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 March 2016, my brief book recommendations and reviews.
And this year I’m doing things just a little bit differently than in the past. Since I decided to participate in the 2016 PopSugar Reading Challenge, I’m also going to be listing which category my books fulfill. If you want to join in on the fun, you can check out the list of categories here!
Six Years at the Russian Court by Margaret Eager
After reading The Amber Keeper last month, I was fascinated by Russia in the early 1900s, and wanted to learn more. Freda Lightfoot, the author of The Amber Keeper, mentioned this book in reference to her source material. I enjoyed reading the anecdotes of Eager’s time in Russia. But the writing style is disjointed. And the author shows some obvious biases typical of someone writing from that era. But nonetheless, I still found it to be a fascinating book, and a relatively fast read.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
2016 PopSugar Challenge: a book with a blue cover
It took me some time to get through this book. At times I wondered what all of these characters had to do with one another. But I’m so glad I stuck with it and slogged through (yes, it really felt like that at times) because the end tied everything together, and kept me up late reading to find out how it all would end. I really liked the book, but then I’ve recently discovered that I’m rather a fan of Dickens. So I do recommend it, and recommend seeing it through.
The Apostle: A Life of Paul by John Pollock
This book is a historical account of the life of Paul, which incorporates source materials as varied as Luke and Paul’s writings and Roman materials. When you read the bible, you get bits and pieces of the lives of the disciples and apostles. It was fascinating to me to read a chronological account of Paul’s life, missions, travels, and death. A great read for Christians and non-Christians alike, although it is clearly written from a Christian perspective.
The Moonlit Garden by Corina Bomann
2016 PopSugar Challenge: a book that is published in 2016
This was my January Kindle First book, so it was published just barely in 2016. I’d meant to read it in February, but got sucked in to The Maze Runner series. I picked out The Moonlit Garden based off of the description. As a cellist, a book about a mysterious violin and it’s even more mysterious owners was sure to be a win. And it didn’t disappoint. The book is written from the perspective of three ladies, Lilly, a modern era antiques dealer coping with the death of her husband and trying to solve the mystery of the violin; Rose, the violin’s owner in the 1900s; and Helen, the violin’s owner in the 1910s. Lovely writing, beautiful world travels, and deep charming characters. A definite win, and highly recommended to others.
Diver Down: Real-World SCUBA Accidents and How to Avoid Them by Michael Ange
This book is a series of case studies of diving accidents, each chapter about a different one. To be honest, a lot of it scared the crap out of me, as it shows what can go wrong, and how serious the consequences can be. But the vast majority of the accidents were because divers made bade decisions or let their egos get in the way of safe diving. It had some good lessons, but probably shouldn’t be read by brand new divers, as it may scare them away from the overwhelmingly safe sport of scuba diving.
The FitzOsbornes at War by Michelle Cooper
The final entry in the Montmaray Journals, this novel follows Sophie and her eccentric royal family during World War II. Many of the events described are historically accurate, although the overarching story is fiction. It is heartwarming and heart wrenching, sweet and painful. The characters and story drew me in and kept me reading, and wanting to keep reading to see what was going to happen next. I really recommend this series.
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda
2016 PopSugar Challenge: a book of poetry
I’m just going to come right out and say it…I don’t really like poetry. In college literature classes, I soldiered through the sections of poetry, without really understanding or enjoying it. I can think of one single book of poetry by Frank Pommersheim (also one of my law school professors) that I actually enjoyed, and perhaps that is due in part to attending a poetry reading from it. So for this challenge, I did some searching to try to find short books of good poetry, to try to make meeting this particular challenge less painful. This one had some beautifully weird artwork inside. And it wasn’t awful. Knowing the subject matter (based on the title and description section of the book) of all of the poetry helped me to understand. Not bad, but I’m probably still no poetry buff.
The Passive Income Book by Steve Pavlina
The premise of this book is that we can make long-lasting income and deliver better value through passive income streams than from active income, such as a full-time job. I agree and disagree with the premise. I do think that many can benefit from passive income streams, such as from creation of an e-book or rental income. But I also recognize that not everyone is interested in or capable of creating such income streams. And I also believe that there is value from full-time regular employment, contrary to what the author apparently believes. Certain jobs (like my job as a practicing attorney) cannot be done by untrained individuals, and do require physical presence. Imagine a criminal defendant just being coached by reading crap on the internet about defending his or her case, compared with having a trained and experienced lawyer present in person…not the same thing. Additionally, I could have done without the author’s views on certain other non-related subjects, such as religion or polyamory. But, all that being said, the book (written more like a series of blog posts, complete with emojis) wasn’t terrible. It gave a few ideas for passive income generation, and really encouraged people to step outside of their comfort zones and at least give it a try.
The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
I’ve read one of her books previously and really enjoyed it. So when this book was on sale on Amazon, I snapped it up. It starts out a bit slow, but picks up pace after the characters are set up. As with Moriarty’s other books, there is a mystery or misunderstanding that gets corrected while the characters’ lives are sorted out. But their lives aren’t always sorted out in the neat and tidy way that readers come to expect from most novels. A wonderful read!
All the Way to Heaven by Becky Doughty
This novel showed up in my Bookbub recommendations and struck me immediately as likely to be an enjoyable read. The title would tend to suggest a devotional or biblical book, but it isn’t that at all. The story is of a young college woman who decides to travel to Italy after a heartbreak. She suffers a series of misfortunes, but makes incredible friends. It’s a bit fluffy, but is downright a downright sweet story. I liked it.