What I’ve Been Reading: January + February 2020

Each month I share short reviews of all the books I’ve finished lately. I’m always looking for books to add to my list! Have you read anything awesome lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

I realized the other day, that I never hit publish on this post in January… or February. Yikes! I’m embarrassed to be so late, but better late than never, right? So here I’ll combine the books I read in January and February. And there were quite a few of them (for me at least). I guess I was just more into reading than writing about reading.

Books Read in January

Pilgrim’s Wilderness by Tom Kizzia

This book is alarming and sad. It’s about abuse and the extreme hardships a large family faced because of their horrible husband/father. It ends hopefully, which is the only reason I can recommend it.

Strange Planet by Nathan Pyle

If you are not already following Strange Planet on Instagram, you need to do so right away. The comics are consistently delightful, and are often my favorite part of the internet. My daughter received the new book for Christmas and I finally got my hands on it this week. Such fun!

I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron

I liked this book: it’s by no means groundbreaking or life-changing. Just funny observation mingled with interesting stories by a very creative and talented woman. (Warning: there is one short section where she swears a lot in rapid succession, but that does not continue through the book).

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

This was a re-read of a beloved favorite for my book club. I found so many meaningful quotes and little gems of wisdom, that I filled pages of my commonplace book. It’s so uplifting despite the misery of the story. Love, love, love.

Leaf by Niggle, by Tolkien

Listened to this in the car with my kids, and I didn’t really love it. It didn’t hold the kids attention either when normally they love listening to just about anything.

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

So glad I finally read this masterpiece. I love a good myth retelling (or fairy tale retelling) and Lewis is the master of allegorical storytelling. Beautifully written, and as a friend said,” This book just begs to be re-read, don’t you think?” It absolutely does. I think this is one that you would gain new insights with each re-read. Just lovely.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

Okay, I’m just going to say it: I do NOT understand the appeal behind this book. I’ve read it multiple times now, trying to identify why people love it so much. I just don’t get it, I guess. It’s weird and disjointed, and I realize it’s supposed to be an allegory, but the message is not entirely clear. If you love this book, please tell me why!

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

Love this imaginative world and the bravery of the Igiby family. The story is well-told and engaging, I plan to read it to my kids at some point and I am looking forward to continuing on with the series.

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

It’s no surprise that I love Bill Bryson. He is a master of storytelling, and relaying interesting facts and information about a topic in a very engaging way. Loved this book so much and it made me decided to unofficially set the goal to read a Bill Bryson book every month this year. We’ll see how that goes…

The Next Right Thing by Emily P Freeman

Soothing and uplifting, great ideas and practical tips for dealing with overwhelm.

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

Just lovely. I adored this book. The characters were so vivid, and moving back and forth between two time periods is one of my favorite devices in a novel. Highly recommend.

Books Read in February

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Loved that this book focuses on our creative role in a spiritual sense and that God encourages and helps creativity. I need to go back with a physical copy and do all the exercises.

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Read this aloud to my boys (ages 11 and 6). The six year old especially loved it. He begged for just one more chapter over and over again, and it’s easy to say yes because the chapters are exceptionally short (a feature I really love in a read aloud, by the way). This is a sweet story about love and kindness. Looking forward to reading the sequel together soon.

Off The Clock by Laura Vanderkam

Good ideas and simple, practical ways to apply them. I love basically everything Laura Vanderkam does. If you haven’t heard of her podcast Before Breakfast, you should check it out asap. If you are a productivity nerd like I am, anyway.

You Come Too by Robert Frost

Read this sweet little poetry book aloud to my kiddos. Robert Frost makes me so very happy. And I was delighted to find some poems in this book that I was unfamiliar with by loved.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

So many mixed feelings. This is a hard read. So sad and yet some hopeful moments as well. Most of the characters are deeply flawed, which makes for an intricate and interesting epic. My favorite, favorite is Lee. Goodness, I love him. Also Cal. Oh, my heart aches for him. The more I think about this book, the more I love it.

Book Trails, volume 2

Read this precious collection of short stories and poetry aloud to my kids. It’s hard to get your hands on, but well worth it. I grew up with these books, an old set that belonged to my great grandmother. For Christmas a couple of years ago my parents tracked down a complete set for each of my siblings and me. It’s been such a treasured gift!

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

So, so good. Important and timely and much needed. It’s heartbreaking and eye-opening. Please read this.

The Mystwick School of Musicraft by

Listened to this with the kids in the car. It was just fine for me. The 6 year old LOVED it.

Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach

Love. We already have dinner together as a family every night, but this book was just the encouragement I needed in the middle of the coldest month of the year. Such great motivation, though I don’t agree with everything she suggests. (We don’t do two separate meals, our kids have always eaten what we eat and it’s worked well for us).

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I adored this slow-moving family epic. Very character driven and beautifully written. Listening to Tom Hanks read the audiobook was completely delightful.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

My 11 year old loved this book (and since posting about it on Instagram, I’ve learned that lots of you did, too) and begged me to read it. It was just meh for me. I can see why it appealed to him, but I was not drawn into the story and didn’t much care for any of the characters.

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