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 have currently read 2 books in May 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).
April (pt 3)
41.The Mom Project: 21 Days to a More Connected Family by Kathi Lipp
This book offers twenty-one ideas for connecting with your kids ranging from family game night to serving together to having one-on-one date nights with kids. It is practical suggestions including ways to open up dialogue with kids ranging from toddlers to teens. It offers specific advice for single parents, divorced parents, blended families, and parents of teens including ways to connect with specific personality types (quiz included).
I appreciated the encouragement to not always have a one-size-fits-all approach to connecting and consider my children’s unique personalities and interests. None of the suggestions were mind-blowing, but it did give me new things to try. It also helped me to feel like I am already doing a great job of connecting with my kids by affirming things I do with them regularly.
42.The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Rec)
Monique Grant is requested to interview Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo for her magazine about some gowns Hugo is auctioning off to raise money for breast cancer research. Monique learns that Evelyn actually wants her to write a biography of her life. Evelyn shares the stories behind having seven husbands during her life including divulging who was the love of her life.
There’s a lot more to this story but I don’t want to give any spoilers. Just know that the book will suck you in and have you reading the book whenever you can. I found myself thinking about Evelyn and the book when I wasn’t reading, trying to reconcile everything I had learned. The book reminds you that there’s often a lot more to a story than meets the eye and people are often a mix of saint and sinner. The content of the book will probably not appear to everyone, but if you like delving into what behind-the-scenes Hollywood in the last half of the 20th century might have been like and are intrigued as to how a person might have seven spouses, I recommend this book. It’s one I will be thinking about for awhile.
43.The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon * (DiF) (Fav)
Daniel has an interview with a Yale alum today but doesn’t want to be a doctor like his Korean parents are pushing him to do. He decides to let fate take him where it wants as he kills time before the interview.
Natasha is an undocumented Jamaican immigrant who is spending her possible last day in the US before deportation trying to stay in the country she’s called home the past nine years.
Daniel and Natasha meet and Daniel feels like they were meant-to-be while Natasha doesn’t believe in love; she believes in science. Daniel invites her to participate in an experiment to see if science can make them fall in love.
It’s a sweet, heartbreaking story. I was thoroughly engaged from beginning to end. A great summer read. I would definitely recommend this one.
44.Enough: Silencing the Lies That Steal Your Confidence by Sharon Jaynes
This was a very practical book about recognizing the lies you believe about yourself or God and refuting them with the truth found in God’s word. I have become more aware of the lies I have been believing and wanted to learn scripture that speaks the truth about who God made me and says I am. This book provides a lot of encouragement and scripture to help equip us all to fight the enemy’s lies.
The end of the book has a whole section of lies we might believe and specific scriptures that speak the truth. There is also a Bible study to go through the book with a group and make even more personal application to the content.
45.The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton * (DiF) (NF)
This is the story of Anthony Ray Hinton, an African-American man born in Alabama in 1956. It takes about his early life and then details his arrest and trial for several crimes he didn’t commit, showing the prejudice of the court and jury that led to him being convicted and sentenced to death by electrocution. Most of the book takes about his time on death row and his various lawyers and appeals processes. After 30 years on death row, he received his freedom.
It was horrifying to read how corrupt and racist the people involved in his trial were. I didn’t realize how poor of legal counsel those without money might receive. The purpose of the book was to help us see the terribleness of the death penalty, especially when it appears at least one out of ten death row inmates are innocent.
Ray’s life and his ability to forgive and offer love and grace to others are really convicting. Hope, love, and grace are what everyone needs and we have the ability to offer it. Ray’s faith and courage and attitude are inspirational.
46.Steal Away Home by Billy Coffey
Owen Cross is in NYC to be the backup catcher for the Orioles, his first (and possibly only) day as a major league player. As he prepares for and sits in the dugout for the game against the Yankees he thinks about all that has happened to bring him here including the life-changing spring and summer of/after his senior year of high school.
I enjoyed the way the story was broken up into the present day game’s innings. It is a nice summer read that reminds us of our need for a love that will never fail us.
47.In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham (1D)
This was an expansion on a graduation speech Lauren Graham gave to her former high school. It was a quick read that offers encouragement to all who have dreams they’d like to achieve. She reminds us that achievement will not make us ultimately happy, but being comfortable with ourselves and enjoying where we are might help us get there anyway. If not, at least we did something we thought was important and worthwhile with our lives.
48.Storm Surge by Christy Barritt (Fav)
Cassidy Livingston notices a raft has washed up on shore with a bloody cloth in it. She wonders who the desperate travelers are to risk their lives with such a flimsy boat. She soon discovers their identity and helps try to protect them from the danger they’re in.
Can Cassidy help save the women without revealing her true identity? What is she going to do about her neighbor Ty, whom she likes but doesn’t want to hurt when she leaves the area in a few months?
I was sucked in quickly and didn’t want to put it down. I am enjoying this series and looking forward to reading the next installment!
49.Dangerous Waters by Christy Barritt (Fav)
Cassidy Livingston is enjoying life in Lantern Beach with her friends and boyfriend. In town one morning she thinks she spots someone from her past, one of Raul’s right-hand men. She plans to leave town but can’t bear to leave Ty so she decided to trust him with the truth. Together they try to figure out if it really is Orion here to kill Cassidy/Cady.
I zoomed through this one, anxious to find out whether it was Orion or a doppelganger. It opened up a new mystery that I have a hunch about so I am curious to see if it’s confirmed in future books. Unfortunately, the next book is not yet available so I’m in limbo until its release. This is a great series (like her others)!
50.In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character by Jen Wilkin
In this book, we are reminded that, as image bearers of God, we are called to reflect characteristics of God. The book discusses ten in-depth – holy, loving, just, good, merciful, patient, graceful, truthful, faithful, and wise – and encourages us with ways we can better reflect God to others. The end of each chapter has questions for reflection and a prayer prompt.
I enjoyed reading more in-depth on each of the ten qualities and receiving insight on what they look like reflected in us. I enjoyed that the opposite of each quality was discussed as well. I would recommend this book if you are looking for more insight into your purpose and how you can live a life that honors God and represents his love for the world.
Apparently, May is the month of books. I’ve been flying through them and there’s still half of the month left! Have any great summer reads I should check out?