Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Cool Autumn Reads

I love a good page-turner while my feet are tucked into the sand and the sun shines bright, the big ol' dorky-looking straw hat shielding my face from the rays that beat down.  This year's early fall days have whispered late summer breezes and some lovely random opportunities to do so ... right until this week.

But that party's over.  

The hat's been relegated to the far end of the closet shelf and I've reluctantly moved myself to an indoor locale, complete with comfy old sofa, a worn quilt tucked in close, and a mug of tea perched nearby.

You too?


Here's what I've been reading ...

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
~ Marie Kondo
I could very well be one of the last people to read this oh-so-motivating little treasure which was Amazon's 2014 bestseller in Crafts, Home and Garden.  So good!  I loved the idea of gathering ALL of one category at a time to sort through with the emphasis on claiming what we want to keep, not get rid of.  I like that subtle distinction.

The concept of starting with clothes, then moving through books, papers, miscellaneous stuff, and then mementos is an order that makes sense, saving the hardest-to-get-rid-of possessions 'til the end.  By then, we're on such a roll that it truly is easier to toss stuff than it was back at the beginning.

And I fully embrace that 'a dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective.'  Ain't that the truth?  I've seen this pan out in my own life and in the lives of women I talk with.

All that said, I'm not at all interested in talking to my pocketbook, saying a verbal farewell to my possessions, or setting up a shrine on a bookshelf.  Skip all that and get to the good parts.

Rising Strong
~ Brene Brown
I've finally decided that I'm not going to get any more of Brene's books from the library, because 3 weeks is never long enough to sit and savor her wisdom.  I'll just have to cave in and splurge to buy them for my own shelves.  Her latest work is all about getting brave and picking ourselves up when life hands us some sort of failure or disaster.

And who hasn't had to make a series of decisions to do the hard work of resiliency, that courageous rising from the ashes yet one more time?  It sure beats staying curled up in the fetal position.

The counselor and the writer in me loves Brene's unique melding of social scientist researcher and storyteller.  I so resonate with that process of reckoning with our emotions, getting curious about what we're feeling, and 'rumbling' with our stories til we get to the place of healing.  For that's what good counseling's all about.

Her research on worth, courage, vulnerability, shame, and fear are thought-provoking, for sure.  Fair warning ... you can only read just a bit at a time 'cause her discoveries are so rich and deep.  And be sure to integrate what you're reading with the biblical truths you yourself own.

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
 ~ Ben Carson
I'm not reading this book because Ben is running for President.  I'm reading it because he was the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.  And that's where my oldest granddaughter successfully had a brain tumor removed five years ago.  She's been reading one of Ben's books and I thought I'd do the same.

And what a story he has lived out.  Solid motivation for young adults to glean from ... and us older ones, too.

One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces
~ Ann Voskamp
I'm on my 3rd reading of Ann's little book.  It's that good.  Like when she pens, 'holy joy lies in the habit of murmuring thanks to God for the smallest of graces.'

And she explores the startling beauty of these everyday gifts.  And has prompted me to do the same ... looking for those tiny unexpected joys, the blessings that could so easily slip through the cracks of life's crazed busyness ... or the darkest shadows of loss and grief.

Ann's original 1000 Gifts book changed my life upside down, propelling me into a gratitude focused mindset that slowly but surely impacted the dailyness of my life.  If you loved the book, the devotional will take you back to that place where gratitude abounds, even in the midst of the ugliest or saddest of circumstances.

Whatcha reading these days?  How 'bout your book club or small group?  

I'd love for you to join the conversation!  Your insight matters.  Jump right on in ... and then return again in a few days to catch up on what others have added to the discussion.  It's always a good one ...

Not quite sure how to leave a comment or having trouble doing so?  No problem!  Just send it to lindastoll@juno.com and I'll post it for you.  Always!




  

* sharing books with Anne  .   Kelly  .  Holley  .  Lyli

58 comments:

  1. I love good book reviews! Thank you:) I'm trying to make it more of a priority to read for some enjoyment in the near future. I tend to study and that leads me to forget why I love books so much to begin with:)

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    1. I hear ya', Meg ... I remember too many years when every book was about counseling or ministry or something that had to be read for school.

      I'm doing much more easy reading in this season ... thankfully!

      Thanks for kicking off the conversation, friend! It's bound to be a good one!

      ;-}

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  2. I have not heard of Brene Brown--will look into her--may be just the ticket for me.

    I am reading
    1. The Grand Weaver--Ravie Zacharias
    2. A Year of Living Prayerfully-Jared Brock
    3. Hinds Feet On High Places-Hannah Hurnard (Reread)
    4. Some mindless entertainment to help put me to sleep at night!

    Still nice here--but fall is in the air!
    Blessings, Friend!

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    1. Hi Lulu ... those re-reads can become sweeter with each go round, yes?

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  3. Well... you've given me ideas to add to my bookshelf but I need to actually catch up with what's already gathering dust. I am thinking that Brene Brown might need to be added to my list. Sounds like the perfect book for me at this time in my life. I am in between books at the moment and deciding what I want to tackle next. I always have a fiction book going that is on my nightstand. It's the last thing I do before falling asleep. Hope the temperatures haven't dripped too drastically yet!

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    1. I like a good fiction book ... a series is even better, especially historical fiction.

      And I'm off to the library today to pick up the new John Grisham after months of waiting!

      Good stuff!

      ;-}

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  4. I'm reading Unique by Phil Cooke. The Case for the Real Jesus and will follow that up with The Case for Grace by Lee Strobel. At home I'm reading Farewell Titanic (mindless reading).

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    1. I always found it somehow comforting to see a pastor reading and studying in his office ... it models a search for truth that we need to see in those who lead us. Thanks for sharing what's on your desk there, Bill.

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  5. I'm reading Prayer by Tim Keller for devotional reading, The life-changing magic of tidying up (I don't plan to talk to my possessions either) to help me rethink my possessions, Hyperion for work, and The Little Paris Bookshop for fun.

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    1. Quite a selection, indeed! I love to read a variety of genres ... but this ol' brain can only handle one book at a time. Too confusing for me to shift gears ...

      ;-{

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  6. Laughing at your last paragraph about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up because I so agree with you: I don’t talk to my pocketbook either to thank her for her service. But yes, the book has some great insights and I’ve been using it a lot this past year.

    I’m so excited that Rising Strong is available for me today at my local library! Picking it up this afternoon. But yes, I probably won’t have long to keep it so I’ll have to read it too quickly. :(

    No coincidence we’re both re-reading Ann Voskamp at the same time. Grateful for you, Linda!

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    1. Sounds like a library day for us both, Lisa! And what a perfect day it is, gray and rainy and cold. I do love a library with comfy chairs, a cozy place to settle in with a good book ...

      ;-}

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  7. Hi Linda,
    Always love a post of yours talking about books! {Don't you just love the aroma of old books?!} I have Sarah Mae's "Longing for Paris" waiting for me to dive into, but I want to finish two books I checked out of the library -- one on the travel industry and how it's evolved into such a business and another about a woman who left NYC to run a farm! I love stories like that! And sitting out on a chilly day to read would be refreshing . . . I'm still sipping my iced tea outside waiting for the temps to hit below 80! Maybe by January? :)

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    1. I DO love that scent of old books ... and those musty used book stores are a favorite! Would love to know the title of the one about the woman leaving NYC for the farm. Fascinating.

      80 degrees sounds mighty fine right about now ...

      ;-}

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  8. Loving Sarah Bessey's new book, Out of Sorts!

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    1. I'm waiting for my copy from Amazon, Laura ...

      ;-}

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  9. Hi Linda! That first book has been on the best seller list forever. I'm so glad you're enjoying it! No, you are not the last person to read it. I haven't. And I probably won't. Those types of books overwhelm me, I know it's solid advice, I just know I'll never do it.

    I saw Brene Brown's TED talk. I bet her books are good. I'll make a note of checking her out! I do start with library books myself, and then move on to buy one if I really like it.
    I'm reading a lot of Joan Chittister books right now. I had the opportunity to meet her (photo on my FB site) and I find her writing to really resonate with me.
    Have a wonderful Wednesday :)
    Ceil

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    1. Well, thanks for the recommendations, friend! I've yet to watch the TED talk but would like to make the time to do so.

      And why am I not surprised that you're a library fan?!

      ;-}

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  10. Rising Strong is on my must read list. But right now I'm very much enjoying "A Million Little Ways" by Emily Freeman. Kind of feel like it's God's perfect timing that I would pick up this book now.
    (((hugs)))

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    1. Ohh ... I always love when you drop by! Emily's one of my favorite blog writers ... she brings a spacious peace with her words, doesn't she?

      That you've recommended the book makes it must-reading for me, friend.

      I hope all is well ...

      ;-}

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  11. Just read your post. Loved Voskamp's 1000 gifts, will have to look for the devotional; and I'm curious about Ben Carson. My book club is reading Jewel's memoir, Never Broken - so far inspiring, gutsy, raw, emotional, endearing.

    I highly recommend!

    {via email}

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    1. Those are the best memoirs, aren't they Susan ... 'inspiring, gutsy, raw, emotional, endearing.'

      That's life, isn't it ...

      Thanks for coming by today. I'm so glad you're here!

      ;-}

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  12. I love these book posts, Linda. I recently finished Jan Karon's latest Mitford book, "Come Rain or Come Shine," and yes, it was every bit as good as I knew it would be! Currently reading Kate Morton's latest, "The Lake House." Have you ever read any of hers? Sort of similar to The Shell Seekers ... I'm guessing you might enjoy them. Also working on "Love the Home You Have" by Melissa Michaels. Happy reading!

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    1. I'm a big Jan Karon fan ... I headed right over to my library's site to reserve the book! Thanks for the Kate Morton reference, too. Will check it out ...

      This is what I love most about these book posts ... a whole SLEW of new authors and old favorites coming to the party!

      Thanks, Lois!

      ;-}

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  13. I appreciate the glimpse into your reading shelf here. Thanks for introducing me to Brene Brown. I've never heard of her, and will have to check our her book. And I suspect I NEED The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. May not need to read about it. May just need to do it. Maybe I'll google it.

    I'm reading "The Best Yes" by Lysa Terkeurst and really enjoying it.

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    1. This is so true, Betsy -->'May not need to read about it. May just need to do it.'

      And ain't that the truth about more than one thing in my life right about now!

      Your truth-telling made me smile big!

      ;-}

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  14. I got to sit on the beach (Assateaque Beach) on our vacation and have my quiet time two times, Linda. The first time was on the beach and though it was windy and a distinct chill was in the air, I could manage it. The next time it was drizzly and much colder, so I opted for sitting in the car with my windows cracked so I could still hear the waves pounding the shore. It is so very therapeutic and awe-inspiring! But I bet your little blanket and corner of your home is just as comforting now in this cooler season.

    As far as books I'm reading, at this time there's just one - This Wasn't Supposed to Happen to Me, mostly because I'm leading it in a small group. It's all about grieving properly through the major losses and trauma's in life. It's a title that's a bit out of the limelight, but certainly very solid and biblical. I think I need to read that tidying up book, since we hope to get our house in order to sell someday. I keep saying that, so that tells you that I really need that book! ha!

    Thanks for being always the encourager in our lives, Linda! You're loved and valued more than you know!

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    1. I know you know that if I lived nearby I would have signed up for your grief group. I love that you're going there because losses come in many shapes and sizes and colors ... and we absolutely have to walk through the valley if we're going to survive and thrive. Would love to hear more about it ...

      And speaking of encouragers, well, you take the cake, girl ...

      ;-}

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  15. Book review posts are a favorite of mine too, Linda! Thanks for sharing. I'm currently reading The Right to Write by Julia Cameron and feeling very affirmed and liberated! It's the first book on writing I've read that I can actually relate to my personal writing experience. So refreshing!

    It's funny, I'd been thinking about re-reading Karon's Mitford series. I didn't know she had added more to the series. I'll be visiting my local library as well!

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    1. I might as well just sit here chatting with my library system's web catalogue up and running! I've just requested Julia's book. Thank you ... this kind of volume is probably my first venture into the genre. You're broadening my vistas, June!

      And yes, I've re-read most of Karon's Mitford series. I find it to be a comforting, calming storyline ... just sweet and easy and pleasant. And there's a time and place for those kind of books, yes?

      ;-}

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  16. Linda,
    I agree with you about Brene Brown's research and work and combining it w/ biblical principles...and I've been wanting to declutter so I just bought a book from Joshua Becker on simplifying...and what I finished recently is in my Top 10 list here http://soulstops.com/post/2015/10/30/Top-10-Things-I-learned-in-October.aspx I also just finished The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron...it took a while and I wasn't as good about the artist's date as I'd hoped ...blessings to you :-)

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    1. I love Joshua Becker's stuff! His blog is always a good read and needed motivation.

      Will be checking out your other recommendations, for sure, my friend!

      ;-}

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  17. I am reading As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti and finishing Bittersweet by Shauna
    Neiquest.

    {via email}

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    1. So good to hear from you today, Jennifer!

      ;-}

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    2. Hi other Jennifer,

      I heard Cynthia speak at a women's camp retreat two falls ago. She has a compassionate honest heart.

      I haven't read Bittersweet yet, but liked Niequist's "Cold Tangerines" and "Bread and Wine."

      Have a great week. Nice to meet you!

      Jennifer Dougan
      www.jenniferdougan.com

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    3. Jennifer connecting with Jennifer. I love that!

      ;-}

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  18. I'm reading The Praying Life by Paul Miller and just finished Emily Freeman's Simply Tuesday.

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    1. Yep, Lyli ... Simply Tuesday's on my to-read list ...

      ;-}

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  19. I have been wanting to read Brene Brown. I will have to get one of her books soon!

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    1. Let me know what you think, ok?

      Weekend blessings, Sarah ...

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  20. I enjoyed the tidying up book although I can't say it changed my life. I also loved Vokscamp and that one had more impact on my life. I've never read Brene Brown but you have peaked my interest. I enjoy reading more in the winter than in the summer. I am so busy playing outdoors when the weather is nice that I don't have as much time for reading. But, under a quilt with a cup of tea and a good book sounds wonderful

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    1. I hear the Farmer's Almanac says we're going to have another rough one! I can hear the winds roaring already!

      Here's to that quilt, the cup of tea, and a great read, Kara ...

      ;-}

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  21. I NEED that declutter book, and I have been aching to read Ben Carsons books.. I've always liked Carson, and had the chance to meet him in 2008, but have yet to read his books! - www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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    1. Cool that you got to meet Carson along the way! We'll be forever grateful that the team at Johns Hopkins did such an outstanding job on our granddaughter's brain surgery ...

      You just don't forget events like that.

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  22. Hi Linda,

    Oh, I've loved Ann's Thousand Gifts and read it twice too. I haven't read those others though, and am curious to. Thanks for the ideas.

    I'm re-reading LaMott's "Bird by Bird," Goins' "The Art of Work," and just finished Hatmaker's "Seven," among others. It's fun to read, isn't it? And I love learning.

    Tucking toes into sand sounds lovely. Yes, we've had to move indoors now too.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    1. Hi Jennifer ... don't you just love those keepers, the books that become friends that are read again and again.

      I loved Jen Hatmaker's SEVEN, too ... her writing style is so real and that just draws me in ...

      May this weekend give you some substantial reading moments, friend!

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  23. Truthfully, I am clearing my head...frequent headaches lately is doing me no good. I have to rest this weekend, I tell myself.

    Have a great weekend Linda.
    I will be sending you an email soonest!

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    1. Rest, rest, rest, lovely lady.

      All that other stuff will be here when you return. Enjoy an unplugged weekend, ok?

      ;-}

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  24. Oh Linda, I love this post! Like you, I love cuddling up with a good book--- whether it's with a smoothie and my toes in the sand or on the sofa with a hot cup of tea and an old afghan blanket that my Grandmother made years and years ago. Reading always brings about a sense of peace within my spirit. All of the books you've listed seem very interesting! Thanks so much for sharing, Love! GOD bless you! :-)

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    1. Oh yes, Tai ... Granny's blankets / quilts / afghans are the best snugglers!

      ;-}

      Hope you're having a cozy weekend!

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  25. I think I need that book about tidying up. :P

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  26. Linda,
    I so need a good book about decluttering...I am a true clutter bug. Since you are an Ann Voskamp fan, I highly recommend her Advent devotional, "The Greatest Gift - Unwrapping The Full Love Story Of Christmas". I got a small Jesse tree and hung the ornaments on it each day with the corresponding devotional section. It really helped me to center my heart on the true meaning of Christmas. It starts with Dec. 1...so grab a copy soon :)
    Blessings,
    Bev

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    1. Superb! I do believe I will stuff my stocking a month early, Bev! Thanks for this needed advent assist, friend ...

      I hope your sabbath has been lovely and refreshing!

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  27. I just finished a book called "Taylor's Gift" by Todd & Tara Storch. True story about a 13 yr. old girl who died from a skiing accident and the anguish her parents went through. They donated her organs and through that began a foundation raising organ donor awareness nationwide. It was an excellent book.

    I'm in the process right now of reading a book by Bill Hybels called "Too Busy Not to Pray." Excellent book!!!

    {via email}

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    1. Oh ... Bill Hybels is GOOD! This sounds like a much-needed read ...

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  28. I love your review of Marie Kondo's book. I felt the same way when reading it. I ignored the bits that didn't mean much to me but took her ideas as permission to get rid of anything that didn't "spark joy". I ask "Do I look forward to using/wearing this again?" If the answer is no, then I pass it along. My house is much lighter, but there's always more to be done.

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    1. 'My house is much lighter ...'

      I like that Debby! I know exactly what you're saying ... and I love that feeling.

      So good to see you again!

      ;-}

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda