I ended last year with some very specific goals for myself in 2015. One of those goals was to read more. Instead of waiting until the end of the year to make one gigantic list, I am going to post a monthly book report of what I’ve been reading. And instead of just listing the titles, I wanted to give my two cents while the books were still fresh on my mind.
The Unnamed (Ferris)
I found this title through the Oyster list that circulated Facebook about the 100 best books of the decade so far. I was intrigued by the list and somewhat concerned that of those 100 books, I’d only read five. I checked out several of the Oyster recommendations at our library and of the three, I only got a chapter into the first two before returning them. The Unnamed was the only book that I finished. It was intriguing, disturbing and in my opinion, unmemorable. The story is centered around a prominent lawyers battle with what readers never fully understand to be a physical or mental illness. The protagonist has compulsive episodes of walking (for days or weeks out into the world) only to wake up in strange places. His good life as he has known it begins to crumble around him. His wife becomes estranged, stricken with cancer, his daughter grows up and this mysterious illness ends up taking the life of Tim. I like reading books that leave me inspired or joyful or even tearful. This book left me thinking, “Meh. I’m glad it’s over.”
The In-Between (Goins)
For my birthday, my in-laws got me a generous Barnes and Noble gift card and I ordered a handful of “go-to” writers’ books. The In-Between was one such book. This book is a memoir and not only does it model what a good memoir looks like, the message of the importance of the mundane in our lives is clear. As someone who writes about the daily details of life, I loved Goins’ book. He argues that it’s not the big moments in life that define us, it’s the waiting, the transitions, the in between. LOVED. LOVED. LOVED. the message of this book.
The Key to Your Child’s Heart (Smalley)
On occasion, I like to throw a good parenting book into my queue. Gary Smalley is well respected in Christian parenting circles and I knew this book would be an easy read. Ryan and I don’t have all of the truths of parenting down to an art, but we think we are raising some great kids. I didn’t feel like this book was giving me a lot of new information, but rather it affirmed that much of what we do with our kids is working and proven. The book discusses secrets (that aren’t really secret) of developing a life-long, close-knit family; great ideas for reconnecting with a child of any age who may have shut you out; parenting styles and how each can have success; setting and enforcing limits with our children; plus other principles for being a tender, yet effective disciplinarian. Like nearly every parenting book, you read it and hold on to the good ideas and toss out what doesn’t apply or fit with your family.
Mission Ready Marriage (Wood)
I legitimately felt the need to add MRM to this month’s list of books I read. Why? Because I read this book no fewer than 16 times this month. I also wrote about my fear about releasing it out into the world, flaws and all. It should be available June 11 (or a little before). This book is a personal project, but my hope is that it reaches a wide audience of military spouses who feel alone in this lifestyle of constant change and uprooting.
The War of Art (Pressfield)
Pressfield’s book was another title I purchased with my B&N order. Also known as the writers’ bible, I have enjoyed reading the wisdom of what it takes to silence your fears and just get going with what you write. I don’t typically consider myself a “creative,” or an “artist,” but reading through the sections of this book has convinced me that anyone who purses the writing life is both. The book itself is brief and written in a very conversational tone. But I love how it tells the truth and motivates! I’m happy I now have my own copy to reread when I need encouragement and motivation.