What Should a Busy Woman Read?

Barbara Vey -- September 8th, 2011
Me and Dan and yes, I know I must never go out without makeup on again!

Me and Dan and yes, I know I must never go out without makeup on again!

I got home from Dragon Con on Tuesday night about 7:30 p.m. and found a message on my voicemail about a family emergency in Florida, so I was back in the airport less than 12 hours later.

Since I love to make lemonade out of lemons, I noticed that my waiting area at the airport had 3 people reading on e-Readers and 3 with paperbacks.  We started talking the pros and cons and the consensus was that although convenient, e-Readers weren’t as much fun as reading a “real” book.   All 3 had received the e-Readers as gifts and wouldn’t have bought it for themselves.  The other 3 had no interest in even trying one.  So there’s my social experiment for the day.

Once I got on the plane, I again hit the jackpot with a seatmate.  Meet Dan Laubusch (pronounced La Boosh…who’s last name just sounds so great, it just rolls off your tongue).  Dan’s a financial advisor for a large company, but works for individuals all over the country.  While not a fiction reader, he loves books that teach him something about his business and really, what’s better than always learning something new whether it’s from fiction or nonfiction.

We talked about his 3 kids, ages 1, 4, and 8 and what would be some fun books for them to read.  But Dan said his wife didn’t have much time for reading.  So I told him you all would help out.

What books would you recommend for a very busy woman, who loves to read, but has trouble squeezing it in her busy schedule?  I thought maybe an anthology.  The stories are short enough that each shouldn’t take too long and you can still experience new character that may lead to reading a series by the author.  Or there’s the quick read Harlequins.  Lots of people love them for just that reason.  Maybe an e-Reader is needed here since there’s a ton of short stories out there.

Time for you to all put on your thinking caps and make some suggestions.  I was bragging to Dan about what an amazing community you all are, so show him some love and help him bring his wife a nice little escape during this busy time in her life.

Bottom Line:  And while you’re at it, what would recommend for Dan’s kids?

113 thoughts on “What Should a Busy Woman Read?

  1. Nomad

    No time to read? Perhaps audio books as she drives?

    I can’t listen and do anything at the same time, but several of my busy co-workers and my supervisor swear by them.

    1. Stephanie Scott

      Definitely audio books! I can finish a book every 1-2wks just listening during my work commute. Don’t wait for a long car trip, it’s easy to jump in for shorter drives.
      Also ereader apps for smart ohones make it convenient to read anywhere anytime.

  2. Tara Taylor Quinn


    I’d tell her to read The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. It’s short and packed full of life. I first read the book eight years ago and I still hear the author’s voice, her words, in my head. It’s published by Harper Collins and is a bestseller. The author has like 20,000 followers on facebook and every single time she comments she gets more responses than I can follow…

  3. Marilyn

    I have The Invitation in my TBR pile. Must move it to the top.

    I loved “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. Of course the movie is out now.

    I agree that Harlequins are quick reads and always leave me with a smile and a good feeling.

    An e-reader might be the answer for Dan’s wife. To contribute to your social experiment, my kids gave me mine last Christmas. I’m not sure I’d have bought one for myself. But I’ve certainly enjoyed it, especially after the April tornadoes and I had no power for 6 days. I had bought myself the lighted case, so I was able to read at night. I still enjoy the feel of a paper book. But I love the Kindle too.

  4. Christine T.

    Anthologies are a great idea and you can find them in a number of genres from romance to mystery to horror. And then if Dan’s wife finds a particular author she really likes, she can check out their longer-form books.
    Of course there’s always the non-fiction sector for the busy mom and whatever may interest her–parenting titles? decorating? gardening? cooking? (I particular like food memoirs with recipes). You can pick up and put down these types of books without having to remember a plot and when you’re frazzled that can be a relief.

  5. Nancy Naigle

    What is it about your luck, Barbara, that you always get to hang out with the beautiful people. Dan has the looks of a romance hero and with a name like Laubusch….well, maybe I should start a new project now!!

    I’d tell Dan to remind his wife that even busy mom’s of three need to take a little “me” time break from the hectic micorwavin’ pace we lead these days. While she relaxes for just a chapter or two a couple nights a week…he can answer the why-why-why’s of the children, or pick up the pizza instead of her cooking. Trust me..he’ll appreciate her thanks for the reprieve, and she’ll enjoy the feel good that a well written story brings to the heart.

    No anthology…get her a big book, Dan. She’ll give you big giant hugs!
    Hugs and happy reading,

  6. Anju Gattani

    Lisa See’s books , #1 NYTimes Bestseller, are amazing.

    ‘Snowflower & The Secret Fan’, ‘Shanghai Girls’ and its sequel ‘Dreams of Joy’ are brilliant women’s fiction reads!!

    Her stories suck you right in and take you to another time, place and dimension. Not only will you have trouble closing her books… you’ll have trouble finding time to live your real life because you are so wrapped up in the characters and locale…. but once you take a breather… you can get right back in from where you last dropped off.
    Happy Reading!!

  7. Hilleary Peterson

    I prefer the Novellas, Cynthia Eden has one and is coming out with another, you get more story just shorter. I would also suggest a reading app on her phone, that way you can take just 5 mins of peace, trust me I have a one year old

  8. Marilyn Baron

    I agree that The Help would be a good read, fast-paced and funny. Also liked Anju’s suggestions. I liked Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy. I hope your family emergency resolves itself and that everything works out.

  9. Cheryl Ann Smith

    When my kids were little, I’d read them The Monster At The End Of This Book (Sesame Street) complete with my best Grover Voice and other sound effects. Of course they had to turn the pages (it’s half the fun!) to play along. They loved it! Now the book is tucked away for my future grandchildren!

  10. Shanon Grey

    I hope everything is okay.

    I think you look great–no need for make-up.

    You make me realize just how wonderful everyone is. You never fail to have wonderful people next to you.

    I agree with Nancy. I think his wife deserves some me time. I think a soak in a tub with a nice glass of wine and a wonderful audiobook to take her away is just what one of the community recommends. As for fun short reads. I loved Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros. That way she won’t turn into a prune, but be soft and in a great mood.

  11. Jade Lee

    Jim Butcher’s Dresden books. First one: Storm Front. The problem for busy people is not that they don’t have 15-30 minutes to read, it’s just that they take that time to do guaranteed rest like brainless tv. They’d love to read a great book, but won’t commit, won’t get sucked in, won’t search for a good book. It’s too much work. (At least that’s my experience). So…just recommend a great book to her. And the Dresden series is that, IMO.

    Also, audio books in bed are awesome! Very relaxing! Very fun!

  12. Blurbette Heidi

    As a busy mom myself, I like both genres. The books are great to hold in the hand and appreciate… and I like escape books, with romance and mystery. I purposely joined a book club, to get my “ME” time back. Might be an idea for his wife.

    My mother and my husband swear by audiobooks since they have so much time in the car. I use audiobooks for when my book club has a book that is longer. It does help bring the book alive.

    And my Kindle… I wasn’t excited to have it at first, but I sure do LOVE it now… It’s lighter and easier to carry and if I am not digging the book I am reading, I have several others at my finger tips to jump into right away. I am not stuck with just the one book.

  13. Aimee Jackson

    Wouldn’t a nice gift for Dan to give his wife be a new ipod, dowloaded with all these great book suggestions, so she can listen to books as she goes about her busy day? Or better yet, an ipod full of books to listen to while she’s at the spa (hint hint).

  14. Lee Petersen

    Personally, I’ve had it with misery memoirs and marriage plots. Give me a strong smart heroine every time. Great antidote for a harried life.

    I’d recommend: Jane (and the inimitable Maisie) in Susan Isaacs’s “Almost Paradise;”

    Maude of Anne Rivers Siddons’s “Colony;”

    and, most recently, Grace Sundown, the intelligent, conflicted, courageous, mixed-race heroine of Dana Hand’s “Deep Creek.”

  15. Barbara

    Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie (or almost anything by Jennifer Crusie), Evanovich’s Stefanie Plum series or Wicked Appetite, Heather Webber’s Lucy Valentine Mysteries – all fun and quick reading. Audio is good for those on the go but I don’t consider it a “reading” experience. The e-readers are great in that you can carry many books at one time and you don’t really pay attention to the pages because there’s little weight. I take a book everywhere – especially if I’m waiting at a doctor’s office or picking someone up somewhere – she can read while her kids are at practice if they’re into sports. I wouldn’t recommend reading during an actual game but practice might not be too upsetting to them. Same for play rehearsals and other after school activities that might find her sitting around waiting for the kids.

  16. Linda Austin

    I am an over-involved woman with little time to read. I suggest fast and easier reads such as light chicklit for fun and YA for often more serious and pertinent teen topics a mom should be aware of. Laurie Halse Anderson is a great writer of serious YA and even has a couple historical YA novels out. Also, short story or even poetry anthologies, classic or modern. For easy but more serious and historical adult reading, I’m flying through The Personal History of Rachel Dupree by Ann Weisgarber, and I have to plug my mother’s family-appropriate memoir, Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a 2-hour read of a girl growing up around WWII in Japan. It includes Japanese children’s songs she can sing to her youngsters.

    1. Stephanie Scott

      Great YA selections! Teen books arent just high school and popularity contests a la Sweet Valley High, there’s great lit that’s just as good as adult market books. jennifer Donnelly writes excellent historical ya.

  17. Melinda Leigh

    She should definitely get a kindle. There are a ton of free ebooks every month. Plus, there’s a Kindle Singles page. Tons of short fiction. When my kids were little, I didn’t have much time or money. I would have loved 99 cent reads.

  18. Vicki Jaeger

    I’m going the “beach read” recommendation route–they’re enjoyable, don’t take too much brain power, and are fast: The Kitty Norville series is fun if you like paranormal fiction, of course The Hunger Games series is a must, and honestly, anything by James Patterson. (Three page chapters makes you feel like you’re a speed reader!)

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