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Tag Archive: Books Read in 2018

My Honest Thoughts on Hillbilly Elegy

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

I’ve seen Hillbilly Elegy mentioned over and over again by various different people online and in podcasts. I didn’t plan to read it because the premise didn’t really interest me that much.

But then I saw that it happened to be available on the Libby app, so I went ahead and put a hold on it just because so many people had recommended it.

I started listening to it and almost didn’t continue because there was so much language in it (seriously! Do not listen to this with kids around — there are a LOT of curse words!)

Here’s the part of the premise of the book from the back cover:

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.

I thought the book was surprising, pretty fair and balanced (I expected the author to lean strongly to one side of the political aisle or the other — and that the book would be more politically charged as a result), and a very insightful look into how our upbringing can affect our life trajectory in such a powerful way.

While I wish there weren’t so much crass language and cussing in the book (though I think it’s likely just the author being truthful and honest to how his family actually talked), I think the book is worth reading — if you can stomach all of the f-bombs in it.

I would be curious to hear from other people who were raised in this same region and social class — to know their perspective on the things he shares. It’s the type of book I’d love to read with a Book Club because I found it caused me to have so many thought and questions and things I wanted to discuss with others who had read it.

Have you read it? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought — whether you liked it or totally disliked it.

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?

2 Books I Read This Past Week

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

Here are the 2 books I finished this past week:

1. White Picket Fences

I had really enjoyed listening to The Shape of Mercy (by the same author), so that was why I borrowed this title for free from Libby. Unfortunately, I thought White Picket Fences was just an okay novel.

For me, there wasn’t enough character development and the plot was kind of weird and unbelievable. And I didn’t think it had a really deep meaningful conclusion. So this is not a book I’d highly recommend.

2. Imperfect Courage

I picked up Imperfect Courage based upon the recommendation of a few people I trust… and I almost didn’t read past the first few chapters because I had trouble following them and felt like they skipped around too much in her story. But I kept reading — and I’m so glad I did!

The second half of the book is SO good! I loved her thoughts on friendship and community and how to live out love to others — even when things are messy and hard. If you struggle with finding and building community, I think these chapters are so worth reading.

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?

3 Books I Read + 1 Movie I Watched

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

The last few weeks have been incredibly full and I have had very little time to read, as a result. And oh how I have missed it!

Things finally slowed down to a much more manageable pace last week and I was able to start fitting in my regular reading again and it felt so good! I’m hoping to still finish out the year hitting my 100 books goal. It feels a little far-fetched right now, but we’ll see! 🙂

Anyway, if you’ve missed my Monday book posts, the reason I haven’t posted them is because I just haven’t had much to report recently in the way of books read. But I’m hopeful that is changing… starting this week!

Here are the three books I finished this past week:

1. I’d Rather Be Reading

It’s only appropriate that I finished this book the very week I’m lamenting about not having as much time to read recently as I wish I would have had! If you are a reader or a lover of books, you’ll enjoy this book.

I especially loved the section where she talks about how we need to stop apologizing for not liking a certain book or not wanting to read a certain book. I’ve always felt like a fraud as a reader because I’ve not read certain classic books and haven’t really had the desire to. This book encouraged me that that is okay… I can embrace who I am as a reader and be okay if I don’t love books that others absolutely adore.

2. Slow Down, Mama

This book was sent as a gift from the author. It has a lot of practical advice and suggestions for living more intentionally. I found that most of it was refresher type of material since I’ve read a lot of similar books.

However, there was one part that stuck out to me and will stay with me a long time and it was on writing a reverse bucket list. I’ve always heard people encourage writing a bucket list… but a reverse bucket list was a new idea to me. The author asks the question, “What is it I hope I never become or do?”I thought it was a profound question to ask! And I’m still pondering what my answer would be.

3. The Newsmakers

I listened to this free audiobook on the Libby app and had high hopes for it. It started out well and intrigued me… but then I felt like it fell completely flat.

I wanted so much more from it and was sad that it ended just as I’d guessed it would. I kept listening because I was sure there was going to be some plot twist and really great surprise ending. Nope. I should have read the reviews on Amazon before listening to it.

Jesse and I went and watched this movie. It was the sequel to Unbroken and very worth seeing, if you loved the book. Have you seen it? I’d love to hear what you thought!

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?

A book I can’t stop talking about!

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

I’m reading a few different books right now, but I only finished one book this past week. (I know, I’m falling off the 3 books per week bandwagon! But I hope to get back up on it next week. We’ll see!)

The one book I finished was one I just can’t stop talking about. And it’s one that I immediately want to start reading again now that I’ve finished it.

It’s Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron. If you are my close friend, I can guarantee you that I will be bringing this book up in conversation very soon — if I haven’t already!

Truth be told, I’d never heard of this book before. I just was so inspired by watching the athletes at the CrossFit Games that I went on Amazon and searched for, “CrossFit athletes”. It pulled up Tia-Clair Toomey’s book and then this one was recommended, too.

I read the premise for Chasing Excellence and thought it sounded intriguing. Well, it was far more than just intriguing. It was excellent — as a book with the word “excellence” in the title should be!

The author, Ben Bergeron, is a coach to some of the world’s most well known CrossFit athletes. If you love CrossFit, you must read this book. But even if you don’t care a tiny bit about CrossFit, this book is packed with nuggets of truth and inspiration.

There’s so much I could say about how this book is impacting me, but I’m stilling mulling over a lot of it and don’t feel ready to write a post about it just yet.

I will say this: Chasing Excellence challenged me to see so many areas in my life where I’ve settling for mediocrity. And I’ve been contemplating practical ways I can change my mindset and my daily habits to pursue excellence in all areas of my life— in my marriage, in my parenting, in my home management, in my relationships, in my work, in my writing, in the way I’m leading other women at church and online.

I don’t have a lot of answers yet, but this is something I’m going to be contemplating and working on during the coming months.

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?

The 5 Books I Read the Past Two Weeks + a Movie We Watched

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

Well, I didn’t quite hit my goal of reading 3 books per week the last two weeks, but I read 5 books, so I’ll celebrate that! (Oh and I had planned to post a book post last week and that just didn’t happen… thanks for your patience!)

1. Sacred Rest

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It addresses rest from a very different perspective than other books I’ve read on this topic and I loved how it wasn’t just about getting more sleep or slowing down or taking a Sabbath.

This book is written by a doctor and I thought the author’s medical background shed a lot of wisdom on the topic of rest and how being well rested impacts our lives. However, what really stood out to me in this book was the author’s differentiation between the types of rest we need — physical rest, mental rest, emotional rest, spiritual rest, social rest, sensory rest, and creative rest. I had never heard rest and our need for the different kinds of rest broken into these categories and I found it very insightful.

In fact, it helped me to understand why I can feel drained sometimes — even if I’ve been getting plenty of sleep. I might not be rested in other areas such as getting creative rest or sensory rest or social rest.

And I loved the practical suggestions that the book gave for ways to recognize which kinds of rest you are lacking in and how to get more of each kind of rest in your life.

2. How I Became the Fittest Woman on Earth

Since you all know we’re big fans of CrossFit, I’m sure you’re not surprised I enjoyed this book! 🙂 If you love CrossFit, you’ll find this book fascinating as it gives the behind-the-scenes peek into the life and training of one of the most well-known women of CrossFit: Tia-Clair Toomey.

Her story is interesting, surprising, and inspiring. I love that her husband is her coach and I love that she talks so openly about her failures and struggles. In addition, she shares candidly about her workout routines, training regimens, nutrition, recovery, and more.

Note: This book has quite a bit of language in it.

3. The Journey Back

We read this book aloud together because it’s the sequel to The Upstairs Room — the true story of two Jewish girls who had to go in hiding in a house for two years during World War II.

We didn’t enjoy it as much as The Upstairs Room and I would love to know more about how the story played out in the years to come, but it was eye-opening to think of how hard it must have been to rebuild your life and community after the war. The books are firsthand accounts and the writing style is a little weird and sometimes hard to follow.

Note: Both of these books have crass language in them. I edited some of it out as I read.

4. Jesus, My Father, and the CIA

I got this book because I enjoyed the author’s other book, Chasing Francis. It was a little hard to follow and felt like some sections had filler content to reach the word count. But other parts made me laugh out loud or feel deeply with the author. Overall, it gives a very compelling account of the ravaging impact an alcoholic parent can have on their children and the entire family.

5. The Shape of Mercy

I listened to this audiobook (thanks to the free Libby app!) and really enjoyed it. Well, I don’t know that enjoy is the right word, because it was a sad story. But it’s well-narrated, engaging, and doesn’t end like you expect.

The author does a fantastic job of addressing the atrocities of the Salem Witch Trials while challenging us to really think about how we perceive people and how we can often judge people based upon those perceptions. I fell in love with the characters and didn’t want it to end!

We watched The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society movie this past week. I loved the book so much and didn’t know if I wanted to watch the movie. The movie made me want to go back and read the book… because I read it so long ago that I can’t remember if the movie follows the book and went way off script. And now I need to go back and read the book again to find out! 🙂

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?

The 3 Books I Read Last Week

Welcome to my weekly Book-ish post where I share what I’ve been reading and watching recently. If you missed it, you can see my Reading Goals for 2018 and 44 Books I Plan to Read This Year

(Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

And it’s week #6 of reading 3 books in a week! I’m so excited that I’m continuing on with this trend! Here are the three books I finished this past week:

1. Hotel On the Corner of Bitter & Sweet

This was a book I’ve been wanting to read for a few years. I thought it did a great job of giving insight into what Japanese and Chinese families in the US experienced during World War II — a topic that I feel like is rarely covered and is really important.

It was a sweet story. Sad, in many ways. But also very beautiful. It was quite predictable and I had guessed the ending pretty soon into it, but I still enjoyed it.

2. Finding Selah

I thought this would be a great book to read as my Word of 2018 is SLOW. It wasn’t what I expected, but there were some encouraging tidbits and good reminders. It reads pretty memoir-like and is the story of how the author discovered peace in the midst of a lot of grief and unexpected upheaval in her life.

3. Shrapnel

This book has been on my To Read pile for quite awhile. It was written by a reader who sent a long note with it to tell me she was inspired to find the time to write it as a result of reading Money-Making Mom. Those types of notes always humble me and blow me away!

Anyway, it was a pretty engaging read and didn’t end at all like I expected. That said, I thought parts of it were a little bit more dramatic and somewhat unrealistic, but other parts were beautifully raw and real and I loved that.

It’s not at all written from a Christian standpoint and I felt like it was missing so much that it could have because of this. It also has some language and is a little more edgy than most novels I read. However, I felt like it did such a great job of giving insight into some of the struggles that military families go through and I found a lot of insight because of that.

When I Find Time to Read

People are always asking me how I find time to read. Honestly, it’s because I love to read, because I’ve chosen to prioritize it, because I don’t have a lot of other hobbies, and because I can’t not read. Also, when you love something, you usually can find ways to get creative to find time to fit it in — even if it’s in the little nooks and crannies of life.

I wrote a post on 3 ways to find more time to read — even when life is busy. And here are 7 more ways to find time to read.

What did you read and watch this past week? Any books or movies or shows you really think I need to read or watch?