books

Readers who follow me on Instagram will be aware that every two weeks, I compile a list of books I’ll be reading and reviewing for the blog. I choose a book to fit each of the following categories or genres:

  • Memoir
  • Theology
  • Friend Recommended
  • Make Me Think
  • Current Events

I rate my books on Goodreads (and you’re welcome to “friend” me there if you’re an avid reader like myself) but will give a short summary here on the blog so readers can pick and choose what books to add to their own lists. For those who may not be aware, I do not read fiction, so all of my books will be biographies, memoirs, or works on theology, social issues, history and the like.


My reading journey the last two weeks has taken me from a small town in Vermont to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, from a New Mexican ranch to the apartment of a wealthy – but insane – woman in New York City. And despite my best efforts to stick strictly to my reading list, I still pick up other books here and there which slows my completion. The more the merrier has always been an issue when it comes to reading.

I did not completely follow my usual list (choosing books according to memoir, theology, etc.) but grabbed a few books in a mad dash through the library during Addie’s nap. Still, I think I made out with a few great picks!

This week I am returning the following to the library:

Mud Season by Ellen Stimson

I used to finish a book even if I disliked it, but soon realized this was a waste of valuable reading time. I can’t bring myself to truly “hate” a book (as a writer, I can’t bear to use that term toward another artist) but this one was difficult to read, and I quit about a third of the way in. While the topic was interesting – Stimson recounts the story of her cross-country move to a small town in Vermont, where she depicts calamity after calamity in her attempt to become a “local” – her writing style was very difficult to read: choppy, disjointed, and a nightmare for grammar Nazis. The story didn’t justify the writing, so I had to quit.

Chanel Bonfire by Wendy Lawless

This book is heartbreaking, but it kept my rapt attention for the entirety. Lawless records the true story of her mother’s emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive relationship with her two daughters, Wendy and Robin. Much like Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Wendy’s mother came from nothing and through a lucky marriage, was vaulted into the wealthy New York social scene. The wealth could not fix her mother’s deeply personal issues, however. The story recounts Wendy’s journey from trying to save and protect her mother to realizing her own potential, removing herself from the relationship. There is some sexuality in this book – mostly toward the end, in the context of the mother’s and Wendy’s relationships. That would be my only warning and objection.

Farewell, My Subaru by Doug Fine

I try to always pick a book that shares a perspective I have never before considered, and this book fit the bill. Doug Fine is a journalist who moves to New Mexico to live as “greenly” as possible, reducing his carbon footprint by raising his own goats, gardening, switching out his car’s gas engine, and otherwise attempting to live a completely sustainable life. He recounts his journey in a comical manner and confesses with irony just how essential Walmart was to the initial success of his project. This is a great book for the “crunchy” folks among us – easy to read and entertaining.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn

I am still working through this book because I love it. Food memoirs are my favorite genre to read and this book has been on my list for a while. Kathleen Flinn takes a year to study in the world’s most famous culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, after losing her job in London. For food enthusiasts and Julia Child junkies, this book is a must. If a book can be both relaxing and a page turner, this is it. I’m always trying to finish “just another chapter” and learning some great cooking techniques along the way.

Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn

I am still working through this one – review pending!

A few books I’ve been distracted by this week:

100 Days of Blessing: Devotions for Wives and Mothers by Nancy Campbell

This sits by my glider in the nursery, where I read it each morning. I actually met Nancy Campbell at a homeschool convention a few years ago, and she is as sweet in person as she is in writing. She runs the ministry Above Rubies and her devotions encourage Christian women to embrace the roles of wife and mother, celebrating the beauty of home.

Trim Healthy Mama Plan & Cookbook

I’ll share more about this in other posts, but I was thrilled to receive these two books from my mom as an early Christmas present. Josh and I are in the process of completely transitioning to this eating plan and I’ve been cooking out of the cookbook this last week, reading the plan simultaneously. I’m loving it already, to the point I’ve been reading more of these two books than I have of my reading list! (Fun fact: these books were written by Nancy Campbell’s daughters)

I’m headed to the library this week to make up a new list – as always, follow on Goodreads or comment to leave me recommendations (nonfiction preferred)!

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