Friday, April 8, 2016

1st Quarter Reading {2016}

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I've seen several bloggers share what they read each quarter, and I thought that would be a fun way to give you a peek at what's been on my nightstand of late. So far this year I've managed to finish 16 books- which is pretty good for me! Setting weekly goals is helping immensely {though I'm not super strict or regimented about them- if I can squeeze in 30 pages a day, I'm happy}, as well as working my way through this reading challenge with a couple of buddies.

Here's my list so far:

Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. Hilarious and fascinating. I started this one with my mom as a read aloud over New Years, and we were both enchanted. I loved this peek into a world I'll never otherwise experience- the life and disguises of a New York Times food critic.

Withhold Not Correction by Bruce A. Ray. A sobering and helpful, Biblically-grounded look at child rearing. I wrote more in detail about it here.

Emma by Alexander McCall Smith. I hate to admit it, but Emma is my least favorite Austen novel. I love the characters and love the plot line, but find the pages of dialogue to be tedious at times. I'm looking at you, Ms. Bates. I enjoyed the first half of this modern retelling more than the second half. A fun and lighthearted read, perfect for a weekend breeze through.

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. Based on good recommendations from some of my favorite book bloggers, I had high expectations for this one. I was disappointed. It wasn't what I expected at all- her time in Paris was only a small percentage of the book. I had a hard time connecting with Wizenberg on a personal level, and I think that's why this one just didn't do it for me.

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. Middle School fiction isn't usually my genre of choice, but I loved this book! Schmidt is hilarious, heartbreaking, and deeply profound as he tackles the Vietnam war, family troubles, and the manifold difficulties of being a junior high boy. Plus it made me want to read Shakespeare. No small feat.

These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. I really and truly loved this fictional diary of a pioneer woman in the Arizona Territories. It tracks her life from the teen years into middle age. A really beautiful story that has stayed with me for well over a month. My only disclaimer is that life was really rough in Arizona at that particular point in American history- there is a rape scene in the book that I found deeply unsettling.

Life and Letters of "Stonewall" Jackson by his wife. The character of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson deeply challenged me in my faith, and was remarkably compelling. My first real exposure to the Civil War since high school was also fascinating. At times it gets a bit slow, but if you push through it will be rewarding.

The Faithful Parent by Martha Peace and Stuart Scott. I loved this book, mostly for its understanding and explanation of our children's spiritual condition. For a more thorough review, click here.

The Lake House by Kate Morton. Kate Morton has truly mastered the art of spinning suspenseful stories, stories that keep you guessing to the end. I really enjoyed this book, up until the last unbelievable 5 or 10 pages. On a slightly more philosophical note, I'm bothered by the lengths our society is able to go in justifying adultery, in making it seem perfectly reasonable...and thus, excusable. I was also deeply interested in Morton's exploration of the complicated nature of mother/daughter relationships.

Having a Martha Home the Mary Way by Sarah Mae. Inspirational and enjoyable. I love Sarah Mae's ability to empower women with purpose and hope in their homemaking.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I was deeply drawn in by the characters and intricate, interconnection of the various plot points. Ultimately I ended dissatisfied with all of the unresolved, unknowns... but I guess life can be kind of like that sometimes. Which is maybe part of his point.

The Cross Centered Life by C.J.Mahaney. Simple and sweet encouragement to keep the Gospel central in our lives.

The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. This book breathed new life into my motherhood. Very inspiring, very refreshing. Hope to write a full post on it soon!

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport. Seeing this on the library shelf brought back my childhood obsession with the family of Russia's last czar, and I knew I had to read it. This author is so talented- her history reads more like a novel. Very good.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. A very important book on aging and terminal illness by a surgeon and professor at Harvard medical school. I'm so glad I read this now, while my parents are still young and no family members are terminally ill. But at the same time it was mildly depressing to read right before turning 30, ha ha.

The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink. Each attribute comprises just a few pages, so I found this to be a wonderful addition to my morning devotional times. It also compliments this month's family Bible reading plan ;).

What have you read so far this year? Let's make the comment section a highlights reel!

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