Books I’ve read this week: end of July and August

I really didn’t read a lot this summer, my attention was elsewhere. Then I got behind on posting about books, and when that happens, my feet get really draggy. So here is a catch up post.

From Grouchy To Great: Finding Joy In The Journey Of Motherhood by Ruth Swenk is a daily devotional type book, with a short reading for each day that includes scriptural references. This is one of the first times that I’ve actually used such a book the way it was intended- reading it over the course of a month rather than all at once. The segments come from different writers (they’re from blog posts originally, I think), so the quality varies. But most of the time it was a useful read.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Restby Bonnie Gray: I enjoy reading spiritual books written by people of slightly differing faiths than mine, because they tend to use vocabulary that I don’t use, which makes me look at things differently. This was definitely the case with this book, though I remain unclear as to whether the idea of spiritual white space is an concept that anyone other than Bonnie Gray talks about or if she came up with it herself. The book is very interesting- she set out to write a book about rest in God and found herself battling debilitating panic attacks for the first time in her life. As she worked with a therapist to get to the root of the attacks, she dealt with issues from her childhood and was able to find peace and rest as she allowed God to help her process them. The idea of white space is the idea of borders- that when we are stretched to our limit and feel alone, God will meet us in that border space. I’m not explaining it well, but it was a very good book.


Simply Homeschool:: Have Less Fluff and Bear More Fruitby Karen Debeus is an excellent, short read about focusing on what is truly important in homeschooling. It does have a religious base, but the concepts are sound even if you’re not religious. One of the big ideas that I took from this book that has changed our school experience is to have “Inspiration hour” first thing- where you take the arty subjects that are important to you but that tend to get pushed aside in favor of the “basics”, and do them very first thing in the day. Absolutely wonderful.

Murder and Mendelssohnby Kerry Greenwood is the 20th book in the Phryne Fisher series. Phryne is an outrageous, rule breaking, intelligent woman in 1920s Australia, and in this book she is called in to help solve the death of a much hated choral conductor. The mystery is fun (though in Greenwood fashion, there is no way to solve who did it until the end, because all the information isn’t there) and the progression of some of the secondary characters is great.

The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn’t, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar (The Parasol Protectorate Book 6) by Gail Carriger is a very short story about Alexia Tarabotti’s (from The Parasol Protectorate books) father. It’s a quick, fun little romp and I highly enjoyed it.

In July and August combined, I read a total of just over 1000 pages, which is slightly appalling. I did start a bunch of books that I didn’t finish, so there were uncounted pages in there, but still.

The girls and I read a few books aloud over those months as well.

Here Be Monsters! (The Ratbridge Chronicles) by Alan Snow is the book that the new movie The Boxtrolls is loosely based on. It is a crazy, delightful adventure with pirates, trolls that wear boxes, people that wear cabbages on their heads, rabbit women, and villains that nefariously hunt cheeses. It is absurd and wonderful.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boyby Karen Foxlee is not a book that I necessarily would have read to the girls yet if I had read it ahead of time- I think I would have figured they weren’t ready for it yet. But even though some parts were scary, it was such the perfect book for right now. Ophelia is a little girl with a lot of worries and fears. Her mother died three months before, and no one is talking about it. She deals with her fears by approaching everything very logically and scientifically, and when she stumbles across a secret door in a museum, behind which a magical boy is trapped, she knows that none of it can be real. She finds herself helping him anyway, and soon is at the middle of a fight to save the world.

This book is beyond wonderful. The writing is lovely, the characters are flawed and real. Ophelia is constantly scared, but continues to summon up the courage she needs to face the next obstacle. She is an incredible role model, especially for the anxiety ridden among us. The book deals with grief in a lovely, age appropriate way, and I was very moved by it.

She had expected magic to be very clean and powerful, but instead it was messy and uncomfortable and full of decisions.

She had expected magic to be simple and tidy, with people disappearing in puffs of smoke- not slowly, by degrees, in a lonely, aching way.

My book total at the end of August is 65. This month’s reading is already looking much more promising.

What are you reading?

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