What I'm Into (January 2015 Edition)
Between a vacation at the start of the month and a doctor's ordered modified bed rest last week, I read a lot during January.
The Secret Keeper: I've lost track of how many times I've seen this book on someone's "Favorite Books of..." lists. As a result, I finally read it. To be honest, it was a VERY slow start for me. But 100 pages in, I fell in love with it. The book bounces back and forth between WWII and present day and I must say, I enjoyed the chapters set in WWII far more than the ones set in present day. Despite it's slow start, after reading The Secret Keeper, I'd definitely recommend it. I've also already requested another Kate Morton book from my library.
The Rosie Effect: Reviews describing The Rosie Effect as "twice as long and only half as good" as The Rosie Project nearly kept me from reading this book. I'm so glad I didn't let those reviews sway me. As with The Rosie Project, I consistently found myself laughing aloud throughout this book, which chronicles Don and Rosie's journey through pregnancy into parenthood. No doubt, I also especially related to this book since I, too, am pregnant.
The Ship of Brides and Silver Bay by JoJo Moyes: Books by JoJo Moyes have landed on My Favorite Books of lists for the last two years. So when I saw that two of her earlier books were finally available in the US, I eagerly devoured them. While I enjoyed both, neither are as good as Moyes' later books, making her evolution as an author readily apparent.
A Fall of Marigolds: This is probably my favorite book from January. It bounces back and forth between Ellis Island in the early 1900s and New York City in the 10 years following September 11. The characters are captivating and the story was woven together well. Though this is the first book I've read by Susan Meissner, it certainly won't be my last.
Other fiction books I read in January:
Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand: A quick, easy Christmasy read that won't take you longer than a couple hours to read.
The Escape by David Baldacci: The third John Puller novel. Worth reading, but nothing extraordinary.
Betrayed by Lisa Scottoline: The second book about the all-female legal team of Rosato & DiNunzio. While I enjoyed a plot line involving immigration issues, this is definitely not Scottoline's best.
Since I'll eventually review most of these in greater depth on this blog, I'll just mention them in passing.
Stitches: A handbook on meaning, hope, and repair by Anne Lamott: This book has sat in my "to-read" pile for over a year, since I attended her book signing late in 2013. In my search for hope following my recent pregnancy scare, I grabbed it. Like Help Thanks Wow, this book is short; It can be read in a couple of hours. However, I didn't find it nearly as good as Lamott's other books.
The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggemann: I read this book for work and thoroughly enjoyed the discussions it prompted with my colleagues. It's the first book I've read by Brueggemann and it certainly won't be the last. This man is brilliant.
Jesus Prom: Life Gets Fun When You Love People Like God Does by Jon Weece: You can read my review here.
The Girl's Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World by Liz Curtis Higgs: I read this book in preparation for my high school youth ministry's winter retreat on Ruth. It's an enjoyable, quick read with a high level of scholarship. However, I guarantee it would annoy any male who dared open it.
TV: Madam Secretary, Top Chef, Project Runway All Stars, and of course, Downton Abbey
Movies: While on vacation we saw the final installment of The Hobbit (my husband loved it; I tolerated it); Annie (What a disaster); and Into the Woods (loved!) We also took my parents to see Unbroken, which I thought overemphasized brutality and underemphasized redemption. This month we also saw Wild (which I enjoyed, but my husband tolerated) and The Theory of Everything. Somehow, I never realized the disease Stephen Hawking's has is ALS . Had I, I honestly would have skipped this movie. That said, it's incredibly well-acted and well-written.
Things I love:
Winter Retreats that combine fun with thought-provoking discussions, extended time for prayer, and genuine faith formation.
Sharing the research published in The Jesus Gap with youth others, most recently at a network of local youth workers hosted by Leader Treks.
Taking a snowy afternoon to revise the table of contents for the Jesus Gap Student Devotional, which we anticipate being released in early 2016.
Carrying on the family tradition of making pasties with Mom.
A growing belly (23 weeks in this pic) and feeling the increased movement of the little one (and yes, my Christmas tree is still up. Don't laugh.)
I'm linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I'm into this month. You can join the conversation here.