Recent Reads: December 2017


I last posted a book review roundup in May. J was born in June, and I pretty much didn't read a full book until December, when I went back to the office and had time on my hands during pumping sessions. I discovered last time that reading a book feels a lot more rewarding and fun than scrolling social media on my phone, and I was able to blaze through some in the last month of the year and hit my 2017 reading goal! Here are the last books I finished in 2017:

Balancing it All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose
by Candace Cameron Bure
2.5 Stars

This was a super quick, easy read about the life of Candace Cameron Bure, the actress we all know and love from her role as DJ Tanner on Full/Fuller House. It was interesting to learn about her background and growing up as a child star and then how she came to have faith in Jesus. There are some great nuggets in here about life and finding balance and such, but there were also a few chapters I skimmed through because they weren't super relevant and/or interesting to me. It wasn't a terrible book as far as content, but ultimately my lower rating is because the book itself was dull, a result of the fact that it's clearly written by a ghostwriter and thus has very little original voice.

The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder
edited by William Anderson
3 Stars / *Did not finish

I actually only made it halfway through this collection of letters, even after renewing it once from the library. I LOVE  the Little House on the Prairie series, and I really enjoyed reading these letters from Laura and learning more about her life after the LH days and also more about her relationship with her daughter, Rose, and Rose's influence on Laura's writing. I loved the letters where they were communicating about plot lines and things for the books! However, I ended up returning it before I finished. I was in my final few weeks of pregnancy and too tired and distracted to read anything. I would like to pick this up again at some point.

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell
3.25 Stars

This was a difficult book to rate. I'm not sad I read it and don't feel like it was a waste of time, but I wouldn't want to read it again. I found the story interesting and felt it moved quickly, but the narrator and writing style started annoying me after a while. The book is set in New York City in the 1920s and follows Rose Baker, a quiet girl who works as a typist for the NYC Police Department. A new typist, Odalie, joins the precinct, and she and Rose quickly become friends. Rose is an unreliable narrator, which is the cool thing right now, but it doesn't bother me like it does some people. However, what does annoy me is that she kept foreshadowing ("I didn't know at the time but...."). I mean just get to it already. 

The ending was definitely a twist, but the problem is that I have no idea what actually happened. I can't land on one explanation that makes everything make sense. I read a bunch of other Goodreads reviews, and everyone seems to be confused about the ending. That is unfortunate because I liked the book more while reading it, but finishing it and feeling so confused about the conclusion lowered my opinion about the book as a whole. If you do end up reading it, let me know what you think happened!

God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics by CS Lewis
4.5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book of essays from CS Lewis. Of course, like any book of essays, I didn't love every single one, but overall this volume was fun to read. Lewis's humor comes across in many of the essays and had me actually chuckling out loud. There were some essays I skimmed, some essays I did not understand, but then there were essays that were so true and insightful (as Lewis tends to be), and I have underlined many portions of this book. The book is broken up by essay and in sections, so there are lots of stopping points, since each essay stand alone and you can jump around to whatever topic you find interesting at the moment. I, however, preferred to read it front to back. This is good book to own and come back to again; I wouldn't think this would be the type of book you would want to get from a library unless you wanted to just read a few specific essays. I actually started this book in January and finally finished in December.

Fire on the Track: Betty Robinson and the Triumph of Early Olympic Women
by Roseanne Montillo
5 Stars

This nonfiction book follows the lives of Betty Robinson and a handful of other women who were the first to run in the Olympics in the sport of track and field. Men's track and field was an established and honored sport, but women really had to fight to be included in the games and fight to be valued and encouraged. For so long, people thought running was bad for women's health and made them too "masculine" looking. I found this book extremely interesting and well written. If you wanted a book that was only about running, I don't know if you would like this quite as much because the author does go into the historical accounts of that time period and the biographical lives of the runners and their families. There are a lot of different people to keep track of (no pun intended!), and some reviews I've read said they found that frustrating, but it didn't bother me. There were a lot of section and paragraph breaks, so it felt easy to read, and the author did a great job getting us into the minds of the runners. This was a quick read for me, and I enjoyed looking at the section of photographs also.

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch
5 Stars

This was an excellent book. I read the author's blog, so I was familiar with her writing style already (which I like obviously). I actually got this for my sister-in-law for Christmas and decided to read it really quick before I wrapped it up since I had been wanting to read it for some time. This book has some very practical, useful advice for raising children in today's world, and even if you don't agree completely with everything she does, the principles are solid. It might sound strange, but while reading this book, it hit me for the first time just how HARD parenting is and is going to be through all the different stages. Part of it made me feel a bit stressed out, but that's not the author's fault. I have a feeling I will come back to this book later on. There's also a good list of recommended reading in the back! Highly recommend.
Jenny Evans said...

Maybe I have to read the Grateful Kids in an Entitled World book again. I remember reading it a few years back and being pretty underwhelmed by any ideas in it. I also remember thinking she told too many personal stories so maybe that just irritated me.

Audrey Louise said...

Man, I loathed 'The Other Typist.' I wanted to love it, but I hated the wishy-washy, unreliable narrator and I REALLY hated the end. I just... didn't get it. I don't really remember it because I read it over a year ago, but like... were they the same person? Because my opinion was that they weren't... I don't know.

Kaity B. said...

That last one sounds intriguing!

Maureen @ Maureen Gets Real said...

I hate when I read a book and the ending doesn't make sense. So frustrating!

Katie @ Live Half Full said...

Added the Grateful Kids book to my list. Have you read Simplicity Parenting? You would LOVE IT!

Rach said...

I have been wanting to read Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World since I heard about it last summer, but our library didn't have it so I put it on my wish list and just received it for Christmas! I haven't read it yet, but I love hearing that you liked it so much! I'm looking forward to diving into it soon. :)

Robyn B said...

such fun photos and I love the prompts! It’s cool to see a year recap on photos. I was going to do 10 for 2017 but couldn’t choose just 10 so I went with 20 for 2017 haha