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Best Books of 2013

When Anne mentioned that she was going to be doing a linkup for best books of 2013, I was all in. 2013 was the year I fell back in love with reading and I read a lot of books and discovered a whole community of bibliophiles. I’ve read titles they’ve recommended through the monthly Twitterature linkup and we’ve browsed each other’s bookshelves, virtually. I’ve gotten back in the habit of stashing a book in my purse and reading a few pages (or chapters) before bed. This is probably the only recap of 2013 sort of post I’ll do here on the blog, books have been a big part of my personal life and I have loved sharing and learning with all of you.

Here are the books that made my personal best of 2013, in no particular order.


A Spoonful of Sugar: A Nanny’s Story by Brenda Ashford 

This is not a parenting book but I gleaned so many good tips and ideas for parenting my girls from the story of a nanny who cared for many children over her 60+ year career in England. It was equally heart-warming and heart-wrenching. I loved reading about all the relationships and the difference a time investment makes in the life of a child. It is also an ode to a different era which wasn’t all good but had so many good things that I can learn and apply to my current life. I read several chapters of this on a quiet beach after a very stretching few days of parenting this summer and my life is better after reading it.

How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Guide to Getting Gorgeous without Breaking the Bank by Andrea Pomerantz Lustig

Most of the books that made this list are books that I would buy so I could read them again (and again!) or reference them. This book was much more then a lot of the other beauty tip books I’ve read. It helped me realize what my style was and who my style icons tend to be. It also helped me realize again that one doesn’t have to do or be everything to be fabulous- one can splash on some mascara and lipgloss, drink lots of water and smile! This book along with a few hours talking (and then doing) makeup and hair with friends on PEI was so equipping for me to be confident in the makeup aisle and with my own makeup bag.


 Artist to Artist:23 Major Illustrators talk to children about their Art 

Honestly, I got this book from the library for my girls but it stayed on my night table and I benefitted from it. I don’t think of myself as an artist with oils or pastels or sketching but I do think of myself as a creative. This book was so inspirational for thinking and then being a creative and knowing that all art takes work. From sketching to dinner-making to braiding little girls hair to folding laundry to writing down words. I read this last winter and it makes a great winter read when life tends to be slower and more about being then doing.

The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter and Live Better in a World addicted to Speed by Carl Honore 

I can be a little obsessed about being slow and intentional. Just ask my husband. At the time of reading this book, I think I used my life’s quota of using the word intentional and the big difference it makes in one’s life. I appreciate this book because it gave a real look at the changes that can happen when you slow down and take problems right down to the root. It’s not a speedy fix but it’s life-changing, lifelong fix. Another winter read.

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What you should and shouldn’t cook from scratch by Jennifer Reese 

I grew up with a mother who taught me how to make (almost) everything from scratch. She made yoghurt before it was cool and my parents drank green juice long before it was trendy. Now that everyone is soaking grains and raising tomatoes in pots, this book is a great reference for what works and what doesn’t. From a highly biased perspective. She gives the financial breakdown (hint: it’s not always cheaper to make it at home), the time breakdown and recipes for everything she made. It’s humorous and insightful. And has some great recipes. P.S. I don’t make my own yoghurt but I know how to if I needed too.

A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenburg 

I just requested this book again from the library because it is just that good. It combines life stories with food stories and recipes in the best sort of way. I read it in the spring and it made me want to invite lots of people over and cook for them. We didn’t do that then but it is one of our family’s goals for 2014.


Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle

I read this on my kindle app (one of the very few books that I’ve actually read on my phone, the screen is rather small) while sitting outside my girls’ room waiting for them to fall asleep. I laughed and cried my way through this book and it left me feeling empowered and encouraged as a mother. It’s one mother’s perspective and its different from mine but I felt enriched after reading it.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Kate Morton as an author was a favourite discovery of this past year. I read all the titles my library has in a reasonably short time and wondered where these books had been all my life. The Secret Keeper made it as a favourite because the story was so compelling and constantly adding a new twist. It also made me slow down and re-read sentences because I like how she crafts the words.

Those are my best of 2013, what are some of yours? What books do you look forward to reading in 2014? Tell me and then head over to Modern Mrs Darcy to read all the other lists (and linkup your own!)


{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Alison January 3, 2014, 4:07 pm

    Kate Morton is an amazing writer! So glad you got into her this year. Love your site’s design–it’s adorable!

  • Kailey January 3, 2014, 4:28 pm

    These look awesome! I haven’t heard of half of them (Which I love!!) I’ll have to check them out! Thanks for sharing! Happy New Year! 🙂

  • Ana @ Lessons From Yesterday January 3, 2014, 6:00 pm

    I just put A Spoonful of Sugar on hold–it looks great!

  • Moira @ Hearth and Homefront January 3, 2014, 7:51 pm

    Just added several to my list! You always have great suggestions 🙂 And I love your photos in this post! Happy New Year!

  • Stacey Loscalzo January 3, 2014, 9:13 pm

    What a great list! I can’t wait to read some new-to-me titles!

  • dawnomite January 4, 2014, 1:21 am

    I also read The Secret Keeper this year and really enjoyed it. Found you on the Ms. Darcy linkup. 🙂 Happy new year!

  • elisenussbaum January 4, 2014, 11:06 pm

    Your book selections sound so fun! I added a few to my Goodreads account. The Artists to Artists book is very intriguing – my husband is an artist and I know just what you mean about feeling creative and not necessarily artsy. I really like discussions that can de-elevate art and make it more accessible to those of us not as inclined to Fine Art. I’ll definitely check that one out! 🙂

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 6, 2014, 11:21 am

      I hope you enjoy them! My husband is a violinist so I often feel like the non-musical/artsy one of the two of us as well. =) I’d love to discuss art more and just what it means for all of us. Have you read Emily Freeman’s A Million Little Ways? I haven’t yet, but I think it would be so helpful in this discussion!

      • elisenussbaum January 6, 2014, 10:01 pm

        Haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list – the description sounds really encouraging!

  • allison rasmussen (@allierasmussen) January 5, 2014, 4:50 pm

    Coming over from the link-up. I read the House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden this year, so I will have to check out The Secret Keeper! I also am a very part time nanny A Spoonful of Sugar looks great.

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 6, 2014, 11:24 am

      Oh, I think you’ll enjoy The Secret Keeper! I was a nanny as well before I was married and loved those aspects of a Spoonful of Sugar, thanks for coming over! =)

  • rainydayinmay January 7, 2014, 1:40 pm

    I’ve added a few of these to my wishlist… I had to share though, that A Homemade Life is one of my all time favorite books! I love it so much! I wanted to go to her restaurant, when I was in Seattle, but it just didn’t pan out…

  • Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy January 9, 2014, 3:57 pm

    I just loved A Homemade Life (and think about it all the time, because the Winning Hearts and Minds Cake has become my go-to dessert around here. I might have had leftovers for breakfast. 🙂 ) I don’t know that much about Delancey, due out this spring, but I’m looking forward to it.

    Many of these are familiar to me (and favorites) but The Slow Fix is new to me. Off to find out more…

    Thanks for sharing your favorites!

    • Breanne :: This Vintage Moment January 9, 2014, 8:04 pm

      I think you’ll enjoy The Slow Fix. And Delancey sounds super good, I didn’t know she had written it until now. =) Thanks for the idea for sharing our favourites, I loved reading all the lists!

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