What I’m reading, April 2018

Still waiting around here for some consistent warmer temps. The end of the school year is in sight and the end of an era for our family as our youngest graduates from high school.

Lots of great books this month.

My reading life has improved so much, thanks mostly to bloggers and podcasters.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

Buy now from Amazon

“Ignorant boys, killing each other,” is just about all Nathan Coulter would tell his wife, friends, and family about the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Life carried on for the community of Port William, Kentucky, as some boys returned from the war and the lives of others were mourned. In her seventies, Nathan’s wife, Hannah, has time now to tell of the years since the war. In Wendell Berry’s unforgettable prose, we learn of the Coulter’s children, of the Feltners and Branches, and how survivors “live right on.”—from GoodReads

Enthusiastic five stars from me.

Brilliantly written, wholesome story.

The story spans the decades of Hannah’s life, giving a panoramic look at her life.

Human drama at it’s literary best.

Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life  by Jeff Goins

Buy now from Amazon

“Wrecked is about the life we are afraid to live. It’s about radical sacrifice and selfless service—how we find purpose in the midst of pain. It’s a look at how we discover fulfillment in the least likely of places. It’s about living like we mean it. It’s a guide to growing up and giving your life away, helping you live in the tension between the next adventure and the daily mundane.

This book is for us—a generation intent on pursuing our life’s work in a way that leaves us without regrets.

Author Jeff Goins shares his own experience of struggling as a missionary and twentysomething who understands the call to live radically while dealing with the everyday responsibilities of life. Wrecked is a manifesto for a generation dissatisfied with the status quo and wanting to make a difference.” — from Amazon

I loved the honest, transparent exposure of what ministry is really like. How there’s not a lot of happy endings. How there’s not a lot of neat bows. How your heart breaks and you try to help people, but mostly they want to stay in the pit that they’re in.

It gets discouraging.

And that is real life.

It takes a lot to change people. It takes a miracle, really.

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

Buy now from Amazon

“When a blizzard strands them in Salt Lake City, two strangers agree to charter a plane together, hoping to return home; Ben Payne is a gifted surgeon returning from a conference, and Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, is en route to her wedding. But when unthinkable tragedy strikes, the pair find themselves stranded in Utah’s most remote wilderness in the dead of winter, badly injured and miles from civilization. Without food or shelter, and only Ben’s mountain climbing gear to protect themselves, Ashley and Ben’s chances for survival look bleak, but their reliance on each other sparks an immediate connection, which soon evolves into something more.

Days in the mountains become weeks, as their hope for rescue dwindles. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever? Heart-wrenching and unputdownable, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.” — from GoodReads

Another brilliantly written story with a commitment to traditional values.

The plot differs at critical points from the movie version.  Skip the movie.  Read the book instead.

Thrifty and Thriving:  More Life for Less Money by Victoria Huizinga

Buy now from Amazon

I’ve followed Victoria’s blog for a couple of years, so I wasn’t sure I was going to learn anything new reading her book.

I was wrong.

First of all, even though she covers a lot of tips and practical suggestions that can be found on the blog, it is organized, compact and easy to find in the book.

Aside from practical ideas on how to save money (which I was expecting)  it unrolls a mindset, a foundational paradigm to the way you think about money and even life.

Money can be hard to manage.  Victoria shows, with a lot of personal stories, that so much is about attitude, strategic living and long-term victories. It starts with changing your thinking.

This book is an investment in your future. Implement just a few of the suggestions, and you will recoup the price of the book.

I’d say that’s a thrifty purchase.

Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

Buy now from Amazon

“The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.”– from Amazon

A sweet story. A cute story.  A nice, fast read.

I agree that fans of the Penderwicks books will like it.

The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

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“The One Thing explains the success habit to overcome the six lies that block our success, beat the seven thieves that steal time, and leverage the laws of purpose, priority, and productivity.” –from Goodreads

I re-read The One Thing. It is such an incredible book. And, yet, it taunts me.

So many great things that I can’t implement into my life right now.

Specifically, the four hour plan.

There’s just no way I can do it right now. I’m working on so many other things, I just have to follow through with what I have going right now.

I will be coming back to it, though.

It’s just too good not to integrate it into my life.


Willpower Doesn’t Work: Discover the Hidden Key to Success by Benjamin Hardy

Buy now from Amazon

“If you’re relying on willpower alone to help you lose weight, improve your relationships, or achieve more at work, you’re doomed to fail. The environment around us is far too powerful, stimulating, addicting, and stressful to overcome by white knuckling. The only way to stop just surviving and learn to truly thrive in today’s world is to proactively shape your environment.”–from GoodReads

I heard Ben speak at Tribe Conference last year.  It’s amazing the following he’s gained on Medium.  He writes good stuff, too. Helpful stuff.

Well-written. Great message.

Columbine by Dave Cullen

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“What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we “know” is wrong. It wasn’t about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world’s leading forensic psychologists, and the killers’ own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.”– from GoodReads

How could something like this happen? Why did it happen? What could prevent it from happening again?

There’s some real lessons to be learned here.

One lesson was for the journalists.  A new trend in journalism gives criminals minimum press coverage and focuses on the victims’ stories.  This gives perpetrators less motivation to seek fame through their crimes.

There’s also the importance of follow through with high risk people.  Although, apparently psychopaths are masterfully deceptive.

The Read Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie

Buy now from Amazon

“Connecting deeply with our kids can be difficult in our busy, technology-driven lives. Reading aloud offers us a chance to be fully present with our children. It also increases our kids’ academic success, inspires compassion, and fortifies them with the inner strength they need to face life’s challenges. As Sarah Mackenzie has found with her own six children, reading aloud long after kids are able to read to themselves can deepen relationships in a powerful way.

Founder of the immensely popular Read-Aloud Revival podcast, Sarah knows first-hand how reading can change a child’s life. In The Read-Aloud Family, she offers the inspiration and age-appropriate book lists you need to start a read-aloud movement in your own home. From a toddler’s wonder to a teenager’s resistance, Sarah details practical strategies to make reading aloud a meaningful family ritual. Reading aloud not only has the power to change a family—it has the power to change the world.”–from Amazon

I’m a huge fan of Sarah Mackenzie’s blog, podcast and mission.

Of course she outlines the benefits of reading aloud to your kids.  Of course she includes a age graded book list of books she recommends.  This is what you expect.

She’s also pinpointed the hidden value of reading aloud to your kids: making meaningful and lasting connections.

And, she’s also a good writer. She’s a good thinker and master communicator.  What’s not to love?

Have you read any of these titles?  What did you think?





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