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Book Reviews

I’ve actually been reading a lot lately. Which is surprising given my To-Do list and constant whining to Jason about “NOT HAVING ENOUGH TIME EVER IN THE UNIVERSE.” Somewhere in between all of that whining, I’ve found time to read or listen to audiobooks. I’ve really gotten on a kick lately of listening to audiobooks or podcasts on my morning commute. It seems calming, more academic than the 800th replay of a Katy Perry song on the radio, and I’m convinced is hardwiring Audrey’s brain to love reading as well.

Here’s a few thoughts on what I’ve read lately:

1. Book Thief

book thiefI started reading this book the first few weeks I was home after having Audrey. I’m not sure why I would subject myself to  reading a book narrated by death, where children die, as my first postpartum jaunt into literacy, but I did. It took me a while to get through, but once I got going, I couldn’t stop. It was a beautiful book. Sad, but in a good way. However, I could not make it through the movie. Too sad, too imagery-laden with sickness and death. Maybe one day when I’m not crazy, I will go rewatch it. But I really recommend this one.

2. Notes From A Blue Bike

notes from a blue bike

This one I listened to audiobook, and liked/hated it. It’s about one family’s quest to live intentionally and as you want to live, rather than conforming to the American dream, if that doesn’t fit for you. But, here’s my beef with any book like this. I always feel like they come off as condescending if you DO live in the status quo. I’m all for living intentionally, creating opportunities and living healthy, focused-driven lives, but for those of us who don’t live in foreign countries, or near organic farmers markets, or work from home and have the time to homeschool, or do all those things these books tell us to do, we’re cast off as living a dull existence. The book had some redeeming qualities in that it was a good reminder that YOU make the choices for your family, and YOU decide how you want your kids to be raised, but I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied with it.

3. Bringing Up Bebe

bringing up bebe

This was another audio book, and aside from the grating French the author would espouse every now and then, I really liked this one. Mostly because it was a “wake up a smell the roses” kind of writing, where the author examined French parenting vs. American parenting and how cuckoo American mothers have become about raising the perfect child. A lot of her suggestions may not be practical here, like the no snacks, free healthcare (available in France) and free daycare (also available in France), but it had some good suggestions and pointers about raising children who learn to be patient, eat only when they are hungry and not buying into all the craziness we as mothers are often surrounded with.

4. Where’d You Go Bernadette

whered-you-go-bernadette

I LOVED this book! It’s about one mother’s attempt to make sense of her world while living with a bit of a crazy personality. It’s sometimes written through the point of view of e-mails between the characters and it shares the story of her daughter and husband and their experience with planning a trip to Antarctica. It was fascinating to learn about Antarctica, but the writing was easy and breezy and just a really fun read. When it ended, I found myself flipping to the next few pages, sad the book was over and wanting just one more chapter!

I need some more Summer reading recommendations! Up next is my book club book Wifey by Judy Blume, my next Phillippa Gregory book and I’ve been recommended to read anything by Elin Hilderbrand. Any other suggestions??


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Book Review: Silence and Other…

I’ve never been one for silence. Quietness and darkness tend to put me on edge because I have such an active mind that without distraction and noise, a lot of times my mind will wander into incredibly weird places.

But, they say you never really know how much you love something until it’s taken away? Well this past semester absolutely took away any potential for silence, quiet time or alone time to just rest. It was filled with days of studying, writing, preparing, working, etc. that wore me down. Everyone has these seasons in their life where it is just non-stop go, go, go.

So when the semester ended, I was actually craving silence, and quiet, alone time. It became a perfect metaphor for this Christmas season where we celebrate the season of Advent, a time of expectant waiting and celebration of the birth of Jesus. Advent’s themes of quiet reflection, patience and silent expectation were exactly what I needed to decompress from a year of highs, louds and actions.

Enter: “Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent” by Enuma Okoro.

enumo okoro

This little 30-day devotional (which I downloaded on my iPhone) is a God-send (no pun intended). It follows the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah and their miraculous conception of John the Baptist. Rather than focusing on the traditional birth story of Jesus, this devotional looks at all the intricacies of Elizabeth’s journey and how silence from God, silence from her husband (when he was rendered mute by the angel) and silence of waiting for her baby boy teach us many things about our own seasons of silence.

Honestly, I’ve been battling what I feel as my own season of silence over the last few months, where I have felt quiet when I prayed my hardest, or misunderstanding when prayers were not answered, or frustration when all my plans seem to fall apart. But, slowly over the last few weeks, reading this lovely book, has restored my heart and showed me the joy that comes in the times of waiting. I even read it in silence each morning over my coffee and bowl of grits before I turn on any electronics, lights, TVs, Christmas music, whatever. This is also why I’ve been quiet on here, I needed detox time. And I’m loving this quiet time more and more.

I’m not finished reading yet, but here’s a snippet of what I’m enjoying most about this book so far:

“Usually we think of God’s timing despairingly because we assume we know what’s best for us. But the scripture passages for the third week of Advent suggest that what we perceive as slowness of action is actually God’s patience with us.”

Such wonderful reminders during this busy, loud, active Christmas season. As we wait for God to move in our lives, there are countless ways to be thankful in the in-between times too.