Wednesday, April 20, 2016

recent reads

I've always loved to read but I haven't always read because I always have struggled choosing which books to read. Well luckily, I have friends here and sisters in law who all have similar book taste. I get pretty much all my recommendations from them, and I am grateful! This blog post if for any of you reading who are struggling with the what should i read next syndrome. Some of these books are just so wonderful that I felt I needed to share with the world. Even if it is a small little portion of the blogosphere world ;)

"It is also your commission to emphasize his particular strengths, for both your sakes, and to be grateful for his maleness. Mother nature intended for masculine drive and feminine energy  to harmonize. If balanced, complementary dynamics create grand marriage. If disrespected, the two forces create sparks igniting the dynamite that blows your dreams to smithereens"

If you read any of these books, this would be the one I most highly recommend! It made such an impact on my life. It is so not a typical marriage book- it compels you to change yourself rather than looking at your spouse and wishing for him to change. It does this though without making you feel guilty, and instead empowering you! I read through the book looking for quotes that inspire me, but it got too overwhelming because it's all wonderful and inspiring. Just READ it! Every time I read a part of it, I walked away with a huge smile on my face, more love in my heart for my husband, and more determination to be the BEST wife that I can be.

“Do you know what hurts so very much? It's love. Love is the strongest force in the world, and when it is blocked that means pain. There are two things we can do when this happens. We can kill that love so that it stops hurting. But then of course part of us dies, too. Or we can ask God to open up another route for that love to travel.” 
^^this is what her dad said to her when the person he loved got engaged to someone else.

"Worry does not empty today of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength"

“No pit is so deep that God is not deeper still” 

“When He tells us to love our enemies He gives, along with the command, the love itself.” 

This book was equal parts agonizing and inspiring. It's about a family living in Holland pre-WW2. They helped Jews hide and escape and eventually got caught. Reading the details of what people had to suffer through is actually almost unbelievable. I cannot believe the types of things that humans are able to overcome, especially when you have faith in the Lord. This woman was so amazing and reading her take on the horrendous experience made me feel like I should never, ever complain about anything EVER again!

“The most important parenting skill: Manage yourself. Take care of yourself so you aren’t venting on your child. Intervene before your own feelings get out of hand. Keep your cup full. The more you care for yourself with compassion, the more love and compassion you’ll have for your child. Remember that your child will do every single thing you do, whether that’s yelling or making self-disparaging remarks about your body.” 

“What matters most: Stay connected and never withdraw your love, even for a moment. The deepest reason kids cooperate is that they love you and want to please you. Above all, safeguard your relationship with your child. That’s your only leverage to have any influence on your child. It’s what your child needs most. And that closeness is what makes all the sacrifices of parenting worth it.” 

“Yelling escalates a difficult situation, turning it from a squall into a storm. And really, how can you expect your child to learn to control his own emotions if you don’t control yours?” 

I loved this book. It has transformed my relationship with Jane. I've never been a huge yeller (which I attribute to my mother not being a yeller), BUT, a nasty tone of voice (guilty) can be just as damaging. This book has helped me to step outside of myself and instead focus on trying to understand what she is thinking and feeling, and then to help her to navigate those big feelings that we all have. I didn't super agree with everything I read, but overall I loved this book. It gives VERY specific examples of how to handle very specific situations with children of all ages, and a lot of the things that I have put into action have really helped change some threenager behavior. (it seemed to me to focus mostly on toddlers, which is great because that's where I need the most guidance!)

“Can you believe the weather?'...'Actually, I CAN believe the weather. What I can't believe is that I'm actually having a conversation about the weather.” 

“I hear you’re going to boarding school,” she said. “Whose idea was that?” 
“Mine,” I said.
“I could never send Kyle to boarding school,” Audrey said.
“I guess you love Kyle more than my mom loves me,” I said, and played my flute as I skipped down the hall.” 

This book was just so enjoyable to read. A sarcastic and snarky book written from the point of view of a genius teenager who think her mom is the coolest, despite her social reclusiveness. I laughed out loud a lot while reading, but there was also this sweet mother-daughter (albeit, somewhat unconventional) relationship that made me smile. (I'm a sucker for any book with a good parent-child relationship, as you will observe;)

"Watch and pray, dear; and never get tired of trying; and never think it impossible to conquer your fault"

Your father, Jo. He never loses patience, never doubts or complains, but always hopes, and works and waits so cheerfully that one is ashamed to do otherwise before him.” 

“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.” 

What a classic that I am surprised I hadn't read until now. But I don't think I would've fully appreciated it until now either. I loved the story, but my favorite part was the mother and father. They taught their daughters so many powerful lessons, by word and example, and it really inspired me. I want to be a mother like Mrs. March- who had earned the utmost respect and love and trust from her daughters, and they all wanted to become more like her.  Mrs. are motherhood GOALS. It took me a long time to read this one, but I think it is because I was trying to savor it. Every page was just delightful. Except for a part at the end that made me cry. No I hadn't seen the movie, so it surprised me to tears!

“The four sayings that lead to wisdom:
I was wrong
I'm sorry
I don't know
I need help” 

Louise Penny has got me hooked. Obviously...since I've already read 4 of her books. She writes murder mysteries that mysteriously DON'T feel like murder mysteries at all. If you haven't realized, my favorite books are ones with characters who have quality traits that I can learn from. These are character books more than anything, and I'd love nothing more than to sit down and eat croissants with any one of them, particularly the main character of her books: Armand Gamache. An investigator of murders who is as compassionate as he is humble. Most of these take place in a "fictional" town in canada, but I'm bound and determined to stumble upon it one day and realize that it is in fact real ;)

Her books aren't series, but if your read these then I would recommend reading them in the order I have them. 

“But there was no hiding from Conscience. Not in new homes and new cars. In travel. In meditation or frantic activity. In children, in good works. On tiptoes or bended knee. In a big career. Or a small cabin. It would find you. The past always did. Which was why... it was vital to be aware of actions in the present. Because the present became the past, and the past grew. And got up, and followed you. And found you... Who wouldn't be afraid of this?” 

This was my least favorite one of the 4 books of hers that I've read, BUT it is very good to read before you read Bury Your Dead, which ended up being my favorite. So I'd recommend reading both consecutively. 
“Wait, Armand, he heard behind him but kept walking, ignoring the calls. Then he remembered what Emile had meant to him and still did. Did this one bad thing wipe everything else out?

That was the danger. Not that betrayals happened, not that cruel things happened, but that they could outweigh all the good. That we could forget the good and only remember the bad.

But not today. Gamache stopped.” 

Unofficial sequel to The Brutal Telling. This book had me hooked more so than the others because it was basically 3 different mysteries in one book and it constantly had me guessing, and constantly had me admiring the characters that this brilliant author had created. 

This book was a quick read, and quite eye opening and informative. It was also recently made into a movie. It is about a woman diagnosed with early onset alzheimers. And I kinda felt like I had alzheimers for a week and it freaked me out a little. I guess that just shows you how well Lisa Genova did at writing about what it is like to suffer from such a dreadful disease. This was an emotionally charged book that had me sort of in a trance while I was reading it. 

“You could try as hard as you could to imagine someone else’s tragedy—drowning in icy waters, living in a city split by a wall—but nothing truly hurts until it happens to you. Most of all, to your child.” 

Liane Moriarty is one of my new favorite authors. She writes about normal people dealing with really hard and awkward situations. Her books give you such a precise glimpse into the minds of other human beings. I actually walked away from this book with a different perspective on how people act and react in certain situations. The truth is, everyone is doing what they think is the best, and we ALL need to just give each other a break. These 2 books by her sucked me in more than any of the others. Once I start one of her books, it will not be long at all until I've finished them.

Maybe children just want whatever it is they don't get. And then they grow up and give their children what they wanted, be it silence or information, affection or independence--so that child, in turn, craves something else. With every generation the pendulum swings from opposite to opposite, stillness and peace so elusive.” 

This quote above was my biggest take away from this book. We all grow up with things that our parents did that we swear we will never do. But we may be so busy trying to right that wrong that we are missing some other vital aspects of parenting that our particular children need from us. I vowed to myself to always try my best to talk to my children and understand what it is that they need the most from me as their mother. This was a sad, heartbreaking, and beautiful book. 


  1. Thank you!!! I love The Hiding Place. Classic and timeless. These recommendations look fabulous. I will write them down and check at the library for Friday. Here's the thing though.....nursing time used to be my reading time and I'm weaning. I gotta get me some quiet time at night I guess. Also, let's talk more.

  2. What a fun list for me now to reference! Thanks!!!!

  3. Thanks Kerri! You have me itching to read!!

  4. Yay. I've been reading a lot the last few months. Do you like sci-fi? Right now I'm reading Anne of Green Gables. Jane Eyre is good too. Thanks for the suggestions! I'm excited to read them!



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