement guru, and his books are international best sellers.  This book explains what it means to be an “effective family,” which he sums up with a simple definition – “a beautiful family culture.”  He dives into the ideas of writing family mission statements, creating traditions that matter, and making sure that your family time is quality.  This should be a great read for the end of the year, when we’re busy with family gatherings and focusing on our unique traditions.  It’ll be a great final read.

Anyone is welcome to join the Book Club, parent or not, male or female.  It will, however, be geared towards moms, and we’ll apply the books’ topics to home management.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you all think about the selections! More information about the Book Club will be coming soon, so stay tuned.

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. funny – I’m reading the first one right now and have read one other in the list. That’s okay – I’m looking forward to this. It will be fun.

  2. I love the selections; some of those have been on my list for a while, and now I’ll have a good reason to read them!

    Christi´s last blog post…ordering & payment information

  3. I love the blurbs of all of them!!! I kept thinking, “Oooo … that sounds interesting!”

    Joanna´s last blog post…Dear Santa

  4. This is going to be really interesting and I’m looking forward to it!

    Laine Chambers´s last blog post…Not Me! Monday

  5. Wow, these all sound great. Thanks for the suggestions–I plan on participating.

    Lisa´s last blog post…Menu Plan Monday 12/1

  6. Those are some great books that you’ve got lined up. I’ve read a couple, and my enjoyment of those makes me want to read the others on this list even more! Off to the library I go …

    Lynnita´s last blog post…J5MM Monthly Index: November 2008

  7. Count me in!!! Each one of the selections sounds really good! And man with my schedule, I certainly do need the accountability to read – how sad is that??? – I love to read!!!! Thanks!!!!

    Lori´s last blog post…Deep in the throes….

  8. Hurrah! I just ordered the first book, and it is on its way to me right now. This is just the kick in the pants that I need. Can’t wait to get started!

    Julie – On the Dot Creations´s last blog post…:: Twelve Days of Christmas — Day 1 ::

  9. The book list looks great! I am so in on this!
    Thanks, Beth

    Beth´s last blog post…Favorite things

  10. Looking forward to reading these, Tsh. It looks like some really great selections and only book I have read off the list is the clutter-buster one. Thanks for setting this up!

    Amy´s last blog post…A Perfectly Cozy Gift

  11. that is an awesome collection of books. i didn’t think i would join in, because i prefer to read fiction, but now i’m rethinking. running over to PBS to see if i can order any of these!

    make art every day´s last blog post…I love a parade.

  12. I’m looking forward to joining the group in reading these great books next year!

    Allison J´s last blog post…Back Again

  13. Heather S says:

    All of the books chosen sound great. And they are all under $11. Bonus! Looking forward to reading more in the coming year. Thanks!

  14. I am so psyched! All of these look GREAT and I haven’t read any of them! I am so excited to begin!

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post…Guest Post: Internationally Unconventional

  15. These are some great choices and I look forward to participating. Thanks so much.

    Valarie Budayr´s last blog post…Thanksgiving

  16. Oooh, Barbara Kingsolver. She’s amazing.

  17. You are amazing. All the books chosen for the year. I tip my hat.

    Writer Dad´s last blog post…Writer Dad in Rough Draft

  18. Good books! Looking forward to starting. 😉 Evidently there’s an updated version of Your Money or Your Life coming out 12/10 (here) . (I was looking for info so my library could order the original one. Now I’m not sure which one I should ask the library to order!)

    Avlor´s last blog post…Organizing Roundup: Laundry Room (and Leapsters don’t belong in the loo)

  19. Those are good selections. I look forward to participating.

    Karen´s last blog post…An unexpected surprise

  20. I’m so excited and intrigued by these book choices and can’t wait to get started with the discussions.

    megan´s last blog post…The post-Turkey Day sloth has set in

  21. Glad you all are excited about it!

    @Writer Dad – I tip my hat to you. You’ve got some great writing on your blog. Everyone should go check it out.

    Simple Mom´s last blog post…Link Love :: Kick off the Christmas Season with Simple Home Decor

  22. I cam’t wait to go pick them up! They all look like great reads 🙂

    Carmen´s last blog post…Longest yet

  23. Sounds like a great book list. I’m looking forward to joining you!

    Tammy´s last blog post…~Happy Thanksgiving!~

  24. I may just request the new one and help compare what’s changed in the new version. I’ve read part of the old one (ran out of time with inter library loan) – I think it was last spring.

    Avlor´s last blog post…Organizing Roundup: Laundry Room (and Leapsters don’t belong in the loo)

  25. great looking list – I’ve been looking to read a couple of these already, and a few are totally new to me – can’t wait to get started! Thanks for organizing such a great idea!

    jodi´s last blog post…Take the Challenge?

  26. I’m in!
    The book choices sound awesome!

    Rebekah´s last blog post…Come ye thankful people, come

  27. I love the selection and haven’t read any of these books … in fact, I’m rather surprised (in a good way) that I never heard of the first book … I thought I had read every finance book out there ha ha!!

    Mary´s last blog post…Consider adding a taste of Savannah to your Thanksgiving menu …

  28. Marvelous! I think knowing you’re starting with Your Money or Your Life will help keep my wallet closed this holiday season. All those flyers with their flashing DEALS! have been inticing. I had to throw them in the recycle bin and shut the door.

  29. Ooh, great list! And now I know exactly what to ask for this Christmas! (and will be sending my shoppers through your Amazon store…)

  30. Sounds like a great selection! I’m glad the personal finance book is first while I know I’ll still be motivated. It’s something I’ve been needing to read up on and I’ll be happy for the company.

    Further, I can attest that the Peter Walsh book is excellent and motivating. I hope other readers will enjoy it as much as I did.

  31. I’ve been waiting to see the final list before deciding to join. I think I’m going to have to be in! I’ve already read Last Child In the Woods, but two of the other books on the list have been ones I’ve wanted to read forever!

  32. Fantastic choices! I have 3 of the books sitting in my “to read” pile right now… maybe I’ll finally get them read… YEA! I am so looking forward to this. I’m in!!!

    ThereO´s last blog post…A Song of Thanksgiving

  33. I just bought January’s book , (not from your shop I’m afraid as I’m in the UK ), so I’m ready to go. I think it will be interesting :o)

    Nicki´s last blog post…Go Elf Yourself!

  34. Fabulous choices! All books I’ve either read or have been wanting to.

    Rachel´s last blog post…I’m a Quitter, Not a Knitter

  35. Terrific choices! The two I have read before are ones that I would enjoy revisiting, and I’m looking forward to reading the others. Thanks!

    Heidi @ Mt Hope´s last blog post…Christmas at the Irish Pub

  36. V. Higgins says:

    Just a heads up, EVERYONE should BUY For Women Only. It’s 1) a good short read, 2) stuff every wife needs to remember. Especially with how busy we let ourselves become, this short book is a wonderful reminder of how to show our wonderful husbands how much we care (all the stuff in there is really simple and it really touches our mens hearts).
    Honestly, I think I’m going to spend my fun budget on it next week because I know I need a refresher course. You can usually find it at a Hallmark store if you don’t want to face the temptation of a bookstore (bookstores are the kryptonite of my budget).

  37. Oohhh I’ve read two of those and have two others on my “to read” list! 🙂 I can’t wait to get started! This is going to be so much fun!

    stephanie´s last blog post…A Thanksgiving to remember (with pictures to prove it).

  38. I’ll definitely be joining you! I’ve been wanting to read some of these books anyway.

    (By the way, I think perhaps we were in Phi Lamb together?… 🙂 I’ve been reading your blog for some time and I just figured this out! Fun!)

    Julie Hultz Wuerslin

    Julie´s last blog post…Happy Thanksgiving!

  39. I love your choices for the book club! I am really looking forward to January!

    andi´s last blog post…happy blogging birthday to me!

  40. I’m very excited about the selections! I’ve read the first one, and it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to re-read it!

  41. Looking forward to it!

  42. Oh, I might have to join you for this! I like the selections a lot, in fact I’ve already read two of them (that will make up for my slow reading pace).

    Kendra@ShoppingforTwo´s last blog post…Frugal Friday : Free Baby Stuff

  43. Oh yay!!! What an exciting list. I cannot wait to get started! For Women Only was such an important book for me in terms of relating to my husband. I have wanted to read Last Child in the Woods for over a year now.

    Great picks, Tsh. I am stoked.

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

  44. I am really looking forward to this reading group. You picked some great books – Barbara Kingsolver’s book is so wonderful. I can’t wait to hear what other have to say about it. It will be fun to read again too. I think you did a great job of covering many pertinent topics. Thanks! By the way, how do we sign up and what do we do? 🙂

    CarrieK´s last blog post…Demarle

  45. The list looks great! Can’t wait to get started!

    HobbyMommy´s last blog post…Monday bits…

  46. I can’t wait. Thanks so much for coming up with this list. I can ask for some of these for Christmas. Bless you. Sara

  47. I am so looking forward to this! Hopefully I can finish the Bonesetter’s daughter in time to start on Jan 1. Gives me a great goal!

  48. This sounds like a great reading list! I’m going to have to do this.

    Elisa´s last blog post…All Over the Place Here

  49. I’ve read # 4 – a must read for all wives who want to understand the reason why respect is so important to the health of their marriage.

    And, I’m in the beginnings of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – it’s hitting close to home – litterally – as I am from Tucson – and now live in the Phoenix desert and I garden – knowing that my water is horrible and that we’re being sustained on bad, borrowed water.

    Love the idea of your book club! Blessings…lylah

    lylah ledner´s last blog post…you get only one guess

  50. Hi, I found your blog last week. I like you approach to life. Thanks for all your effort in creating this fun place. I’d like to be a part of the book club. I work at a bookstore so all these great titles are familiar to me. I have to tell you what I like even more is the “mom friendly” reading schedule you’ve allowed for each book. With family, home, jobs, my reading has been reduced to magazine articles! I’ll try to keep up. Thanks again.

  51. All of the selections seem like good “mind-stretchers,” so I look forward to participating! Thank you so much!

    Faerylandmom´s last blog post…It Smells Like Christmas at My House!

  52. Great choices. Stephen Covey was a professor @ the university I attended…anything by Covey is awesome!

  53. Yay! I haven’t read any of these, but they all sound great!

    Kelli´s last blog post…Give Thanks

  54. I recently finished the Kingslover book and it was awesome. This list looks good. I love that you give us LOTS of time to read the entries.

    Reesie´s last blog post…Mindy Moo

  55. I just placed a hold at the library for the first book. I’m really looking forward to each of the selections… especially excited about having other adults to discuss them with! Thanks

    MaryBeth´s last blog post…Fun and Games

  56. Good choices. I’ve read the first three and last one, but not the other two. I’ll be interested to revisit YMOYL (I first read it several years ago) and to see other’s comments/thoughts on AVM and LCITW.

    Fun idea. I put your button on my blog and will post about it with the first book.

    wesleyjeanne´s last blog post…31 Days of Joy::1

  57. Sounds like a fabulous list! I read For Women Only a couple of years ago (while hubby read For Men Only), and I loved it!

    Angie @ Many Little Blessings´s last blog post…Finally Painting Something Other Than The Porch (Tackle It Tuesday #25)

  58. Okay, so I’m so pumped! The first three have all been on my need-to-read list for a while now. For Women Only and 7 Habits are among my two favorite books, and I’m currently reading It’s All Too Much- we must have good taste in books! 🙂 I’m in!

  59. Okay, so I’m so pumped! The first three have all been on my need-to-read list for a while now. For Women Only and 7 Habits are among my two favorite books, and I’m currently reading It’s All Too Much- we must have good taste in books! 🙂 I’m in!

    heather from girl meets world´s last blog post…typealizer

  60. I am a lover of books…any and all books! Let me just tell you, I am oh, so excited to get started! Kuddos to you for doing this!!!

  61. I never get to read any more – the time to do it is not a priority nor the money to buy the books – but I miss it. I really like your list of books – some I know, some I don’t. I’d really like to pick at least one or two from your list and give this a go! thanks for the inspiration

    katef´s last blog post…December Already? Eeek!

  62. i’m so excited for these books. i have read one of them and another is on my list of books to read anyway. yeah!

    christy´s last blog post…sometimes…

  63. Sounds great. I have the first book and have been wanting to read it with others. I was hoping I could talk a friend into reading it at the same time – now we’re both going to join your bookclub. I LOVED the 2nd one. But, I love everything Barbara Kingsolver writes. The 3rd book is also on my list…and just the other day I was even thinking about how I want to read that one. Partly because Mothering Magazine just had an article about outdoor kindergartens in Swizterland, and I just love that idea. The other books sound interesting too. This will be fun.

  64. Great choice putting the “7 Habits” at the end. Most people are the most interested to read those, perhaps due to popularity. That should keep most parties interested through the whole year. Personally I have not heard of most of these books, so just finding out what they have to offer will keep me up and going.

  65. Thanks for organizing this! I never read non-fiction because in my tiny downtime, I just want to turn my brain off. Of course, this creates a tremendous backlog of things I’d like to read but put off for another time. Perhaps this bookclub is just the thing I need! I’ll look forward to the first book!

    Jennifer´s last blog post…Grief

  66. I’m so excited! I can’t wait to read all of them.
    Great picks.

  67. aw, man. i’ve read 4 of the 5 (the one i’ve not read is the first one, but we already do well in the debt free department, so it’s not a real compelling story line for me…) but maybe that’s for the best. our move is forcing me to resign from my old, worn comfortable book club and maybe what i’ll need in my new city is a real-face-to-face club.

    enjoy, i enjoyed the 4 on your list that i have read, and am totally pro-debt free living!


  68. Tsh, this is a fantastic idea- I can’t wait to get started!

    Gidget´s last blog post…Gidget Writes a Novel

  69. I am excited to join in! These books all look great and I have a few already that I purchased but never got around to reading!

    Shannon´s last blog post…Updates: Behind in my blogging

  70. Oh, this looks great! I’m excited to read nonfiction that will actually apply to my life and interest me. Now I’ll add them to my list on the library website…

  71. Oooohhhh… Look forward to being a part of this book club :)))

  72. Fun idea and great books. I haven’t read any yet and can’t wait to start.

    Marie @ Make and Takes´s last blog post…Bead Your Own Ornaments

  73. I’d love to join! I’m horribly disorganized and an awful procrastinator, so I can’t promise I’ll actually get these books read on time, but being part of this club will certainly give me incentive to try. And perhaps reading some of these books will help me overcome my bad habits!

    Emily´s last blog post…snowflakes…

  74. I really hate to be a bother, but your book club link at the top of your site doesn’t link to this post with the titles. I’m really excited to be part of this but couldn’t remember the title of the first book and had to find the list. Many thanks! I’m on the wait list at the public library but don’t know how much longer I can wait. Whoo hoo!

    Leslie´s last blog post…Not Me Monday!

  75. I’m not so great with book clubs since I am a voracious reader, but I am definitely bookmarking this and will put these in my library request queue as soon as some of my other books come in (they have a limit of 5 books, which is such a small number for me…). I’ve read some, and am definitely looking forward to others. Thanks!

    moneyloveandchange´s last blog post…2009 Sunday Paper Coupon Insert Schedule

  76. The expression is “without further ado,” not “without further adieu.” Also, aren’t you playing up the difficulty of being a stay-at-home mom? Their time isn’t that precious…

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