I do not feel good about June being over. Not good at all. I’ve been a summer person for the last few years, so I’m hoping July lingers a bit more. Our apartment complex has an amazing, clean pool that I frequent during the summer months, always with a book in hand. Two of the books I read this month were digital downloads from our library so I had to read them on my iPad. I pretty much hate reading on my iPad, but when I have to do it in the sun it’s almost unbearable. Tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way…. Either way, extra time at the pool allowed me to read four books this month, and I don’t hate that!
April was such a good book month. I was able to squeeze in a lot of reading time, which was good because I had some catching up to do from March. All of this extra time was a combination of choosing to prioritize reading and a work trip that meant a lot of time on a plane + waiting in the airport. I’m not mad about it.
I was actually supposed to finish Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman in March, but I gave myself a little bit of grace and finished it in April instead. I still touched on it briefly during last month’s post, but wow…what an amazing piece of literature. I purchased the book (along with every other christian marriage book under the sun) while we were engaged, but I never got around to reading it. Now that I’ve read it, I so wish I had made this book a priority because it is just full of quality, applicable information. Sheet Music is all about healthy sex inside of marriage, so it’s not for everyone BUT if you fall into that category and you haven’t read it click right here and dive in the minute it arrives on your doorstep.
When I was in high school Karen Kingsbury novels were pretty much the only books that I read. She is a Christian novelist that pens stories that will just rip your heart out. At least that’s the effect they had on me. I was hoping to start her series on the Baxter family over again, but our library didn’t have that series available for digital download. Just a few years ago she wrote a spin-off series featuring one of the characters from the Baxter series so I decided to start there. Leaving was just as good as I remember all of her other books being. A very easy read that was nearly impossible to put down. I don’t like reading books off of my iPad, but they are just so much easier to fly with and since I don’t take notes or highlight novels it works. I’ll be reading the next book in May on another trip to the East Coast.
Talking As Loud As I Can
I also read this book on my iPad — what’s with me? Truth is, I finished Leaving in the middle of my trip so digital was my only option. If you are niether a Gilmore Girls or Parenthood fan, this memoir by Lauren Graham may not interest you. But if you are a fan of Gilmore Girls and / or Parenthood you’ll love it just as much as I did. Lauren Graham is a loveable person as is, but it doesn’t hurt that she plays two incredible roles on two different T.V. shows. I’m not even a die-hard fan of either show, but having her behind-the-scenes perspective was so fascinating. Talk As Fast As I Can was also an easy to read, hard to put down book. Lauren is also the author of a novel, but I don’t have plans to read it. She’s just too good at being herself.
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well
Denmark wasn’t super high on my travel wish-list, but that all changed a couple chapters into this book. The Today Show had a segment on Hygge (hoo-guh) that I happened to watch, and it caught my interest. A few weeks later one of my favorite bloggers shared a Hygge book in her monthly book review so I did a bit more digging. Hygge is basically the art of coziness. The Danes are the happiest people in the world, partly because Hygge is a significant element in their culture. I loved this book…it fascinated and inspired me. Not only do I have a burning desire to visit Denmark, I’m looking forward to incorporate Hygge into our lives. As a Christ follower, I will be conscious of how consumed I become with these coziness practices, but otherwise I love everything about it. My favorite Hygge concept is that the longer a dish takes to prepare, the more Hygge it is. Being in the kitchen is one of my favorite things. My next mission is to find a luscious recipe that will require a week of my attention. There are a million books on Hygge that I haven’t read, but I’d highly recommend this one!
There is a whole host of books on my list right now, and aside from the next Karen Kingsbury novel I haven’t decided what I’ll be reading. Things are a bit crazy in our home this month so I don’t expect to get through four books – but maybe three!
I’m a little disappointed with myself because I didn’t finish two books in March. We’re a few days into April and I’m still wrapping up book number two. But I’m going to show myself a little bit of grace and make sure I finish two books in April (not including the March book). I’m flying to D.C. for a work trip so I should have no problem with this!
March kicked off with a pretty intense Francis Chan book on marriage titled, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity. I apparently already read part of this book because I had done quite a bit of highlighting. Francis Chan is not timid in his preaching or writing, and given the subject of the book I was prepared to be shaken. Certainly, I was reminded to keep an eternal perspective in my marriage, but this book didn’t dive as deeply into the subject of heaven as I was hoping it would. I wasn’t necessarily disappointed because it truly was an enlightening book, but I would like to read more on the subject someday. You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity will stay on our book shelf, but I don’t have plans to read it again soon.
I’m still reading Sheet Music, but I don’t have to finish it to tell you how I feel about it. Engaged? Read it (through chapter four). Married one year? Read it. Married 30 years? Read it. I actually purchased this book before our wedding but haven’t read it until now and I super wish I had. If you’ve spent any amount of time with me, you probably know that I’m pretty open and think we should discuss this topic more :) Married and engaged Christ followers, you need to read Sheet Music book. Immediately.
When you work from home like I do, you get to enjoy rainy days so much more. We’ve had nothing but rain this week and it has me in a very cozy spirit. I’ve been seeing the Danish term Hygge(hoo-guh) pop up all over the place. Hygge is a Danish term for enjoying life’s simple pleasures – sign. me. up. I’m going to dive into The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living the very second I finish Sheet Music. I can’t wait!
I haven’t selected my second book for April, but it will probably be something light. Probably still non-fiction, but I need a little space to digest some of the faith reading I’ve been doing. It doesn’t do much good if I read the words and don’t apply them to my life! Let me know if you’re reading something great.
It’s book review time and I can hardly believe that we are nearly half way through the month of July. Summer can stay as long as it would like, but I am really looking forward to Autumn’s crisp weather. Regardless of today’s stifling temperatures, I’m excited to review Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. You probably know of Elizabeth Gilbert from her infamous memoir Eat, Pray, Love, which is also a major motion picture featuring Julia Roberts.
Jordan and I visited the beach last month and I read Big Magic during that trip. One of my favorite parts about prepping for a beach vacation is deciding which books I’m going to take; I call these my beach reads. I was able to soak in this book while lounging under a seaside cabana. I want us all to feel like we’re under a cabana while reading this post. So take a peek at the image below, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go to that place. Ahhhhh…..
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Big Magic for the creative spirit who has buried their talents under fear and excuses. In the book you are able to get a glimpse into Elizabeth’s creative process, and you realize that it does not always come naturally. I believe that we are all creatives in some way, but you have to really be passionate about your creativity in order for this book to be meaningful to you. Naturally, Elizabeth’s experiences are from her writing career so you really have to expand on those experiences and apply them to whatever it is that brings out your creativity.
Despite many wonderful attributes, Big Magic has a few ideals that don’t align with my Christian faith. While reading, I often found myself wanting to change a proclamation to: but Jesus does, but Jesus is, or but Jesus can. Basically Elizabeth describes creativity as something that has a mind of its own, choosing when to be part of our life and when not to be. I guess my belief is that our creativity is something God instills within us; it’s a gift he gives us. I delight in knowing that my creative instincts come from my precious Jesus. Amazing!
After reading this book I feel more of a responsibility to tend to my creativity. Whether you think creativity chooses who to meet with or creativity is a God-given gift, your creativity is unique to you. Only you have the power to share your creativity! There is a lot of inspiration to fuel your creativity in this book. Elizabeth does a wonderful job of helping us apply her experience as an author to all creative expressions.
Big Magic is written incredibly well, which we should expect from Elizabeth Gilbert. She is a literary genius. I’m certainly glad that I read Big Magic, and grateful for the creative inspiration. If you’re a fan of Elizabeth’s writing than I would definitely encourage you to read Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, for obvious reasons. However, I don’t really know that I would recommend this book to someone whose reading it specifically for creative inspiration. The lessons I learned from this book can come from more productive resources such as blogs, webinars, and conferences. If you’ve read this book I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts! Where do you all get your creative inspiration?