recent reads

2015-03-11_0002 Somehow, I've read nine books already this year. That feels like a lot!! I am finding that I'm craving true rest more than ever lately, and reading is absolutely one of my favorite types of rest. Now that Matt works late and doesn't get home until 8pm several nights a week, and works 12-hour shifts Friday-Sunday every other weekend, I'm finding tons more time to read. Usually in the evenings, I'll quit work around 5 or 5:30, putz around for a bit, picking up the house or looking at Instagram, and then read for an hour or so before getting dinner ready for when Matt gets home. And when he works weekends? Well, a couple of weekends ago, I think I spent all day Saturday curled up with a book. And trust me--I am COMPLETELY soaking it in now because I know come September, all day spent reading will be a distant memory ;)

I thought I'd share a few thoughts on some recent reads with y'all! I love reading book reviews but updating my GoodReads is just a thing that is not ever going to happen, so I'm just going to do it here instead :)

1. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin // If you like historical fiction, you will probably love this book. It's the based-on-a-true-story account of the little girl who inspired Alice in Wonderland, Alice Liddell. I had NO idea about the story behind this children's tale and it was fascinating. It was gripping and kept my attention throughout. However, much of the story of what happened is truly a mystery, so you're left at the end wondering what really happened. I kind of loved that, though. My only wish is that I had read this before studying abroad in England, so I could have visited some of the spots from the book when I went to Oxford. Guess I'll have to go back!

2. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler // This book completely exceeded my expectations. To be honest, I've never watched much of Amy Poehler's work. I'm not an SNL watcher, and I couldn't get into Parks & Rec. I know she's hilarious from watching her emcee the Golden Globes or whatever with Tina Fey, but my experience with Amy Poehler is limited, at best. This was our book club pick for January and I was super pleasantly surprised. It's funny, it's poignant, it's moving and at the end I wanted to be BFFS with Amy. Definitely a good weekend or vacation read. I really loved it.

3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell // I became a huge Rainbow Rowell fan after Eleanor + Park,and I really loved this book too. It was a little quirky, kind of along the lines of Where'd You Go, Bernadette, but it was heartwarming and I really enjoyed it. I've heard it's not Rowell's best by far, so I'm excited to read Attachments next month for book club!

4. Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt // Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I highlighted so many parts of it and felt like Ally really got me, which I always love in an author. It's a quick read, too!

5. The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson // OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK. This book has forever changed how I pray and how I view God. It is truly life-changing. It took me awhile to get through; I read it in bits and pieces since before Christmas and just finished in February. But I really enjoyed doing it that way, because I was able to digest it more and put each piece of the book into practice. I really think this book will challenge and change you, in the best way. I'd recommend it to everyone.

6. The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin // I had high hopes for this novel, since it's by the same author as Alice I have Been and I LOVED that so much, but it was disappointing. The story is pretty fascinating, as I'd never heard of Tom Thumb before, but I felt like the story line dragged on and on, was repetitive and I could basically predict the ending. I stuck with it because I was curious since it was based on a true story, but it fell short. Also, as my friend Gail mentions in her GoodReads review, the main character isn't all that likable. I get the feeling that's how she really was in real life, so in that regard Melanie Benjamin did a good job portraying her, but she seemed narcissistic and egotistical to me, so it was hard to really get behind her. I'd skip this one and read Alice instead :)

7. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper // I didn't have high hopes for this book after the first few pages, but it totally delivered! It reminded me so much of the show "Parenthood", my most favorite show EVER, and was both hilarious and moving. It has some seriously dysfunctional parts where you're shaking your head wondering "are families really LIKE this?!" but overall it's a great read that really shows the real-life dynamic of families.

8. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver// I just finished this book last night and LOVED it. Oh man. I borrowed a copy from my mom but I think I might have to buy her a new one because of all the parts I highlighted and notes I wrote. It's soooooo good. There are a few cheesy parts--I'm finding that any Christian or faith book seems to lend itself to some cheesy analogies--but overall it was incredible. I'd been wanting to read it for awhile and am so so glad I finally did. Highly recommend it to everyone--especially all my oh-so-busy sistas. It will rock you in the best way!

9. The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith // I didn't really think this was a "sit down and read" book--more of a decorating book--but it's totally the former. This book completely changed my perspective on my home and decorating and why I'm motivated to decorate and create within this space. It was a breath of fresh air and I'm so so grateful Myquillin wrote it. Highly recommend!