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The 4 Books I Read on the Plane to South Africa (& the 2 books I didn’t read)

4 Books I Read on the Plane

A few of you have asked me what books I ended up reading on the long 15-hour plane flight to South Africa and back. So I thought I’d give you the rundown of the four books I read (and two I didn’t read):

First off, I read two marriage books: this one and this one. I also read half of this one. {And yes, there’s a reason I’m not writing out the names here — because I don’t need to attract people here who are searching for not-so-great stuff on the web! :(}

This year, one of my Christmas gifts to my husband was my commitment to read at least one marriage book per month. Because I’ve found that it’s helpful to have regular refreshers and tune-ups regarding a healthy marriage.

4 Books I Read on the Plane

I also read The Devil in Pew Number Seven. This book came highly recommended to me and while it was pretty good, I felt like it was one of the those instances where the story would have only filled a few chapters, so they added unnecessary filler information just to make it a complete book. However, I thought the story of forgiveness was really moving.

And finally, I read When God Doesn’t Fix It. I was unfamiliar with Laura Story’s background and struggles and really found this book engaging and encouraging. If you or someone you know is going through an ongoing medical situation that you never could have imagined and that there isn’t a real cure for, I think you’ll be very blessed by reading this book.

I had planned to read Still Alice and Big Little Lies. I discovered that the plane had the movie Still Alice available so I ended up watching it instead. I thought it was rather depressing and discouraging and didn’t make me want to read the book. However, it was a good look at what Alzheimer’s is like and what families deal with. The ending felt off and I kept thinking maybe it wasn’t the actual ending… but the credits kept rolling so I finally realized that it was, indeed, the ending — even if it didn’t feel like it should have ended where it did.

I ran out of time to read Big Little Lies, but am hoping to get a chance to read it in the not-too-distant future.

4 Books I Read On the Plane

I’m currently reading a pre-release copy of Breaking Busy by Alli Worthington and really being convicted by it. Watch the end of the video here for two of my favorite quotes from chapter one.

4 Books I Read on the Plane

We also just finished reading The Sign of the Beaver aloud as a family this morning. We really enjoyed the story and it was very engaging and interesting for all the kids!

In a sort of related note, in case you missed this post on Instagram, I’d love your help to pick next week’s Book Club Book.

What have YOU been reading recently? I’d love to hear!

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  • Amanda says:

    Books are always better than movies! Try the book. I haven’t seen the movie, but I loathe movies and I thought the book was excellent.

  • cwaltz says:

    Laura Story’s song Blessings really resonates with me. I didn’t realize she wrote a book as well chronicling her husband’s brain surgery and how it has impacted their lives.

  • We just finished Sign of the Beaver (a reread for us). Always amazed at how much reading you accomplish!

  • Jessica says:

    LOL! So, your reviews on “this one” and “that one”? 😉

  • Tabitha says:

    Don’t know if you are ever interested in children’s book suggestions but my older son (9) just finished reading a series of books called The Benedict Society. He loved it and I thought it was a fun story too.

  • Jessi says:

    Liane Moriarty is one of my favorite authors! Big Little Lies is a great book and I always suggest it to my friends.

  • Bethany says:

    Looks like you’re just a week or two ahead of us (well, one of us) in that Core. 🙂 Also, two of your untitled book links are the same – the first one and the half-read one.

  • Mary says:

    The book was 100000000 times better than the movie (Still Alice). I vote for Just Show Up. I’m reading it read now.

  • Brandi says:

    Yes, would this” one and “that” be books you would recommend?

  • So glad you enjoyed The Sign of the Beaver. I used to read that with my classes. You might also enjoy The Witch of Blackbird Pond (for the older ones) and The Bronze Bow by the same author.

  • Sharon says:

    You should try the Promise of Sunrise series by Elizabeth Byler Younts – Promise to Return, Promise to Cherish and Promise to Keep (out this week). The stories are about the Amish community and set around World War 2.

  • Melissa says:

    I’m about to pick up Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas again. I’ve read it ones and it’s excellent…one of her best marriage books I’ve read. I can’t wait to read it again
    I’m glad to know The Sign of the Beaver is a good book. My son is going to read it in his 5th grade class this year and I was unfamiliar with it.

  • Stacey says:

    Still Alice is so worth the read. It was an absolutely beautiful story. Yes it has sad with it but so beautiful.

    • Jennifer says:

      Alzheimers disease is pretty depressing….but more attention should be given to the those suffering from Alzheimers

    • Suzanne says:

      I read the book Still Alice first and then the movie. As a nurse I found it fascinating and thought it was a great insight to what many go through- not only the one who gets the disease but the family members affected as well.
      As for the ending- The comment – “The ending felt off and I kept thinking it wasn’t the actual ending” is EXACTLY HOW YOU SHOULD HAVE FELT! Alzheimer’s is a life cut short from living. I think the author wanted the reader to feel like the ending wasn’t right. That is how families feel as their loved one lives with the disease. The ending just isn’t the way we imagined. It’s not right.

      • Oh, I love this insight. And you are right. It left me wanting me, wanting closure… and that’s exactly how it should feel. Thanks for that perspective as it helped me so of sort through the unsettling feeling the movie left me with.

        • Amanda Jones says:

          I read the book before seeing the movie and the book was SO much better. A LOT was left out of the movie. Give it a shot. 🙂

  • Leanne says:

    I recently read The Boys in the Boat and found it inspiring. It is likened to Seabiscuit and Unbroken.

  • Courtney says:

    Definitely READ Still Alice. It is worth it.

  • Brianna K. says:

    I am reading four books right now:

    Wild by Cheryl Strayed (All the feelings. I find myself wishing I could go back to 1995 and befriend her. And tell her about Jesus.)
    The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul (My husband’s favorite theology book, and I’m just now reading it! Very powerful, so far.)
    Money Making Mom by Crystal (I’m on the launch team :D)
    The Christmas Bus by Melanie Carlson (This is the cheesy Christmas book that I read as soon as the weather gets cool…it’s such an easy read, like watching your favorite movie for the thousandth time.)

    Crystal, I haven’t noticed many theology books on your lists. Do you read them? Do you have favorites?

  • Jenny H says:

    I’m also curious what you thought of the marriage books (if it’s possible to answer that and still keep your privacy) or if you have others you would recommend.

    • They weren’t the best marriage books I’ve ever read, but had some good ideas in them. A few of my favorites are: Rekindling the Romance and Sheet Music.

      • Jenny H says:

        Thank you!!

      • So you weren’t impressed with Dr. Leman’s book? I thought “Sheet Music” was good, so was curious what you thought of it. I think it’s great you include some of those books in your reading list – it’s a huge aspect of marriage. 🙂 And now I’m blushing…..

        • I’m a BIG believer in not keeping things G-rated! 🙂

          I’d recommend Sheet Music over Under the Sheets — Under the Sheets was mostly Q&A. However, if you have a lot of questions that you wish someone would share answers to, I think he does a great job of addressing subjects that you rarely see talked about.

  • Kristie says:

    I love these book reviews! I behave to either buy books (ebay) or special order thru inter-library loan, so your reviews give me ideas what to hunt for. It is valuable to have reviews from someone who cherishes good literature and appreciates virtue as well, so keep those reviews coming!! 🙂

  • Valerie says:

    better than before!

  • Theresa L says:

    Ok. Personal question. My parents have been married 46 years (by God’s grace). Earlier this year, my father suffered a stroke. It’s really changed who is. He’s just differed and my mother is struggling with that. Would you recommend the Laura Story book for her? I want to help her, but I just don’t know how.

  • lisa says:

    Rising Strong is an amazing book!

  • Amy says:

    I would like to see a review on the Rubin book. I’ve started it and I think it’s fascinating. The subject matter would be very appropriate for your readers as it discusses a more scientific method of developing habits.

  • Laura says:

    Oh, the book Still Alice is so much better than the movie!! I do not recommend the movie because I was disappointed in it. I found the ending in the book to be full of hope and beauty even in the midst of a devastating disease. The movie didn’t do that for me at all. I love Lisa Genova’s books and the insight she gives!

  • Laura says:

    I love your commitment to your marriage, Crystal. I’ve heard the Kevin Leaman marriage book was really good.

    Which one of those marriage books was your favorite?

    I couldn’t agree more about the importance of reading marriage books – all of us can always be improving! My favorites so far have been: A Wife After God’s Own Heart and Discovering the Treasures of a Godly Woman. The second one is a study and dives into all areas of life, but talks about being a wife. I love it’s approach when I’m connected to God and living life on purpose, the overflow is being a better wife, too. 🙂

  • Kelli says:

    I just finished a free ebook… Clutter Free Revolution. Now I am starting to read The Thornbirds. I’ve never read it before or seen the mini series, but I’ve heard good things.

  • Melissa says:

    I have been reading “Dancing through Life: Steps of Courage and Conviction” by Candace Cameron Bure. It’s obvious that Candace loves the Lord very much and I love that she keeps it real!

  • Ashley says:

    I love reading about books that you’re reading. These posts have definitely encouraged me to make reading a priority! I am currently reading the classic “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Doestoevsky. I started reading it a while ago and never finished it, so I started it afresh a few weeks ago. Wow! It is 500+ pages, but is incredibly engaging at this point in the book.
    I am also reading “Believing Jesus” by Lisa Harper. My church’s ladies’ Bible study is going to start the study soon and the leader gave me the companion book as a way to encourage me. I am unable to attend the Bible study since I work in the church office at the time the study meets. By reading the book, I’m still semi-involved 🙂
    I’m also reading your book “Money Making Mom.” Your book is so good, Crystal! It’s keeping me encouraged and creative. My husband keeps asking me about my next great idea. Love it! Thank you!

  • Amber says:

    Wait! There is a book club? How did I miss this. Following right away. I try to read a book every Saturday. I habit I have to guard pretty fiercely as mother of 10.

    I just read
    My name is Mary Sutton
    Children of the Day by Beth Moore
    Taming the To Do List by Glynnis Whitwer
    Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
    How to Blog for Profit w/o Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
    Bernie’s Guide to Life and Mothers by Alexander McCall Smith
    and my Dad just handed me The Martian by Andy Weir

    I carry a bag with at least 3 books at all times

  • Vanessa says:

    If you like Liane Moriarty – you have to read What Alice Forgot. It is her best! Way better than big little lies 😉 And no I do not mean still alice, completely different book.

  • Jill says:

    Something other than God by Jennifer Fulwiler. Interesting and heartfelt account of finding God. Funny too. I can’t put it down. I grew up Christian so it is a good reminder of all that I take for granted.

  • Thank you for taking our book along on your journey. It’s a quick read designed to help couples jump start their physical intimacy. We are continuously amazed at the couples who have experienced transformation in as little as 7 days by making each other a priority. It’s great to “virtually connect” with you again after both of us speaking at Flamefest 2 years ago.

  • Mylynda says:

    I know that I should be paying more attention to the content of the posts and not the pictures. Most of the time, I do. However, the floral centerpiece was so eye catching that I just had to take a moment to tell you how pretty it is. I love everything about it. It says, “Homemade and Happy” to me! Thanks for the effort that you put into the pictures/photos/visual appeal.

  • LORI PAVELKA says:

    Would love for you to choose “Teaching from Rest”. I adore Sarah Mackenzie and her Read Aloud Revival Podcast!!!!

  • Calli says:

    I vote Rising Strong for your next book club book. She is amazing!!

  • Hannah Beth Reid says:

    The book club I am a member of read “Still Alice” a few months ago and I said I wasn’t planning to read it, but then I ended up trying it out. It had good points, but was slightly disturbing to me. Having read the book, I have sworn off ever watching the movie. I haven’t heard about the movie ends, but the book ends abruptly too.
    Oddly enough, no one who attended our book club meeting discussing the book had watched the movie, which doesn’t usually happen because if there is a movie at least one person did it in addition to (or instead of) reading the book.

  • Just wanted to say how much I love your book recommendations. We have very similar taste in books. 🙂 I just finished reading Dear Mr. Knightley per your recommendation and I loved it.

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