May was a busier month than I expected. Somehow, I think I must have perfected the "read while you wait" move because in the midst of all of the busyness, I read eleven books and abandoned one. I'm still in a state of shock that I was able to read that many books in a month! A couple of these books, I have been reading slowly since January, but still finished over 60% of them in May. This month held two novels, one decorating book, one book on theology, one book of essays and six self help/ Christian based books. I hope you enjoy perusing the reads! Let me know if you have any questions!
This book by blogger, Marian Parsons, also known as Miss Mustard Seed, has been on my TBR list forever. It was gifted to me for my birthday and I have been causally reading through it ever since. In this book, Parsons talks about repurposing furniture by repainting and recovering it. She includes techniques for everything from thrifting and auctions to actually staining furniture. I loved all of her tips and tricks and am grateful to have read them now so that I can think about them before I truly start decorating a home. This book is similar to the Nesting Place, but different. Marian puts less of an elaborate spin on home decorating and focuses on teaching the actual methods to re-finishing furniture.
I remember someone telling me about this book a few years ago, before I moved to Austin, before I had any idea who Jen Hatmaker was, and I thought that it sounded really weird. 7 is basically a diary of Jen's experience while she fasts for one month in each of seven areas of her life. After I read Hatmaker's For the Love, a friend recommended that I read this one too. Slightly more convincible, I read it and loved it. Because of this book, I have rethought some of my opinions on fasting, waste, and clothes.
If you're contemplating a minimalistic lifestyle, but aren't sure how to walk the fine line between being minimalistic because it is currently popular and choosing to be minimalistic because it seems that Jesus calls christians to living a more simplistic life, pick this book up. Jen doesn't give answers to the questions this issue raises, but she is an honest and trustworthy voice discussing the topic.
I saw the movie and I just had to read the book too! Anyone else? If I could do it over again, I think I would still watch the movie before reading the book. The movie glazed over some of the book's bluntness on adult topics. I loved both book and movie and I think I love them as their own individual works of art; not as one lump sum. I hope you enjoy both too!
Looking for Lovely
Looking for Lovely was a book club read that had also been on my TBR list. I actually listened to it so I could squeeze it in on time for the meeting. It's a great, mostly light hearted read. One of the book club girls said that it's totally a bathtub read, and she's right! I would also recommend this book to those who look for something easy going to read before falling asleep. I loved the way that Downs pursued something consistently over a span of time and then took the opportunity to share it with readers! As I read this, I thought a lot about how I often waste time looking for what could or should be lovely instead of enjoying the things that already are. In light of the other books I read this month, this was not a game changer, but it was by all means a pleasant read!
Ah, this one was a doozy. It was great for my mind, my spiritual development, and thinking about Christianity in a historical context. Many of the things Bonhoeffer talks about in regards to society are just as applicable today in American culture as they were to him in Nazi - run Germany. Bonhoeffer spends a great deal of time examining the conversations Jesus had with his disciples. He made it easy to see the Sermon on the Mount and other parables from a spiritually deeper level.
After I read Metaxes' biography of Bonhoeffer last year, this book made my reading list (and it won't be the last you see me write about). I received it as a gift for Christmas and have been working my way through it since early January. I felt like I read a chapter and then needed 3-4 days to process it before I read the next one!
Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God
This book came as a recommendation to me from a friend after I told her about reading Seven Women and the Secrets of their Greatness. Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God challenged me to rethink the way that I memorize scripture, share the gospel, and structure my life to share the work of Christ. I loved Noel Piper's own thoughts on each woman's life after she told their stories!
Ali Worthington is hilarious. I laughed so much while reading Breaking Busy. She starts her book off with a story about losing her phone and the concept of capacity of a phone versus the capacity of our lives. From that point on, I was hooked. Whatever she had to say, I listened. I loved so many of the topics that Ali discussed and the way that she addressed them. This book is definitely in my top ten for the year and I will probably reread it again this year. If you are someone who wants to break out of the busy mold, is in the process of creating a calmer life, or recently made a choice to break busy, this book is a good fit for you!
Essays of E.B. White
E.B. White may sound familiar to you as the author of Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web. I had no idea until recently that he wrote essays for newspapers and magazines and worked at the New Yorker for many many years. It was a great read for the evenings before bed time. I wasn't a huge fan of White's political pieces, which felt like they droned on and on. I did, however, love the way that his writings revealed a different season in our nation, a time of change with new inventions that brought cultural and societal changes.
We are also in a time of invention and cultural change as well, with companies like Uber, take out delivery companies, and the world at our fingertips. I loved seeing another day and age where changes were as big of a deal as they are today. White is extremely descriptive with words, metaphors, and examples, and I found myself either laughing at his creative writing or picturing the moment he was painting perfectly!
I don't remember where I heard about this book or how it made my TBR list. The Power of Habit was crafted mostly with storytelling. The author uses medical research, Starbucks, Febreeze, and many other examples to talk about why and how our minds create habits and how those habits can change the outcomes of our lives. This book wasn't a motivational book, but I have incorporated it into many conversations and have often found myself mulling over the concepts discussed.
This YA novel from the early nineties was a gamble and it did not disappoint. It is a story of imagination, loneliness, family, and young love set in a small village in England. It is not a fast YA novel, but it is an enjoyable one! This is definitely a good evening or poolside read.
I feel like I am going on and on about the wonderful books I read this month! A lot of them were really really good...and so was this one! Lysa Terkeurst works for Proverbs 31 ministries and she tells wonderful stories about her life and choosing The Best Yes in varying situations. If you struggle with prioritizing because you think you are letting others down or because you have a brain full of "I should do this" types of thoughts, definitely pick this book up. This book has already helped me shape the way that I interact with people. I found that it has encouraged me to be more prayerful about which interactions to choose. God knows I only have so much time and energy- where is He calling me to say yes and where is He calling me to say no?
The Big Short
I abandoned this one six pages into it. Why, you ask? Because I didn't do my research, and I thought the writing style would be more fluid, like a fictional book. It is written with a great rhythm, like a wonderful non-fiction, but wasn't the right fit for this season alongside the other books I was already reading.
What books are you loving right now? I'd love to hear about them!