Welcome to my book update post where I share what books I finished recently + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.
My Reading Goals for 2021
For 2021, I set a goal of reading 3 books per week — 1 fiction book, 1 non-fiction book, and 1 audiobook each week. I know this is an audacious goal, but reading is something I love and it’s a way I learn, challenge my mind, improve as a writer and communicator, and am refreshed and encouraged through inspiring stories.
I have a few shelves full of books (mostly that I’ve gotten free), so I decided to choose 52 books from off my shelf to read this year (see my list of 52 books I plan to read in 2021 here). I’ll also read other books that I find/am sent that pique my interest. Plus, I plan to go through a lot of audiobooks (I get mine free from the Libby app).
Why I Haven’t Posted Book Reviews Recently
And then, well, I kind of fell out of the habit of sharing what I was reading here. Oops!
I had mentally planned that I would probably take a break from reading for a few weeks during the book launch whirlwind and — even though I’m well behind on my goal of reading 3 books per week this year — it’s only May and I can still try to get caught up. I don’t know that I’ll hit the goal of reading three books per week, but hey, it won’t hurt to aim high — especially when there are still 6 1/2 months left in the year!
I’ve only read 5 of the 52 books I had planned to read in 2021, so I need to step it up on that list, too! So thank you for being my accountability partners in this. Here’s to finishing out the year strong!
The 3 Books I Finished Recently
I’m a big fan of Jennifer Dukes Lee. Not only is she my acquisitions editor with Bethany House, but her books have deeply impacted my life.
In her latest book, Growing Slow, she weaves in lessons from farming — how we can all learn from the slow process of planting and watering and waiting and harvesting. If you are in a season where you feel like nothing is growing in your life or it’s growing much slower than you’d hoped or you wish you could stop chasing and un-hurry your heart, I think this book will really encourage you.
Verdict: 3 stars
Keep the Doors Open is a very honest and real account of a family’s decision to say yes to foster care. They chronicle the ups and downs, the heartache and the heartwarming of an entire year of foster care.
If you are a foster parent or are considering stepping into foster care or know someone who is a foster parent and you want to understand their world better, this would be a great read. I finished it in a few hours, but the stories in the book will likely stay with me for months and years to come!
Verdict: 4 stars
I saw that this audiobook was available to download on the Libby app, so I downloaded it — not really having any context at all for the story.
At first, it was a little confusing since it goes back and forth between two completely different stories. But at the end, it beautifully weaves them together.
This is a short book, but if you listen to the audiobook, it’s very well narrated. It tells the story of two Sudanese children who experienced unimaginable hardships and trauma, but persevered through it, in spite of the odds.
It would be a great book to read or listen to as a family if you have older kids… I think it would be a springboard for so much good discussion.
Verdict: 4 stars
A Movie We Watched Recently
Kathrynne and I recently watched The Pursuit of Happyness. Jesse and I had seen it a long time ago, but I loved watching it again. It’s based on a true story and it’s such a good reminder that we so often can be quick to make judgments when we don’t know what it’s like to walk in other people’s shoes. It’s also an inspiration to work hard and not give up!
What have you been reading recently? I’d love to hear!