What I Read: January/February 2018

I’m back after a much longer than anticipated blog hiatus.  In all honesty, I actually hoped to write a little more this year and not make this solely a book blog…you know, get back to where I started. Life just keeps getting in the way, and not just busy work things. My sister had a baby and I want to see him every chance I get.  I stayed up way too late through most of February watching the Olympics so my reading and writing time took a pretty big hit.

In an attempt to get back into a routine, I figured I’d start by sharing the 13 books I’ve read so far this year. [Yes, I’m a bit behind schedule if I am going to hit 100 again this year, but I am giving myself grace and *only* set a goal of 75 this year anyway.]

Here they are, in the order I read them, with a very, very brief description and my grade rating.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Carol Dweck) – I love the content of this book so much I am giving a presentation on it to other school staff this week. However, I give the book itself a C, only because I could have done without so many anecdotes. I found the book to be a bit boring and redundant, but I think it has a great message.

The Witches: Salem, 1692 (Stacy Schiff) – I picked this one up because I find this period of history fascinating, but this book didn’t give me what I wanted. It is well researched, but far too technical than I wanted.  If anyone has a recommendation for a historical fiction novel set in the same time/place, I’d love to hear it. Grade: C

This is How it Always Is  (Laurie Frankel) – An engrossing and charming story of a family with a secret.  Frankel navigates a highly charged topic with love, humor, and sensitivity. I really enjoyed this one. Grade: A

White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America (Nancy Isenberg) – if you’re looking for a macro-lense view of the Hillbilly Elegy story, read this. Grade: B

In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence (Kayla Aimee) – I have a love/hate relationship with the Christian women memoir genre, but this one is pretty good. It doesn’t have any glaring theological errors and offers encouragement. Kayla Aimee is a good storyteller and made me laugh more than once. Grade: B

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just (Timothy Keller) – I do not and will never grade a Keller book, so I will just say that this one resonated with me in many ways and I will probably pick it up again in the near future. As an Enneagram 1, justice is a topic I am passionate about, and I appreciated what he had to say.

If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free (Jamie Ivey) – Another Christian woman memoir — but this is the best one I’ve read in a while. Jamie preaches fire and the last chapter alone is worth buying this book for. We need more books like this one. Grade: A.

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean  Defector’s Story (Hyeonseo Lee) – In anticipation of the Olympics, I read this autobiography of a young woman who escaped from North Korea. This broke. my. heart. I don’t know what else to say.  If you aren’t much of a reader, you can watch her TEDtalk here. Grade: A

Turtles All the Way Down (John Green) – this is young adult fiction at its finest. I started this one on a Friday night and finished it the next morning. A bit simplistic (compared to a book geared toward adults) but charming nonetheless. Grade: B+

Still Me (Jojo Moyes) – This is the third in the series that began with Me Before You. In Still Me, we get what I think is the conclusion of Louisa’s story.  I liked this book, but if you haven’t read the first two, I wouldn’t bother. If you did, you will probably appreciate the closure. Grade: B-

The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships (Suzanne Stabile) – a straightforward reference guide to the enneagram.  I love reading about personality typing systems so I enjoyed it.  If you aren’t familiar with the enneagram and it’s nine types, or aren’t sure of your own type, there are other books I would recommend you read first. Grade: B

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (David Grann) – I had a hard time staying engaged in this book, but think it was because I was trying to read it during a time when I really needed a fast-paced work of fiction. This is actually a very well-written and well-researched book that I will probably reread this summer. Grade: B- (for now…)

As Bright As Heaven (Susan Meissner) – Philadelphia. 1918. The Great War rages on and the Spanish Flu wreaks havoc all over the world. This is a beautiful, touching story of one family’s journey in a life-changing summer. I loved this one. Grade: A+

That’s what I’ve read so far. I will post again with a March recap in about a month.

What have you been reading lately?


One thought on “What I Read: January/February 2018

  1. I’d love to find a great book about the Salem witch trials too. I’ll certainly stay away from Witches – thanks for the warning!


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