One of the things that has been awesome about our move out here is that I have gotten back into the habit of reading – a lot. I’ve read about a dozen books in the two+ months we’ve been here, and I love it. For the last few years I’ve had a goal of reading 12 non fiction books over the course of a year, and I’ve mostly kept to that. I’ve barely read any fiction though. Life has just been too busy, and I’m too easily sucked into a fantasy world where there aren’t houses to clean and children to feed and husbands to iron shirts for. So, with less on our plate out here, I’ve been able to (mostly) responsibly add back in reading for learning and pleasure and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Here’s what’s been on my bookshelf in the last few months.
The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith
I purposely saved this book to read once we moved out here and I would be setting up house again. It really spoke to me with Myquillyn’s message of welcoming people into your home (family, friends and soon-to-be friends) without worrying about perfection. She gives lots of really fun, practical ideas for decorating that will not cost you a leg or twelve days of your life, but really emphasizes that home is an attitude more than a perfect set of decorations. It was lovely, a quick read and truly blessed me.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
I’m not sure I can do justice to this book. You know how sometimes you read a book that is just life changing? Ann Voskamp writes about finding true joy by eucharisteo – the act of giving thanks. Her writing is spectacular, and it just draws you in to her personal journey of healing from a life truly filled with pain and heartache. Our powerful God did a miracle within her heart, and she encourages each reader that He can do the same for each of them. This book blessed me, encouraged me, challenged me and opened my eyes to even more of the blessings that surround me every day.
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
I’m a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Back in high school, Jenna lent me her enormous hardcover copy of the entire trilogy and I disappeared for about a week, completely lost in the world of Middle Earth. Then a few years later they made the movies, and I loved them too. Anyways, I’ve always loved losing myself in a completely made up world, falling in love with characters and imagining myself right into the story line. So. When I stumbled across “Eragon” (the first book in this series) at a thrift store, I was jonesing for a good fiction flick, and immediately got sucked into Christopher Paolini’s fantastical world of dragons and elves and men fighting to free their land from an evil tyrant. Here’s what you need to know about this series. The writing and the storyline improve vastly throughout the series. That’s a good thing. While the first book kinda feels like a retelling of LOTRs, the subsequent books become their own thing. The evolution of the characters is very entertaining, and the books are clean. Bloody, of course, but no sex and very little language. I liked them. One thing to note though; do NOT watch the movie. It’s horrendous. :)
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
We watched Divergent a while ago and really enjoyed it. Once I realized it was a trilogy I set out to get my paws on the next book. It took a while on the hold list at the library, but I finally read it a couple of weeks ago. It was entertaining. Not the best, and I think the entire series may be more suited for movies than as great books, but it was still enjoyable. My only issue was that the whole book felt like the “placeholder” for the third book, which is a pet peeve of mine. If you only have enough material for two books, then only write two books!
The Chance by Karen Kingsbury
I like this Christian fiction author a lot. Some of her books are really great, and the others are always a well written, well thought out read. This one wasn’t exactly a favorite, but it was interesting to follow the lives of the characters and imagine myself in their situations. The protagonists write each other letters and then bury them the night before they are separated for eleven years. Their lives go very differently than imagined, and it’s interesting to follow them. One of Karen Kingsbury’s recurring themes is redemption, which I always love reading about.
The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
You know how sometimes you read a book that completely changes you? This was a fantastic read on motherhood. I identified a lot with the author, who waited several years to have children and then struggled during her first few years as a mom with the monotony and constant service of mothering littles. But God really revealed to her the absolute importance of mothering her children, and I’ve learned a LOT from her book. She goes through a lot of practical advice on how to create a nurturing home and family structure, and gives loads of scripture to back everything up. A great read.
And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers
This wasn’t my first time reading this novel, but Francine Rivers is my absolute favorite author. Of all time. :) Her novels are so realistic and complex, with excellent writing and character development. I enjoyed this book all over again as a young pastor pursues “success” at the cost of everything else, while his wife struggles to raise their son on her own, and an elderly prayer warrior stays the course and never loses faith in his Savior. Francine Rivers never shies from tackling serious issues in her books, and it prompted some interesting discussions between Lover and I. Love when a novel does that!
So that’s what I’ve been reading lately. Thursday we are heading back to the library for a fresh load of books, is there anything you’ve been reading lately that I need to add to my list? I’m always looking for recommendations!