My reading list has been all over the place in recent months- fiction, non fiction, Christian self help, young adult princess series… I follow no formula. Here are a few of the books I read this fall, and a brief if not meandering review of each:
A Window Opens, Elisabeth Egan
You know how sometimes you read a book and think ‘this is really well written, I can tell this person put a lot of their heart into this book and I respect that but really it’s just not for me?’ Well, if you haven’t, allow me to put that very specific thought into your head: I was totally bored by this book, but I think that is mostly because I have a dreamy fantasy/sci-fi/historical fiction/travel bent when it comes to reading and find books about real life people and problems that could potentially happen to me totally inaccessible. If you like books about real people and real problems that could potentially happen to you, I totally recommend this book. The main character is likable, the plot is compelling, and in general, it was very readable. Just boring.
I Said Yes, Emily Maynard Johnson
As an avid yet mostly closeted watcher of the Bachelor/Bachelorette, I was, admittedly, a little embarrassed to be seen checking this book out of the library. Well, shame on me! Emily (I feel like we are on a first name basis now) writes a very truthful and poignant memoir about her adolescent struggle with depression, life as a young single mom coping with the death of her fiance, and her surreal experience on both the Bachelor and Bachelorette. As a bonus, it also includes perhaps the best anecdote about a hotdog wrapped in hair that I have ever heard.
The Lake House, Kate Morton
I read this book in about five days, and stayed up until nearly 2 am two consecutive nights to finish it. It’s a wonderfully spun tale of murder, betrayal, and family that spans the whole of the 20th century. I am not a big mystery book reader, partially because I am a sensitive soul and cannot hold with a lot of murder or mayhem, and partially because I feel like I MUST KNOW immediately who dun it, and have to actively fight to not read the ending. This desire is so strong that it often ruins the reading experience for me. However, I was able to stay strong in this book (or strong-ish, I did read it exceptionally quickly) because the story was so artfully wound, skipping between generations and weaving together characters in time.
My one critique would be that a lot of the mystery is unraveled by what can only be described as divine enlightenment by the main character… I believe that she is a really good detective but sometimes she would get from point A to point Z just by looking at a picture and then getting a twinkle in her eye that allowed her to clairvoyantly explain everything. There were also some really convenient letters that basically corroborated the tale. Although we are no longer in an age of letter writing, I would imagine that people didn’t leave incriminating letters laying around, but perhaps I am wrong. People say a lot of crazy stuff by text message these days.
I really want to read ‘The Secret Keeper’ now (also by Kate Morton), but when I looked up the plot synopsis this morning, it sounded very very similar to The Lake House. Like, perhaps the same basic plot. So, I will save it for another time when I have forgotten what happens in this book and can read it with fresh eyes.
The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst
I struggle quite a bit with time management and people pleasing. I am a total yes person- yes to more parties, more commitments, more time, more money, until all of a sudden I get overwhelmed and end up giving vehement ‘no’s’ to totally innocuous requests. I then get some rest, perspective, clarity, and feel comfortable saying yes to things again… and the cycle repeats. All that to say: this book was for me. Lysa breaks down how (and why) saying yes to everything is detrimental both to you and to the person you are saying yes to- and how to say yes to the right things so that you are best able to honor God with your time. She gets really practical and down in the weeds on some very specific situations where she had to use her ‘best yes,’ and this was so helpful for me! It’s easy for me to read Christian books and take them as completely theoretical- this one will not allow you to do that. You can check out some resources from the book on her website, as well as take the very handy ‘Time Assessment Tool’ (it’s an eye opener!).
Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling
A cute, quick read and a great book to listen to on audiobook, since it is, of course, read by Mindy Kaling. This one is a touch more soul searching and serious than her last book. I listened to most of it on plane rides while we were in Europe, and felt like I had brought another friend along. A really cool friend, who hung out with celebrities and dated men who worked in the White House, and had an assistant who brought her french fries whenever she asked for them (this is my dream).
On My ‘To Read’ List:
The Kitchen House, Kathleen Grissom
A Murder in Time, Julie McElwain
A Praying Life, Paul Miller
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown
The Nesting Place, Myquillyn Smith
Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs
Any other suggestions? Good books you’ve read recently?