This post may contain affiliate links, you can read my affiliate disclosure here.
The Books I Read in September
Well, September was a good reading month! I read eleven books and in this round-up I’m also including one that I finished October 1st – Girl, Wash Your Face, because there are so many conflicting and controversial thoughts and reviews on it and I wanted to share my opinion on it.
I also learned a lot about myself as a reader this month.
For the first time ever I decided to stop being a person who quits books. I quit a lot of books in August and ended up feeling blah about my reading. I didn’t quit any in September and felt fired up about reading.
I have also made the decision to stop requesting books from the library for myself. I own a number of books that I’ve never read and I always put them off and give more priority to library books with the mindset that my books will always be there and I only have my library books for three weeks. But I don’t buy every single book, I only buy the ones I really want to read so they should really take priority, right?!
So my reading goals for the next year are to finish books and read books that I own.
Disclaimer: this does not mean I will stop buying books – if I find books that I want to read at a good price at a thrift store or used bookstore I’m definitely still going to snatch them up.
You can check out all my reading wrap ups here.
Oh, I also discovered some amazing YouTubers who talk about books! I may have spent a few hours watching their videos this month . . . My favorite channel has been Lucy the Reader – she is only 18 (or maybe 19) and has read so many classics. I pretty much haven’t read any of the ones she talks about and I feel like we would have very different tastes but I still really enjoy and appreciate her videos. Also, she has completely inspired me to read more classics, I think that should be evident in future reading wrap ups, it has definitely inspired my recent book purchases.
One other thing about books, this month I made a Reading Journal – a book tracker. It’s been a nice way to keep my lists of books I’ve read each month plus I love giving each book a star rating.
I think the monthly lists of books read will be so nice to look back on at the end of the year. I usually keep track of my books on Good Reads as well (though I haven’t been good at updating it much this month) but I do prefer this visual tracker.
Okay, that was enough of an intro, let’s get into this month’s books!
I have been listening to Heidi St. John’s podcast The Busy Mom for awhile now and really appreciate her and admire her willingness to take a counter-cultural stance on topics. I liked this book, though I thoroughly enjoyed the second half more than the first and I think this is solely just because of the mood that I was in when I was reading the first half (just kind of off) verses the second. I hope to re-read it again in the future.
If you’re like many Christian moms today, you’ve been reading the headlines and watching the rapid-fire changes in our culture with frustration and fear. Let’s face it: Moms today are facing questions that previous generations didn’t even see coming, and even our right to determine what is best for our own children is under fire. Popular speaker and blogger Heidi St. John (The Busy Mom) believes that today’s mothers need a special kind of strength. We need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We dare not rely on human strength for the battles we’re facing right now. In Becoming MomStrong, Heidi has a powerful message just for you―the mom in the midst of it all. Through encouragement, practical prayer points, and authentic “me-too” moments, Heidi equips you for a job that only you can do: to train your children to hear God’s voice and to walk in truth no matter where our culture is heading. God wants to use this generation of mothers to do something extraordinary:
- To be strong in the Lord
- To know who you are in Christ, and
- To impart that strength to your kids.
In other words, He wants you to be MomStrong! So if you’re feeling tired or inadequate today, get ready to find new strength as you join Heidi St. John in Becoming MomStrong.
Let me start off by saying that I loved Shauna’s writing before she was even popular. Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet are still two of my all time favorite books but I started reading Present Over Perfect at least two or three times before I actually was able to get through it. For some reason this book just took me longer to get into and I wonder if it’s partly because I listened to this one instead of sitting down and reading it? That being said, I just checked and I purchased the Kindle book over two years ago but never actually read it, so I’m not sure if the audio has anything to do with it. But once I got a little farther into it I really enjoyed the book. It may just be that I needed to be in a bit of a different season in life to fully enjoy this one? I’m not sure.
Present Over Perfect
In these pages, New York Times bestselling author Shauna Niequist invites you to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.
As she puts it: “A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.
“I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, writer, and I know all too well that settling feeling. But over the course of the last few years, I’ve learned a way to live, marked by grace, love, rest, and play. And it’s changing everything.
“Present Over Perfect is an invitation to this journey that changed my life. I’ll walk this path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth.”
I read most of this one in August but finished it at the beginning of September, this was September online book club that I hosted over here on the blog. It has some good practical advice for simplifying and enjoying your kids’ childhood and it can be a great reminder for a person like myself who is always looking forward to the future.
Today’s busier, faster society is waging an undeclared war on childhood. With too much stuff, too many choices, and too little time, children can become anxious, have trouble with friends and school, or even be diagnosed with behavioral problems. Now internationally renowned family consultant Kim John Payne helps parents reclaim for their children the space and freedom that all kids need for their attention to deepen and their individuality to flourish. Simplicity Parenting offers inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change:
• Streamline your home environment. Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter—as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload.
• Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your child is overwhelmed.
• Schedule a break in the schedule. Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child’s daily torrent of constant doing.
• Scale back on media and parental involvement. Manage your children’s “screen time” to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation.
A manifesto for protecting the grace of childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children.
I have plans to eventually read the entire Home Education series by Charlotte Mason but plan on reading on volume every few months. To be honest this book wasn’t as good as I was expecting. It was good, just not great. Plus there is some funny late 1800’s medical advice that a person obviously has to skim over, it was a good reminder at how much medicine has advanced in the last 150 years. In October or November I hope to jump to Volume 6 – A Philosophy of Education.
Home Education – Charlotte Mason – Volume 1
Originally published in the late 1800’s this is Charlotte Mason’s first volume in her Home Education series.
This book came highly recommended to me and to be honest, I was a little afraid to start it. I was worried it would be one big guilt trip because my husband and I both work on the computer/internet our children definitely do use screens, but I didn’t get that vibe from the book at all. It did make me wish that maybe we would have held off on screen time a little longer but I’m honestly okay with the amount of screens our kids use, we try to limit it and because we homeschool I feel like we can actually do that. I am always surprised to hear how much screen times kids are getting in school these days and then most of them come home and have more screen time, I like being able to know what they are all doing on screens and how much time they are using them for.
The Tech-Wise Family
Making conscientious choices about technology in our families is more than just using internet filters and determining screen time limits for our children. It’s about developing wisdom, character, and courage in the way we use digital media rather than accepting technology’s promises of ease, instant gratification, and the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. And it’s definitely not just about the kids.
Drawing on in-depth original research from the Barna Group, Andy Crouch shows readers that the choices we make about technology have consequences we may never have considered. He takes readers beyond the typical questions of what, where, and when and instead challenges them to answer provocative questions like, Who do we want to be as a family? and How does our use of a particular technology move us closer or farther away from that goal? Anyone who has felt their family relationships suffer or their time slip away amid technology’s distractions will find in this book a path forward to reclaiming their real life in a world of devices.
The Kindle version of this book was on sale and recommended by a friend of our so I read it. It was a short read and really reminded me a lot of The Art of Neighboring. It’s one of those books that is good to read but totally useless unless you follow through.
The Simplest Way to Change the World
Deep down, every Christian wants to make a difference. But for many of us, the years come and go and we never do. The good news is: change can be as simple as opening your front door.
The Simplest Way to Change the World is about biblical hospitality and its power for the gospel. Since people will sooner enter a living room than a church, hospitality is a natural and effective way to build relationships for Christ. You’ll learn:
- How the home can be a hub for community
- How hospitality leads to joy, purpose, and belonging
- How it grows families to love the things of God
- How it’s not about being the perfect host
- How to be hospitable regardless of your living space
Hospitality is a beautiful legacy of the church, and a great way to make disciples. As you open your life up to others, you share in the very character of God and experience His joy. And you get to witness lives change—including your own.
Technically I finished this book October 1st but because it is apparently such a controversial book I wanted to include my review this month. Let me start off by saying that this book was recommended to me by one of my librarians and I had absolutely no idea going into it that it was marketed as a Christian book which I think gave me entirely different expectations than a lot of other people. I enjoyed this book the same way I enjoyed Mindy Kaling’s, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – it was entertaining and memoir-ish with some decent practical advice but there is no way I would consider this a “Christian” book and I think the fact that it is marketed as such can be very dangerous. Her ultimate message throughout the book is one of self-love and how we (as women) are “enough”, when in reality, we aren’t enough and that’s why we need Jesus. It’s interesting because when I was giving the book stars out of 5 in my reading log I ended up giving the book 2/5, if this book had been a non-Christian book I probably would have ranked it higher because I would give allowances based on the fact that the author isn’t professing to be a Christian, but because she claims she is I think I rated it lower because I think it can be very dangerous for Christian women to read the book and potentially take everything she reads as truth, where an obviously non-Christian book we tend to read with a different filter on.
Phew! Hopefully all that ramble made sense!
Girl, Wash Your Face
As the founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com and CEO of her own media company, Rachel Hollis developed an immense online community by sharing tips for better living while fearlessly revealing the messiness of her own life. Now, in this challenging and inspiring new book, Rachel exposes the twenty lies and misconceptions that too often hold us back from living joyfully and productively, lies we ve told ourselves so often we don t even hear them anymore.
With painful honesty and fearless humor, Rachel unpacks and examines the falsehoods that once left her feeling overwhelmed and unworthy, and reveals the specific practical strategies that helped her move past them. In the process, she encourages, entertains, and even kicks a little butt, all to convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.
With unflinching faith and rock-hard tenacity, Girl, Wash Your Face shows you how to live with passion and hustle–and how to give yourself grace without giving up.
We had to read this book in high school and I did not enjoy it. Other than the vague recollection that I didn’t enjoy it I only remembered the fact that he climbed a mountain. I had no intentions of reading it ever again but then I was talking about historical fiction books with a friend and she raved about this book and because I highly value her opinions and suggestions I took a chance and re-read it. Turns out it’s really good! But, I do partly understand why I didn’t enjoy it in high school, I think I just had no idea what was going on. The book opens up and just jumps right in and if you have zero WWII knowledge like me in high school you will have no idea what is happening.
I Am David
David’s entire twelve-year life has been spent in a grisly prison camp in Eastern Europe. He knows nothing of the outside world. But when he is given the chance to escape, he seizes it. With his vengeful enemies hot on his heels, David struggles to cope in this strange new world, where his only resources are a compass, a few crusts of bread, his two aching feet, and some vague advice to seek refuge in Denmark. Is that enough to survive?
David’s extraordinary odyssey is dramatically chronicled in Anne Holm’s classic about the meaning of freedom and the power of hope.
This was my library book club this month. While I didn’t really enjoy the book I appreciated two things: this was the book that taught me the benefits of finishing a book and it made me look up so much history! One of the things I didn’t like about this book was because it was fairly historically inaccurate but at the same time, I figured those things out because I was researching stuff while I was reading it. Oh, plus, it’s like 650 pages. I have no problem reading a long book if it’s good but this book felt excessively long. It should have been 250 pages max.
That all being said, this book did make me want to read more about the Tudor period. Even historical fiction from the time, but this time I am going to try reading something by Alison Weir that is more factual historical fiction.
The Other Boleyn Girl
When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.
At the beginning of the year I shared that I wanted to read a lot of C.S. Lewis this year, um, that hasn’t happened so far but I did finally check this one off my list!
The Screwtape Letters
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.
This one is my classics book club book for November, um, the fact that I read it two months early should show my opinion of it. I love Agatha Christie’s books and this one is no different. I think I’ve read about five of her books so far and this one has made me decide that I want to read them all.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with an apparent drug overdose.
However the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information, but before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death. Luckily one of Roger’s friends and the newest resident to retire to this normally quiet village takes over—none other than Monsieur Hercule Poirot.
This year I also wanted to read all of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock stories. I started them in January/February and then didn’t pick them up again until September. I have a huge 1000+ page edition of the Complete Sherlock stories and The Sign of the Four is the second story in there. Not one of my favorites (I prefer the shorter stories in the Adventures and Memoirs), but I still really like his writing style.
The Sign of the Four
“The Sign of the Four” has a complex plot involving service in East India Company, India, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a stolen treasure, and a secret pact among four convicts (“the Four” of the title) and two corrupt prison guards. It presents the detective’s drug habit and humanizes him in a way that had not been done in the preceding novel, “A Study in Scarlet” (1887)
What a reading month September was! I can’t wait to read more great books this month!