One of my goals for this year is to read 50+ books. I posted the complete list of everything I read in 2014 at the end of last year, but as the months of 2015 go by, I'll share what I'm reading and some of my thoughts about each one. As a total side note, I used to be one of those people who forced my way through books just to get to the end and say I read it...but no longer. If I don't love (or even like!) a book after I've gotten a few chapters or pages in, I'm giving myself permission and freedom to stop reading and move on to something I enjoy. Life's too short to read books you hate.
This month, I read four books that I absolutely LOVED. Here they are:
How to be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, and Sophie Mas. // "Take the time to talk to the elderly lady next door, to read a book, to walk to work instead of riding the subway when it’s a beautiful day. Take the time to escape for a weekend with friends. Take the time to listen and to get to know yourself. Take the time to change, to grow, to rest. Take the time to say yes, take the time to say no. Take the time to be quiet. Take the time to look after your body, to eat well. Take the time to ask yourself who you are and what you want.”
This book was one I had seen in countless Instagrams from cool, trendy people I follow...and that's 100% of the reason why I picked it up. I loved my trip to Paris back in 2010, and was curious about what this book would really be about. I loved it. It's a fun, light-hearted read jam-packed with quotable wisdom and punchy little takeaway nuggets. It truly made me want to embrace the Parisian lifestyle...this book is a perfect Sunday afternoon coffeeshop read (which explains all the Instagrams...)
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible With Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin. // "...Finding greater pleasure in God will not result from pursuing more experiences of him, but from knowing him better. It will result from making a study of the Godhead."
This book is practical, insightful, and a simply convicting reminder to dive into the Word fully. This is one that hasn't left my bedside table-- I refer back to it often and love the plan Wilkin lays out for Bible study. Women-- this is excellent. (Read more of my thoughts here.)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. // "'I like good strong words that mean something,' replied Jo."
This book was my all-time favorite book as a kid, and when I found this gorgeous copy at my favorite Richmond used bookstore, I bought it without hesitation. I remembered much more of it than I was expecting to, but I was surprised when I came to the end and none of the sisters had gotten married and all of them were still alive...until I realized this old version was only just part one of what eventually became two parts joined together as one novel in more recent editions. So, I found my other copy on my bookshelf and finished part two, which concluded much more like I remembered! This book is such a classic and it's just so good. If you haven't ever read it, you need to.
Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider. // "Perhaps none of us were actually made to live a hurried life. Perhaps a desire to live slowly and intentionally resonated deeply in the core DNA of just about all of us.”
This book was on my Amazon wish list for well over a year, and I would move it in and out of my cart, always interested in reading it but never feeling quite motivated enough to pull the trigger. The new year was the push I needed to go ahead and buy it, and from the first few pages, I knew why. I needed to read this book in this season of my life, when my plate is full and my heart feels pulled in a million different directions and everything within me is craving stillness and silence and selah. This book was like a drink of cool water-- refreshing and encouraging and such a sweet, necessary reminder to slow down enough to live the life I know my soul and mind and heart and body need. It's heartfelt advice woven throughout snippets and stories of Tsh's own life with her family, and it inspired me to immediately make positive life changes...so good.