An ongoing list of books I’ve read or recommend.
Surprised by Oxford, by Carolyn Weber
My sister-in-law bought me this book and told me to take my time and savor it. I tend to read books quickly, so I appreciated her advice. And she was absolutely correct: It is a rich and intellectual memoir about a young woman’s quest to understand faith in God. Documented over her first year at Oxford, Weber grapples with issues of feminism, atheism, fatherhood, and love. It reads like a novel, but also delves deeply into theology. I liked this book a lot–though she lost me with many of the poetic and literature references. That’s my fault, because I’m not as well-read as my sister-in-law.
I’m passing this one on to my 20-year-old, as she grapples with her own questions.
Chris Beat Cancer, by Chris Wark
At the age of 26, Chris Wark was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. He had surgery, but instead of chemotherapy and radiation, Chris went against all medical advice and decided to use natural therapies to heal himself.
This book is more about what he did and recommends, and less about his story (I was hoping for more story). It was a very interesting and inspiring read…makes me mad at the medical field for not educating themselves about alternative treatments and making patients feel like idiots for choosing them.
If you read a lot of books on health and wellness, this does not offer any new information. If you do not, I would recommend this book. It covers everything you need to know to give your body the best chance at living cancer-free. It is also very Christ-centered. That’s fun.
Also, funny side-note: I was telling my friend about this book, and she thought I was saying “CRISPY CANCER.” Since that day, I have refused to call it by its proper name, because I love Crispy Cancer so much better.
Fifty Things That Aren’t My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years, by Cathy Guisewite
This is a memoir/series of essays written by the creator of the comic strip, “Cathy.” Remember that comic strip? I have such sweet memories of my mom clipping the comic strip and putting them up on the refrigerator.
I’m about half way through it. Some of the essays are hilariously funny. Some are sort of sad, depressing, and a little whiny. If you are a middle-aged woman with grown kids, you will totally relate. The funny outweighs the whiny.
On my summer reading list…
Beach House Memories, by Mary Alice Monroe
This is book 2 of the Beach House series. I read The Beach House last summer when I was in Isle of Palms, South Carolina (the home of the author and the setting for the series.). It was so fun to see the actual places she was referencing! And, as the name implies, it’s a great beach read! I recommend starting with The Beach House before you proceed to book 2–duh. 🙂
The Next Right Thing, by Emily P. Freeman
This is the book that came from one of my favorite podcasts by the same name. Because I love the podcast, I’m super-excited about this book.
Can’t Make This Stuff Up! by Susannah B. Lewis
I can’t wait to read this. First of all, I love love LOVE Susannah B. Lewis (of Whoa Susannah). I’ve shared her videos on Facebook many times. She’s so fun. Plus, at the time of this writing, her book has over 900 5-star reviews and nothing below a 4-star. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a book without at least a few bad reviews. (Usually it’s someone who says, “I didn’t know this book was about God.” or “My copy came with a missing page.” The 1-stars always crack me up.)
Hearing God, By Dallas Willard
I’m currently writing my book proposal for my own book on hearing God…so I thought it would be wise to read this classic in preparation.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette, By Maria Semple
This was a really, light-hearted and fun read. The story is mostly told in the form of emails and memos, which I wasn’t sure I’d love or hate. Turned out, I loved it. It was a good story with likeable characters, and plot that kept me interested until the very end. I recommend this book.
Warning: Language. Not a ton, but more than I prefer in a book. Also, a sub-plot involving a main character that is sexual in nature, but no graphic sexual content. Other than that, pretty much PG-Rated.
The Reckoning, by John Grisham.
I’m a big John Grisham fan. In fact, it was his book, The Firm, that renewed my love for reading fiction back in my 20s, when consuming college text books and reading for my job turned reading into a chore. I read The Firm on my honeymoon, lying on a beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which may have had something to do with why I loved it so much. I immediately picked up several more John Grisham novels and devoured them.
Over the last few years, I have picked up a book of his here and there, but nothing compares to those early works, in my opinion.
I was excited to read The Reckoning because it looked like Grisham was returning to his courtroom-drama-set-in-the-deep-South that I loved so much. In a nutshell: this book is just entirely too long. Honestly, I feel like maybe his editor forgot to edit it or something. The entire story could have been told in about a third of the pages…and I’m not even exaggerating. There is an entire middle section that I literally skimmed, once I realized it was nothing more than a detailed (and graphic!) account of WWII. The story started out interesting, then became boring for about 200 pages, then became interesting again in the final 14 pages.
If you enjoy L-O-N-G, detailed accounts of WWII, you’ll like this book. If you are looking for classic John Grisham, I suggest you pass.
Warning: Graphic war violence and a detailed account of the murder, which is the subject of the entire plot. Minor language. No sexual content.
Becoming Michelle Obama, by Michelle Obama
Smart, funny, transparent, interesting, and very well-written. I don’t care where you fall on the political spectrum (really, I don’t care, so please do not tell me!), Michelle Obama is a class act. She’s also a very good writer. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend.
Warning: If you are a strong supporter of Donald Trump or you hate the Obamas with a red hot passion, then I don’t suggest you read this book—she doesn’t hold back on her opinions about the way Trump behaves and how it affected her family and their safety. As far as content, Michelle does talk about living with Barack prior to marriage. Other than that, nothing offensive.
First of all, prettiest cover ever, so WIN!
I’ve followed Michael Hyatt for years. He’s the former CEO of Thomas Nelson publishing and talks a lot about business and productivity. If you feel like you are spinning your wheels working longer-than-you-should hours, this book will help.
Sometimes when I read Hyatt’s stuff, it stresses me out, because he makes a lot of assumptions (like, he has a “team” of people he can delegate to and I do not.). But this book was more practical for a wider audience. Definitely a book for “work” and not necessarily for a stay-at-home mom…though, he does have some great ideas about how to best use technology and implement daily routines that could be helpful.
Absolutely nothing offensive, except that he has a personal assistant, and I don’t.
Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter and Organize to Make More Room for Happiness, by Gretchen Rubin. This is a very, very quick read. Each page has a tip. It’s a fun, little book. I was expecting more stories, but whatevs. It inspired me to clean my closet.
Digital Minimalism; Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, by Cal Newport. This one vacillates between super heady and super practical. I couldn’t put it down.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown. My second read-through of this one. It’s a must-read.
Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer, by Priscilla Shirer. A great companion to The Armor of God Bible Study, also by Priscilla Shirer.
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