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4 Books I Read The Past Two Weeks + 1 Book I Decided Not to Finish

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So after starting this year out with a book-reading bang — and reading a book per day for the first 7 days, I definitely slacked off the past two weeks.

I had thought I’d get in LOTS of reading on my two 18-hour plane flights, but what I didn’t realize about international travel was that at least 10 hours of the flight they’d have all the lights off in the plane and the only polite things to do during that time are to sleep, watch a movie on the screen in front of your seat, or read something on a device. To read a real book — which is what I’m so partial to — would require me to turn on my over-the-seat light and probably wake people up around me.

In addition, I didn’t realize that if I took Dramamine, I’d be so tired that I’d sleep much of the flight and be groggy a lot of the rest of it! At any rate, my visions of reading 2-3 books (or more!) per flight didn’t happen. I ended up reading one small book and starting and deciding not to finish another.

unnamedEating dinner on the plane to South Africa while reading Growth Hacker Marketing.

Books I Read the Past Two Weeks

James and the Giant Peach — We enjoyed reading this book aloud, though I have to say that some of the language and attitudes has surprised me for a children’s book. I edited it a bit and used other parts as opportunities to have discussions on how our words can be hurtful and shameful to others.

Growth Hacker Marketing — I picked up this little book on the recommendation of a reader. While it was a short read and I would have loved more “meat” and examples, it did have some good advice and thought-provoking information.

Glimpses of Grace — While I thought there were some encouraging ideas in this book, truth be told, I struggled to really get into the book because I found the writing style kind of laborious. I don’t think the author was a bad writer, I just think that something about the style of writing didn’t draw me in. That said, I thought there were a lot of good reminders for us as women as we go about our everyday lives.

The One Thing — I found this book thought-provoking albeit a little confusing. The author encourages you to really drill down on the one thing that is going to make the most difference in your life right now and to make that your priority. The questions he encouraged you to ask really made me think and examine my priorities. However, I found it confusing then when he encouraged you to come up with your one thing in multiple areas of your life. It seemed to somewhat contradict his message of only focus on one thing and one thing only if you were supposed to have multiple “one things” in multiple areas of your life. I may be the only person who found this confusing, though, as most all the other reviews I’ve read of this book have been rave reviews. 🙂

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie — Okay, so confession time: I just couldn’t get into this book. At all. It just was weird, plain weird, to me. I tried really hard, but after about 7 chapters, I decided that it was okay to just set it aside and not finish it as there are many, many more books I’d rather read and life’s too short to waste on making myself finish books that I’m not enjoying or benefiting from at all. Sorry, all of you Flavia de Luce fans!

Books I Plan to Read/Finish This Week

The Imagination Station: Surprise at Yorktown — We always enjoy the Imagination Station books. When this one came in the mail recently, Kathrynne and Kaitlynn wanted to pick it up and read it right away, but they said, “We’re not going to read it ourselves since we want to enjoy you reading it aloud to us!”

Long Walk to Freedom & Kaffir Boy — I didn’t get these finished before my South Africa trip — hoping to finish them soon!

Against All Grain — Multiple friends have mentioned this book to me and suggested I read it.

The Anxiety Cure — As someone who struggles with anxiety during different seasons of life, I’m on a mission to learn more about it and what I can do to help prevent or minimize it. I read Sleep: It Does a Family Good by Archibald Hart two years ago and learned so much from it that I picked up this title to check it out, too.

From This Day Forward — I saw an article about this book on Ann Voskamp’s site and was intrigued so I picked up a copy.

What did you read this past week? Any must-read book recommendations?

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52 Comments

  • I just finished The Paris Wife, which I loved, and am about to finish Sarah’s Key, which I do not love. Also reading Cheat the Clock about how to age better.

  • I’m reading “Bread and Wine” by Shauna Niequist. I absolutely love it. I’m partial to the recipe part and her in depth conversations about life around the table, with close friends and family, as an extension of faith. I relate to so much of it. And I think it’s her best book yet. I didn’t finish cold tangerines. But I’m beyond glad I opened this one up I think it’s her real heart – and she does such a great job of discussing food and faith in one place without being “churchy!” I’m savoring it. And will definitely finish it.

  • Sarah says:

    My question is about flying actually- haha! My church is going to Israel in the fall and I’d love to go but the thought of flying is just terrifying me (the last time I flew I ended up in the ER for motion sickness and had massive claustrophobia- I’d be taking drowsy pills too!). So is it like coach seating even overseas or do you get more leg room or anything? Are the overseas planes bigger? Sorry for the weird question haha!

    • Yes, it’s just like typical coach seating — at least it was for us. I’d recommend checking out pictures online of the plane/airline you’re flying on as planes do differ from what I’ve heard.

      I’d definitely recommend making sure you take a lot of something for the motion sickness and claustrophobia. Lisa-Jo has really bad motion sickness and Dramamine is what she recommended. It worked wonders for me when I started to feel sick.

      The flight was by far the thing I was most nervous about on this trip and I did a lot of research and went into it well prepared. It ended up being so much better than I thought. I think it really helped that I had brought plenty of options when it came to things to do, as well as a great pillow/blanket, comfy clothes, and Dramamine. I also think that sitting in a middle seat section where I couldn’t see out the window helped me not really think about what was going on — the fact that we were flying over thousands of miles of ocean. 🙂

      • guest says:

        I always take Dramamine when flying. It’s a very safe drug (kids can take it) and I figure it’s better to be prepared. I will say that I CANNOT sit in a middle sit. I feel very claustrophobic and it makes me extremely anxious. I don’t like window seats either. I book in advance to get an aisle seat. This may sound strange to some (but it sounds like both of you get the anxiety challenge!) but in my mind, I feel like I COULD get up and move around if I wanted to or go to the restroom at anytime and that helps me feel more relaxed.

        When I fly internationally, I like to hang out for awhile at the cheese and crackers section in the back so I can stand up, stretch my legs, etc. In my opinion, it’s so much better than domestic flights. The planes are larger so to me the ride seems smoother as well.

        You’ll do great, Sarah!

  • Melody says:

    I’m finishing up When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James. It’s such a thought provoking book on women and theology and such a reminder of how much God loves us as women and how we can be used by Him. I’ll never read the story of Mary and Martha the same way again.

  • Victoria says:

    I just finished book 4 of the Deep Haven series by Susan May Warren “The Perfect Match”. I really love Susan’s books. I have gotten so into her Deep Haven stories that I find myself wanting to visit the little town, then I have to remind myself “it is fictional!”. I am now reading “Notes From The Blue Bike” by Tsh of Art Of Simple and really liking it so far.

  • Pam says:

    I just finished up book 5 of the Mother- Daughter Book Club – my daughter and I have enjoyed reading these together! I wasn’t a huge fan of The Sweetness at the Bottom of Pie either . . . my other favorites from January are posted here: http://behealthybehappywellness.com/2015/01/january-2015-book-reviews/

  • Morna says:

    Why do we find it so difficult to not finish a book? I’ve manfully plowed my way through so many books I wasn’t enjoying. I finally put my foot down with the third ‘girl with a dragon tattoo book’ I found myself thinking ‘I don’t like any of the characters and I don’t care what’s going to happen.’ At that point I put the book back in the shelf and took my life back. Life is definitely too short to read books you don’t enjoy.

    • Stephanie says:

      It’s funny you say that because the first girl with the Dragon tattoo book was one I put down and didn’t finish. I still feel bad about it and it was years ago! Lol!

  • Laurie says:

    I’m really enjoying seeing all of the books that you’re reading. Such a diverse list! I wasn’t able to get into The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie either, unlike the rest of my book club. I’m not a fan of mysteries. I’m currently reading A Walk Across the Sun, which is very enlightening, while tragic and sad. Our church is investigating how we can become involved in anti-human trafficking and this fictional book shows the human side of the issue.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I love mysteries and I also enjoy British authors, so I’m not sure why I haven’t become a Flavia de Luce fan, but I didn’t like it, either, and I didn’t read past the first couple chapters. Each to her own I guess. I do hate leaving books unfinished but sometimes I bite the bullet and move on. 😉

  • Melanie says:

    Your trip to South Africa reminded me of a book I read last year that caused me to really think about how we can best use our resources to help others, Forty Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World by Howard Buffett

  • I am so thankful for your blog! Been following it for years. I typically don’t leave comments, but noticed your brief mention of anxiety. Have you ever tried drinking Plexus Slim? My 6th baby suffered 2 Brain hemorrhages at 5 weeks of age. The circumstances surrounding his brain injury, combined with thyroid and hormone imbalance, caused a lot of anxiety, PTSD, mood swings, etc. that I battled for 3.5 years. After 2 months drinking Plexus Slim my anxiety was gone! I’m so thankful! I highly recommend it.

  • Diane says:

    I’ve gotten better the last few years about skipping articles in magazines or just not finishing a book. We only have so many hours to read in our days and lives and it doesn’t make sense to feel obligated to finish something just because we started it.

    We are enjoying Caddie Woodlawn. 🙂

  • James and the Giant Peach was one of my favorite childhood books. I am currently reading Sheet Music.

  • denise says:

    Recently finished Dani Pettry’s first series! You can find my review on my blog! Great author!

  • Jen says:

    My husband and I are reading “You and Me Forever” by Francis & Lisa Chan. Only read this if you want to be very convicted about making your life matter for eternity!!! All the proceeds go toward a charity in Africa helping women in trafficking.
    I really really wanted to stop reading a book that has been so highly recommended but I just didn’t like overall. I just had to finish it though and I regret those few precious hours! I did get a couple good nuggets but still wasn’t worth my time when I have dozens of books on queue.
    Also, I love Flavia but don’t fault you. She is quirky….and weird….but somehow I love it.

  • Kelly says:

    Are you a speed reader?!!! I am envious how you can plow through so many books!

  • I just finished the Flavia DeLuce series! I LOVE chemistry and so it was fun for me to read! Except I didn’t necessarily read it, I listened to it at work. 🙂
    I’m also reading “7 principles of making marriage work” by John Gottman

  • Kristin S says:

    My entire life I was an advocate of pressing through and always finishing a book I started. This last summer that changed. I kept getting books from the library I’d heard good great things about. Book after book was a dud (in my opinion). It was really freeing to just stop. A few chapters in, just stop. It’s OK. No regrets.

  • Vickie says:

    So glad you mentioned that you stopped reading the book. I felt that I was the only one that did that. Although I don’t do it often. I try for quite a while thinking it will get better then I finally give up.

  • Brandy Fisk says:

    I read The Nesting Place and started Me before you.

  • My favorite book at the moment is Rhinestone Jesus. It has been such an inspiration to say yes to God and where He is leading me. Even if it’s to places that are out of my comfort zone. 🙂 http://www.letsdosomegoodtoday.com/2015/01/09/rhinestone-jesus-book-review-and-giveaway/

  • Tammy W says:

    Have you read “Calm My Anxious Heart” by Linda Dillow or any of Ed Welch’s stuff on the topic of fear & anxiety? Both are Gospel-centered, the latter author more clinical-counselling minded. Reading both currently.

    I don’t think of myself as a fearful person, but I can get really uptight & “angsty” when things don’t go as planned or I have too much on my plate. At times, I’ve had physical problems as a result but only recently realized the two were related & under the umbrella of “anxiety.” Thanks to Jim Berg’s series “Quieting a Noisy Soul” that we did at my church last year (he has a book summarizing it called “God Is More Than Enough”) I’m finally figuring it out & learning to cope better–& biblically!

    Your “Survival Mode” book has helped me reduce opportunities for the latter, but sometimes life can throw me curve balls, even when I’m prepared for what’s normally coming my way.

    Realizing perfectionism & control are unattainable & relinquishing my felt need for them has been so freeing! Not there yet, but by God’s grace . . .

  • I have fallen in love with In Her Kitchen, by Gabriele Galimberti, a book that featuring grandmothers and their dishes from sixty countries. This book encompasses all that is good, gracious, and soulful in the this world! This is an awesome read, and would be a great Mother’s Day gift! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0804185557/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0804185557&linkCode=as2&tag=thlaprtosa-20&linkId=3JVGDZDZCQVZG57T

  • I enjoyed Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Read it with my book club and want to read the next in tge series. I just finished The Poisonwood Bible set in Belgian Congo during the 60’s, an intense and thought provoking book. I just finished Bombay Bhel too, a collection of short stories set in India. Read both for our Travel the World in Books Reading Challenge.
    http://momssmallvictories.com/travel-the-world-in-books-reading-challenge/

    I don’t get to travel the world in person but I can get there in books. Long Walk to Freedom is on my TBR too!

  • Natalie says:

    I recently read The Storyteller by Jodi Piccoult, and LOVED it! I too feel a little guilty if I don’t finish a book 😉

  • Sarah says:

    If you weren’t keen on some of the content of James and the Giant Peach, I would suggest you read any Roald Dahl ahead of time before reading to your kids. Though you’ve probably already come to that conclusion! I grew up in Britain with Dahl, it was written for a different time and a different country. There’s a lot in each book that you probably wouldn’t like. Esio Trot is great, George’s Marvelous Medicine is fabulous but rude!

  • Debbie says:

    Crystal,
    Please read STILL LIFE by Christa Parrish!!! It’s an amazingly beautiful book!

  • Lisa says:

    I’ve been reading like crazy lately! The one book I loved: The God of the Mundane–you had the link for the free ebook a few weeks ago. 🙂

  • Sarah W says:

    I recently read and loved Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” and have been challenged to think locally for my food choices. After your Africa trip, you might enjoy “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.” Great book!

  • I just finished (re)reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It’s one of my all-time favorite books and I read it every few years. If you’ve not read it, I would highly recommend that you add it your list.

  • Dita says:

    I am re-reading The Beck Diet Solution, love this book and it has really helped me in the past to control my bad eating habits and stay focused on my fitness goals. Also in my stack are Living Well Spending Less and I really like it! and lastly in my stack is the book May Cause Miracles, by Gabrielle Bernstein. I normally do not do all self improvement type books at the same time but I was really drawn to these three books at the beginning of this year and I’m trying to reset my focus and goals again so they are helping me! Btw, I stop reading after about 5 chapters if I am not completely immersed in the book. Too many books, too little time. 🙂 Love your blog!

  • Holly says:

    You and Me Forever, Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan. EXCELLENT book! I’ve read your blog for several years and from seeing your personality online and the books you’ve enjoyed I think you would really enjoy this! And what is really cool is that the proceeds from this book go to support a ministry in East Africa – there is a website http://www.youandmeforever.org where people can even download the book for free if they have no means to afford it. There are also videos on each chapter. Love your blog – it is the first blog I started reading and has inspired me in ways I can’t even put into words – thank you!

  • Laura says:

    I couldn’t get into The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie when I tried to read it either! It seemed like it would be right up my alley, but I shared your feeling that it was just weird.

  • JJ says:

    If you have not read The Borrowers with your kids, it was one of my favorites when I taught. I can’t wait until my littles are old enough for me to read it to them. =)

  • Amy B says:

    Kaffir Boy is SOO good and eye opening. I got 1000 gifts for Christmas and I was really excited about it, but I just couldn’t get into it. The writing style was too “all over the place” for me. Bummer!

    If you want good fiction, I just read the Heist by Daniel Silva and really liked it. 🙂 I’m also working on Heaven by Randy Alcorn and it’s really good, but slow going because it’s a “thinker” book.

  • Joyce says:

    This month I finished reading Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp (I think you know her :p hehe), finishing re-reading your book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, continuing 31 Days to Clean by Sarah Mae, and browsing through EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey.

    I am looking forward to reading Mindset for Moms by Jamie Martin and Happy Habits for Every Couple by Roger and Kathi Lipp, and looking for a fiction to read…probably finishing Mockingjay which I borrowed from my sister when it came out.

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