Did you just marry someone in the military? Congrats! Feeling a little culture shock? You're definitely not alone! There are loads of reading lists out there for military spouses, many of which rattle off the same books over and over. Those picks are ok, but we have a few problems with them.
First, they focus on the negative parts of military life, such as deployments and death. Second, they're getting old and outdated, which admittedly happens pretty fast. When I first got married in 2011, the books were about being a military spouse in the 90's, and that was a little helpful, but not a lot, because so much had changed and many acronyms had become meaningless. Likewise, now, there are a bunch of books about being married to a service member in the early years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military does not work the same way now as it did 15 years ago. Third, some of these lists are all about understanding your service member spouse's world, but they don't help YOU! We're all for learning about each branch's heroes, histories, and challenges, but a list of books for military spouses should help the spouses. Some of the books on our list will be specific to the military, but several address key pain points about life in general that tend to be exacerbated by the military lifestyle.
One challenge we encountered when we went to make this list is that we would not recommend the same books to new spouses as we would seasoned spouses. This list is for the new (and probably quite young) military spouse. If you're new to the military community, you might be suffering a little culture shock, homesickness, or loneliness. Even if you're adapting well, you might be struggling to explain it to your family or friends. Read on for our list (in no particular order) of great books to help you embrace your new life.
The links below are affiliate links, so we'll get a small bonus if you use them to order any of these books from Amazon, but we also have a free printable version of this list that you can take to the library!
Big changes to The Commandant’s Professional Reading List Program were recently announced. For anyone not in the know, the United States Marine Corps has a professional reading list, packed full of titles that are meant to educate Marines and inculcate them with the Corps’ values. We explained how it typically works in a previous article, but a good deal of that has now shifted, mostly for the better.
We here at Busy Nest News love a reading list, especially a list meant to develop leadership, creativity, and resilience. We believe any org can benefit from developing a reading list for its members. The Commandant’s Reading List has been updated regularly since it was established in 1989, so it’s always been one of our first stops when we’re looking for the next book in our respective self-development journeys. So what are these changes, and why are they a big deal? Doesn’t the list get updated frequently anyway? Read on for my initial analysis of the changes.
In pursuit of making great book club kits and generally improving ourselves, we read a LOT of books! We believe that you can get at least a little bit better at just about anything, as long as you keep learning about it and practicing proven techniques. We extend this philosophy to our journeys as parents, too. What if all parents took their parenting as seriously as their career or favorite hobby? To progress at work, people read books, take classes, and seek mentorships. We aren't too proud or self-assured to try these techniques to become better parents, as well.
While we're certainly not perfect, we're definitely seeing results from these efforts. One of our biggest lessons has been that we're constantly planting the seeds for future progress; real changes are rarely immediate, but they're lasting and buildable. That and, parenting is hard! Even when you're doing it right, your kid will still get mad at you. Saying "no" in the cereal aisle when your kid is two might result in a tantrum that makes you wish you'd just ordered everything online. But sticking to your "no" and enduring the tw0-year-old's rage will result in a much more subtle, but accepting, form of dissatisfaction to your "no" in the same scenario a year or two later.
All of this is to say, you've got this! And when you feel like you don't, we have books that can help. Read on for our list of our ten favorite parenting books (in no particular order). These are all of our go-to's when friends ask how we handle things. Use the links in the article to order your own copy from Amazon (we'll get a small referral payout if you do, at no additional cost to you). Bonus: we have a printable pamphlet of all ten titles that you can take with you to the bookstore or library!
When people think about military training, they usually picture some version of basic training. And why wouldn’t they? The vast majority of military movies spend a large amount of time on the protagonist getting through boot camp. Basic training is a big deal, but the truth is that it’s just the beginning (hence the word "basic"). After boot camp, the training continues in the form of schools, field ops, distance learning classes, and ongoing mentoring. But there’s one type of training that is key for developing leaders that's often overlooked by the casual observer of military life. The great news, though, is that you can use this technique to develop yourself as a leader, as well as other aspiring leaders in your team.
Full-size versus mini kits
Here at Busy Nest News, we realize that every book club has unique needs. That is why we have many options to choose from including our mini and full-size book club kits.
The Busy Nest News mini book club kit, also known as the “one and done” is an updated version of what we currently consider a typical book club experience. The kit contains discussion questions, tips on how to run a book club, icebreakers, and one group activity. The core of any book club experience is the discussion questions. Our questions are quality. These will not be your run of the mill, “what did you think of x, y, and z?” Our questions will push you to dig into the content and come up with new ideas. They do not assume that you are reading this book because you already agree with what the author has to say. They are developed for those who have come to question and learn. If you are willing, we will help to expand your horizons. Our ice breakers are creative, thought-provoking questions chosen so that even old friends might learn something about each other. The icing on the cake is the group activity. We choose our group activity to maximize engagement and minimize hassle for the discussion leader. Our activity will encourage full group participation with minimal effort on your part.
This post contains affiliate links. If you buy anything using the links in this article, Busy Nest News will get a small portion of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!
Expecting Better, by Emily Oster
It’s been a while since Ariel and I came across a parenting book that we just had to read. When we heard the premise of Expecting Better, by Emily Oster, we knew it bore checking out.
Emily Oster is an economist (as is her husband). In a nutshell, what economists are pros at is analyzing information, evaluating the quality, and synthesizing it into reports to help people in key positions make decisions. In Expecting Better, Oster aims to use her economist skills to breakdown the data around the most common, thorny issues encountered in pregnancy, to help you decide what's best for your family.
Some of the topics tackled include the risks around foods (caffeine, alcohol, lunch meat, sushi), medicines (birth control, pain killers, antidepressants), and exercise. Oster also details risks of and protocols around genetic testing, common pregnancy conditions (such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes), bedrest, and the options available during birth.
In which Brianna and Ariel discuss Neil Pasricha's upcoming book, You Are Awesome. Who is this man, what is his book about, and when is it available? We received advance copies of this book so that we could give it our honest review. This post contains affiliate links.
You Are Awesome, by Neil Pasricha
Summary & Review:
Hello, dear readers! It has been a while since our last book review because we have been busy making book club kits. However, we’ve missed sharing our thoughts on helpful books with you and with each other. There’s a long, long list of all the books we want to review or that friends have asked for our take on. We were excited to take on this book because we were fortunate enough to get early access to it. So what is this book? It’s called You Are Awesome, by Neil Pasricha.
Neil Pasricha is the best-selling author of six previous books, as well as the creator of (at least) six failed websites. He’s also the son of two very wise and patient parents, whom I’d love to meet. In his book, which is an interesting blend of autobiography and life advice, Pasricha explains how he went from working the careers he was “supposed” to want, to finding his own path to success, happiness, and resilience.
Hello, dear readers!
Ariel and I have been blogging here on BusyNestNews.com for a year now (wow, that went by fast!) and we have big news! Are you ready?
We’re going to be selling book club kits! Beautiful, adaptable, personal book club kits.
You are probably most familiar with book clubs taking the shape of a once-a-month meeting to discuss some work of literary fiction that a celebrity or publisher told you was going to be huge this year. But what actually happens for many of us is that we’re too busy/tired/uninterested to really read the book (my toddler doesn’t know what a Pulitzer Prize is, sorry book club!), and so the meeting quickly dissolves into an excuse for an informal cocktail party. Why don’t we start giving wine o’clock the time it deserves and the books that challenge us the time they deserve? Socializing and relaxing are important for everyone (I know we’re big fans!), and so is diving into ideas that push us to grow wiser and happier. So what about those of us that actually want to read a book and talk it over with friends?
Ariel and I love a bit of fiction, but after becoming parents we really got on a nonfiction and self-improvement kick that sees no end in sight. If you want a better marriage, happier you, or (possibly) happier, healthier kids that the neighbors likely don’t hate, we’re here to help! We have developed gorgeous reading guides for both the discussion leader and club members. These kits will get everyone ready for the discussion while prioritizing self-exploration and personal growth. We make getting smarter and socializing easier and more fun than ever.
So that’s what we do now! We’re still going to publish articles on topics we’re passionate about on our blog, but very soon you’ll be able to buy entire, incredible book club kits to help you run the most amazing, insightful book club ever. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve got. We’re sure you’re going to love it!
Brianna and Ariel love to read all year, but there's something special about summer reading. This article is part three of a series about books that are perfect for summer. Using our affiliate links to purchase these books will help keep Busy Nest News going. Thanks for your continued support!
Sometimes you find an author whose works you enjoy so much that you automatically buy whatever their latest book is, as soon as it’s announced. In fact, you pre-order. I tried to pick my favorite Sophie Kinsella book, and pretty soon I had six! You might know this author for her Shopaholic or Undomestic Goddess series, but it’s her collection of stand alone novels that I can’t get enough of! I made myself pick two. If you haven’t checked out her latest yet, run, don’t walk to get them. Both of these books pair well with a towel or plane flight in paperback form, but their audiobooks are sooo great, too. Fiona Hardingham reads both, but always does an excellent job of portraying a variety of characters with a multitude of personalities and accents. You’ll think your sweetest, most optimistic best friend is telling you about her bizarre troubles, only laughing out loud won’t hurt her feelings.
Join Brianna and Ariel for another parenting book discussion. This month, we read Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps. When you buy the book through our affiliate links, a small portion comes back to Busy Nest News at no cost to you. Thanks for your continued support!
Do you ever feel as if everyone around you has it all figured out, while you’re still struggling with basic tasks? Do you wait for the less-than-friendly reminders from the utility companies before paying your bills? Or maybe you’re fiscally responsible, but you have no idea how often you should get an oil change, or you secretly don’t know what temperature to wash your clothes on, or how to cook a decent meal, or be respected at work, or, or, or. There are hundreds of skills whose mastery makes us feel like we’re competent adults; and if we’re bad at a few, we feel like terrified little kids masquerading as grown-ups.
Kelly Williams Brown’s Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps (previously 468 steps) offers to teach twenty-somethings life lessons big and small. Everything from how to pick a good apartment (make sure the outlets are real and not stickers) to why it’s a mistake to date a friend’s ex. She systematically goes through eleven areas of life with both beginner and advanced tips to take you to the next level. Along the way she shares stories which may or may not be true, but do an excellent job of illustrating her lessons.
Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
Let's keep in touch!