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5 Books I Read This Week (+ 1 classic movie we watched)

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Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

If you want to see what I’m currently reading or what I’ve read so far this year, you can check out my GoodReads account.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Here are the 5 books I finished last week…

No Better Mom for the Job

I really loved this book! While it was written more for moms of younger kids, it was great to read as I gear up to be the mom of a baby and toddler and preschooler again!

If you sometimes question whether you are really cut out to be a mom or you sometimes wonder if your kids are getting short-changed because your mothering style and strengths are so different than other moms you know, I think this book will really encourage your heart.

Becky writes from the trenches as a mom who has experienced the exhausting stage of mothering three young boys who were very close in age. In this book, she shares what she has learned as a mom. She shares her story to embrace her gifts, lean into her strengths, and rely on the Lord in the middle of the mundane and messes of motherhood.

For more on how this book inspired me, read this post I wrote based upon one of the quotes in the book.

Verdict: 4 stars

100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife/Husband Needs to Hear

These books, by Matt and Lisa Jacobson, are a quick but impactful read. If you need some practical ideas and encouragement to speak words of life to your spouse or you just would love to glean from the wisdom of a couple who have raised 8 kids and been married for 27 years, I think you’ll find these books insightful.

I think it would be especially fun to read them together as a couple and to compare notes. (Some of their suggestions sparked good conversations between Jesse and me the past two weeks!)

These books were a good reminder to me of how important it can be to take the little bit of extra time to express how much we appreciate our spouse. It doesn’t cost any money, it takes very little extra effort, but it could make a huge difference in our marriage.

My only complaint? They were really short and I wished they had been a little more in-depth.

Verdict: 3 stars

Great Escapes of World War II

I read this book aloud to the family last week. It’s fairly short and each chapter covers one specific story of POW escape during World War II.

While some of us knew parts of some of the stories, we all learned new things. And it was one of those books that made you want to dig deeper into the stories shared.

It also was interesting to read at the same time I was listening to Killing the Rising Sun. The contrast between how different countries treated POWs was really sad and fascinating.

I think the thing I was most struck with was how much effort the POWs expended to try to escape. And in almost every case, dozens (or even hundreds!) of POWs worked together for just a few to escape. It was an inspiration to think of their sacrifices on behalf of others.

Verdict: 3 stars

Killing the Rising Sun

Last week, I told you how I didn’t enjoy Killing Patton. Well, this book certainly redeemed that reading experience.

I listened to this book on the free Libby app and am so glad I did. It is well worth listening to — especially if you enjoy history.

This book chronicles the backstory leading up to the end of World War II. A lot of the content surrounds the creating and dropping the atomic bombs.

While it mostly focuses on facts and history, it does bring up a lot of valuable ethical questions surrounding the use of atomic bombs. It made me think long and hard about these decisions people made and the longterm ramifications of them.

Verdict: 4 stars

Classic Movie We Watched This Week

The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it.

I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!)

The Sound of Music

This movie was on our list from the get-go this year. I have watched it a few times in my life, but it’s been a long time.

The girls had watched it once before, but they had forgotten parts of it. Silas just kept having his eyes grow wide when they’d start singing one of the songs. “Whoa! That song came from this movie, too??” he’d say. (I think the songs were actually originally from the musical that was turned into the movie, right?)

Many years ago, I read the true story account that the movie/musical was based on. The kids enjoyed hearing me share what I remember was fact and what was added to the storyline.

While the movie is long and a little slow moving in parts, we overall enjoyed it. And now I’ve had all the Sound of Music songs in my head all week!

What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??

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  • kim says:

    you might find “the wealthy Gardener” by John Soforic interesting. you’ll find it at amazon. I read it on recommendation from a friend – He really is writing about gaining wealth, but even though I wasn’t reading it for that purpose, It thoroughly enjoyed it. I think his lessons can be used towards anything in life. to be truthful, I thought of you the whole time I read it as it seems like something you, yourself, would read or write. 🙂
    it’s super quick and easy to read even though it’s long.

  • Becky says:

    I think your book/reading post might be my favorite things on your site. Though I greatly enjoy all of your other content having someone put out new book titles and give me an honest option about them makes me happy. Thank you!

  • Sarah says:

    …and now you need to take your kids to Salzburg, Austria!

    Thank you for the book recommendations!

  • Beckisue says:

    Sound of Music is my favorite!! I walked down the aisle to the wedding march from it at my wedding. ❤️

  • Emily F says:

    If you enjoyed the Sound of Music, read The Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp. One of my favorites and it came to life when I went to Austria 🙂

  • Leigh says:

    I’m completely amazed that you get 3-5 books read in a WEEK! It takes me two months to read one! How do you do it???

    • Well, right now, I’ve been reading 1-2 chapters of a book on the treadmill in the mornings, reading at least a few chapters aloud from our read aloud book over the course of a few evenings each week (this is often in the car when we’re driving home from an out of town basketball game in the evenings), and then listen to at least 1 hour of an audiobook throughout the day as I’m cleaning, cooking, driving, getting ready in the morning, etc. (I listen on 1.5 speed so I can usually always get through a book a week.)

      I also try to read in little bits and pieces here and there as I have time (last night I read 5 pages of a book while waiting for the next basketball game to start) and then at least an hour or two on Sundays. It all adds up!

      • Leigh Baker says:

        Wow! Thank you! You definitely make the most of your time , way better than I. I’m usually “chatting” and catching up with family and people in those bits of time. And I never thought about reading on the treadmill…learned something new!

        • I’ve found that I have lots of bits of time when there isn’t someone to chat with (I’m by myself somewhere/waiting in line/waiting in the car), so I try to make use of those! I also should mention that I don’t really watch TV (except the occasional show with my husband/family) and limit my online time to mostly work, so that frees up time for me to read, too.

  • Archie Davis Jr says:

    I like how you read a variety of books. Matthew and Lisa Jacobson gave me a shoutout on their Podcast this week. I like what they do. They are down to earth with the information they share. I listen to their Podcast every week. I always tell them their articles have made me want to be better with my wife. Keep up the great work.

  • MindaC says:

    I started Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes. It takes place in eastern Kentucky (where I am from) and is historical fiction based on the packmule female librarians of the 1930s and 40s-a program started by First Lady Roosevelt as part of the WPA. I’m loving it!

  • Julia says:

    You should watch The von Trapp family: A Life of Music (2015). It shares the true story of the family. I’m reading Lost Roses now. It’s by the author of Lilac Girls. I just finished reading The Beach House by Mary Ann Monroe on Libby. A cousin told me about this app and it’s great!

  • Pamela says:

    A few other movies you might like…Summer Magic, any Esther Williams movies, By the Light of the Silvery Moon and On Moonlight Bay, Life with Father, White Christmas and Easter Parade.

  • Archie Davis Jr says:

    I probably will.

  • Katie says:

    We’re watching through the old Herbie movies. Love your book posts! A few of my favorites books are: Stolen Jesus by Jami Amerine, Women at War by Jan Greenwood, Love Does and Everybody Always by Bob Goff (which I think you’ve already read?). A really good parenting book is Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind by Brenda Yoder. Have you read Brave Moms, Brave Kids: A Battle Plan for Raising Heroes by Lee Nienhuis? She has a new one coming out this summer about character, called Countercultural Parenting too. Both helpful in raising kiddos.

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