Books to Read During Maternity Leave


No, I’m not completely out of my mind. I really do think it’s possible (POSSIBLE! Not probable, okay?) I might have time to read over the next few crazy weeks.

[Wait. I guess seven days with a newborn might have been long enough to drive me crazy. I doubt it, though. That doubt? It‘s the luxury I have writing this five days before she’s scheduled to be delivered…]

In order to get ready for Life with Baby, I scheduled a handful of posts for the blog and took off several weeks from work. Though I realize naps and laundry and holding and rocking and staring into space or gazing into her eyes will likely take up most my time and energy, I also wanted to be prepared with a stack of books to read if and when I found a few minutes here and there.

The problem is that my brain basically shut down a few trimesters ago, and even the most basic decisions (like, which three books to buy or borrow) boggled my poor pregnant mind. Not to mention I had no idea what my post-baby brain would be interested in or able to handle. So like a good Boy Scout (a good, pregnant, indecisive Boy Scout), I am totally prepared with more books than I could possibly read in six weeks.


Here’s what I’ve got lined up. (P.S. Feel free to notice the abundance of books that EVERYONE ELSE HAS READ but I have not. Better late than never, right?)



Wish List:

Also on Deck:

Veronica Mars, first season (a rewatch to get ready for the MOVIE!!!)

So, what do you think of my list? Is there something lighter, better, more interesting, more hilarious, more encouraging that I should be reading this winter in between diapers and feedings and tummy time and naps?

This post includes affiliate links. Photos by brendan-c and dougbelshaw.

14 Comments Books to Read During Maternity Leave

  1. Becky January 20, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Personally, I don’t think I’d recommend The Fault in our Stars or Eleanor & Park to be read in the midst of postpartum hormones. But maybe if you’re already teary as a daily state, you won’t notice the difference. ;) Hope the postpartum time is going well for you.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 20, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      I’ve actually had The Fault in Our Stars for quite a while and put it off for that exact reason. Sooo…maybe this one will get moved to my summer or fall reading list!

  2. Julia R. January 20, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I’m reading Chasing God and loving it!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 20, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      Ohhh, I’ve heard such great things about Chasing God! Glad you’re enjoying it!

  3. Leigh Kramer January 20, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I loved Fault in Our Stars but I’d save that for when your post-baby hormones have stabilized. I ugly cried while reading it. It’s really good but not one you need to prioritize. The Thirteenth Tale, on the other hand, would be a great selection because it’s awesome but also because it has to do with fairy tales, or rather, the author that wrote them. I’m one of the few people that didn’t fall head over heels for Eleanor & Park- it was OK. I haven’t read the others on your fiction list. But if you’re looking for easy, enjoyable reads: Someday, Someday, Maybe (can’t remember if you read this yet), The Interestings (Wolitzer), What Alice Forgot. Definitely read Bread & Wine, Jesus Feminist, and Traveling Mercies. I’m looking forward to reading Notes from a Blue Bike myself.

    Do you ever read food memoir? That’s my current favorite genre. Tender at the Bone (Reichl) and A Homemade Life (Wizenberg) are two of my favorites.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      OH! I totally forgot about Lauren Graham’s book! I just reserved it at the library. Considering that I *may have* lobbied for naming our baby Lorelai, it seems appropriate that I’d read it now. :) (And I have What Alice Forgot on my reserve list. And have not read any food memoirs to know if I like them!)

  4. Lina January 20, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    What an adventurous list! You go girl! Myself, I would do light and easy for this time since you will likely be sleep deprived and I hate re-reading the same page three times to let it sink in (thinking you would likely hate that too). I am a big fan of Children’s books and the Young Adult genre which might be easier during the fog of round the clock infant time.

    I am looking forward to hearing what you do read and what you like on the list. I don’t have any of those books so cannot comment directly.

    I hope the little ones are allowing you enough time to take care of yourself too.

    Best, Lina

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 20, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      Yes, YA will probably be where I start! Although right now I’m still too foggy to even focus on one paragraph, much less a whole page. ;)

  5. dawn@joyfulscribblings January 20, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Congratulations on your new baby girl! I hope you are able to get some reading done. I have a few of the same titles on my list to read this year. The Fault in Our Stars is my daughter’s favorite book, but as you saw from the warnings above it’s very sad. I would go with one of your more inspirational picks. I’ve had Stephen King’s On Writing for a few years and I’m determined to get it read this year.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 20, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks, Dawn! And yes, I’m going to follow everyone’s advice and wait on the sad books!

  6. Vanderbilt Wife January 20, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Love: The Fault in Our Stars, Cinder, and Bread and Wine. Some of my absolute favorites from 2013. Hope you love them, too!

    Honestly, I read a TON in the first few weeks postpartum usually. Because I take a ton of baths for the hurting area. But I am guessing with a c-section you can’t take a bath. Still, it’s important to RELAX and reading doesn’t take too much brainpower.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect January 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      No baths just yet…but I’m looking forward to some daytime naps when Annalyn goes back to school (tomorrow), so I bet I find myself dozing off with a book in hand at least some of the time.

  7. Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout January 21, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    You can TOTALLY get a ton of reading done while logging all that couch time holding a baby! You’ve got some great books on your list. I personally loved short stories and essays when I was super sleep deprived because they’re nice and short. (Bread and Wine — yes! Although I found it a little frustrating I wasn’t exactly in a place to host a dinner party at the moment.)

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