More Books

My book reading has been a bit slow lately. I’m trying not to feel too much guilt over not constantly reading and finishing books. Looking back, I’ve actually read more than I thought I had, so that’s always a plus.

Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddon– This is an author whose name I’ve heard over and over, so I grabbed this one from Goodwill. It was a like, but not love. Caroline owns part of an island that the Gullah have lived on for years and she learns that to save her husband’s business, he will need to develop the island. I probably won’t re-read this book, but I would definitely read more by Siddon.

Covering Home by Heidi McCahan,- Admittedly, I’m slightly biased because I know the author, but I loved this book set in Japan about a high profile baseball player and a reporter trying to get the scoop. Their story of togetherness was sweet and a page turner. I’m a sucker for happy endings.

Serve God, Save The Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth- I read this as part of our possessions/spending month of Seven. It was okay, but really, some of the things he talked about were just too extreme to be practical for my life.

The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory– Typical Philippa Gregory formula. I did like that this one focused a little more on Queen Mary than strictly QEI or the Boleyns. Not my favorite, but didn’t hate it either. How’s that for a review?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky– In all truth, I picked this one next because it was short. The year of a boy in high school and the friends he makes. It definitely took on a different, darker turn than I was expecting, but I enjoyed it.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio- Without a doubt, the best book I’ve read this year. Auggie is a boy with severe facial deformities who has been home schooled through 4th grade because of the number of surgeries he’s endured. He enters a small-ish private school for 5th grade and this is the story of his first year of school, dealing with making new friends, betrayals, and bullies. It’s told from the point of view of Auggie, two of his friends, his older sister, his sister’s boyfriend and sister’s oldest friend. It is definitely written for middle-school aged, so the prose isn’t anything ground-breaking, but it is a beautiful story that had me crying several different times- happy and sad tears. I would recommend this book to anyone.

The Paris Wife by Paula McClain– Everyone was raving about this book several years ago, but I’m honestly not sure why. It’s about Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage and gosh it was so slow. I thought about abandoning it, but eventually, I was invested in the characters. I never thought I would get through it, though.

Next up for me is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Laura at Hollywood Housewife is going a Read Great Books Challenge and book club this year. I missed the first two and so I’m hoping to join in to this next one. However, I better get to reading because it’s not a short book! I’m also hoping to go back and read Frankenstein. After that, I’m not sure. Big Mama’s new book, Nobody’s Cuter Than You, is coming out soon and of course I’ll be reading it. I also bought Daring Greatly by Brene Brown because every blogger I read has recommended it, so it’s on my TBR pile as well. However, I haven’t even begun my “long book challenge,” so I need to begin that sooner or later….

So many books, so little time.


I Like to Read

Sheesh. It’s been a while since I’ve updated my book list. So here goes.

Gone Girl by Jillian Flynn– Obviously by now, most people have read this book or seen the movie. The story of a missing woman and did her husband kill her. Love the twists and the mysteries, but agree with Mama that there weren’t any likable characters. And Ryan (we watched the movie) hated the ambiguous ending but that was part of what I found intriguing.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth– The final book in the Divergent series, I found some of the story lines died out with no real resolution. The ending made me sad, but I definitely liked it better than the end of the Hunger Games series.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner– Rebecca loaned this to me as she couldn’t decide if she liked it or not. The story of a boy who is dropped in the middle of a large maze with a group of other boys and they are trying to get out. I think I would have liked it more had I not just read several other dystopian series. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t like it enough to want to see what happened next.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton– I have read two others by Morton, even though this is her first book. They all are somewhat slow to me at the beginning, but this one was the slowest of all. I couldn’t make myself care for the characters until the very end. Skip this one, read The Forgotten Garden or The Distant Hours.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant– When I posted this book on Instagram, several people told me how much they loved this book so I had really high hopes for it. Which it definitely lived up to. It’s the story of Jacob and his wives and his one daughter. For me, it was great from an entertainment standpoint, but I couldn’t take the Biblical interpretation to literally, otherwise it would have driven me crazy.

The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers by Amy Hollingworth– Amy became friends with Fred Rogers and this is the story of their friendship, mostly through written correspondence. I enjoyed this book, but it was a little long as far as the subject matter for me and it seemed a little worship-y. But it definitely made me want to watch old episodes of Mr. Rogers.

Home is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson– I love BooMama’s blog and this book was a story of her friendships throughout her life. I liked it and flew through it, but I have to admit I liked her first book better.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver– During my 7, I’m trying to read some of the books that Jen Hatmaker references and recommends. This is the only one I got to during the food portion, but I very much enjoyed it. The Kingsolver family resolves for a year to either grow their own food or eat food where they know it came from. I loved their mission, but it’s not something I could apply to my own life. However, I do want to make more of an effort to buying local and small farm. The book itself was good and entertaining, but some of the information, especially in the first few chapters, was a little dense.

The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne– Listen, don’t read this book unless you are prepared to have your toes stepped on and be a little uncomfortable. But I like that because that’s when I am stretched and challenged. I liked this book a lot, even though I didn’t 100% agree with his politics. This was mostly autobiographical and told about his life and his friends and how they strive to love at all costs- protesting the death penalty and friending those on death row, going into Iraq during the middle of the Iraq war to meet with people, living communally in the inner city, etc. I’m a fan.

I’m currently trying to finish Low Country by Anne Rivers Siddon. It’s been in limbo for a while now because I’m terrible at reading two books at once. Then I’ve got Covering Home by Heidi McCahan, Consumed by Benjamin R. Barber, and Serve God Save the Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth. Fortunately, we’ve got some plane rides and long car rides coming up.


Books, Books

Ryan asked me the other night when I was going to blog again and then I listened to Anne Bogel on the How They Blog podcast and she talked about how she treated blogging like a job- she had to do it whether she wanted to or not. And then I think Kat said that amateurs wait until they’re inspired, professionals sit down and do the work. So here I am, being all professional. Ha!

The last time I posted about books was my summer reading goal. Well, I failed. I got stuck on The Agony and The Ecstasy and then I finally decided that I needed to read because I liked it, not because I felt like I “had to.” One day, I may pick it up again, but until then, it will live on my Currently Reading list on Goodreads, mocking me.

I did get a few books on my list read, however, plus I’ve added a few since then.

The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot– I’m a pretty big historical non-fiction/fiction fan, but honestly haven’t ventured out much past the Philippa Gregory House of Tudor era. So this about the Queen of England and the Queen of France who happened to be sisters was fun and different. It talked a lot about the Crusades, which made hair stand up on my politically correct neck. (Yes, I’m all for spreading Christianity, but I’m 1000% sure Jesus didn’t use brute force and we shouldn’t either.) It was also a little more sexually graphic that I usually enjoy, so there’s that, too.

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning– Um, please. If you haven’t read this (and if you enjoy Christian non-fiction) do yourself a favor and read this book. Absolutely life-changing look at grace and how we are all “ragamuffins.” Beautiful.

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist- As a much as I LOVE her as a speaker, I just can’t get into her books. I guess I’m just not a short story person. Well, I just checked my Goodreads rating and I gave it 4 stars, but honestly, I don’t even remember it, so there we are. Oh, well.

After Cold Tangerines, I got stuck on TA&TE. Once I finally decided to move on, I jumped on the bandwagon and read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak like the rest of the planet. I heard nothing but good things, but I thought it was insanely slooooow. Like, good grief is anything EVER going to happen?? Finally, about 3/5 of the way through, the pace started to pick up but it’s a good thing I’m not a regular book abandoner. But it was an interesting look at Nazi Germany from the perspective of Germans that weren’t Jews and weren’t Nazis and where they fit into the mix.

Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller- Our Sunday School class read this book together and we all HIGHLY enjoyed it. And let me tell you, that is pretty rare. But we all found things in this book that we could relate to and that were convicting to us and it brought forth good discussions. We all have counterfeit gods in our lives, whether it’s relationships or power or money.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth– Shame on me for not having all of the books constantly at my disposal. I’m thinking this is when I need to join the library. I borrowed Divergent from Iz and Insurgent from Kylie and now I need to find someone to borrow Allegient from. These books aren’t amazingly well-written, but they are fast-paced and interesting, which is good enough for me. It’s about a post-apocalyptic world where we are divided up by our personalities to live peacefully.

The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect to be Beautiful by Myquillyn Smith– I have read The Nester’s blog for YEARS and was pretty excited to get my hands on her book. I definitely liked it, but since I am Type B+ and perfection is rarely a word that comes out of my mouth, I wasn’t exactly the target audience. But sometimes, we all need a kick in the pants.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh– Rebecca loaned this one to me after The Book Thief and I LOVED it. The main character has aged out of the foster care system that she has been in her entire life. She’s had a difficult life and has brought some of it on herself, but she learns to love flowers and the meaning behind them and uses them to communicate. I read a lot about adoption and attachment issues, so this was so interesting to read through that lens and for sure gave me some things to think about.

Well that catches me up for now. I’ve done more reading than I thought. I’m currently SO CLOSE to being finished with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s all I can do at night to put it down and not stay up until 1 finishing it. Though I may just do that tonight since it is Friday after all. Up after that is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. I first heard about it on the Books on the Nightstand podcast, then Jen Hatmaker listed it as one of her favorite books, and then I found it at Goodwill. Fate.

So that is my current reading list. It’s actually longer than I thought, which makes me happy. Also, the fact that it’s Friday.

(The one thing that is dampening my mood is Todd Gurley under investigation for selling his autograph. What the heck, buddy? Can we please get this resolved as quickly as possible?)


7 Things on Friday Because Why Not?

1. On Monday morning, Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, passed away. He was 93. It’s hard to be too sad when someone has lived as long and as full of a life as he did and we know he is with Jesus, but I know he will be so missed by his family, friends, and those who worked with him. He left an amazing legacy with just a simple chicken sandwich. So on Wednesday, Ryan and I drove thru for an Ice Dream cone for him and a sundae for me. It was delicious. Thanks for everything, Truett.

2. Jolene had her temperament test at doggie daycare on Monday and passed with flying colors. She was so exhausted Monday night she could barely keep her head up. Of course, they have a webcam so I spent some of the day watching her. It was so cute. Monday was also my first full Monday to work. I used to go in some Mondays and come and go as I pleased. No more. It was weird, but good. She looked so little in this big bed. She knows where the comfy spot is.

3. The Dawgs play OBC and South Carolina tomorrow in Columbia. I’m nervous, even though S. Carolina hasn’t shown us too much so far. Several people are predicting Georgia in the final tournament, but give me a break. We’ve only played one game. We’ve got a long season ahead of us. I’ve been a Dawg fan too long to get my hopes up like that.

4. This has been one of the lowest key weeks for us in a while. Ryan and I have both been home every night and it’s been nice. Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and we watched the Smithsonian channel’s documentary on it. The people they get on those are amazing- Laura Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick and Lynn Cheney, reporters that were on the plane with the President, his chief of staff. I love that they are doing so much to preserve our history, the good and the bad. Ryan even commented that there were two football games on and we were watching it, that’s how good it was.

5. We FINALLY got our living room and dining room painted yesterday, along with the kitchen ceiling and back door. As soon as I get everything put back on the walls and cleaned up, I’ll take some pictures and post them. But it looks SO much better! It’s just amazing what a coat of paint will do. This is what it looked like when I left for work yesterday morning.

6. Well, I was only going to do 5 things, but then I remembered a sixth! And I can’t believe I forgot this one! Yes, William and Kate announced baby #2 is on the way! So excited and I hope this one will be a girl. I read this week that Diana once mentioned that Charles always wanted a daughter. I’m sure he thinks of Kate as a daughter and Camilla has granddaughters, but how precious would William be with a little girl? And I’m quite sure she would be dressed impeccably.

7. And then I remembered another. I feel like I was in a reading slump most of summer, but I finally abandoned the book I was stuck on and am back at it in full force. It’s amazing the difference a good book makes. I flew threw Insurgent and now I’m reading The Nesting Place and Rebecca loaned me The Language of Flowers and so many people told me they loved it, so I’m excited to see what it’s about. Not much beats a good book.

Happy weekend!


Summer Book Goals

Now that summer is almost halfway over, I have finally decided on what I want my summer book goal to be. My books are finally unpacked, so I’m able to see everything and I’ve decided I’m going to finish all of my “Currently Reading” books on Goodreads. Ideally, I’d love to read a few more than that, but I will take what I can get.

I’m also successfully reading two books at one time right now and I think I have figured out my secret for that, which is one fiction and one non-fiction. The non-fiction I read in the mornings and during the day and the fiction book I read at night to wind down. So far, it’s working pretty well.

So, here’s my list:

The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot– This one is pure enjoyment, although I have learned a little bit of history while I’m at it. This book is set is the 1200s, which is a time period I am not very familiar with. I’ve enjoyed it so far and have a difficult time putting it down at night.

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning– This is one of those books I’ve been hearing about for years, but never actually picked up and read. Well, I’m sorry I’ve waited so long. I’m about halfway through and I have honestly underlined something on almost every single page. I am loving it.

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist– I started this right before we moved and then got sucked into Divergent and then it got packed. So now it’s time to dig it out and finish it.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston– One of those classics I never got around to reading. I had a hard time with the dialect, so I put this one aside. But now is the time to push through and git er done.

The Agony and The Ecstacy by Irving Berlin– This is based on the life of Michelangelo and I’m not sure why I stopped reading. Honestly, I think I was having a difficult time keeping the characters straight with their long, complicated names and just as I started to figure them all out, I put it down. That was dumb.

Paul: A Man of Grace and Grit by Charles Swindoll– We started reading this as a Sunday School book and we missed a few classes and I never finished it. As a SS book, I wouldn’t recommend it just because we all had a hard time discussing it, but I think I will enjoy just reading it.

So that’s my list. Any summer reading goals out there? What should I read next? I started listening to the Books on the Nightstand podcast and now I have added significantly to my Amazon wishlist. Too many books, too little time.


Books, Volume 27

It’s time for me to start thinking about my summer reading list. Last year, I read 10 books that I own, but hadn’t read for one reason or another. It was great because I actually did it! Currently, our house is drowning in boxes and my books are making up quite a few of those boxes. We are waiting to have the living room and dining room painted, then we are buying a huge bookshelf for the living room where many of these books will be unloaded. And then I’ll need to figure out what to do with the rest of them. Soooo, all that being said, I might just open up a box and start reading the first book I pull out.

I’m also making more of an effort lately to just read. It’s way too easy for me to sit down in front of the TV and just turn my brain off. But that (usually) does me absolutely no good. So I’m reading for the sake of reading and loving every minute of it. The fact that I spent several hours on a plane last weekend certainly didn’t hurt.

However, these are the books I have recently read. One of them, I didn’t love, but the rest of them, I did.

Peace like a River by Leif Enger– I grabbed this book per Edie’s recommendation and it is just a beautiful, sweet book. It’s the story of children and a father that loves them and would go to the ends of the earth for them. And now I want to go rip open a bunch of boxes and find it and read it again. This one is definitely a re-read for me.

The Drowning House by Elizabeth Black– The was our book club book for the 1st quarter. None of us liked it very much. It could have been a lot better because there were a lot of interesting twists and turns, but the delivery of them was just so flat I almost didn’t catch most of them.

Divergent by Veronica Roth– Iz loaned me this book and I have to say, I got just as wrapped up in it as the rest of the world. Once I picked it up, it was almost impossible to put down. Now I just need to find the 2nd and 3rd books. I’m getting ready to just break down and buy them.

The Giver by Lois Lowry– Um, how did I go 27 years without reading this book? Shame on me. The book takes you far into the future, to a life with no pain and unhappiness, but also no real joy. It was fascinating to think of all the things they didn’t have in that world.

Unraveled by Heidi McCahan– So I may be slightly biased because she’s my cousin, but I did love this book. There are some books that I wait to read until I have a big chunk of time and this is one of them. Heidi calls herself a “word wrangler” and I love that description because she absolutely is. She weaves phrases in and out of her book and drops you right in Alaska and her character’s lives. (By the way, it’s currently 99 cents on Kindle! Grab it now!)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle– This is our book club book for the 2nd quarter. We’ve made a shift in book club to choosing either classics or current best sellers that we are hearing all about. This time was Sarah’s time to choose, but she didn’t have a book, so I chose A Wrinkle in Time. Um, wow. One of the most interesting, different books I’ve ever read. In a good way. I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I had no idea what it was about, so I’d like to go back and read it just for the words.

Because most of our books are still in boxes, I still don’t have a reading plan for this summer. So, I’m just going to make one for the rest of the month. Currently, I’m nose-deep in The Ragamuffin Gospel. Oh, my word. I’m dying over it. I’ll leave it at that. After I finish it, I’m going to read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. Now that we have a house, we need a real budget. Hopefully this will be the kick in the pants we need. And then I’m going to re-read Unraveled, to get ready for our beach book club. I’m so excited for it!

I’d better get to reading.

 


My Beach Picks

Linking up today with The Broke and The Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday.

I have two big vacation related reading opportunities this summer. I’ll be on a plane to Chicago in a few weeks and then we will be at the beach for a few days with my family. Now truthfully, when my fam is at the beach, we are more play in the ocean people than lay on the sand people. However, there will still be time for reading.

These are my top recommendations for beach and vacation reads. Some are serious and some are fun. I like having a mix because I never know what kind of mood I’m going to be in. These books are pretty representational of what I like to read- it’s really just a mix of everything.

1. Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews– Really, anything by MKA is perfect for the beach, but I’m partial to this one because it’s set near my hometown. Light-hearted, easy to read, sweet, and funny.

2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling– I’m total obsessive fan-girling Mindy right now. Her biography of how she made it to Hollywood is hilarious and fascinating and if you haven’t watched her Harvard speech, you are missing out.

3. Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple– A really different and interesting book. Our entire book club loved it and we are notorious for having a few of us hate the book. So that says a lot. But it was very fascinating to see how a woman can tend to lose herself in life. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly encourage you to pick it up.

4. Unraveled by Heidi McCahan– This romance set against the backdrop of Alaska is a perfect beach read. The pages almost keep turning themselves with wanting to know what happened.

5. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller– It’s been a few years since I’ve picked this one up, but the last time I read it was at the beach, which is one of the reasons why it’s listed here. A fascinating look at how God is all around us and envelops us. I love Donald Miller’s writing.

6. South of Broad by Pat Conroy– It’s no secret around here that I’m a Conroy fan. And this is my favorite book of his. I love the story of friendship and the twists and turns. I do have to give myself a break in between them to recover. But I think it may be time for me to grab a new one.

(Please note, none of the links above are affiliate links.)