I’ve been in a bit of reading rut lately. It’s not that I haven’t been reading at all: thanks to Overdrive (an app that allows me to download audiobooks directly to my phone), I’ve been listening to my fair share of detective stories. (I am currently on book 4 of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone series. They’re mildly entertaining books, but certainly nothing special.) Additionally, I’ve been sloooowly working my way through Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln (which I really want to like, but – 60 pages in – am considering giving up on, thanks to an excess of Civil War battle scenes and almost zero Lincoln appearances). But it has been a while since I read a book that was truly compelling or even worthy of a book review.
I think my problem is that I have not been very intentional about my book selections. I’ve been counting on the library and hand-me-down books to meet my reading needs. In order to get back into my reading groove, I’ve compiled a list of books that need to make their way onto my bookshelf.
1) 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker
We are currently in the process of moving, and it is growing ever more apparent that we have entirely too much stuff. In our materialistic society, such excess has become the norm. 7 is the true story of how one family decided to “fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence” by identifying and attempting to minimize seven areas of excess in their lives. This book sounds like just the inspiration I need to move myself into pare-down mode. (Side note: Jen recently announced on her blog that she and her family are going to have their own show on HGTV! The show will follow the family as they restore a house that is 105 years old. I am looking forward to watching it!)
2) 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30, by the Editors of Glamour
I will be turning 30 in March (yikes!) so I should definitely read this one soon if I want it to be relevant! The impetus for this book dates back fifteen years, when Glamour magazine published a list of “distinctively yet universally true must-haves and must-knows for women on the cusp of and beyond the age of thirty.” This book expands and supplements the list with essays from a range of women, including Maya Angelou, Suze Orman, Taylor Swift, Katie Couic, and so many more. I have a healthy skepticism toward lists that make such lofty claims, but any book that can unify the ideas of such a diverse group of women has me intrigued.
3) How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage, by Milan and Kay Yerkovitch
When Luke and I were dating, one of our favorite pastimes was reading together. (We’re cheesy like that. Don’t judge.) We read everything from the Chronicles of Narnia to Frankenstein, but a majority of the books we read were on relationships. (Our favorite, and the one that has proven to be the most helpful in our marriage, was Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.) I think we might have gotten a bit burnt out by all of the self improvement because it’s been a while since we’ve cracked open a relationship book. But this book has been recommended to us by more than one source, so I think a reentrance into the genre might be worthwhile. In How We Love, relationship experts Milan and Kay Yerkovitch help couples understand how early life experiences have shaped their behavior and beliefs. Couples are then able to identify their love style and work toward creating a richer and more passionate relationship. As with the last book, I am skeptical of this book’s promises to transform my life, but that’s not to say that I am above reading it!
4) Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
As a teacher – and a lover of children’s literature – I like to stay abreast of what my students are reading, and lately I’ve been hearing a lot about this new book that claims to offer hope amidst a world where bullying has become an epidemic. Wonder is told from the perspective of a ten-year-old boy named August, who was born with a facial deformity. When August attends mainstream school for the first time, he must learn to cope with new people and circumstances that would be challenging for any child, but are especially difficult for a child who wants nothing more than to blend in but was “born to stand out.” This book will undoubtedly be a tear-jerker, but reviewers have described it as refreshing and sweet, and I am looking forward to reading the novel that the author herself has described as “a meditation on kindness.”
5) The Autobiography of Santa Claus, by Jeff Guinn
Christmas is only two months away, and what better way to kick off the Christmas season than with a book about Santa Claus?! There is certainly an abundance of books dedicated to this beloved Christmas icon, but most of them are picture books for young children. This book is unique in that it is a full-on novel, combining “historical fact with legend to deliver the definitive story of Santa Claus.” Guinn also penned two companion books including How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas and The Great Santa Search, so if I like his first book – and since Christmas and historical trivia are two of my favorite things, I can’t imagine that I won’t – I will know what to read next. Ironically, Guinn is best known for his biographies of Bonnie and Clyde and Charles Manson. He certainly has a diverse body of work!
Have you read anything noteworthy lately, or a are you in a reading rut like me? What books are you looking forward to picking up soon?