A Year in Books Blogging Books Elma Family Kitty Pip what we're reading

A year in books: One for them and one for me


I have a vague memory of Saturday mornings in the days before children.  I know the lie in was longer than to 6.20, even for me, and I have the strongest impression of sunny mornings, H still sleeping, while I made a nest out of all of the blankets and cuddled down to read a book start to finish.

All of my life I have been an inveterate book worm, library card loaded to the max and bookshelves at least triple stacked and groaning under the weight, but since the children arrived I’ve read a lot less.  I find if they’re all happily playing and I don’t want to disturb them I can do housework around them or sit and knit, but reading takes me too far out of the room and I can’t quite keep track of the peace.  But this year coming I want to commit to reading for me as well as enjoying all the children’s books that topple off our shelves. So I have a plan, and some lovely friends to help and we’d love it if you wanted to join in too.

Introducing…. A Year in Books: one for them and one for me

The plan is simple, on the 5th of each month I’m going to be sharing a favourite children’s book that we’ve been reading or a new discovery that the children think everyone ought to know about and a book that I’ve read just for me.  It might be fact or fiction, everything from parenting books and craft books through to my favourite paperback is fair game, I just want to be reading again.

And because it’s always more fun with friends, I’d like to introduce you to my awesome co-hosts who are equally fond of reading and have similar amounts of time in which to do it!

Claire of Clarina’s Contemplations has almost finished her ABC year of books and still agreed to be my co-host which tells you how much she enjoys reading.  She also has two girls and a boy, of very similar ages to my three and I love reading about her family adventures because they so often parallel the stage we’re in with our three.

Katie at Be Nourishd has just returned to work after a maternity leave spent enjoying life with baby Theo.  She does books for a living and I’ve loved the posts she’s written about some of the new releases she’s come across.  She also has much more success growing courgettes than me so I’m hoping some of her green fingers rub off on me!

They’re both utterly lovely and if you aren’t already following their blogs you need to go and check the out now.  And just to get us started, or in case you’re looking for some Christmas present inspiration, I have one for them and one for me, for December.

One for them: The First Christmas, Hilde Heyduck-Huth

 Space for the Butterflies - A Year In Books  

One of the highlights of early December in our house is the moment when we decide that it’s time to bring the Christmas story books back into rotation.  There are some that never make it out of rotation and I’ve read The Nutcracker story and The Lion, the Unicorn and Me all summer long, but the rest of the treasure feels fresh and new after we tucked it away last January.  But with Pip still in the chewing and throwing phase of book adoration I wanted to add a little something to his level of the library that is actually about the true meaning of Christmas, rather than just “That’s not my Penguin”.

Space for the Butterflies - A Year In Books

And so this year we’ve added The First Christmas.  It’s a nice solid board book, perfect for hitting your sister over the head with (oh how the days have passed since I was saying “gentle hands” to the girls not their brother!) and it’s illustrated in the kind of rich deep colours that pull you in, tuck you up under a blanket and bring you a hot chocolate with marshmallows on the top while you read.

Space for the Butterflies - A Year In Books

The story is back to the basics we all know so well, there are angels and shepherds and wise men on camels and a baby born in a stable. But somehow in stripping away all the periphery it brings back some of the wonder and awe to the story and helps us to centre ourselves back on the real reason for all the tinsel and mince pies.

One for me: Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

Space for the Butterflies - A Year In Books

I mentioned the other day that I read this cover to cover in one sitting and it’s true. I kept thinking that I should get out of the bath and go and be useful or something but I just wanted to read one more chapter, one more page and then by the time I realised that I was turning the hot tap on with my toes for the second time I could see that I just had to give in to the inevitable and finish it.  I’ve never read Eat, Pray, Love but I know that Elizabeth Gilbert’s work can be quite polarising and I think that’s probably true for Big Magic too.  I absolutely loved it, I’ve always been a firm believer firstly that every person is creative in some way, they just have to tune into whatever that is, and secondly that they really do have to; exercising my creativity is as important to my health and happiness as drinking plenty of water and occasionally going to bed on time, and judging by how often I fail at the latter, probably more so.

Elizabeth’s writing tells you to go for it, to say out loud, I am a writer or an artist or a really creative mum and then put it on your list of things to get done and once I’d finished reading and finally extracted myself from the bath I was full to the brim with a million and one plans, of which the Year in Books is just one of them.  But I loved that as well as telling you to fight for time for pursue your passion and not let the excuses get in the way, she also acknowledges that you’re not going to be able to do everything.  I’m not sure I buy into the concept that ideas are actual Harry Potter style magic floating around looking for someone to work with, but to say to yourself that an idea comes, tries you out for size and sees if you can work together and then either you do it, or you don’t have time, it isn’t the right time, or you’re just not the right fit, I find incredibly freeing. It somehow takes away the guilty feeling that you had a genius idea but just wasted it.  Part of life as a working Mama to three little ones is that I just don’t have enough time to properly commit to all the ideas in my head and I love the idea that they find a home with someone else.


Space for the Butterflies - A Year In Books

So that’s the plan. We’ll be starting officially on 5th January although the linky will stay open for the whole of each month; come and join us, tell us what you got for Christmas and open the door to a world in which your book wish list gets only longer!



You Might Also Like

  • Lucy 05/12/2015 at 7:21 am

    Ooooh, Big Magic sounds ace, and just the sort of book I’d love. This is such a good idea for a feature and I’ll look forward to reading your suggestions. I’ve always been a book worm too, and I got really back into reading each night at bedtime over the past year. It’s something I’ve temporarily put on hold quite by accident since the newest little lady came along; partly because sleep feels more precious, and partly because I had a run of so many amazing books that I haven’t yet found another that I really really want to read. The next book I pick up will have some big boots to fill as it follows on from The Great Gatsby and To Kill A Mockingbird. x

    • Carie 05/12/2015 at 9:44 pm

      Oh those are some big shoes to fill – and yes I can understand about sleep being the most important thing!! I’m so excited about this project and I can’t wait to get stuck in and choose my next book 🙂

  • Kathy 05/12/2015 at 8:28 am

    Not sure if you have ever read “The Gidt of the Ordinary Day” by Katrina Kenison. I’m sure you have read this but if you haven’t I highly recommend it immediately. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

    • Carie 05/12/2015 at 9:44 pm

      I haven’t, thank you for the recommendation – puts it straight to the top of the wish list!

  • Kathy 05/12/2015 at 8:29 am

    Sorry there was a typo in the “the gift of the ordinary day” Kathy

  • Lee Cockrum 05/12/2015 at 1:39 pm

    Looking forward to seeing what you are reading! I need to read more as well. Don’t have children, but work and home stuff… And iPhone games seem to take me away from reading more than they should!!

    • Carie 05/12/2015 at 9:45 pm

      Well come and join in just with grown up books then – I do love suggestions for good books!

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 05/12/2015 at 7:48 pm

    Eeeek! I’m so excited about this linky! Bring on January the 5th! Thanks so much for the lovely shout-out too!xxx

    • Carie 05/12/2015 at 9:45 pm

      I know it’s going to be awesome isn’t it!!

  • Kim 05/12/2015 at 11:11 pm

    Big Magic is sitting and waiting for me 🙂 I am reading Eat, Pray, Love right now, for the first time. I thought it an appropriate read for me and where I am on my journey at the moment. And so far, it has been just perfect. As soon as I finish it, I will be digging into Big Magic, and I can’t wait!

    • Carie 06/12/2015 at 9:16 pm

      Oh you do have a lovely treat in store – I think I need to go and read Eat Pray Love now, I’m curious to see what prompted Big Magic!

  • Yanic 06/12/2015 at 2:52 am

    Thank you for the recommendation… I’ll be checking that out for sure. I look forward to your childrens book suggestions as well. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get English books in the library here and since we have to buy our books, it’s nice to not go in blind. 🙂

    • Carie 06/12/2015 at 9:19 pm

      You’re welcome 🙂 If all of the books are in French do you get Petit T’choupi? Coming up on four months back from our Europe trip and our small collection of Petit T’choupi are still Pip’s all time favourites (especially “miam miam” which has now entered family slang!!)

  • Maddy@writingbubble 07/12/2015 at 9:20 pm

    I love the idea of ‘A Year in Books’ – I will definitely join in when I can as I (and my boys) love reading!I’ve seen a few other bloggers recommend Big Magic and I think I’m going to have to read it now – sounds perfect for all creative people, or the creative person inside everyone. Feel free to link this to #whatImWriting tomorrow if you like – writers are usually readers after all! xx

    • Carie 07/12/2015 at 10:46 pm

      Ooh please do join in – the more the merrier – and thank you, I’ll have to remember to link up tomorrow!

  • Nicola Young 08/12/2015 at 11:07 am

    That book (Big Magic) reflects the way I’ve been thinking about things recently. I like the positive ideal of taking steps to achieving your dreams and goals.
    The year in books idea is wonderful.

    • Carie 08/12/2015 at 11:01 pm

      Me too – it hands back the control!

  • Emily Organ 08/12/2015 at 8:14 pm

    I hardly read when my children were little and then I realised I actually had to MAKE TIME to read. Before children it had been so effortless. Anyway, I’m very much back in the habit now and the more I read the better I write. I love the children’s Christmas books, ours are always on the shelf and my daughter had me reading Christmas books in the summer! There’s something so magical about them that children always love a Christmas story. Enjoy your reads.

    • Carie 08/12/2015 at 11:05 pm

      Thank you, we will!

  • Alice @ The Filling Glass 08/12/2015 at 9:36 pm

    That linky is a great idea. I love books and always look for inspiration on what to read. I have to say that Big Magic is already on my Christmas list…I’m just hoping the book ends up under the tree;-). The children’s book looks lovely – those illustrations have great colour and depth. We have immersed ourselves in our Christmas collection, and raided the library too – the children are very excited! #WhatImWriting

    • Carie 08/12/2015 at 11:06 pm

      Oh I hope so too for your sake!

  • Sophie Lovett 09/12/2015 at 11:54 am

    I think this is a great idea. I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like – and as a writer I really should be reading more! I may well join you for this one in the New Year to get some motivation going 🙂

    • Carie 09/12/2015 at 10:13 pm

      Oh please do, I shall look forward to it 🙂

  • Agent Spitback 09/12/2015 at 1:26 pm

    What a great idea – A year in books. I’m always on the lookout for books to read! And you’re right, you have to make the commitment to reading. I find myself putting my reading last but it’s reading that sustains me and what I need to keep on going. #WhatImWriting

    • Carie 09/12/2015 at 10:27 pm

      Oh do come and join in – the more the merrier and the longer my amazon wish list!

  • Susie Glasgowdragonfly 09/12/2015 at 4:29 pm

    What a great idea for a linky! Please keep reminding us as I would love to read and/or take part, time permitting! Both your recommendations sound great. I need a bit of creative mentoring and cheerleading in my life right now to be honest and am completely with you on savouring a bit of the “good old fashioned” traditional elements of Christmas. Thanks so much for sharing here. Looking forward to 5th Jan x

    • Carie 09/12/2015 at 10:28 pm

      I will do – and if that’s what you’re looking for then I think you’d really enjoy Big Magic 🙂

  • Rebecca Ann Smith 10/12/2015 at 10:58 am

    Ooh I love the idea of a year in books. I’ve never read any Elizabeth Gilbert but on the basis of this post I’ve added Big Magic to my Christmas list. Thanks!

    • Carie 12/12/2015 at 11:53 pm

      Oh fingers crossed Father Christmas brings it – though don’t start reading it until after the Queen or you’ll never get to your lunch!

  • Vickie 10/12/2015 at 10:23 pm

    Fabulous idea for a linky Carie! I have really missed joining in with What We’re Reading now that it’s finished. And what’s even better is that in this new linky I can share my favourites too. I shall be there with bells on come the 5th. 🙂

    Oh and Big Magic just made it onto my To Read list on Goodreads, so thank you!

  • Dana 10/12/2015 at 10:48 pm

    I just adored Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, and the only reason I didn’t finish it in one sitting (besides being interrupted by children!) is because I was trying so hard to savor it 🙂

  • #TheYearinBooks - One for them and one for me - BeNourishd 05/01/2016 at 9:21 am

    […] about how much I love the #TheYearinBooks Twitter chat, and when Carie approached me about sharing a book each month – one for grown ups and one for children – I thought it sounded like a really fun idea […]