Posted in On The Reading Chair

2019 Book Review

In 2019, I went back to school full time. For that reason, I decided not to set a reading goal at the beginning of the year. I still read quite a few books, but not as many as usual, due to having to write A LOT of papers over the year. Sorry to say, but the first half of 2020 will be much the same– until I graduate.

I won’t review every single book I read this year, rather, I’ll review the ones I had strong opinions on and just list the rest. If you want to know more about what I’m reading, be my friend on Goodreads. Maybe this will help as you make your book list for the year.

A Thousand Gifts

I’m probably the last person in the world to read A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I’ve read Ann’s blog off and on for years because her writing is so beautiful. Our ladies’ book club at church read this one and I was glad I did. It was heartbreaking, but at the same time game so much practical advice on how to live in this moment. I know the focus is on gratitude, but Ann’s suggestions really help bring you back to the here and now and learning to see and appreciate what is write at your feet. It was definitely a worthwhile read.

Frankenstein

I had to take a refresher Comp 2 course for college, so of course, I had to read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It is a classic story. It is a super easy read for a classic science fiction novel. It was required, which is probably the only reason people still read Frankenstein.

Let’s Start with Jesus

I actually misplaced our physical copy of this book, but found it worthwhile to buy a second copy. Let’s Start with Jesus by Dennis Kinlaw is a great introduction to theology. The writing is intelligent, but not so scholarly that it is a difficult read at all. My teachers probably got tired of the number of times I referenced this book in writing. But when talking about the nature of personhood, sin, and redemption– this book is just excellent. I highly, highly recommend this book.

Trouble I’ve Seen

Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew G.I. Hart was a heartfelt book looking at racism in the church and how we can address that in Christian ways. Hart explains the theological side of fighting racism and challenges the American church to be better than it has been in the past. An excellent, well-written book for any Christian to read. I recommend this book.

Simply Christian

Simply Christian by N.T. Wright was another book we read in our ladies’ theology book club. The book was so easy to read and easy to digest. Wright has a way of simplifying the most complex topics and making them so easily graspable. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it.

Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity

I know this is an odd book to include, but it was really revolutionary in changing how I think about certain things. I have to be honest, this was a textbook for one of my classes and it was a book the publishers sent me a free copy to review. However, I also purchased my own copy because I needed to have a paper copy in addition to my digital copy and I’m not the least bit sad about owning two copies. Entwistle lays down the approaches to integrating theology and psychology. While he does come at this from the viewpoint of someone who is secularly licensed, but biblically informed– I do find he provided so much information about all sides of the arguement that it really did allow you to choose for yourself what you think about the topic. I actually ended up with a completely different view than Entwistle based on the information he provided and followed up with many of his referenced sources. If you are trying to wrap you head around a career in psychology as a Christian or trying to wrap you head around the role of psychology in Christian persepctive, this is an excellent book to lay some groundwork and give you resources to keep pursuing the topic more in-depth. I highly recommend this book.

If You Can Keep It

I actually read this book aloud to the kids as part of our modern history in the beginning of the year in homeschooling. It is so compelling and interesting. Metaxis does a great job of writing in such an accessible way, even the kids were able to follow along and it prompted some very interesting discussions. Having just learned about the world wars, reading this book was very impactful for us to continue the conversation of the role of liberty in our lives and how that liberty can be eroded. I recommend this book to adults and even kids. My younger ones didn’t get as much out of it as the fifth grade and above crowd. As far as reading level, a 7th or 8th grader and above would easily be able to read and follow.

Spiritual and Religious

Tom Wright lays down the case for religion. You’ve heard people say that they are spiritual but not religious. Religion is almost a dirty word in many, even Christian, circles. This book will tell you what it is really like to have spirituality devoid of religion and why both matter so much. I highly recommend this book.

Books without Reviews

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

She Reads Truth by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Footprints of Thunder by James F. David

Reading People by Anne Bogel

The Reciprocating Self by Balswick, King, and Reimer

Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens

The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr

Hiding in the Light by Rifqa Barry

Foundations for Soul Care by Eric L. Johnson

Psychology and Christianity: Five Views

Please Understand Me II by Keirsey

Understanding Gender Dysphoria by Mark Yarhouse

12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson

Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith by Myers and Jeeves

While I do plan on reading in the coming year, I’m not setting goals or making promises. I’ll be finishing up school this next semester and graduating in the summer. And I’m going to have a newborn. So, I know life will be hectic and I don’t want to add unnecessary pressure on myself by setting goals that aren’t productive right now. Likely, that means that like this year, I’ll probaby read between 25 and 30 books.

Posted in On The Reading Chair

I’m Going To Read in 2013!

I love having reading goals. It makes my time spent reading seem productive. And let’s face it, I’m going to spend time reading. It is inevitable. Might as well make myself feel a little better about it. This year, my reading goal is the same as last year. 52 books in the year. I think it was a good goal. Honestly, it may be a bit much for this year because I have big plans this year. But I’m going to try!

I also made a reading list last year. And while I did not complete the list, it was a great list to have. So, when I wanted to do some leisure reading and needed a new book, I can look at the list and choose something quickly. Saved me tons of time not pouring over Amazon and Goodreads recommendations every time I needed a new book. So, I decided to make a list again this year! I brought over some of the books on last year’s list that I didn’t get around to. I added some more that I want to read. And now I have a list again!

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Now go make your list! Happy reading everyone!

 

Posted in On The Reading Chair

2011 Reading

I didn’t read quite as much this year as I usually do. Bummer. I blame having a newborn. It looks longer than it is. Some were re-reads. Some are pregnancy books. Some are cookbooks. Some were for Amazon. Some were for Booksneeze.

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My official goal for 2012 is 30 books. Low, I know. Maybe I’ll read more. But I’m at least hitting 30.

Posted in On The Reading Chair, Out Of My Head

Reading Next Year

I did not read as much as I would like in 2011. Part of my problem was not having any kind of plan. I spent much of my time that could have been spent reading trying to decide what to read next. (I’ll be posting my 2011 reading once the year is over and done. I’ve got a few books I hope to finish before then.) So, for 2012, I decided to make a list of books that I will read during the year. Then, there is less trying to figure out what to read next. (Unless, of course, I finish the list and then don’t know what to do.) I am sharing these with you for a couple reasons. The first being because I want to. The second being because I love reading people’s reading wish list or what they are reading, (I’m a big fan of Goodreads. Go be my friend so I can book stalk you!) so I assume other share my fascination.

 The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton – This is a huge book. In fact, to be completely honest, I’m already halfway through it. I have been some partial way through it for the last couple years. I’m finishing this book this year. It is a very easy book to pick up and put down, since it consists of many short stories piled into one thick little book. At one point, The Pastor and I had a race going to see who would finish first. I will. I’m sure. He hasn’t even thought about Father Brown in a year, I’m certain.

 Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen. This is another book that I only partially read. I was reading it, loving it, and somehow I put it down and forgot I never finished it. I’ll finish it this year. It is shaping up to be a wonderful parenting book.

 Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and  Lisa M. Ross. This book has been on my wish list for quite some time. I always manage to push it further and further down the list. Not because I don’t want to read it, but because I have (and have read) what seems like a gajillion parenting books. However, I find that each parenting book I read makes me a better parent. Even if I whole-heartedly disagree, it makes me stop and think about what I am doing as a parent. I am expecting to love this book, based on the reviews. Hopefully, I am right.

 Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes. This book has been on my “to read” list since it came out. I just never get around to actually reading it. I’m hoping, like many other readers of this book, it will renew my love for what I do and give me a big feeling of “heck yeah!”

 The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule. Another book that has been on my “to read” list since it came out. Now that Amanda has another book out (actually, I think there are now 2 other books out), I need to read the first one!

 Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots by Scott Hahn. No, we aren’t Catholic. We’re Methodist. (Free Church Wesleyans, to be more precise.) But I find that I don’t quite understand Catholics as much as I would like to. I find so much of what my Catholic friends do so interesting and fulfilling. Naturally, I want to know more.

 Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson. Yet another book I began reading and never finished, though I was really enjoying it. I plan to finish reading this book this year. It is such an interesting book. (And I may have read most of it or all of it, but it was on my unfinished Goodreads’ shelf, so I’m going to re-read it anyway.)

 Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider. I have read most of this book, but was not at a place in my life where I could apply it. I’m hoping 2012 will be a better year for me and I can re-read this book and actually apply it to our lives. I skipped all the exercises the first time through, because I just couldn’t do them at that time. Things are much better now or will be better in a couple weeks, so I look forward to organizing and simplifying our lives.

 Crossed by Ally Condie. I downloaded this book on my Nook to read at my in-laws over Thanksgiving week. I read a few chapters. Turns out  had far, far less down time that I anticipated. Having kids, particularly toddlers, away from home is infinitely more difficult than having them in your own home. I eagerly awaited this book coming out, then I forgot about the release date (though it was on my calendar). I hate it when that happens. This is the sequel to Matched. I haven’t heard word of the third book yet. I would anticipate it in 2012, but who knows?

 Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card. I have been a complete Ender fanatic this year. Reading, reading, reading about Ender Wiggins. Such a great series. I am about halfway through this book and plan to finish in 2012. I put it down to read a couple of other books (I am so very bad about this) and plan to get back to see what happens to Bean and the crew. If you haven’t read Ender’s Game, you need to. But be prepared for this very long series that you will feel compelled to read.

 The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker. I have been dealing with some very toxic people this year and a friend recommended that I read this book. Since this is the same friend that recommended I read Boundaries, which helped me tremendously, I’m taking her word for it. This will probably be among the first of the books that I read in the new year.

 Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel. Yes, I read a lot of parenting books. I love them. I love the perspectives they bring. We often only know one view of parenting, and that is what we were raised with. It is both refreshing and helpful to see the same job through new eyes. To use the information you glean to be a better parent than you ever imagined being. No, I don’t apply everything I read in every book. Not everything works for every parent. I anticipate really liking this book based on reviews. I look forward to the new insights it will offer me as a mom to four wonderful children, who deserve a mom who tries her absolute best.

 Wicked As They Come by Delilah Dawson. When a fellow ICANer writes a book, you can bet I’m going to read it! It comes out March 27th. I’ve been following Delilah’s journey through her blog. Read her blog and her book!

 Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. See, everything is not serious with me! Beauty queens. Desert island. Body count. It is going to be awesome.

 The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan. This is the series I cannot stay away from. I was not a fan of Forest of Hands and Teeth. It was okay, at best. Not nearly the complete awesomeness I expected. I said I was done with the series. I’d read no more. But I thought, how can Dead Tossed Waves be a dud? The name is so cool. Reviewers everywhere assure me, this book is better! This book is not the bore that the first was! Mary is gone! I bit. I read it. It was a little better than okay. I was still bummed. This story has so much freakin’ potential, how is it coming across so lame? Hopefully book #3 will finally live up to the expectation of both its name and its potential. Fingers crossed.

 Zombies vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier. Need I say more? Although, I’m pretty sure with a name like that, it is bound to disappoint. It is very difficult to live up to the awesomeness that is that book title. (And FTR, those folks listed as the authors are, in fact, the editors because the book is a compliation of short stories from various awesome authors.)

 The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau. This is book number 3 in the Ember series. I have really enjoyed this series and look forward to reading the third book.

 Block Party– The Modern Quilting Bee by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks. A book about 12 quilters doing an online quilting bee. Hopefully it will inspire me. Hey, maybe 2012 I’ll get out of this no sewing rut! Who knows?

 Miette by Meg Ray. I had to have at least one cookbook on my list. And we all know I love to bake. Maybe I’ll find some new favorite sweet treat in these pages.

 Eve by Anna Carey. A futuristic dystopia I just must read.

 Thr3e by Ted Dekker. Everyone is always telling me how awesome Ted Dekker books are. I keep insisting that I have never found Christian fiction to be anything but hokey. (Maybe someone needs to do something about that.) But I have never read anything by Ted Dekker, so I cannot with 100% assurance say that he isn’t a good author. Hopefully the book is better than the title, because if the title is about as good as it gets, this is going to be a tough book to get through.

 Kraken by China Mieville. While the reviews are not good for this book, I still want to read it. I would have read it long before now had the reviews been favorable. Who wouldn’t want to read a book titled “Kraken”?

 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. The main reason I want to read this book is because the author’s name is Ransom. This book is on some of the top book lists for last year, so it is expected to be a good read. But really, I’m just reading it because of the author’s name. And the awesome cover. (Yes, I’m judging a book by its cover.)

 The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout. This past year, dealing with toxic people, has renewed my interest in psychology a bit. For those that don’t know, I worked as a psychiatric nurse just before becoming a stay at home mom. Psychology has always interested me. In fact, as a teenager, that was the field I planned to enter. This is a book, not just about the sociopath, but also how to protect yourself from them. (And let’s face it, some of us need that advice.)

 Life’s Too Short To Fold Fitted Sheets by Lisa Quinn. “A crash course in Slaker Chic 101.” With all the other very serious parenting, organizing, and cleaning books, I thought I might be in need of some “let yourself off the hook” perspective in the midst of it. This book claims to contain tips, tricks, and short cuts to maintaing your home. It is also supposed to be a bit funny, while still offering practical advice. We’ll see how this stacks up to my homemaking library.

And that concludes my list. It is pretty short (25 books), but I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be punishing myself trying to “just get through” the list. I want to enjoy it. And if I finish early, I can always add more.

Now, I want to see your list! Send me a list (or link to your blog) of what you’ll be reading this year! I want to know. I love reading other’s reading lists. Funny little quirk, I know. But I’ll likely find books on your list that I’ll just have to add to my long list (of books that I want to read at some point in time). Of course, I’ll post reviews of these books, since that is what I do.

Tips on making a list: Add books you’ve already got on your shelf, but just haven’t gotten around to reading yet. Know your own pace. If you want to have a list of only 12 books (one book per month) and fly by the seat of your pants for anything beyond that, go for it. Just try not to make the list so big that it is impossible for you to complete your task. We all have other things to do than sit around and read. (I made my list slightly smaller than my usual book average. That gives me wiggle room for books that pop up throughout the year that I know I just have to read. It also adds room for the Amazon Vine and BookSneeze books I am sure to review.) Pick a variety. You may not be in the mood all year for vampires. Try to pick a good mix of genres you like. Think about what you want to learn or improve this year. Maybe pick a book or two that will help or inspire you toward that goal.

I’ll also be making a list of books for the kids to read in 2012. Stay tuned for that!