Y'all, sometimes I regret making the promise to be honest on here. Especially right now. I struggle to have to tell you that I DIDN'T DO IT. One month in and I couldn't get them all read! Want to hear my excuse? Two of the four books I picked turned out to be way less interesting than I assumed. Don't get me wrong, they are great books, full of helpful information and good insight, but they didn't necessarily fit into my life right now.
I'm sorry to let y'all down! I'm let down too! I started the year very excited for this reading adventure and I feel like someone knocked the wind out of me. What if more books on my list turn out to not fit into my life right now? I'm stuck between two answers: a) POWER THROUGH b) LET THEM GO. What's a girl to do?
It's February and I haven't even started the books for this month because I felt like I HAD to finish the January ones. I've been dreading that so much. It's not like I haven't had the time, in fact, I caught a terrible cold this week that has landed me on the couch for an embarrassing number of hours, but my disinterest in the books kept me away. This is when I thought of something my dad taught me to do in school.
Growing up, I wasn't the best test taker. Especially in math, which was ironic because my dad had been a math teacher! The tests gave me so much anxiety that a few times I even got nose bleeds. Intense, huh? Anyways, dad taught me to skip over the problems that were giving me such a hard time to make sure that I could get to all the ones I was confident I could solve. This helped my grades in math and aided in good ACT scores. It makes great sense. Do the ones you know you can get right first, then spend time on the ones you maybe were going to miss anyways.
So, I decided to do that with my books too. The two books from January that couldn't hold my interest, well, I'm going to leave them for now and come back to them later. Like I said, they are GOOD books and deserve to be read entirely. For now though, I am going to move on to some books I have been excited about reading for a good long while. We don't just abandon our goals right? When we fall down, we get back up. Perseverance is key.
So with all that said, onward to the book reviews for January!
Food Rules by Michael Pollan
If you want to live a healthy life, but get so overwhelmed by words like Paleo, Clean Eating, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole30, etc., this is the book for you. My mom recommended this book and like most of her suggestions, she hit this one out of the park! Our ancestors didn't have issues with food. It didn't consume or control their lives, few of us had great-grandparents who were obese or who fought food related illnesses. Why? Things were just simpler. That's how this book is. Simple. No gimmicks. No diets. Just some obvious suggestions for structuring a healthy diet. Treating our bodies well is SO important, but it doesn't have to be complicated. Some of Pollan's rules that were my favorite include:
- Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food
- If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't
- It's not food if it arrived from the window of your car
- Eat animals that have themselves eaten well
- The whiter the bread, the sooner you're dead
- Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks. (basically anyone other than Americans, my words, not his)
- Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does
- Leave something on your plate
- Break the rules once in a while
Each rule is a chapter and each chapter is short and to the point. Again, if you have put off beginning a healthier diet because you feel overly saturated in fads and popular dieting techniques, READ THIS BOOK. Then pick one or two rules, just one or two first, and get going. Taking care of our bodies doesn't have to, and shouldn't, be complicated. Thanks, Michael Polllan, for communicating that truth well!
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis
If you think the Chronicles of Narnia series is just for the kids, please reconsider. I have been listening to them via Audible and have so enjoyed the journey. Lewis, as many of you know, is a genius writer. The stories that take place in the magical world of Narnia reveal truths of Christ that I honestly may have missed otherwise. Lewis is one of those people that I would love to spend centuries with in heaven. I'm actually going to write a Fresh Thoughts post on my favorite excerpt from this book in two weeks, so be on the lookout for that. I know some people that don't read fiction and I feel sorry for them. I think it's healthy and I think it's fun. Couldn't most of us benefit from some whimsy on our adult lives? I give this book an A++ and I suggest, to you dear friend, that you discover the wonders of Narnia for yourselves and soon.
Make it Happen by Lara Casey
Ok, so this is one of the books I didn't finish. Mostly because Part 4 is more of a workbook to complete that helps you tackle your goals. (but, hello, this blog was my big goal, and I'm doing it) I want to say, I am grateful to Lara Casey for writing a book that is so vulnerable. This lady does what I am a HUGE fan of: she lays it all out there, the good, bad and the ugly. And by "out there" I mean at the foot of the cross. Make it Happen isn't just her story though. Casey does a great job of using her life as an example of how to "cultivate what matters" in life. She uses parts of her own life to illustrate how to get it wrong, then how to start getting it right. Another great thing about this book is how interactive it is. Casey intentionally created it to cultivate something in the readers heart. She didn't write a book that you merely read, it isn't passive one bit. Each chapter calls you to act. She forces us to pause, consider the track our lives are one, and ask if that's getting us where we really want to go. Readers are forced to ponder then answer questions like, "Am I living on purpose?" and "Am I living for what really matters?". In today's world where power and fame seem to be the end goal, Casey, someone who was striving for those exact things when she slammed the brakes and did a u-turn, dares women to live differently. If you are questioning the road you are on, if you are overwhelmed, if your relationships are drying up as you climb the ladder of success, or if you have no idea what your life goals are, I strongly suggest you pick this one up. She's going to help you find your way by pointing you to Christ first.
How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
Matthew Darling suggested this one and he's a great man with great ideas. But this is the 2nd book I didn't complete. I credit that to the phenomenal English teachers I have had throughout my life. I do plan on finishing this book this year, but I will be reading it in small doses as opposed to all in one month. When I do make it all the way through, I will write a better review of it! In the mean time, If you'd like to know more, ask my man! He found it to be very helpful and will recommend it to anyone looking to get more out of reading.