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4 Books I Finished This Past Week + What I Plan to Read Next Week

Books I Read This WeekI was SO excited to get these 3 books in the mail last week! I’ve already read a pre-release copy of Do Over (it’s fantastic!) and can’t wait to dig into Savor and Safely Home!

I decided against setting any ambitious reading goals this year, but I don’t think the plan has backfired on me. Instead, I’m finding that I seem to be enjoying reading more — and getting quite a bit of it done, too.

So far, I’ve read 26 books this year — yay! (Okay, so it does help that I’m adding the books I read aloud to the kids to my list of books read in 2015. But I figured since those are chapter books they should count, too, right??)

4 Books I/We Finished This Past Week

The Imagination Station: Book 16 — All the kids were anxious for me to start this one ever since it showed up in our mailbox! As usual, we enjoyed it. I loved the fact that Silas was the one who really got into it. Since it seems many of our read-alouds are more on Kathrynne and Kaitlynn’s level, it’s fun to read one that’s for a bit of a younger audience so he can get all caught up in the story!

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing — We L-O-V-E The Jesus Storybook Bible so I had high hopes for this one by the same author. Unfortunately, we didn’t love it as much. Some of the stories were a bit “off” from straight Scripture. If you want a good kid’s devotional, I’d skip this one and stick with The Jesus Storybook Bible.

The Relational Soul — This book came highly recommended to me by a friend. I found it thought-provoking and insightful to consider if I’m living out of my true self or acting out of a false self. That said, I loved Brene Brown’s books — Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection — and would recommend those if you want to read some really good books on authenticity and vulnerability.

For Married Women Only — This small book was thought-provoking and the catalyst for some great discussions between Jesse and me that I feel will ultimately cause our marriage to be stronger.

Books I Read This Past Week

11 Books I’m Reading This Week:

The Green Ember — This read aloud has come highly recommended to us by multiple sources so we’re excited to dive into it.

The Meaning of Marriage — I’m reading through this with my friend, Allison, as part of our weekly accountability meetings. We’re aiming for two chapters every week and then we’ll discuss it when we meet.

Galatians for You — And another Tim Keller book! This one is what we’re going through in our new Community Group. Again, we’re doing just a few chapters every week and discussing them when we meet. So far, it’s been really good.

Their Lives and Your Life — This is a devotional I’m starting with the kids. My mom gave it to me awhile back, if I’m remembering correctly.

Parenting the Wholehearted Child — Can I be really honest with you? Parenting books aren’t my favorite genre. In fact, I typically steer clear of them.

I was raised in an age and culture where many families followed parenting books and discipline plans to a tee and, well, much of the fruit from all that didn’t turn out so great. It left a bad taste in my mouth for the whole “follow steps A, B, and C as a parent and you’ll be a Godly family/good parent” etc.

So yes, I kinda prefer to stay far away from anything that remotely resembles a system or method of parenting. Because I truly have come to believe that there are no one-size-fits-all plans.

At any rate, I was hesitant to start this book because it fell under the “parenting book” genre. But I’m so glad that I did. I’m two chapters in and it is honestly turning out to be one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a long time.

I just want to sit and read the whole thing in one sitting. But on the other hand, I want to process it slowly so that I can take it all in!

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She Reads Truth Lent Study/Bible — I am loving the Lent study so far… as I have loved all the She Reads Truth studies. Seriously, one of the best things I’ve invested in for my personal spiritual development and relationship with God ever.

Stepping Heavenward — My new friend, Allison Burr, sent me this book and said it was one of her very favorites ever. Can you believe I’ve never read it? I’m working on remedying that stat.

Love Without Limits – For years, Nick Vujicic has been a huge inspiration to me. I was excited to see that he had gotten married and is a dad now and am looking forward to reading this book from he and his wife.Lizzy & Jane — So far, I’ve found this to be really engaging!

Long Walk to Freedom & Kaffir Boy — I’m slowly working through these as I seek to understand more about South African history.

See all the books I’ve read so far in 2015 here.

What are YOU reading this week? Any great books to recommend?

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  • If you haven’t read The Hiding Place, I highly recommend it! I just did a book review last week: It’s a hard read, but it makes me want to be a bolder, braver Christian.

  • Victoria says:

    I just can’t seem to get settled in one book lately. I start one and then get another one from Tyndale Rewards or Paperbackswap and decide to start on those. Then a greet free or almost free kindle title will become available and I will want to start on that. I think I have 3 or 4 books at least if not more on the go right now. I think though I am going to concentrate on the one by Tricia Goyer that you listed free the other day “Balanced: Finding Center as a Work- at-Home Mom”. Now that the weather is finally nice enough to run outside most days though my reading will slow for a while as I do a lot of reading on the treadmill (thanks so much for that tip years ago by the way).

  • I would love to read Nelson Mandela’s book. I recently read An Uncomplicated Life: a Father’s Memoir about his Exceptional Daughter by Paul Daugherty. It was moving and wonderful.

    I am also hosting a readalong and discussion of my favorite book this month, Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. A gothic mystery and wonderful for all book lovers!

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Crystal…I was wondering if you had any tips for reading to toddlers? My son Noah is almost 20 months old and likes playing with books and looking at the pictures but he loses all interest when I start reading them out loud to him. Books are a HUGE part of my life and I want him to love them just as much as I do. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated!!! 🙂

  • I loved Stepping Heavenward! It might be considered a tad old-fashioned, but as a working and then stay-at-home mom of lots of littles, I completely identified with many of her struggles. I put a lot of quotes from that book in my journal!

  • Kim says:

    How do you come up with a list of books to read for yourself and for your read alouds for your children ? Is it word of mouth , a website etc.. I have read a lot of classics to my children but I’m running out of ideas now and as for myself I would love to get back into reading , it’s been awhile . Thanks for your help

    • I KNOW I wrote a post on this one time, but for the life of me, I cannot find it anywhere. I’ve literally spent 15 minutes searching and cannot find the link. At any rate, the short answer is that I follow a few blogs of avid readers, I ask friends for recommendations, I find recommendations in the comments on these posts every week, and I’m always on the lookout for great suggestions. I also find that when I like one book from an author, I often like their other books, too. And Amazon is a great place to find suggestions.

      I keep a running list of books I want to read and then just pick from those when I’m looking for new ideas/reading material.

  • angel says:

    Stepping Heavenward was absolutely life changing for me!
    I read it every year and get something new out of it each time. The last 2 years I listened to the audiobook, and was amazed that my kids wanted to listen too. They all really enjoy it as well!

  • Jana T says:

    If that’s Safely Home by Randy Alcorn, I’m very intersted to hear your review on it. It’s one of my top 5 favorite books EVER.

  • Amy says:

    Stepping Heavenward is my all time favorite. It was a gift when I graduated college, I read it the first time right before I got married. I’ve read it a couple more times in the last 13 years, each time new things stick out. I have so many pages dog eared. My favorite quote from the book is when she writes about being a mother, when she is expecting for the — time (I don’t want to give anything away!). Someone is discouraging her, and her response is beautiful. I hope you enjoy the book! ☺️

  • Kandace says:

    I just finished Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson– highly recommend. Currently reading Pound Foolish by Helaine Olen and Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin.

  • Lillian says:

    I am reading Captivating Unveiling The Mystery of a Woman’s Soul by John U Stasi Edlredge. New York Bestseller Christian Book helping women to see themselves as God see them.

  • Patty says:

    Is the “The Imagination Station” a subscription? I’m researching book/magazine subscription for my four-year-old son.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Wow that’s a lot of reading. I’m lucky to get 1 book in a year. I just can’t read if my husband has his PC blaring with some sports or news show and the kids being kids and the house a wreck which is pretty much how it always is lately.

  • annie says:

    Not a fast reader here.

    I am savoring a couple of daily devotionals, God Calling by Two Listeners, and He and I. I’m almost done with Living Well Spending Less and having fun watching the short videos and clicking on the QR links. Finding a sweet spot and reading more about giving are my favorites so far.

    I enjoy savoring and reflecting. But also getting hungry for a food novel soon.

  • I had checked out The Jesus Storybook Bible from the library for my older children and then purchased it- with CDs and DVD- at rock-bottom price from Amazon using
    My 5yo had stated that he had “too many Bibles”- gotta love that age!- so I wasn’t sure about this birthday gift idea. But he wants it read to him every single night since receiving it in October! No other book will do.
    I’m reading Sheperding a Child’s Heart, More Than Enough, Parenting Today’s Adolescent, and The Wednesday Letters. My husband wants me to watch [bad] TV with him in the evenings…would love more reading time!

  • Danielle says:

    I have not read a book in way too long. I know that it is out of choice too! BUT I am making space, as I have deleted Facebook off my phone! I work full time, but that is not an excuse! I am challenged by your reading! Thanks for the encourgement!

  • Jessica says:

    These are some of my favorite posts of yours, Crystal! It is because of you that I have read so much over the past couple of years – not in a competitive way, but because you inspire me to keep my mind active. I just finished “Living Virtuously” by Erin Harrison. If you don’t have all your marriage books picked out for the year, this is a good one. I suppose it would be nothing new to you, it is just an inspiring reminder to keep your heart at home. Erin has had home businesses, so it is not a one-size-fits all type of book (she doesn’t think you are wrong if you are a working mother, for instance). She just encourages you to be true to your husband, instill a good work ethic in your children, and be productive in your home.

    Thanks for all your great posts!

    • Thanks so much for your sweet encouragement! I’m grateful I’ve inspired you to read!

      Also, I’d not heard of that book! Just checked it out and it looks good… so I added it to my list and am hoping to be able to get to read it this year!

  • Monica says:

    I Love to read but I like to read at night and mostly fiction, freebies on my kindle. 🙂 I have a hard time sitting down w a book when my house is in chaos. I envy the mom who knows how to settle down at night instead of keep going like a hamster on a wheel. Lol

  • Chelsea says:

    Beautiful flowers!

  • Miriam B says:

    Right now, I am rereading “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy for at least the 20th time. I am also listening to “The History of the Ancient World” by Susan Bauer and “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.” And “Lizzy & Jane” was one of my all-time favorite books of 2014 🙂

  • kariane says:

    I’m currently reading Mary Poppins with my kids, and they love it. (We’re reading Travers’ original, not the disney version).

  • Tracy says:

    Right now I am reading a couple books for myself. Also I have started to do a read aloud with my son were started to read the Boxcar Children series. I loved these books as a child and have many of them.

    My son and I live with my Mom and she mentioned us maybe doing a family read aloud at night. Her eyesight is starting to go and so she has a hard time reading.

    Does anyone have any suggestions of books that might be good for the whole family?

    • Nancy says:

      The Cricket in Times Square; I think Crystal had that on her list recently. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Hatchet by Gary Paulson. Those were big hits at our house. The audiobook versions of those are wonderful and let the adults be listeners too. Our library is quite small but has a great network for borrowing, so if I plan ahead I can often get the audio version of books on my list.

      You might also consider The BFG or another book by Roald Dahl. The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, maybe the first Harry Potter book.

      • Tracy says:

        Thank you so much. I didn’t even think about audio books. We have not really used them before. I will have to see if my library has some of your suggestions.

  • Kathleen says:

    Thanks for your feedback about the Sally L. Jones book! It’s been on my list of considerations, but I think we’ll steer clear of it for now.

    I’m currently reading Give Them Grace (parenting!) and Desiring God by John Piper (Whew!). In addition to lots of books for my kids’ homeschooling…we use the Ambleside Online booklist, and I’m learning SO much too. 🙂

  • Nancy says:

    I read The Green Ember; found it so-so. Also read Love Without Limits–snagged it from the new(er) books shelf at my library. As you say, the author is inspiring. This book also contains some of his wife’s thoughts, and parts of the book are for people who are either seeking their life partner or considering marriage, so in way the scope of the book is a bit narrow. There is certainly content in the book that applies to any person or any relationship, but I think I would have preferred to read one of his earlier books.

    • Nancy says:

      ^^to avoid sounding come tell negative, I’ll add that I recently read & enjoyed A Proper Pursuit (Austin) and Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (Karon). 🙂

  • Danielle Hull says:

    Safely Home is so good, but it will tear your heart out! And I need to get on with reading The Green Ember. The author has a 3-part story here:

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