Somewhere near the beginning of the year I noticed the Reading Challenge section of Goodreads and signed myself up for the challenge of reading 52 books this year. I love reading, so I figured a book a week was a pretty good goal for the year.
And then I completely forgot about the challenge and didn’t read much at all at the beginning of the year. Somewhere in the late summer I rediscovered my challenge and knew I had a lot of work to do to catch up. I ended up changing my goal to a slightly more manageable 40 books for the year and I’ve been working really hard to make it. I’m currently sitting at 32 books for the year, so I think I just might be able to pull this off.
I know I have several readers who are also big book fanatics and many who are hustling to meet their own book reading goals for the year, so I figured I’d keep sharing the books I’m reading to inspire you to keep on reading. I like to read a very diverse mix of books, so there’s probably something in this list for just about everyone.
(This post contains affiliate links.)
Five Books I’ve Recently Read and Recommend
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen- I heard this was a good book so I grabbed it off the library shelf without even looking at the details. Once I got home and realized it was a story about a circus I worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it. A circus story for adults? It seemed off the wall and childish. But I decided to read it anyway and immediately realized I had made the right choice. This was a fascinating story about a young man who finds himself orphaned and broke and inadvertently joins a circus in the midst of prohibition in America.
Something Blue by Emily Giffin- This is the sequel to Something Borrowed, one of the books I talked about in my last book recommendation post. Think Sex and the City moves to London for this book. There is drama, betrayal, and a main character that might make you a little angry. But in the end, you just might come to like her, a little bit.
Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters by Jon Acuff- Do you want to be awesome? This book is written for people who have a desire to rise above average and be awesome. There were so many really good nuggets that I gleaned from this book. I’ve always had the feeling that I should be doing great things, but fear often holds me back. This book gives practical advice for overcoming your fears and just taking the next right step on your path to awesome (yes, I’m pretty sure Jon Acuff’s favorite word is awesome).
After You by Jojo Moyes- This was another sequel. I stayed up all night reading the original book, Me Before You, so I jumped at the change to read this book right away to find out what happens next in the story. I didn’t pull an all-nighter reading this book, but it was really good. While I really loved both of these books, they did make me extra emotional to read after the loss of my dad, so if you’re recently grieving, you might want to give yourself time before you dive into these two.
The Secrets of Midwives – I’m a junky for all things natural birth and midwife related so I snatched this book of the shelf quickly. I’m not sure what I expected, but the book was much different than my expectations. The story focuses on three generations of midwives and the secrets and drama that each of them holds well guarded. It was a light and addictive read. And it fed my fascination with birth stories and midwife tails.
3 Books I wasn’t impressed with
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan – I have heard so many great reviews of this book that I really wanted to like it. It started out fine, but then it just felt repetitive. Basically the premise is focus on the one thing in your life that by accomplishing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary. This creates a domino effect and all of life becomes awesome. I think there is value to focusing on one thing like this, but I don’t know that I needed to read quite so many pages reiterating it.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen – As I started to link to this book on Amazon I realize that there is now an updated 2015 edition. I picked up my copy from the library so I got the 2001 copy. This is another book that so many people have recommended, but I could barely make it through a few chapters. It felt really outdated and overly technical. Possibly the 2015 edition would be better.
Eye of the Storm: Where is God when life hurts? by Alexander Kumpf – I received this book from the publisher as part of the BookLook bloggers program in exchange for an honest review. I started reading it months ago and couldn’t get into it. I picked it up again recently because I needed to submit my review. That is the only reason I finished the book. I’m not sure if it’s because of my recent loss or not, but I found this book to be very arrogant and preachy. There were a lot of good points that were made and it is filled with encouraging scripture, but it was nothing new. I’ve heard it all before. Maybe it’s because I know where God is when life hurts, but just because He’s here, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. I’m not sure why I didn’t like this book so much, but it is not one I would recommend.
A few books I have on deck
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – It’s probably no surprise to any of my regular readers that I’m trying to write more. And with that goal, I’m also trying to write better. Which means, I feel the need to learn a few things from a seasoned pro. I’m really excited to dive into this book.
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp – This book is one that keeps coming up over and over again across the interwebs. It seems everyone hashtags #1000gifts all the time and I feel like I’m missing out on something really important.
Sheet Music by Kevin Leman – I have started to read this book at least three times and still haven’t finished it. I think it’s good. I’ve heard it’s good. So I’m hoping to actually read it and find out for myself soon. It’s a book on marriage and sexual intimacy (from a Christian context) in case you aren’t familiar with it.