The middle of winter is hands down my least favorite time to live in the mid-west. While I love the changing of the seasons – the trudge post-holidays to mid-March takes twice as long as it should.  The only way to survive is with a glass of wine, a nice fire, and a few good books.

Try these to warm up from the inside out:


The Nightingale

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah

“In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.”

In The Nightingale, two sisters find their way through occupied France in WW2. With full acknowledgment that I am a sucker for this type of fiction, this is a wonderful story of becoming who we really are. Kristin Hannah’s writing is compelling, and her process of robust research allows the reader to experience a far less documented side of war to see what it’s like for the women and children left behind. I particularly appreciated the relationship between the sisters – full of all the love, history, and hurt that come hand in hand with family.


Uncommon Type

By Tom Hanks

“It turns out that Tom Hanks is also a wise and hilarious writer with an endlessly surprising mind. Damn it.” – Steve Martin

It doesn’t seem fair, but it’s true. Tom Hanks can write too. Uncommon Type is a book of short stories, all just the right length to read a few as you wait for basketball practice to end or right before bed. The stories are quirky, funny, sad, and unexpected. The characters are both unique and fully developed – quite an accomplishment in a few short pages. Like pretty much every other thing Mr. Hanks does, Uncommon Type is worth your time.



By Paul Hawken

“If you are traveling down the wrong road, you are still on the wrong road if you slow down.”

When I tell you Drawdown is a book on how to reverse global warming, I understand the inclination to put down this review and reread the one about Tom Hanks. However, if you can resist the urge, Drawdown is a good read. It focuses on how we can overcome confusion, apathy, or just being overwhelmed by the idea of global warming. The book takes 80 strategies and solutions, organizes them by sector, describes them in easily understandable language and ranks their effectiveness using the total CO2 impact, and the long and short-term costs.  Each solution is only a page or two long, with lots of photos and illustrations, so you can digest each idea in small bites. Ultimately, I left Drawdown feeling hopeful and better equipped to make a difference through design.


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