I have several different reading goals this year. The overall goal is to read 100 books in 2018. I created an Instagram account to help me track my reading. Feel free to follow along @meganbyrdreads! The second goal is to read at least one book each month by a non-white author to expand my knowledge and perspective. A third, less pressing goal is to check off the 12 different categories of books Anne Bogel (aka ModernMrsDarcy) suggests to help vary the types of books read this year.
I read 3 books in May and 1 thus far in June by non-white authors (indicated with a *). I read the following from Anne’s list: 1) a book recommended by someone with great taste (Rec), 2) a book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion than your own (DiF), 3) a book by a favorite author (Fav), 4) a memoir, biography, or book of creative nonfiction (NF), and 5) a book you can read in a day (1D).
May (pt 2)
51.The Gospel Primer by Cesar Kalinowski
This is an 8-week study of the gospel (the Good News of God), God’s story, and your part in it. The Bible is not just a history of Christianity but a guide for how we can participate in this currently occurring story. The workbook has seven recurring parts each week including an action day to practice what is being learned and a community day to get together and discuss what is being learned.
I thoroughly enjoyed this study. I worked through it with my small group and believe that discussing it helps with accountability and feeling supported for the action steps.
I felt that I gained a better understanding of how the Bible applies to my life and the lives of those around me. I feel more empowered to reach out to others and encourage them that God loves them and has plans and a purpose for them. I would recommend this book to those wanting to have a more accurate understanding of their purpose or desire to live a more active faith.
52.The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan (NF) (Rec)
I had no idea what this book was about when I picked it up. A friend suggested I read it and I had heard the author’s name before. Kelly Corrigan is 36 with two small girls. While bathing them one evening she notices a lump in her breast. It turns out to be cancer. While going through treatment she learns that her father has bladder cancer for the second time. Kelly is torn between caring for herself and her family and wanting to care for and support her father who lives on the other side of the continent. The book is about the struggle of being a child of aging parents and at the same time being the parent of growing children. It is also an inside look into dealing with cancer and caring for loved ones with cancer.
I was very engaged in the story and read it quickly. Kelly interspersed her cancer treatment time with snapshots of childhood, early adult years, and dating her husband. I will turn 36 in a few days and I am in that middle place. I have parents on the other side of the country who are aging even as much as I try to deny it. I am also raising two children and fully immersed in that experience. This book helps me to feel that my experience is not unique, that it’s okay to do the best I can with my circumstances, and to enjoy any time I am fortunate to spend together with my family.
53. The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships by Suzanne Stabile
I have recently begun learning about the Enneagram so I was interested to read this book that talks about the interactions between numbers and how you can support friends and family of various numbers. I don’t know the numbers of friends and family so this isn’t particularly helpful to me at the moment but I could see this being a useful tool.
I acquired the book from Netgalley as an e-book so the formatting of the book was a little off and made some parts hard to read and follow. A hard copy might be easier to read (plus contain all of the graphics).
54. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Jacob is 93 years old and living in an assisted living facility. The circus is in town and causes him to think back on his early experience with the circus. He was studying to be a vet at Cornell in the spring of 1931 when his parents were both killed in a car accident right before senior final exams. Feeling lost, he wanders around until he jumps on a train and finds himself aboard the Benzini Brothers traveling circus. When they hear he’s a vet, he is welcomed into the show. It’s a wild experience that I don’t want to spoil for other readers.
I enjoyed it and was curious to see what would happen and how things would turn out.
55. Perilous Riptide by Christy Barritt (Fav)
Ty is fixing Cassidy’s ice cream truck when he finds a notebook inside. Cassidy is leafing through it and discovers Elsa, the truck’s former owner, had seen something potentially illegal the day before she died. Cassidy wants to explore this lead to find out what she might have seen and whether it could have been responsible for her death. They find a human skeleton and things get worse from there with Ty being arrested and accused of murder. Can Cassidy uncover the truth and clear Ty’s name?
It was a very intense story which also shed a little more light on the overarching story of Cassidy’s undercover life that led her to Lantern Beach. I have my own suspicions and look forward to the next book to find out if I’m right. This series is so good!
56. Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagan
I thought I had read this book before but wasn’t sure. When I started it I realized that I had (about three years ago) but thought I’d like it so decided to read it again to re-learn how it ended.
Libby finds out that she has cancer with a low chance of survival. When she arrives home to her husband crying, he thinks it’s because she knows he’s gay. She is shocked by this revelation, kicks him out of their apartment, quits her job, and decides to spend a month in Puerto Rico while she figures out what to do. Her mom died of cancer when she was young and doesn’t want her family to have to deal with it again. Will her brother be able to convince her to get treatment?
It was a very engaging and enjoyable read despite the heavy subject matter. A good mix of serious, wacky, hopeful, and a little romance.
57. Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared by Jessica Honegger (NF)
This book talks a lot about Jessica’s journey to create and grow her artisan jewelry business, Noonday. She shares her heart behind her business as well as the surprises, setbacks, missteps, and joy she has experienced.
She also encourages and empowers us who want to make an impact in our world and feel like we are part of something important and meaningful. We are prodded to consider our giftings and where our heart is pointed and look for the things we can do and opportunities that might be available to us.
Reading this book was very inspiring. It reminded me that I was created uniquely and should not compare others’ gifts and callings to my own. Working together in each of our strengths is how we can impact our communities and maybe even the world.
58. How to Fix a Broken Record: Thoughts on Vinyl Records, Awkward Relationships, and Learning to Be Myself by Amena Brown * (DiF) (NF) (1D)
Amena shares experiences from her life, dividing the sections of her book into different seasons: childhood, dating, marriage, adulthood, surrendering to God, finding home, and finding your purpose.
I appreciated her honesty and vulnerability as well as the universal truths she shared. I was encouraged as a person, woman, and Christian. I was expecting a book of poetry rather than a memoir but really enjoyed her stories and was pleasantly surprised by the understanding and relatability found in her words. I would recommend this book to women. I especially appreciated her words for married people.
59. Beartown by Fredrik Backman (BiT) (Fav)
In Beartown there are those who love and live for hockey and those who don’t understand it. Hockey and the hopeful junior team are what the community is counting on to bring businesses back to town. The team’s best player is arrested right before the team heads to the finals. Can they win without him? What will happen to him, the accuser, and the town?
I enjoyed the build-up of the story with bits of foreshadowing. I appreciated the complexity of the people and all of their inner thoughts that they don’t feel safe sharing. I was very curious to see if justice would prevail or if it would be smothered for the greater hope of the Beartown community.
60. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan * (DiF)
Rachel and Nick have been dating for almost two years. Nick invites Rachel to go on vacation with him in East Asia including a stop to meet his parents. Unbeknownst to Rachel, Nick comes from a very rich family and cultures collide as his family tries to break them up once they realize he is serious about this girl with no rich family connections. Will the stress of the trip be too much for their relationship?
I raced through this book anxious to find out what would happen next. There was a very helpful family tree I had to refer to multiple times. It was a fun summer read and an introduction to Chinese culture and family dynasties. There are two more in this series that I’m anxious to read now!
Have any new recommendations of good ones you’ve read recently?