Currently Reading

It’s no secret that I love books.

I love to read them. I love to write them (although, currently I’m struggling at the writing bit–prayers welcome). I love to discuss them. I love to look at them.

Books, to me, are like friends–guides and companions on life’s journey.

Every so often I love to share with you what I’m reading or have recently read. I value knowing what other’s are reading and what books have inspired or impacted them (both non-fiction and fiction), it’s one of my favorite ways to select a book or for a book to find me.

 

Here’s what I’m reading and/or have recently read:

01 / RHYTHMS OF RENEWAL 

I love the concept of rhythms. As I work on my own emotional health, I’ve found practices and rhythms to be essential. The funny thing is, we create rhythms whether we realize it or not. Many times, we’ve created negative rhythms, unintentionally, and they are not serving us–in fact, they are hindering us.

Rebekah Lyons gives us four rhythms to practice, daily, that bring renewal and daily rescue. The rhythms are REST, RESTORE, CONNECT and CREATE. I love that two of the rhythms are input orientated and the other two are output. If we are off balance it really can effect our stress and anxiety levels. I, personally, tend to be great at input and have to work harder at output (connect and create). The concept of these four rhythms has really helped frame a quick check for the status of my emotional health, along with practical ways to practice rest, restore, connect and create…which ultimately lead to more peace and purpose.

“With encouraging stories and practical steps, Rebekah Lyons will help you begin an intentional, lifelong journey toward sustained emotional, relational, and spiritual health.”

This is a definite recommend for me. Rebekah is one of my closest friends–I’ve watched her live this out, in her personal life, and have seen the beautiful rescue, change, and sustained health that it has brought her and, therefore, those closest to her.

01 / KEEP YOUR LOVE ON

I’m right in the middle Keep Your Love On: Connection Communication And Boundaries. I don’t see myself finishing this one quickly, although it would be easy to do (because I’m finding this book to have so many answers), as I want to don’t want to just read this book, I want to absorb it. As I mentioned, some books are guides that find me at just the right time, in my journey, and this is one. The older I get, and the further I get into heart work and emotional health and healing, I realize that so many of our relational skills are simply inherited, and by that I mean we do as we saw (or see). How we relate and respond to others is something that we carry on from our family origin–many times without even realizing it, until we do (and that is when we realize we have a lot of work to do). 

I didn’t quite understand the title, until I read the first few pages and then it was like a holy deposit into my spirit….I choose to keep my love on or off. It’s my choice. Some of the words are hard to read, because I see where I’ve gotten so many things wrong or where I’ve stunted myself by feeling like a victim. But a lot of the premise is distinguishing the difference between powerless and powerful people. Truth is hard to swallow, but when you know it is truth, you take your lumps, because it is truth that sets us free.

This book is changing me.  As I read the pages, I feel like the Holy Spirit is sitting right with me–Wonderful Counselor–nudging, comforting, pushing, empowering me. I highly recommend, but read it at your own risk, because you won’t be able to stay the same.

03 / THE DUTCH HOUSE

Last week, I wandered into a tiny bookstore in Seaside, Florida, overcrowded with books–in the most delightful way. Books lined into the shelves as they are meant to be, as well as books piled in front, fighting for their place in such a slight space (I’ll never be a minimalist when it comes to books and thus I felt right at home). In these type of bookstores, I don’t know where to begin, I let my eyes lead the way (thus, I confess, that I do judge a book by it’s cover, or at very least it’s title) and This book: The Dutch House, caught my attention immediately. The two words in the title are tethered to my soul. I am Dutch (and recently traveled to The Netherlands, which was a dream come true) and houses are my language. Also, the art on the cover was stunning. And then I recognized the author. I haven’t read Patchett (other than a few chapters of Commonwealth, which for whatever reason I could not get into), but I know she is a fantastic writer. When I read the back of the book, I knew it I could not not read it. It is about a house and the past. Reconciling what was…

Through her characters, Patchett, asks:

“’Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?’ “

This thought has me really thinking, as I work to reconcile my own childhood.

“Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.”

It’s dubbed as a dark fairytale, however, at this point (1/2 way through) I wouldn’t dub it dark…but rather melancholy.

I just saw this morning that Jenna Hager Bush recommend this book for her October Pick, and I know why. It’s beautifully written, mildly haunting and eloquently shares the human story as it pertains to siblings, childhood and the past.

Do you have a well-worn story that you return to? I do.

If you are reading or have read…let’s discuss!


04 / DAISY JONES AND THE SIX

I read Daisy Jones and the Six, this summer on vacation. And, I’d say it is a great vacation read. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a light read as addiction and human spiraling were very much part of the narrative, but the way that it was told was so fascinating (along with further insight into human nature). It was written in interview style. As if this band was being filmed for VH1’s Behind the Music. It felt so real, that I like, 1000’s of others found myself googling “Daily Jones and the Six” just to make sure they weren’t a real band in the 60’s. There is a lot of fuss about this book and good reason for it.

05 / YOU ARE THE GIRL FOR THE JOB

I just purchased this book. Which means I haven’t yet read it. I’m actually quite selective when it comes to faith based books. I’m a huge fan of Jess Connolly. There is something so pure about her belief in others and cheering them on–that’s why I know this book is going to be amazing. She believes this message and lives it. I’ve been hearing rave reviews about this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I need her encouragement, in my life right now, and I know I’ll be able to hear her voice cheering me on as I turn each and every page taking in truth. Maybe you need to be reminded that You Are the Girl for the Job, to learn how to dare to believe the God who is calling you!

07 / BEGINNERS PLUCK

I’m new to Liz Bohannon, but this book keeps popping out at me. I quite like the idea of the book… which is that we build our passion and purpose, rather than find it. That really takes the pressure off, doesn’t it?

I love this description:

Hate to break it to you, but you’re never going to “find your passion.” Why? Because your passion and purpose are something you create–actively–day by day. How? Glad you asked.

In her signature tell-it-like-it-is fashion, entrepreneur Liz Forkin Bohannon shows you how to cultivate the mindsets that will help you live like you were made on purpose and for a purpose. Sharing the hilarious and heartbreaking stories of her own screwups and successes, Liz shows you how to

· embrace your Inner Beginner
· dream small
· choose curiosity over criticism
· own your average
· and so much more

I can get so stumped (and by stumped I mean paralyzed into avoidance) on thinking that I need to have this massive dream and passion and that I might have the wrong one or that I’m just doing what everyone else is and that they are much better than me. Again, my inner work keeps brining me back to “today” and working with what I have. Not being an expert, but being available. And thus, I felt like this book just might have some major nuggets for me as I move forward in my work, purpose and passion.

 

What about you? Please share what you are currently reading or have recently read,  Friends!

 

PS – More recs here.

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Currently Reading

I’ve talked books and recent reads over on Instagram, but it’s been awhile since I’ve shared a proper list. I’m going to try to make this more of a habit, again. Reading is, indeed, a habit (although, necessity would be the more fitting word) of mine and I’m rarely scant of recommendations. My favorite question to ask a person is often “What are you reading?” Their answer can range from interesting to predictable to fascinating, to helpful to telling.

Speaking of reading, my blogging friend (and one of my fave follows) Laura Tremaine just started a new Podcast– Ten Things to Tell You–the first episode, When Do You Read?, is all about reading. What I love is that all of her podcasts offer a few prompts (for us to tell each other). This episode asks:

When do you read?

How do you read?

What do you read?

I’ll share my answers below. I’d love for you to share your answers in the comments.

Now, here are a few books I’ve read in the past month or so:

01 / Something in the Water

I love a page turner. Something to solve. Something to keep me up at night. Something to keep me guessing during the day. And Something in the Water did not disappoint. The gist: a  shocking find on a couples honeymoon, changes everything.

I never knew I was such a mystery girl (was so not into Nancy Drew in my youth), but here I am devoted to mysteries (so long as they aren’t gruesome or scary) in print and on TV (tell me your’ve faves!).

Something in the Water Steadman’s debut novel and, I have to say, I’d read her works again. Interestingly enough, she is an actress, by day, who you may have seen on Downton Abbey.

Fans of Ruth Ware and Paula Hawkins will be well pleased.

I should note, there is some colorful language in this book.

02 / The Ministry of Ordinary Places

Shannan Martin is at the top of my list when it comes to faith-based writers. The girl knows how to string a sentence together and speaks the language of humanity–raw and real– while guiding the reader to hope and growth.

Shannan and I share a similarity in the call to paying attention and look for beauty amongst the sidewalk cracks as well as the, seemingly, crummy days. It’s funny because when Shannan was reading my manuscript (she endorsed La La Lovelyshe mentioned we had some similar themes. Her writing and life’s work of loving her neighbors (which she so simply, and eloquently describes) is compelling.

The Ministry of Ordinary Places has stayed with me (that’s how I always know I’ve read something really good. I can’t quit it in my mind). It has challenged my thinking and is challenging me to look at what I so often have labeled as mundane as ministry.

I’ll be recommending this one for a good long time.

03 / Let Your Life Speak

I’ve known of Parker Palmer’s book for sometime. A classic on calling and vocation. I’ve seen many a friend’s read this book and rave about it. It’s been on my mental reading list for some time. I was set to start another book, when a well listening friend said…”You might want to start with this one.” She has sage advice, so I took it and ordered the near-pocket sized book the next day.

It’s not that I feel super confused about calling or vocation (Shannan’s book is, truly, simplifying, my thinking in this regard), it’s when my friend told me that he shares about a deep depression and how much of his life began after it.

And lo, and behold it is one of the best things I’ve ever read on depression–in defining it–giving language to what many cannot. It is hopeful (yet, honest) for those fighting depression and extremely insightful for those who do not know how to be there for a loved one suffering with depression.

Parker’s talk of going inward and describing that journey was very familiar to me. And the wisdom offered from his journey invaluable.

If you find yourself on a spiritual journey or are someone that loves the enneagram and wants to be the person they were created to be then I highly recommend this quick read (although, I recommend you read this one slowly).

It’s going on my life-change shelf.

04 / Rest 

I’ve only just begun this book (so don’t be surprised if I want to go on about in my next “reading” post), but I’m pretty obsessed. It’s not often that I just can’t wait to get back to a non-fiction book, but such is the case with this read.

The idea is that work and rest are not antithetical. Rather . . . deliberate rest is the key to productivity. Case studies of successful creatives from from Dickens to Stephen King, along with Scientists and Athletes peppered in, have quite a few things in common. The pattern is interesting.

It’s actually been really freeing because I see this very similar to the way I, naturally, tend to work. I’m always beating myself up that I’m not able to sit at my desk M-F, 8-3, while the kids are at school. Shorter spurts work, if you know how to work them well. And, if you know how to rest, properly.

Enlightening read for creatives, and anyone, wanting to both maximize their work and rest–they go hand in hand.

05 / The Clockmaker’s Daughter

I’ve probably talked about this book over on Insta. I was eagerly awaiting to read this new release by Kate Morton–she is my favorite fiction writer. The way Morton writes about homes, their personalities and the people they are tied too rings so very true to me. Im always underlining her sentences and falling in love with her characters and the places in which they live.

While this wasn’t my favorite book of her’s, it’s a good read. The tale weaves in out of generations with a found journal, a group of artists, a missing family jewel, a murder, lost love and many secrets to solve. The setting is 1860’s England until the present day.

06 / Where’d You Go Bernadette

Confession: I read this a few years ago. But, if you like to read books before the movie comes out . . .this was a fun, quick read. The movie, staring Cate Blanchett is set to hit theaters in March.

 

When do you read?

I read whenever I can. I try to read in the morning as it helps set me up for the day. I find reading very grounding. Morning reading also really stimulates my mind and gets me thinking. If I’m caught up in a mystery or some type of story, I try to sneak in reading here or there throughout the day. Reading is also very relaxing for me. I don’t alway read before bed, but I like to. I’m hoping to make it more routine. There are some nights where I’m just so exhausted that even reading seems like too much–on those nights I’ll watch a show before bed. It’s either reading or TV. I cannot just turn the lights off and go to sleep.

How do you read?

I read in all forms. Print–which is my favorite. If Im reading a personal-growth or self-help book I almost always want my own hard copy so that I can mark it up and write notes. I do this sometimes with fiction, as well. If I see a gorgeous sentence, I can’t not circle, underline or highlight it. A lot of fiction I read on my Kindle (mysteries, for one). I love my Kindle for travel and for late night reading or if there is a book I literally cannot wait to read. It’s also great for downloading samples of books. As for audio–it’s my least favorite. I signed up for an Audible account before a road trip and then accrued quite a few credits. I now have a few books that I’ll be listening to. If listening, then I prefer to listen to memoirs read by the authors, humorous books, or self-help that comes across more like a teaching. Maybe I just haven’t listened to right story yet?

How I read is also kind of slow. I’d like to read faster. It also takes me longer to finish a book because I usually have at least 3 books going at the same time–which I read at different times of the day. Or different days depending on how I’m feeling.

What do you read?

Well I think I’ve answered this question above. But what I’m always reading is 1. Always my Bible 2. Always Spiritual Growth books 3. Always Self-Help / Personal Growth books 4. Always Fiction 5. Sometimes Classics 6. Sometimes Business or Marketing books 6. Sometimes Biographies

 

What about you? Please share your answers in the comments, Friends!

 

PS – More recs here.

 

*image via The Slow Traveler–my new favorite Instagram follow

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Currently Reading (2018 Book List)

New Year, New Books. Yes? That is how it works for me.

I still haven’t had a chance to work on my goals (sick kids, no school). But books? That list is going strong and I’ve already dived in.

I’m sharing what I’m currently reading and what is on my list for the year.

Reading List Recs 2018 | La La Lovely

Just as am cool with Goal As You Go, I’m also way cool with selecting books as you go. In fact, I hugely believe that the right books will find you at the right time. BUT…. I totally geek out at making a reading list for the year. Because I love reading and books (like as in the tactile feel and look of them) so much this is pretty much as fun as a kid with toy catalog and marker in hand at Christmastime.

I’m not austere about the process or the plan. The listing actually goes on throughout the year in places like my Amazon wishlist, Pinterest and in the Notes App on my phone. When I see something that strikes my interest or that someone recommends I take note. In January I put it all together. The list is always incomplete because inevitably I will always add to it and, in all truth, I don’t usually finish my list. Some books get bumped to the next year or off the list entirely because I stay attuned to my heart and the whisper of the Spirit and my own whimsy.

Since this list is a little lengthy I’m going to categorize my  (as I do in my journal).

Also, I should note that I read categorically. I read several books at a time, rather than reading one at a time. I usually always have some form of spiritual/ personal growth book going along with fiction or story….If I get completely carried away in a story then the other may sit for awhile. But I love to read growth books in the morning and then story based ones in the afternoon or evening. Now if find a learning booked that is based in story or beautifully written, then I could read it anytime of the day. But I try to read only for relaxation in the evenings. What are your reading habits? I’m always intrigued by the reading habits of others.

OK, here goes…

Reading List Recs 2018 | La La Lovely

READING NOW /

The Last Mrs. Parrish / I saw this one on Reese Witherspoon’s bookclub and thought I’d give it a go. I’m a few chapters in and I’m not so sure. Girl pretends to be something she is not to get something that is not hers to take. I’ve seen enough of this in real life. Have you read? Should I keep going? One reading habit I changed last year, was giving myself permission to quit a book.

Busman’s Honeymoon I love a good mystery. But not the gory kind. I recently saw a fellow book lover reading this and thought I’d give it a go. I’ve put in a lot of hours watching British Mysteries this year (Midsomer Murders-ahem) and I like to read a few now. I’m only a short way in but, I have a feeling I may be reading more Dorothy L. Sayers this year. Also, I’d like to take a stab at Agatha Christy Books (no pun intended).

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle. This has been on my list for awhile and was put on the shelf while I was writing my book. In just the first chapter my creativity tank is refueling. I’m eager to get to writing—yes, to begin another book—but first to observe, to be, to behold beauty and to ponder what cosmos I can find and express from the chaos (Cosmos from chaos, as she calls it). You know when you read something and think…they are my people? Madeleine is my people. I want to devour this book but I also want to read it very very slowly. A few things, from the first chapter that I can’t get away from:

“The artist is a servant who is willing to be a birth-giver….I believe that each work of art, whether it is a work of great genius or something very small, comes to the artist and says, ‘Here I am. Enflesh me. Give birth to me.’ ”

“The artist, if he is not to forget how to listen, must retain the vision which includes angels and dragons and unicorns and all the lovely creatures which our world would put in a box marked children only.

Emotional Healthy Spirituality / This book is a game changer. It’s going on my special shelf that is for life-changing books. Ones I plan to share about. Ones I plan to re-read. Ones I plan to pass out. I kept seeing this title floating around the internet and knew that I wanted to read it. In fact, I downloaded a sample and began it sometime last year, but there it sat on my Kindle. Last month this author’s name kept coming up in a meeting I was in. I said, “Wait, I’ve been wanting to read that book….I think this is a sign that now is the time.” My friend went into his office and came with a copy in hand. This book is one that I believe everyone should read. It’s been a gift to me and I’m trying not to speed through it. I’ve been on a journey towards emotional health, for the past two years, and this book has really confirmed the path that I’m on and is giving me tools to continue on. We must go back to go forward. Our family of origin and childhood have much to do with the adults we are today and how we view and respond to life. Scazzerzo says, “Looking to the past illumines the present. But make no mistake about it; it is painful.” This is hard work, but it is good and worthy work. My copy is filled with red-pen-underlines (another reading habit of mine: I must have hard copies for growth books to accommodate my red-pen-underlines and notes). I use my Kindle mostly for fiction and travel).

CLASSICS /

I love letter writing. My sister and I have been writing letters back and forth for years (we’ve been on a long hiatus but are about to begin again). Those letters are prized possessions to me.  We are both writers and I hope that one day our letters will tell some of our story to our children our children’s children. I think letter writing is a lost art and I’m hoping to do a little letter writing project in this space sometime this year—so stay tuned.

Amy, my sister, got me these two books for Christmas and i can’t wait to read them.  Letters by two of my all-time favorite authors. Sigh.

Charlotte Bronte Selected Letters

Jane Austen Selected Letters

To Kill a Mockingbird / I feel rather ashamed to admit I have never read this book. I don’t know how I didn’t read it in school? Anyways, I’ve schooled myself through much of my adult life and this year my curriculum includes To Kill a Mockingbird.

The Novel Cure / I’ve been wanting this book for years. It’s the book lover’s medicine cabinet. A pharmacy for the bibliophile. Feeling sad? Happy? In love? This book will point you to the notion for the state of your soul.

What is your favorite classic? I’m always looking to add a classic to my list.

NON-FICTION /

Truth and Beauty: A Friendship / The writing is supposed to beautiful. But it sounds like there is some sorrow and at this point in my life, I can’t do tear jerkers. Anyone read?

The Glass Castle / Another that I can’t believe I haven’t read. I love a good memoir.

FICTION /

The Hazelwood / I love fairytales and imaginative stories. Part of the storyline of this book is a grandmother who wrote fairy tales and a granddaughter who has to work it out in the real world. The plot intrigues me. I just hope it isn’t dark.

Bear Town / Fredrik Backman is my new favorite fiction author. I fell completely in love with his writing when I read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry— it was magical and real in the way life can be if we keep our eyes and hearts open (I wrote more about it here)—my favorite read of last year. I hear A Man Called Ove is amazing, albeit sad (which is why I’m having to hold off on this one) but I did follow up with Britt-Marie Was Here and am still thinking about the character and a few sentences that have stuck with me.

I love historical fiction…I still have to research thee. Any faves?

PERSONAL GROWTH /

The Highly Sensitive Person / I’m certain I am one and I want to be better educated.

The Empath’s Survival Guide / Another book that I think may help me my over sensitive soul.

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life / I’ve been wanting to read Richard Rohr for a while now. And as timing would have it a friend read me a quote from this book that also has everything to do with the journey that I’m on. This one is next after Emotionally Healthy Spiritually.

Writing Down the Bones / I want to be a better writer. I guess I can call myself an author now, but what I really am is a writer. I can’t not write—it would be like holding my breath. It’s what I’ve been doing since I was a kid. It’s what I want to be doing for the rest of my life.

Tools of the Titans / One person I love to follow for book recs is fellow book lover Laura Tremaine. She’s been sharing bits of this one on Instagram and I’ve really enjoyed the wisdom.

Dance Stand Run / I got this one before the holidays and just haven’t had the chance to fully dive in. This is book breaches the topic of holiness, which can be taboo and rarely talked about these days. I’m ready for Jess’s fresh take on a “The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy-Ground.”

How the French Live / I’m super excited about this book by Si of the popular design blog, French By Design. I’ve long followed this blog so I have no doubt it will be gorgeous. The book follows several French families and tells a bit about how they live (and also includes a family recipe). I’m fascinated by how families live in other parts of the world. And to me, it’s obvious that the French know how to enjoy life. Enjoying life with my family is a high priority, for me, this year.

A Simplified Life / Finished this one but will likely use it as a reference throughout the year. Emily Ley has some really great tips for simplifying life. I’ve found a few game changers from her.

Nourish / In the past few years I have discovered how our physical health has much to do with our spiritual and emotional health. I’ve become aware and tried to incorporate small changes, but I still have much work to do. The approach of addressing the spirit, soul, and body is one that I want to take and that is what this book is all about. I’m looking forward to reading this book by Katie Farrell of Dashing Dish and learning more about health as it pertains to what my body and my soul. 

Recharge / This book by Julie Montagu (of Ladies of London fame…I have no shame in admitting I watched Ladies of London… I loved Julie and she is from an almost neighboring town…Midwestern girl in London). It’s is about a year of self-care. I listened to a tip Julie had, on Instagram, about dealing with toxic people and it was really profound. Self-care is not just “treat-yo-self” days (shout out to my Parks and Rec peeps)…sometimes it has a lot to do with the way we think and the tone of the inner dialogue. I love that this book broaches the foods we eat as well as our self-esteem.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS /

Harry Potter / Another confession…haven’t read. Haven’t watched.

A Wrinkle In Time / Have been wanting to read for years. Now is the time for the movie coming out. Hoping to read this one aloud to my kids.

The Spiderwick Chronicles / Liam and I picked this one up at the library. We’ve just started it. I’m really intrigued and hoping it doesn’t get to creepy for my kids.

COOKBOOKS /

I la la love cookbooks. I love to buy them.

Five Ingredients by Jamie Oliver / I love the simplicity of this and I love Jamie Oliver (always and forever).

At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking / Nigella is my favorite. While I truly love her recipes, I often watch her (FYI- I found her Simply Nigella episodes online here) shows to relax. Listening to her talk about food is like reading a beautiful novel—her vocabulary and descriptives are thoughtful—she is a writer after all. Also, I adore scouring every last detail of her kitchen and her jaunts out in London. I dream of perusing her larder (aka pantry) and bookshelves in real life. As an Anglophile who also loves to watch cooking shows…well, this is pay dirt. Back to the book….I love to see what people cook in their everyday—for their family, friends and loved ones and that is what this cookbook is all about. Not fussy (Nigella is never fussy which is yet another reason I adore her) just everyday feasting.

The Forest Feast / I received this last year (as in 2017) for Christmas and it is sooo cool. Unfortunately, somehow, it got covered in water and ruined. I loved it so much I want to buy it again. If you love cookbooks with a lot of pictures…this one is for you.

Some other books that have been on Amazon List for a while:

A Room Called Remember

Braving the Wilderness

Cure for the Common Life

The Obstacle is the Way

On Becoming Fearless in Love, Work and Life

What is on your reading list this year? OR what have you read recently that you’d recommend? I’m all ears!

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Currently Reading

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked books . . . Here’s what I’m currently reading (want to read and have read) . . . .

Currently Reading

I’m not one to hoard information. In fact, I am most myself when I collect it and share it.

I hate that we haven’t discussed books for some time.  I excited to tell you what I’m loving, but I very much want to know what books have been on your nightstand.

Here are the books that have been piling up on my nightsand:

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry  / I’m totally smitten with this book. It was magic, really (and I’m very stingy about this kind of a compliment when it comes to books). Simply put, this book is why I love to read. And why I love to write. It somehow encapsulated magic and the mundane all at once. The author, Fredrik Backman, brilliantly weaved an imaginary world together with the most hurting human one that we live in. I was especially partial to the main characters because they were a grandmother and granddaughter. The girl’s life was greatly impacted by her grandmother and to that, I can relate. It made me miss my grandmother, even more than I already do. It made me grateful that I had a grandmother that left me my very own clues to carry on and be assured that everything would be ok. It made me want to be a grandmother–a smart and ever-so-slightly crazy one. The writing made me want to read everything that Backman pens. I don’t write fiction (this story makes me want to try), but I long to communicate the human experience in the way he does–in such an eloquent down to earth way. I borrowed this book from the library but ended up throwing a copy in my cart at Target because I couldn’t help but underline such beautiful sentences and sentiments, like:

“Having a grandmother is like having an army. This is a grandchild’s ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details. Even when you are wrong. Especially then, in fact.”

“There is something special about a grandmother’s house. You never forget how it smells.” SO TRUE…right? Can you remember how your grandma’s (grandparent’s) house smelled(s)?

“The mightest power of death is not that it can make people die, but that it can make the people left behind want to stop living…”

See…I want to read this all over again–and it’s only been a few weeks since I’ve finished it. I’ve done the next bext thing and moved onto another of his books: Britt-Marie Was Here. So far so good!

The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming / I love Nouwen. I think so much like him. Don’t hear me wrong. I’m not calling myself a great thinker as he was …I’m attesting to the same fears and irrational thoughts he so openly admits to and shares with us. A dear friend gave me this book a few years ago and I only pulled it off my shelf this summer. If you’ve ever read the story of the prodigal son in the Bible then chances are you picked your place in the plot. You gave thought as to whether you relate to the younger son (the prodigal) who ran or the older son who never left home. Through the imagery of Rembrandt’s famous painting, Nouwen shows us how we are all the prodigal, the older the brother, and even the father. I haven’t finished the book because the dog ate it. For real shredded it (insert eye-roll). I’ll be ordering another copy soon because I was just getting to the father. This book is a brick in the quest for finding home.

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery / I’m all about personality tests and self-awareness. I’ve done Strenght Finders, I know I’m an INFJ, and there is no doubt I’m an introvert. This past year I’ve been hearing so much chatter about the Enneagram but felt overwhelmed in introspection as it pertained to writing a book. However, I was in the car with a  friend and she had this book and wanted me to try to figure out my number. She said it was a great help to understanding your mate and being understood (sign me up!). She gifted me the book, but I didn’t have the chance to really get into it until this past weekend. And boy is it enlightening. I love this particular book on the Ennegram because it shows you what you are like healthy, unhealthy, what you were like as a kid, how you tend to be in relationships, at work etc. A lot of lists. And steps to focus on for transformation. It made sense of so much (even quoting sayings that I find myself saying) and confirmed, completely, where and how I find purpose.  This is a resource that I’ll be returning to again and again.

The Poisonwood Bible / I read this earlier in the summer and it’s still haunting me. Not in a ghoulish way of course, but like any great piece of literature….a story that just won’t leave you alone. I’m still thinking about the characters. A family with four young daughters who move to the Belgian Congo to serves as missionaries. They all carry with them what they believe that they will need. The character development and storyline was so rich.

Finding the Lost Art of Empathy: Connecting Human to Human in a Disconnected World / Not finished but finding so much relevance in this book. It discusses the topic of grieving which is not touched on very often….at least not in detail. In my life, I really didn’t know how to respond to grief before I had suffered great loss. This book is such a gift in that it helps us understand the feelings and thoughts of grief. It gives language to what we might not be able to, along with practical insights into how to grieve with the griever.

The Authentics: A Lush Dive into the Substance of Style / This style book is on my list. It looks gorgeous and sophisticated. It’s sure to be a hit because it is by Melanie Acevedo, world-renowned photographer, and Dara Caponigro, founding editor of Domino. I had the amazing chance to work with Melanie on a shoot for the Land of Nod and I love following her on Instagram. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book.

TELL ME …

What are you currently reading or what you have recently read?

Have you read anything that has moved you, brought about change, or has been a great escape?

PS: These are the books I talked about above along with books that are currently in my Amazon cart. My dad used to tell me that when I finished one book he would buy me another. I never really parted from that tradition.

 

By

Currently Reading

Currently Reading / La La Lovely

Here’s what I’m currently reading (and have recently read) . . . .

A few game changers, a few to get lost in, a few to inspire!

Currently Reading / La La Lovely

Present Over Perfect / This goes on my favorite list for 2016. I’m certainly a Shauna Niequist fan, but this one is tops for me. As a reader I’m learning that we find ourselves in other’s stories. Ours are not the same, but there are flecks that resemble strongly. There are many beliefs that we believe the same and many lies we’ve collectively bought into a long the way. Shauna’s story of being a workaholic who is on the road more than she is home, differs from mine, but what is very much the same is this driving theme of responsibility. Being the responsible girl who spends a lifetime, earning, proving and clawing at the elusive prize of being “good enough.” Part of my journey this year has been to untangle myself from the web and illusion of perfectionism. This book has been one of many that has helped me on my journey (at this point I call my self a recovering perfectionist). The two words that I’m carrying from this book are connection and community. In this season of my life and for the rest of my life what I’m really after is connection and community not perfection and performance.

Longbourn / It’s no secret that I love Jane Austen and historical fiction for that matter. Longbourn is the story of the servants in the Bennet household, of Pride and Prejudice – the downstairs if you will. They are faint characters in the Pride and Prejudice, but they are the ones that keep the household afloat.  At the time I was looking for a fiction book that had good writing, character development and a story I could get lost in. This was a little slow at the beginning, but I carried on as I got caught up in the characters (good character development) and had to find out what happened. I did enjoy Jo Baker’s writing. Have any of you read any of her other books? Which would you recommend?

Big Magic / If you are a creative type you will love this book. It’s kind of like a creative devotional if you will. This book is one that I will keep coming back to for advice and motivation. There are so many stories of artists and writers and creatives from days gone by that lived ordinary lives but did extrodinary things. Not because they felt they were special or unique but because they had a story to tell or art they wanted to create and for them this was the only way to live. The biggest takeaway – for me- in this book is that if you have an idea, it is likely a story that needs to be told. And if you are unable to tell it, it will move along to someone else.

Simply Styling / I love a good design book. Beautiful photos to inspire and get my creative juices flowing as well as to give me a little nudge to change things up a bit in my house. This is the prettiest design book I’ve seen in awhile and I have to say I’m extra excited about it because my friend Kirsten wrote it. Chances are you’ve heard of Kirsten’s super popular design blog, Simply Grove! Kirsten is a superstar when it comes to styling – I watched her work her magic in my house (you can see photos here)! While I love to redcorate, I find styling the best (and most affordable) way to make updates that can have a big impact and this book, is giving me some great pionters and inspiration!

Falling Free / Shannan is such a great writer. She has a way with words…they sort of dance into sentences. I started reading this book late in the night, with my little book light contraption and had to make myself stop because I didn’t have a pen to underline. I wanted to underline wisdom and I wanted to underline good writing. I think the tagline in her title says it all….”Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted.” Just that line conjures up an anticipation and anxiousness to read on. All of our journeys are different and yet, I’m finding, very much the same. My life is turning out not the way I expected it to and I think that is the case for most of us. We can fight it or embrace it and live the life we were meant to live. I’m learning much from Shannan’s life.

The House Between Tides / I’m not too far into this book, but I’m taken by the landscape and setting of the book which is deep in the Highlands of Scotland. The story revolves around an old home that holds a secret. The home was once owned by a famous, and eventually, troubled painter in the early 1900’s. It’s sat in ruins for years, but eventually a distant relative inherits the house and finds herself solving a mystery. The story goes back and forth between modern day and days gone by. A bit like a Kate Morton story – and well, she is my favorite.

The Giver / I’m reading this book with my 11-year-old. It’s a fascinating tale of a colorless community that everyone conforms to and at a certain age everyone is assigned a job. The main character, Jonas, begins to learn about the secrets behind his community. I’m always fascinated by these types of tales and a little creeped out by them.

Truly Madly Guilty / Honesty, not my favorite Liane Moriarty. It’s a good one to check out at the library….regardless, I still love her writing and story telling skill. I love all Liane Moriarty books, but my favorites are probably The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot.

Against All Grain Celebrations This is the first cookbook I have by Danielle Walker and now I’m really wanting her Meals Made Simple cookbook. I can’t wait to try a few recipes for the holidays. Last year I missed out on so many things, like Pumpkin pie! Not this year!

Savoir Vivre: The Art of Fine Living / This pretty book was sent to me recently and I can’t wait to spend a Saturday reading through this book by the famous French Ladurée. It’s filled with lovely illustrations and tips on how to be at one’s best in any situation.

TELL ME …

What are you currently reading or what you have recently read? As you can see I love books!

A few more of my book recommendations here

Also, This is the book I’m about to pre-order!

| You can SHOP all of the books in this post right here |

By
Trina McNeilly

Trina McNeilly is a writer and founder of La La Lovely, where she has been blogging for nearly a decade. With an eye for beauty, Trina finds inspiration in styled spaces, other times in the broken places and everywhere in between. Through soulful writing in the voice of a trusted friend she shares her finds and all about being found.

My Story

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