Every month I try to read at least one book from the following categories: nonfiction, devotional, and fiction. Non-fiction ensures that I’m always learning something new. Devotionals ensure that I’m keying into my faith. And fiction books are just so enjoyable to read! This is What I Read in April 2015.
I’m new to blogging, and definitely need as much good advice about it as I can get. This book had some great points about thinking through your topic, your frequency of publishing, and the importance of an e-mail list. However, it was a bit short on some of the more practical elements of blogging, which is where I feel like I could use the most help. I liked it, but didn’t love it for this reason.
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
I finished this book in two days, because I quite simply couldn’t put it down. It is my favorite of Picoult’s books that I have read thus far. The story follows Jenna in her efforts to find her missing mother Amy, who also happens to be an elephant cognition researcher. Jenna enlists the help of Serenity, a washed up psychic, and Virgil, a drunken private investigator, who also happened to be the detective who worked the case. But of course, there are major plot twists! The story, and particular plot points stayed with me after I finished the book. I really loved it, and recommend it to others.
How to Create A Blog And Make Money Blogging by Lynn Nelson
This book(let) was terrible! The only reasons that I read all the way to the end were that it was so incredibly short, and that I kept expecting that I was almost to the point where good tips may start. The grammar and word usage were weird, and reminded me of those scammer emails from Nigeria. I don’t like to say mean things after someone puts themselves out there to publish a book, but this one was just bad.
Alive: A Cold-Case Approach to the Resurrection by J. Warner Wallace
This book was recommended to me because I am a lawyer and it is written by a detective who examined the resurrection stories from the perspective of the rules of evidence and how an investigation would be conducted by law enforcement into a cold case. It was interesting, although I would have appreciated more detail and explanation about the techniques and analysis that were used. It’s a short book, and therefore a quick read.
Anne of Windy Poplars is just as sweet as the others in the series that came before. But I particularly enjoyed how it really felt like someone who is in the early stages of her career after college had written it. That stage of life has such promise, and learning to be an adult, that it is a unique time. This book captures it, and stays true to the character of the beloved Anne Shirley.
Anne’s House of Dreams is my least favorite of the books this series, so far. Anne’s personality and thoughts seem so much more muted in this book than all of the rest, and her funny thoughts and interesting perspective are what I particularly enjoy about the series. And perhaps this is just my modern career woman worldview reading too much into the book, but it seems as if upon marrying, Anne has totally given up all of her previous dreams and interests (writing in particular), save the dream of having children. Again I recognize that I am applying a very different worldview onto a book that was written many years ago and set into a timeframe from even before. Still I can’t help feeling disappointed.
Learning to Pray by K.P. Yohannan
This book is very short, and has a few wonderful points about, you guessed it, learning to pray. In my Bible study, we’ve talked about feeling uncomfortable praying out loud in front of others, and I was hopeful that this book would help me to feel less so. The portion of the book that talked about how prayer should be like a conversation with a trusted friend or parent was most helpful. It seems as if when praying, I sometimes feel like I need to make a pretty or perfect speech. And really, prayer means sitting at the feet of the Father, just as I am, and sharing my troubles and triumphs, just as I do with those I love most. It’s a simple concept, but one I hadn’t thought of or about before.
Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need To Get Published Now by Sam Berry and Kathi Kamen Goldmark
I thought this book would help me with my writing process, as I’m not very consistent and regular with my writing schedule. However, the book was more about publishing a good (perhaps if I’d read the second half of the title before starting the book, I would have caught this). But the book was informative, and I did read through to the end. I don’t plan on writing a book, at least not anytime soon, but if that changes, I’d refer back to this for information about publishing.
I picked this book as a devotional this month because I’ve been having some trouble drawing appropriate boundaries with a particular friend. This book provides descriptions and breaks down biblical accounts of friendship, which I thought was incredibly interesting. Dee Brestin also explains some of the traps and errors that friendships can fall into, and this was very helpful.
The Gemini Effect by Chuck Grossart
I downloaded this book as part of the Kindle First program. It is a dystopian fiction book that is set in present day. A man-made virus goes berserk causing animals to mutate into monsters in the Midwest. The story follows a scientist, a couple of military men, the President, the Vice President, and the Director of the NSA in dealing with this crisis. Suffice it to say things deteriorate rapidly.
I enjoyed this book, and would probably read more by this author (who I realized while reading the author profile at the back of the book is a fellow Nebraskan). I can’t say it was my favorite book of all time, but it was interesting to read. The plot has all kinds of twists and turns. And I enjoyed that the story was set in the Midwest, as so many books in this genre are set on the coasts. It is interesting, and a bit terrifying, to think about disasters originating in the area where you live.
I picked this book up as a freebie from Amazon, since I use Young Living essential oils and mix many of them with coconut oil to make creams. In particular I make a fantastic pain cream (which I call Magic Pain Potion) from coconut oil, Valor, Peppermint, and Panaway. It works like a dream on the pain resulting from my tendonitis/carpal tunnel type of issues, although I certainly recognize that it isn’t a permanent solution.
Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella
Helen of Sparta is a fictional story told from the perspective of Helen (you know, Helen of Troy, before she becomes Helen of Troy) as she is growing up in Sparta. The book appears to be well researched, and be accurate as far as historical fact and Greek mythology. I was able to connect with the characters’ feelings, as the book is well written. My only complaint is that the book ends just as the high drama is beginning in Helen’s life…perhaps a sequel would be in order? Very well written and easy to read.
I’m not going to lie, I despise exercising, really loathe it. But I also recognize the importance of it. So although I’m not going to be a gym rat or a marathoner, I can find exercise activities that are less excruciating, and dare I say it, even sometimes fun. Walking, swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, and Aqua Zumba are a few exercise activities that I do actually enjoy. But I’ve been lacking a bit of motivation lately, so I picked up this Amazon freebie to help me get back on track. The book isn’t bad (it’s well written and informative), but it is a short little booklet. So don’t go into reading it expecting that you’ll learn amazing secrets to weight loss.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
This book is fascinating and heartbreaking. The story is told by Alice, a Harvard cognitive psychology professor as she realizes she is beginning to have memory problems, and is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, and as the disease progresses. When reading the story, I wanted so desperately to help Alice, but felt powerless, which I suppose is exactly how those people whose loved ones live with the disease feel. The fact that the story is narrated exclusively from Alice’s perspective, and it felt unique and fresh. I loved it, and definitely cried a bit toward the end.