I read a lot, like a lot a lot.
We do read alouds for our homeschool every morning and some evenings.
I always have several books on my Kindle app or nightstand or side table, throughout the house, really.
I love exploring new concepts in history or self-help and reading fiction with my kids.
I try to intersperse fun fiction reads. There are no fluffy, bad, or wrong books. There are just preferences.
I read lots of books. It tends to go in waves depending on what’s going on in my life, how busy we are, my moods and availability of library eBooks. I think I notice themes each year that help me grow and become a better person, wife, mom.
I tried and quit reading Gilead multiple times. I don’t like quitting, but I really loathed the book, the characters, and story. I couldn’t find any reason to finish. Some books I read in a single evening. Others take a few days or even weeks.
My Favorite Books I Read in 2021
Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez
A sweeping, revisionist history of the last seventy-five years of white evangelicalism, revealing how evangelicals have worked to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism.
This was an enlightening book explaining many historical events and helped me make connections during my lifetime.
The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
I really enjoyed this book and the film was ok too. I love Amy Adams and she did a great portrayal.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
I love, love, love all the books by Matt Haig and this one was very interesting and thought provoking. I have The Comfort Book on my list to read.
Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker
Ware can’t wait to spend summer “off in his own world”—dreaming of knights in the Middle Ages and generally being left alone. But then his parents sign him up for dreaded Rec camp, where he must endure Meaningful Social Interaction and whatever activities so-called “normal” kids do.
On his first day Ware meets Jolene, a tough, secretive girl planting a garden in the rubble of an abandoned church next to the camp. Soon he starts skipping Rec, creating a castle-like space of his own in the church lot.
Jolene scoffs, calling him a dreamer—he doesn’t live in the “real world” like she does. As different as Ware and Jolene are, though, they have one thing in common: for them, the lot is a refuge.
But when their sanctuary is threatened, Ware looks to the knights’ Code of Chivalry: Thou shalt do battle against unfairness wherever faced with it. Thou shalt be always the champion of the Right and Good—and vows to save the lot.
But what does a hero look like in real life? And what can two misfit kids do?
I love this author and this book was so, so sweet and lovely. We enjoyed the characters and were so sad when it ended.
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents by Lindsay C. Gibson
In this breakthrough book, clinical psychologist Lindsay Gibson exposes the destructive nature of parents who are emotionally immature or unavailable. You will see how these parents create a sense of neglect, and discover ways to heal from the pain and confusion caused by your childhood. By freeing yourself from your parents’ emotional immaturity, you can recover your true nature, control how you react to them, and avoid disappointment. Finally, you’ll learn how to create positive, new relationships so you can build a better life.
Discover the four types of difficult parents:
- The emotional parent instills feelings of instability and anxiety
- The driven parent stays busy trying to perfect everything and everyone
- The passive parent avoids dealing with anything upsetting
- The rejecting parent is withdrawn, dismissive, and derogatory
This book was helpful for me understanding my parents and making sure not to make similar mistakes with my own children.
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. From the mind of Chuck Wendig comes an astonishing tapestry of humanity that Harlan Coben calls “a suspenseful, twisty, satisfying, surprising, thought-provoking epic.”
Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And, like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.
For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them—and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them—the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart—or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
This was a prophetic book and very disturbing. Eye opening into the human condition.
Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Overwork is the new normal. Rest is something to do when the important things are done-but they are never done. Looking at different forms of rest, from sleep to vacation, Silicon Valley futurist and business consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang dispels the myth that the harder we work the better the outcome. He combines rigorous scientific research with a rich array of examples of writers, painters, and thinkers—from Darwin to Stephen King—to challenge our tendency to see work and relaxation as antithetical.
I am constantly searching for confirmation bias that we are counter-cultural in our seeking to be out of the rat race.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change for ever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.
This book was very emotional. I am still disturbed by the ending and keep trying to figure it out in my head.
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
In a near-future world beset by war, climate change, and overpopulation, Portland resident George Orr discovers that his dreams have the power to alter reality. Upon waking, the world he knew has become a strange, barely recognizable place, where only George has a clear memory of how it was before. Seeking escape from these “effective dreams,” George eventually turns to behavioral psychologist Dr. William Haber for a cure. But Haber has other ideas in mind.
Seeing the profound power of George’s dreams, Haber believes it must be harnessed for the greater good—no matter the cost. Soon, George is a pawn in Haber’s dangerous game, where the fate of humanity grows more imperiled with every waking hour.
Whew, this book gave me nightmares. It has stayed with me all year. So disturbing on many counts.
Recipes for a Sacred Life: True Stories and a Few Miracles by Rivvy Neshama
On a dark winter night with little to do, Rivvy Neshama took a “Find Your Highest Purpose” quiz. And the funny thing was, she found it: to live a sacred life. Problem was, she didn’t know how.
But she set out to learn. And in the weeks and months that followed, she began to remember and encounter all the people and experiences featured in this book—from her father’s jokes to her mother’s prayers, from Billie in Harlem to a stranger in Salzburg, and from warm tortillas to the humble oatmeal. Each became a story, like a recipe passed down, beginning with her mother and her simple toast to life.
I enjoyed reading these snippets of wisdom gleaned from seeking a sacred life.
A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler
Barnaby Gaitlin has been in trouble ever since adolescence. He had this habit of breaking into other people’s houses. It wasn’t the big loot he was after, like his teenage cohorts. It was just that he liked to read other people’s mail, pore over their family photo albums, and appropriate a few of their precious mementos.
I keep thinking about how real and relatable the characters are. I highlighted so many lovely phrases and wish I had more to the story.
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over—she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…
I just cannot quit thinking about this book. What would it be like if I forgot the last ten years? What if I could go back to then? Would I even really want to? But what could I incorporate about that younger, more innocent self into the jaded me right now?
You might also like:
- My Favorite Books 2020
- My Favorite Books 2019
- My Favorite Books 2018
- My Favorite Life Changing Books
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