Tuesday, October 2, 2018

September 2018 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on my reading goals, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

September News 

I miss checking in here more often and talking books with you all, but scaling back to monthly overview posts has definitely been the right choice for this moment in my life. My time is so limited these days and when I do have down time, I'm much more inclined to open a book or turn on some mindless tv than I am to put more creative energy out into the world.


September went so quickly. In part because Kevin was traveling a lot and in part because Hurricane Florence seemed to dominate existence here in the Carolinas for weeks. My parents live in Wilmington, so our family had a direct stake in a natural disaster for the first time. I was talking to my mom last night and she commented how they will never view disasters like this the same again now that they have seen it in their city. Thankfully, their house and property came through largely unscathed. It feels like a miracle in comparison to the devastation around them.

Originally, the storm was supposed to hit our area pretty badly. Kevin was actually out of town on work travel for the duration of the storm, so I hunkered down on my own. We didn't end up getting hit really at all except for one very rainy day. But, I enjoyed a quiet weekend at home with lots of books and a binge viewing of the last five Harry Potter movies. It wasn't the most exciting weekend and I was pretty ready for some human interaction at the end of it, but it was a nice break from reality. Plus, I got some great reading in!

Friday, August 31, 2018

August 2018 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on my reading goals, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

August News 

Hello, friends! It feels like it's been so long. It's been a whole month since I last posted. I ended July with a resolution to find more balance in my life and part of that necessitated putting the blog on hold for a while. I'm not writing reviews of each book I read any longer, but I am going to continue these monthly posts. I love this community too much to abandon it entirely.


August was a really good month. Very busy, as every month has seemed to be this year, but good. We went to Michigan to see my in-laws, went to my cousin's beautiful wedding, and celebrated my birthday. Plus, I had an incredible weekend in D.C. with my very best friends. With the exception of going to Italy with Kevin earlier this summer, that weekend as the best trip I've had in years. All that plus two works trips and taking on some more responsibilities over at Pantsuit Politics.

Despite that schedule, it's been one of the best reading months I've had this year. I reclaimed the time I've typically spent blogging and put it into reading. I read things I wanted to and thought little of anything I "should" be reading. It was delightful. Taking away the pressure of blogging about what I was reading really let me sink into some of the books I read in a way I haven't in a long time. I read for pure pleasure and didn't analyze everything. It was a nice change. For everything there is a season, I suppose.

Even though I'm not going to write full reviews, I thought I'd leave you with a sentence or two about each book I read so you have my impressions at least. Let me know what you think of this format.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

July 2018 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on my reading goals, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

July News 

Life continues to move at a brisk pace for us. I so desperately love summer because it often brings chances to see people we don't get to see the rest of the year. This July has been no exception. We've seen so many dear friends and a good amount of family, too. We've especially gotten lots of great time with the little people in ours lives, several of whom got a copy of Our Great Big Backyard to enjoy this summer. Lots of them are getting old enough to actually know who we are and sit and read together, which I adore.


Work has been going well. I'm still completely exhausted and working on adjusting to the fast pace of our firm, but I'm really enjoying the work and I think I'm going to be good at it. I feel like I have the logistics on the job down pretty well and now I'm working on adding context, the why of the what.

As we come to the close of the summer, I'm also recognize that the pace and plethora of commitments I've accumulated over the last few years of teaching part time are not going to be sustainable with my new job. I've been involved in so many great thing and I'm beginning to face the reality that I'm going to need to give some of them up if I want to remain sane. I'm still figuring out exactly what will stay and what will go. In that vein, I've made some decisions in regards to the blog...

I'm choosing to scale back the blog. It's not going away, because I don't want to leave the wonderful community of people I've found in the book blogging world and with whom I have great conversations about what I've been reading. However, I don't have time to do reviews for every book I read any more. At this point, I'm choosing to do reviews only for the books about which I really want to share my thoughts. That will scale back the frequency of posts intensely, but I'm hoping what will be left will be more worthwhile. In practicality, this likely means 1-2 book reviews per month rather than the 8-12 I've been doing for the last several years. The monthly updates will continue because I find them a great tracking mechanism and a great way to touch base with all you wonderful readers.

Ultimately, I'm hoping this means I'll break my reading slump. With the pressure of writing a review for every book I read removed, I think I'll be more apt to tear through things voraciously again and not have any fear associated with loading up my Kindle app. So, while you may see less of me here, hopefully that will mean I'm reading more, which is the whole point anyway.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Inspired - Rachel Held Evans

Inspired
Title: Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again
Author: Rachel Held Evans
Publication Date: 6/12/2018
Pages: 240
Genre: Faith / Memoir / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I'm a big fan of Evans's work
Date Completed: 6/23/18

Summary: Evans wrestles with some of the toughest passages of Scripture. She challenges traditional mindsets about the Bible. Above all, she expresses her deep love for this book and its message.

What I Thought: It's no secret that I'm a bit of a Rachel Held Evans fan-girl. When I met her at the Why Christian conference this past spring, it was all I could do to not invite her to dinner and to be my best friend. I realize how creepy that sounds, but I swear my intentions it's not. She's just one of those authors with whom I feel a strong, real connection. In so many ways, I feel as though she is a few steps ahead of me on a shared faith journey. Her books have been a balm to my soul and an encouragement in times of spiritual struggle. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Grace and Grit - Lilly Ledbetter

Grace and Grit
Title: Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond
Author: Lilly Ledbetter
Publication Date: 2/28/2012
Pages: 288
Genre: Memoir / Political / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I can't remember
Date Completed: 6/23/18

Summary: Ledbetter became a symbol for equal pay when she sued her long time employer, Goodyear. In this memoir, she shares her life story, including the epic legal battle that led to the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.

What I Thought: I honestly did not know much about Lilly Ledbetter before reading this book. I knew she had something to do with equal pay in this country and that's about it. It was so fun to read her whole story and see how she became an unlikely activist.

Ledbetter spends a lot of time talking about her early life and marriage which, while reading, feels more like a novel than a political memoir. However, I'm so glad she spent that time there; you really need the context of those years to understand just how incredible it was that Ledbetter became the symbol she is today. You would never have predicted her path when she was a poor child in rural Alabama. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle

A Wind in the Door
Title: A Wind in the Door
Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Publication Date: 1973
Pages: 203
How I Found It: I read A Wrinkle in Time 
Date Completed: 6/23/18

Summary: The Murrys are at it again. This time, it's the fate of Charles Wallace, not their father, which hangs in the balance. Fantastical creatures, a fight against evil, and lots of character development. 

What I Thought: I didn't know until a few years ago that A Wrinkle in Time had sequels. Upon rereading the classic in 2017, I knew I wanted to read the whole series. 

I found A Wind in the Door to retain many of the qualities which make the first book so delightful. L'Engle mixes fantasy with science fiction. She brings her technical science down to an understandable level for the average reader. There are creatures of all sorts. There is an epic battle against nebulous evil forces. And there is loads of character development. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Grace for the Good Girl - Emily P. Freeman

Grace for the Good Girl
Title: Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life
Author: Emily P. Freeman
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 257
Genre: Faith / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I think Sarah on Pantsuit Politics mentioned it.
Date Completed: 6/22/18

Summary: The pressure for a woman to be "good" can be debilitating, particularly in faith communities. Freeman addresses the heavy expectations and how freeing life is when you step out from under them.

What I Thought: I enjoyed this both more and less than I thought I would. I know that's a contradiction. Let me try to explain.

I'll start with the more. I've read a lot of books like this in my life. Not on this topic in particular, but a variety of subjects. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time in Lifeway stores. I was submersed in a culture that really celebrated and encouraged this type of writing. Since that time, my faith journey has been winding and I do not find much joy in cliché Christian culture. I haven't been in a Christian bookstore in years and am 110% cool with that. So, coming into this book, I felt some apprehension. I wanted to hear Freeman's message because I was pretty sure it would apply to me (spoiler: it did), but I was worried it would be all fluff I've heard before. I mean, even the cover looks like it came directly off the Christian-ese assembly line.