March has been a crazy month. Plenty of stormy, cold weather that just begged for time curled up on the couch in front of the fire with a book; but my husband and I have spent a lot of time working on less enjoyable pursuits like tax returns, financial planning, and researching other money matters. The month ended with gorgeous weather, calling the family outside to begin gardening, storm clean up and to just bask in the sunshine. Despite all of that, I was able to finish four books during the month of March. I currently have bookmarks in five more books.
Three months into the year and I can still say that I’ve enjoyed all of the books I’ve read thus far. I suppose part of that stems from the fact that most of the books I’ve read have been chosen from the reading lists of folks I know and trust, or after reading reviews by people I’ve come to respect, even if I don’t know them personally. The only exceptions to that rule, so far, have been the books I’ve read from the New York Times Non-fiction Best Seller list, though I’ve been happy with those choices, as well.
Please understand, I read broadly. I do not necessarily recommend to you everything I’ve read. I understand that some folks would rather not read best selling fiction, best selling non-fiction, or books by authors of faiths and religions other than their own. I’m also keenly aware that some of the books I read might be offensive to others. That’s okay. I’ll not ask you to stretch beyond your comfort zone, and I’ll ask you to kindly extend grace to me, and to others, who read books that you would not.
If you ever have any questions about the content of a particular book mentioned here, I would be more than happy to answer your questions via email (my email address is on the sidebar of the main blog page). In the future, I may share with you my reasons, some of which are very personal, for reading as broadly and extensively as I do. In the meantime, I will share an unabridged list each month of the books I’ve read. Please do exercise discernment when deciding to read books from a list, whether the list is mine or another’s.
Now for my list.
1. The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections, by Amanda Blake Soule. I’ve been a reader of Amanda Soule’s lovely, crafty, gentle blog, Soule Mama, for years. Her books are written in the same style as her blog, and include the same sort of beautiful photos of her family. This book is filled with great ideas for families to enjoy throughout the year, and with children of all ages, including the very young. This would be a great book for a young family, but I found several ideas to use in my own home and many to enjoy with my grandchildren, too.
2. Last month I enjoyed a brief introduction to the world of Economics . This month I journeyed into the realm of Social Psychology with Malcolm Gladwell in his New York Times best seller, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. If you’ve ever wondered how a new restaurant in town can suddenly become the place to go, why a book by an unknown author becomes a best seller, or why teenage smoking continues to grow in popularity despite the years of anti-smoking education most teens have been exposed to, The Tipping Point might be a book you’d enjoy. This is the first book I’ve read by Malcolm Gladwell, but it won’t be the last!
3. I’ve mentioned recently that we’ve been working on an overhaul of our budget and a revamping of our financial goals. Dave Ramsey’s books and other materials have been at the heart of that work. At some point in the past, we’d purchased The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, and my husband must have read it because there were some penciled notes in his handwriting in the book. The book is an easy read, but there’s nothing easy about becoming debt free and building wealth through investments. Thankfully, there is no “get rich quick” mentality in Mr. Ramsey’s book, only solid, sensible advice for working hard to reach your financial goals. Copper and I are a bit late coming to the game, we still see the value in working through Mr. Ramsey’s seven step approach and are on our way.
4. I’ve read my share of parenting books over the years. Most tend toward systems of bringing a child to obedience, giving parents lists of rules and duties to bring this about. Though popular, these books are not what I would recommend. What parents need is a reminder that Scripture is sufficient. What parents need is a reminder that the gospel is sufficient. William Farley’s Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting is a parenting book that does just that. The book presents the gospel to parents with an eye toward reminding us that WE need the gospel as much as our children do. The author does give some practical applications, but the heart of the book is simply the gospel of Jesus Christ, presented lovingly, firmly and without sounding preachy. My favorite chapter was near the end of the book and entitled “Gospel Love” Here’s a quote concerning “difficult’ children:
“We have not learned to be thankful for our children, despite their problems. We think we deserve better. We are ungrateful. A lack of gratitude always points to pride. It says, “I deserve good from God’s hand.”
The gospel speaks a different message. We deserve crucifixion. We don’t deserve obedient, easy children.” One note: This book should be read with your husband and not on your own.
In addition, I’ve also read these short stories from The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction as part of the Masterpieces of Short Fiction Course I’m enjoying:
- The Cask of Amontillado, Poe
- Goodman Brown, Hawthorne
- The Overcoat, Gogol
- The Necklace, Maupassant
- The Lady with the Little Dog, Chekhov
- The Real Thing, Henry James
- Araby, James Joyce
- My First Goose, Babel
I want to take this opportunity to say, “Thank you”, to those of you who shop at Amazon by clicking through from my blog. Amazon pays me a very small percentage (pennies on the dollar) of any purchases made when readers click through to Amazon from my blog. Though I see a list of what has been purchased, Amazon never discloses buyer’s names or other personal information. Your shopping at Amazon, by clicking through from my links, is a tremendous blessing to my family. I use the credit I receive through Amazon in three ways: To help offset the cost of maintaining this blog, to purchase books for our homeschool and our home Heritage Library, and occasionally to purchase prizes for drawings offered to readers of this blog.
What have you read recently? What are you reading now?
God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!