10 Inspiring and Uplifting Books for Spring

I’m feeling more sane today, guys! Thanks for all of your encouraging comments in my last post. The great* thing about pregnancy is that every day is different. The past few days I have had a hard time believing this baby would ever come out. But today I am more hopeful–still impatient, but hopeful.

I watched a Ted Talk by renowned midwife, Ina May Gaskin, about how we should stop making birth out to be a scary thing. She pointed out that humans are the only creatures on earth who doubt their ability to give birth. Which is why I plan on pretending I am a horse or a lioness in the hospital room. My birth team will love it. But really, it’s true. Why do we doubt what our bodies were made to do?

But I’m not here to talk about birth today. I want to talk about books!

Do you think of books as seasonal? I wouldn’t say that I do, but then I find myself holding off reading certain books for fall (Dracula) or winter (certain lengthier novels or Dickens). Summer reading lists are usually filled with lighter novels or re-reads. And spring? Spring is for inspiring ideas, getting out of ruts, and uplifting stories.

Here are the ten books for spring I think would make an ideal reading list:



1) The Elegance of the Hedgehog  by Muriel Barbery

And now is the moment I realize that the first book on my inspiring and uplifting books list is one that deals primarily with the theme of death. But this book is far from depressing. Told from two perspectives, this book takes place in Paris and is about an observant, middle-aged concierge and a brilliant twelve-year-old tenant who has made plans to end her life on her thirteenth birthday. The two believe themselves to be misunderstood, until a wealthy tenant moves in and causes them to cross paths, and a surprising friendship is born. It’s charming and thought-provoking and just the thing for your reading stack, I know it.

2) Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Everyone has read this book by now, right? If you’ve only seen the movie, that doesn’t count at all. Don’t even get me started on the movie.

The book, though…the book. The best way to convince you to read this book would be to tell you all the best parts, and I won’t do that because I’m not that kind of person. But this is a book for everyone, and falls under both the “inspiring” and “uplifting” categories so perfect for this season. It’s the true story of an Olympic athlete who serves in the Army Air Force during WWII. After his plane is shot down over the Pacific Ocean, a chain of events occurs that would be totally unbelievable as a fictional story. You will be moved at every turn, and the ending will make you want to sit in silence for a few hours before possibly considering moving on with everyday life. You don’t have to love WWII history to love this book. You just have to love a good story. And this is one of the best.

3-4) Lessons from Madame Chic and At Home with Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott

I’ve talked about both of these books many times before on Jeneric Generation (here and here, for starters), so I won’t beat a dead horse. But these books on personal style, living every moment to the fullest, organizing your day-to-day routine in a meaningful way, and loving your home, provide perfect motivation to get your spring cleaning underway and give you a fresh outlook on life.

5) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I haven’t read this book since I was a young girl, but it was one of the first books I thought of for my spring book list. Yes, this book is about a garden and springtime and enjoying the outdoors, but it is also a children’s book, which I think is a necessary category for all adults to engage in every once in a while. It’s a story of friendship between two lonely children, and the hope they find in an unusual garden.

6) The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

A study of four kinds of human love: affection, friendship, erotic love, and the love of God. “Love” means so many different things in our world today. Lewis’s reflections on these four types of love are so insightful and helpful in categorizing our thoughts on such a broad subject. One of my favorite Lewis quotes comes from this book:

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

I know. And there’s more where that came from. Have your highlighter ready.

7) My Life in France by Julia Child

I didn’t mean for such a strong French theme to evolve through this list, but so be it. This memoir by the wonderful Julia Child documents her move to France and the journey it leads her on–a journey of loving and learning to cook French food, and sharing that love and enthusiasm with her fellow Americans. If you like food or France or determined women who live life to the fullest, then you will love this book.

8) The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon

I also didn’t mean for a food theme to emerge in this list, but what is Springtime without a little inspiration to try new things in the kitchen? Not only is this one of my favorite books about food, it is one of my favorite books in general. It is written by an Episcopalian priest and chef–the perfect combination for thoughtful reflections on homecooked food.

The majority of this book is devoted to a single recipe: lamb for eight persons four times. Now if that doesn’t make you want to head to the library right now, I don’t know what will. The recipe takes so long because he inserts so many antidotes about whatever else comes to mind–like how amazing and complex the onion is (there is an entire, wonderful, chapter on the onion). You will laugh out loud, poke the person nearest to you repeatedly until they agree to listen to another delightful paragraph, and run to the kitchen to see for yourself what magical things can happen in such a small room.

9) An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler

 And another book about food (I also talked about it here). This one is perfect whether you are scared of the kitchen and the vast amount of choices it presents, or are an experienced cook looking to think more creatively about the possibilities the kitchen presents. The first chapter is called “How to Boil Water”. If you thought boiling water was simply a boring and necessary step to cooking bigger and better things, think again. The possibilities of a boiling pot of water will blow your mind after reading this chapter. Read this book if you feel like you have been cooking the same things over and over again for a long time. Or, if you just like to read about food.
10) The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
This is one of my favorite memoirs, and another one that most of you have probably read. But if you haven’t, please do. It’s another one of those true stories that would be hard to believe if it were fiction. Jeannette Walls recounts her dysfunctional childhood, one crazy story at a time. Constantly on the brink of homelessness, she and her resourceful siblings manage to escape the nomadic lives their eccentric parents created for them, and move to New York City where the author becomes a well-known journalist. A beautifully told story of resilience and determination in the face of overwhelming hardship.

And those are my ten book recommendations for spring. What do you love on this list? Want to read? What is on your spring reading list? I’d love to know! Are we friends on goodreads?


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How to Stay Sane During Pregnancy (maybe?)

Welp, my due date has come and gone.

My mental due date, that is. My actual due date is still next Tuesday, but I’ve kind of resigned myself to the fact that since she isn’t here right now, it will just be another ten years. And that’s fine.

Just fine. I’m mainly happy to know that my uterus is so much more exciting than the actual world.That’s something I never would have predicted.

I’ve gotten so used to being pregnant, whenever I open my closet, I wonder why I keep so many clothes around that don’t fit. But what am I talking about? I don’t open my closet these days. The three things that fit me right now are conveniently laying over a nearby chair. My closet is the tomb of my old life, the contents of which are enshrined forever: symbols of a forgotten past.

I dream about having an actual wardrobe again one day, but if that doesn’t happen for ten more years, I’m fine with that. Life is just different now, and I better get used to carrying around a bowling ball with me wherever I go. In fact, I have gotten used to it. It’s nice.

pregnancy-38 weeks-jeneric-generation


The other day I chanced to lean over my belly and get a good view of my feet. I busted out laughing because, well, I guess I hadn’t noticed them in a while, and they looked a lot like cheese puffs.

Sure enough, when I tried on a pair of my more narrow boots yesterday, they felt two sizes too small. And they wouldn’t zip up. I actually hadn’t realized that my body was swollen. It made me wonder what else had changed about my body that I hadn’t noticed, that everyone else is secretly laughing about.

So gradual are the effects of pregnancy that I hadn’t realized how much has really changed, aside from the size of my belly, which really can’t be missed. I think that is partly why pregnant women feel a little crazy. A transforming body and losing a mind are both very gradual transitions. What did it feel like to be not pregnant? I don’t remember. That was like, ten years ago.

I was planning on writing a blog post about the things that have helped me stay sane during my pregnancy, but looking over this post, I don’t know how convincing that would really be.

I think I was going to say something like: distractions, like reading the Harry Potter series, are helpful. Making time to take care of yourself even if your wardrobe is sparse (washing your face every night, painting your nails). Using this instead of a chair because it’s a pregnancy life saver. Truly. Recognizing when you’ve overdone it, and not pushing yourself too hard to begin with are also so helpful.

And that’s about the extent of my advice today. I’m sure it’s about all you can handle, too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there are some square inches of my house that still need to be cleaned. But I might read a book instead because I have at least a whole week left (ten years) before my life changes. That’s plenty of time to do so many things.


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Dear Meghan Trainor: if you want that “one and only”


Could Meghan Trainor’s newest single, Dear Future Husband, be any catchier? I mean seriously.

That being said, I am going to humbly suggest that with a few lyric changes, this song could, in fact, be catchier. I took the liberty of rewriting Dear Future Husband as a letter to Meghan Trainor, instead. I hope she doesn’t mind. (But what artist doesn’t like their work tampered with?!)

Press play and sing along with my new lyrics, below!

Dear Future Husband by Meghan Trainor–Alternate Lyrics by Jenny Williams

Dear Meghan Trainor,
Here’s a few things
You’ll need to know if you wanna have
that “one and only” all your life

You might deserve a date
But don’t demand a date
Or else you’ll get that guy
Who buys you flowers every anniversary
But he won’t treat you right
Any other night
‘cause you only make demands, oh-only make demands

He’s got that 9 to 5
and, baby, so do you
But you’ll both starve to death if you are keeping track
Of who cooked what last night
It’s not about what’s right
But giving all the time
All-all the stinking time (hey)

He’s gonna know how to treat you like a lady
‘cause you’ll be acting like a lady
and he’s just that kind of guy

Dear Meghan Trainor,
Here’s a few things you’ll need to know if you wanna have
that “one and only” all your life
Dear Meghan Trainor,
If you wanna get that special lovin’
Don’t make specific bargains each and every night

After every fight
you’ll apologize
‘cause that’s how you will show him that you love him all the time
even when he’s wrong
(‘cause sometimes he’ll be wrong)
But he’s the one, the only and the one

He’s gonna know how to treat you like a lady
‘cause you’ll be acting like a lady
and he’s just that kind of guy

Dear Megan Trainer,
Here’s a few things
You’ll need to know if you wanna have
that “one and only” all your life (hey, baby)
Dear Megan Trainer,
Make time for him
Don’t leave him lonely
And know that he’ll love your family just as much as his

Every night you’ll end up in the same bed
Which won’t be fun if you’ve been nagging all day–long
If you’re a classy girl
He’ll be a classy guy
And you’ll both make mistakes, both-both make mistakes

He’s gonna know how to treat you like a lady
‘cause you’ll be acting like a lady
and he’s just that kind of guy

Dear Megan Trainer,
Here’s a few things
You’ll need to know if you wanna have
that “one and only” all your life
Dear Megan Trainer,
If you wanna get that special loving
don’t make specific bargains each and every night

Oh, Oh, Megan Trainer, you’ve got one shot to get this right


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This post was inspired by my initial annoyance of the lyrics of this song, as well as this xojane article by Marci Robin.

All Things Wedding (past and present)

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. As always, all opinions are my own.


I don’t know if it is pregnancy hormones making me more sentimental or simply a desire to remind myself that I didn’t always have a pregnant bump to dress around, but I have been browsing our wedding photos a lot lately. I love reliving the happiness of that October day three-and-a-half years ago. I love thinking about our future kids looking through our photos and thinking that mom and dad looked so young.

For our wedding, I wore my mom’s dress from the 80s (slightly altered). I wasn’t planning on wearing it until I tried it on. After I tried it on, though, I knew I wouldn’t need to try on any other dress! With all the wedding options out there, sometimes I wonder if I would do anything differently today. But I don’t think I would. Of all the beautiful weddings we could have created, ours was perfect for us.

moms wedding dress double


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