what i read : may 2015

June 1, 2015

Before we get into the book reviews, I want to mention that my blog has a brand new Facebook page! I’m pretty excited about it. I plan to use it to share links to all kinds of interesting or awesome things, as well as behind-the-scenes tidbits and discussion questions. I’d be thrilled if you go check it out – I think you’ll (literally) like it!

what i read

Now onto the books – my reading has picked up again, hooray! I definitely go through phases with it and right now I’m in a good one. The above photo are some of the books I have on deck. Here’s what I read last month:

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – I continue to love how Liane Moriarty writes such smart, funny, and insightful books about serious subjects – this one tackles domestic violence and bullying – while keeping them fun. This one has maybe a little too much character introspection for me, but I still thought it was so good. (audio, 4 stars)

Tisha: The Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaska Wilderness by Robert Specht – this was for my postal book club, and it’s an example of why I love book clubs so much. I had never heard of it and probably never would have and I definitely would have missed a gem! It’s the true story of a 19-year-old who goes to teach on the Alaskan frontier in the late 1800’s. It has adventure, conflict over race relations, romance, and a strong, brave, heroine. Loved it. (4 stars)

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin – I found this study on habits extremely practical and helpful. Her advice to first and foremost “know yourself” is so wise, and she offers a lot of discussion about how to do that. There is tons of practical advice included but at the same time, her writing is engaging and full of anecdotes that make it easy to read and easy to understand. I do want to note that I identify with Gretchen as an “upholder” (although not as extreme as her) in that it is relatively easy for me to form habits and I get more pleasure out of it than most people, so maybe that’s why the book resonated so much with me. But after reading this I feel motivated and capable to tackle some areas of my life that need to get back on track. (5 stars)

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman – this was for book club, and per my new policy I listened to it on audio. I gave it four stars because the writing was beautiful and the story was unforgettable and I felt it deeply. Too deeply! I am not sure if I could say I enjoyed it because it was hard and I felt physical anxiety over it at times. So, I’d recommend it, but not for everyone. (audio, 4 stars)

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting From Birth to Six Years by Jim Fay and Charles Fay – I super love the ideas in this book and I’m tempted to give it five stars except I haven’t fully tested the method out yet. There are a bunch of different ideas to try in different situations and the authors recommend not trying them all at once but focusing on one things at a time. It was hard for me, after reading this, to make changes slowly but I agree that it’s necessary. We have a spirited child and I’m curious to see how it will work on her. I suspect it will work well, but we might meet with more resistance initially. Some cheesy stuff and claims that are perhaps overstated, but I’m on board. (4 stars)

Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascent by Beth Moore – this was the Bible study workbook that I just finished. I’ve mentioned before that Beth Moore is my favorite, and I’m currently working through all of her published studies. This one was pretty good, all about getting you to the next level in your worship, definitely a solid study although not my absolute favorite of hers. (4 stars)

Reading challenge:

This year I’m participating in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenge. I added a couple to the list this month and here’s where I stand:

  • a book you’ve been meaning to read – The Magicians by Lev Grossman (January)
  • a book published this year – Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
  • a book in a genre you don’t typically read –
  • a book from your childhood –
  • a book your mom loves –
  • a book that was originally written in a different language –
  • a book “everyone” has read but you – The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
  • a book you chose because of the cover –
  • a book by a favorite author –
  • a book recommended by someone with great taste – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (February)
  • a book you should have read in high school –
  • a book that’s currently on the best seller list – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (March)

Posted in: books & reading, what i read

Comments on what i read : may 2015

  1. 1

    From rachieannie:

    I always love seeing what you read! Our book tastes are very similar, so I always get lots of great ideas from you and my library queue grows exponentially!

  2. 2

    From Christie:

    You’re a good reader! I follow Gretchen on LinkedIn and always enjoy her articles. I’ve been meaning to read that book, and now I will! I had to read Love & Logic when I was a teacher. I remember it (sort of) working but then found a different method that worked better for my particular students. Remind me and I’ll share it with you next time we get together!

    x Christie

  3. 3

    From Karen Pickels:

    Loved your reviews. I just finished The Light Between Oceans. One of my favorites to date. A lot of great symbolism. Will have to visit with you about sometime. I probably missed this from an earlier post/blog but did you read/listen to Lianne Moriarity’s “What Alice Forgot?” I really enjoyed that – the narrator of the audio-book added a lot to the story. Haven’t enjoyed other Moriarity books as much as that one. The Magicians sounds promising – thanks for that suggestion.

  4. 4

    From Kathleen:

    Karen, I have read What Alice Forgot! Really liked it. Keep the recommendations coming though!

  5. 5

    From vera:

    I’ve read Big Little Lies and Better than Before and enjoyed both. I thought about The Light Between the Oceans but I’m worried that I would feel it too deeply, like you said you did!

  6. 6

    From Melissa Camara Wilkins:

    You’re rocking the reading challenge! Nice. :)

    Better Than Before is next up on my reading list. Her earlier books nudged me in healthier, happier directions, and I’m looking forward to more of that! I’m reading Ann Patchett’s This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage right now, which doesn’t push me toward change, but does push me back to my keyboard.

  7. 7

    From Stephany:

    I am reading Big Little Lies right now and am enjoying it so, so much! The topics are heavy, but I really love the way Moriarty writes about them in such an engaging way. Not taking away from the seriousness of domestic violence and bullying, but also making the novel light and enjoyable.

  8. 8

    From Nora:

    Several books on the list I want to read, always love your reviews and what you read posts. As you know i’m a dork for Love & Logic and loved the class we took, particularly meeting new parents, sharing parenting stories, getting input within the Love & Logic framework on how to address parenting challenges and etc. My youngest bonus daughter is spirited (or as love & logic says, determined) and I’m hoping against hope that this helps our summer go better. Yet another reason I wish I lived closer to my blog friends, I love swapping stories and getting help :)

    I’ve heard mixed reviews on Big Little Lies but more good ones than bad (the mixed is just the fact that it deals with domestic violence).

  9. 9

    From Delaney:

    You are a reading machine! I’ve seen so many recommendations for Liane Moriarty, I’m going to have to give her books a try. I’m also looking forward to the new Gretchen Rubin book!

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