(You can see which books I picked to read from those I already own here).
Some of you have told me you think I shouldn’t set book goals and I should just enjoy a book for a book’s sake. Here’s the thing: I actually find book goals fun and motivating. And so long as I’m really enjoying the books in the process, I’m going for it.
By the way, I’m truly loving using GoodReads to track my reading.
Here are the 5 books I finished in January and my honest thoughts:
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#1 and #2: Angels Walking & Chasing Sunsets
I listened to both of these on the Libby app for free. They are the first two books in a fictionalized series of how angels are walking amongst us and helping to protect us on a daily basis (based upon verses like Psalm 91:11 and Hebrews 13:2).
While I disagreed with some of the theological implications and don’t know that I agree with some of the ways that she presented angels as humans, I found it so good to remember that there are spiritual forces — both good and evil — around us at all times and that there is power in the name of Jesus.
I also found it encouraging to be reminded how God sometimes uses really hard things in our life to turn into some of the most beautiful things. It’s easy to forget this.
The audiobook is narrated by two different voice actors (depending upon who was narrating each chapter in the books) and I thought it was well done and engaging.
My verdict: 3 stars
This book is a collection of interviews about the morning routines of a very varied group of people — authors, artists, business owners, and so many others. Some are high profile people. Some are people you’ve never heard of.
But I found it inspiring to read about how so many different people start their mornings with intention. There were many practical ideas and takeaways… and it was also just a great refresher on how to start your mornings well and how the things you do first in the morning impact your entire day.
I will say that there was some repetition in how many people started their mornings and there were also some vastly differing viewpoints on many topics (such as beginning the day with exercise or not, using an alarm clock or not, what you should eat first thing in the morning or whether you should skip breakfast altogether).
Note: this book is not written at all from a Christian standpoint and it profiles a wide variety of people and you will likely not agree with the beliefs or practices of some of the people featured if you are a Christian.
My verdict: 3 stars
I listened to this book on the Libby app for free and I loved hearing this in her voice. I felt like it made the book come alive and seem so much more authentic.
Melissa has gone through so much in her life from weight struggles, to infertility, to infidelity, to losing a child, to rejection. And almost all women will be able to relate in some way to her story and her bravery will inspired you.
I found myself want to jump up and down and yell “preach it” as I was listening… and I’m not even a very charismatic sort of person. 😉 And I loved the book so much that I ended up buying a copy from Amazon after I finished listening to it since I wanted to have it in my library so I could re-read parts of it and loan it out to others.
My verdict: 5 stars
#5: Deep Work
This book is actually one I had planned to read in 2018, but I’m really glad I saved it for the beginning of 2019 because it was the perfect book to kick off the year.
Deep Work is a little more scholarly than most books I read, but I’m so happy I stuck with it because it really challenged me to think of how I’m approaching life and work and whether I’m investing time every day in what the author refers to as “deep work” — that kind of work that is meaningful and really makes a difference.
The author encourages you to have periods every day where you are completely offline and not distracted by all of the hustle and bustle of life to allow for this “deep work”.
One of my hopes for 2019 was to do a better job of compartmentalizing my work and family life so that they are better separated and I can be fully present and I loved many of the thoughts and strategies presented in this book to help make that a reality. This book provided practical suggestions and helpful ideas in this regard and inspired me to continue to prioritize this compartmentalization.
If you struggle to focus or get things done, if you wish you could be more structured in your day, or you’d like to look back on your week and guarantee that you devoted time to work that matters, I’d definitely recommend reading Deep Work.
My verdict: 5 stars
Book I Started But Didn’t Finish
Beartown. I tried. I really tried to get into this book since I loved A Man Called Ove. But eight chapters in, I just couldn’t deal with the crass language of the teenagers, so I gave up on it.
Bible Reading Progress
I started January 1, 2019 with my commitment this year to begin every day with 30 minutes of time in God’s Word. I’m reading through the New Testament using the She Reads Truth Bible plans at the beginning of each book of the Bible.
I finished all of Matthew and read half of Mark in January.
What did you read in January? Are there any books you really think I should read in 2019?