What I’ve Been Reading: March 2016

The past month has been full of really good reading for me.  Aside from one book I thought I loved that I ended up casting aside (400 pages in!), I really enjoyed each of the books I finished.  Here’s what I’ve been reading lately.  What’s on your nightstand?

Dear Mr. Knightley  by Katherine Reay

This was a quick, fun read, and a modern-day retelling of Daddy Long Legs. While the main character, Samantha Moore, has experienced a great deal of hardship in her life, the book does not feel heavy or depressing.  A sweet story of the power of love, both of the parental and romantic variety. It’s also very clean and has a slight Christian feel (with some moments being not quite so slight). I really enjoyed it, and I’m anxiously awaiting receiving Katherine Reay’s second novel, Lizzy and Jane, from the library.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I re-read this magical book with my 7 year old recently. I love that I get to be a part of experiencing this with him for the first time.  He’s heavily into the wizarding world nowadays and even has our 2 year old picking up sticks and shouting ” ‘Spelliarmus!” . There’s really not much more to say other than it’s great to be back at Hogwarts and I can hardly wait to start book two with my little guy.

Teaching from Rest by Sarah MacKenzie

Oh, this book spoke right to my soul.  Sarah has a beautifully uplifting way of encouraging Homeschool Mamas.  We’ve been experiencing some difficulty in our homeschool (which is really not uncommon this time of year.  After a long, cold, snow-filled winter, we all have cabin fever and added grumpiness is the result) and this book was just the refreshment I was in need of.  Sarah shares practical, helpful tips and really digs deep into the reasons WHY we choose to homeschool.  It’s not about cramming as much information into our kids as possible, but allowing them the space and providing them with the inspiration they need to excel in life and develop into the people God made them to be.  This will be a periodic re-read for me.

All The Light We Cannot See by Andrew Doerr

I think I checked this book out from the library 2 or 3 times and had to take it back each time without finishing it.  But this time, I was finally able to really get into it and enjoy it.  I’m not sure what my struggle was the first couple of times I attempted it because it really is a beautifully written story.  It takes place during WWII, and tells both sides of the German occupation of France. Both from the perspective of a blind French girl and an engineering-minded German boy who joins the German Army.   Their stories intertwine for a moment with lasting affects.  I am so glad I gave it another try. 

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Such mixed feelings about this book.  On one hand, when I was about halfway through the book, I raved about it on Instagram. At the time I was completely absorbed by it. I felt like it was a accurate description of the long-term affects of abuse in childhood.  But not long after I posted that photo, the book began to fall apart.  I felt like it devolved into a kind of gay pornography and I found I didn’t care to wade through all the junk to find out what happened to the characters in the end.  So after reading voraciously through the first 400 pages, I took it back to the library without a second thought.  Maybe it would have gotten back on track after a while and I would have loved the characters and had an interest in finishing the book. I know many, many people loved this book.  But I just couldn’t force myself to stick around for another 320 pages (it’s a LONG book).

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

Loved this book! It’s all about the importance of making time to do the things you love. As busy women, wives and mothers, it’s easy to feel like every single moment needs to be spent in service to others.  There is always laundry to fold, ironing to be done, dishes to wash, errands to run, volunteer positions to fill, etc.  Jessica’s book is about making the most of your “Fringe Hours”, those often wasted moments you can find in a busy day. Maybe you get up a few minutes early so you can read or knit or paint.  Maybe you take some time on your lunch break to get a massage. Or instead of mindlessly watching TV in the evenings, you actively pursue a passion of yours. 
I feel like I have made great progress in this area already throughout my life, but The Fringe Hours inspired me to make sure I’m using my time as wisely as possible.  Of course I still want to take good care of my family and to have a clean-enough and smoothly-running home, but I also need to honor who I am and the talents and skills I want and need to improve.

Boys in the Boat:  Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

This book has been on my to-read list for a long time, and I’m kinda kicking myself for waiting so long to get to it.  I am a sucker for athlete stories, and especially those of underdogs in the Olympics.  This book focuses mostly on the incredible life of Joe Rantz. His extremely difficult childhood gave him the strength, determination and courage he needed to pursue big dreams. The backdrop of the beginning of WWII makes this story all the more interesting and even the descriptions of rowing and boats I found fascinating. If you liked Unbroken, you’ll like Boys in the Boat.

Stephanie Pearl-McFee Casts Off

I happened upon this book in my library’s app in the “available now” section while I was looking for something to listen to during a long car ride.   It was fun and funny and a perfect light read while I was driving.  I feel like you definitely have to be a knitter to enjoy this book, as it’s packed full of knitter humor. (Did you even know there was such a thing?  It’s true!)  Very entertaining, but probably not for everyone.

Head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more book suggestions.