My November 2016 Reads

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November, you were quite a month. I'm always glad for the prompting to focus more on gratitude, especially while in a season that's been challenging in a lot of different ways for me personally. I read some great books this month and a few duds too, but I'm getting closer to that increased goal of 150 for the year with each book (only 8 more to go!), so I'm calling that a win regardless!

Here's what I read this November:


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Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor

MY RATING: 5/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: I could not have loved this book more. After talking to a close friend (who happens to be a pastor at my church, an author, and one of the wisest women I know) about feeling like I was in a dark season, this surprise showed up on my doorstep. Such a gift. The words in this book just resonated SO deeply and in the most beautiful, poetic, personal, and meaningful way. I cannot praise this one enough. I've never read a book that just made it all make so much sense and also showed me how beautiful the darkness can be. I'll forever be singing the praises of this book. If you feel like you're in a season of darkness or depression or anxiety of any kind, please pick this one up. I'll even mail you a copy! It's that good and I want you to read it that badly.


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Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines by David Mathis

MY RATING: 3/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: This was a grab from the pile of books we get from publishers at work, and it was a great look at a variety of spiritual disciplines and how they can help us grow and mature in our faith. I wasn't overly obsessed with it and found myself skipping ahead at a few points, but it's a great overview book (he admittedly says SO much more could be written about each discipline, but that his intention wasn't to do deep dives into all of them) and one I would definitely pass along to friends wanting to get intentional about the way they live out their faith.


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Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair by Anne Lamott

MY RATING: 4/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: I'm a major Anne Lamott fan. (Anybody else get SUPER excited by her recent romance news?! So happy for her!) I found this one at my local library's annual book sale (aka a wonderful, magical place where shelves and shelves are books are super cheap) and was so glad to finally snag it! I've read so much from her and almost always LOVE it (Bird by Bird is the exception) like I did this one. You can't go wrong with Lamott's faith-based nonfiction. You just can't.


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Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange

MY RATING: 3/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: This was another one I grabbed from my library's annual book sale and read quickly on a particularly sunny and warm random November day. If you're a Pride and Prejudice fan, you'll find this one fun, but don't expect anything especially mind-blowing, deep, or brilliantly written. It's fun, light-hearted, easy to read, and interesting to picture the familiar P&P storyline from Darcy's point of view.


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We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

MY RATING: 4/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: After reading Americanah, I knew I wanted to read more from Adichie. I loved this little (literally, SO small) book based on her TED talk -- I never grew up hearing about feminism but now strongly identify as one, and loved the points presented in this book. Definitely worth a read or a watch!


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The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

MY RATING: 4/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: I'm still trying to figure this one out and wrap my mind around the ending, which is a good sign for a thriller. I appreciated the way this one unfolded even though it felt a little slow at parts, and I was so engrossed in it the whole way through. Definitely recommend this one!

IN ADDITION: I'm (still) obsessed with Book of the Month Club. If you haven't signed up, you can get three months for under $10 each PLUS a free tote -- it's so worth it. Just go here!


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Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World by Bob Torres and Jenna Torres

MY RATING: 5/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: I read this one for #COLLABOREADS this month -- find my review here!


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Calm my Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow

MY RATING: 2/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: A new friend recommended this one to me after I wrote about the season of darkness and depression I was (am?) in, and I snagged it for a few bucks on ThriftBooks (seriously, the BEST for cheap scores on books-- you get 15% off on top of that if you haven't shopped there before!). It didn't blow me away, and a lot of it felt kinda light and fluffy and not really as meaty and heartfelt as I was hoping for. I enjoyed parts of it and found a few passages to be encouraging, but overall, this one didn't really impress me much. (I struggle with Christian women writers a lot, so don't take that too seriously. This one's clearly popular, so it's probably just me.)


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Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis by George Sayer

MY RATING: 2/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: I was bummed by this one. A friend asked why I gave it 2 stars, and here's what I said: "I love Lewis. (No secret.) But.... I could NOT get into that bio. It just wasn't really very engaging, it wasn't terribly interesting, and I just STRUGGLED to keep reading it. I've been "reading" it for probably like 3 months, and only got about half way... which should tell you a lot considering how much I read and how fast I read. I just really couldn't get into it. I'm planning to revisit it at a later date (I often think timing/life/etc can affect a book's reading) but it just really wasn't as great and fascinating as I had hoped. Don't not read it because of me! You might love it. Just wasn't what I was hoping it would be or expecting it to be." SO, that's that.


Alexander Hamilton's Guide to Life by Jeff Wilser

MY RATING: 4/5 stars

MY THOUGHTS: I am a HUGE fan of the Hamilton craze that's sweeping the nation. I can't get enough of the soundtrack, and I'm slowly making my way through the Chernow biography, but was so excited to see this book pop up! It's a perfect read for any Hamilton fan (or anyone who wants to know what this whole Hamilton thing is all about) -- witty, fast-paced, conversational, informative and entertaining at the same time, and really well-written. I didn't want to put it down! If the huge bio intimidates you, this is a perfect book for you. It isn't your typical stuffy and boring biography, but really a fun, fresh twist that includes many of Hamilton's own maxims alongside awesome biographical content. Loved this one!

IN ADDITION: I received this one from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review, but you should know by now I'll never be anything but totally honest always.


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