What I Read: Q1

A few years ago, I started tracking what I read in the back of my planners. Then I discovered Goodreads, and switched to tracking there. I have to admit, I don’t use everything Goodreads offers — I’m lousy at remembering to write reviews, and I forget to check for friend updates — but one of my goals this year is to start doing more with it. (Hopefully the coming school year will be back to normal. This mom is looking forward to carving out that time for All Things Reading & Writing!)

I finished 11 books in the first quarter of 2021, just a tad off-track from my goal of a book a week.

[A note: the book links below* will take you to Indiebound, a website that connects people with their nearest independent bookstores. If you don’t have one close by, you can use the website to purchase copies on Bookshop.org, which helps support local bookstores! I know Amazon free shipping is awesome, but supporting local is equally awesome, so check them out. I am not affiliated with Indiebound or Bookshop and receive no kickbacks for these links. 🙂

*The link to the comic trade paperbacks will take you to Marvel. Also not affiliated, although if Marvel wants to send me free comics, I’ll take them!]

Jesus & John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith & Fractured a Nation, Kristin Kobes DuMez –There’s a ton of buzz on Christian Twitter about this book, so you’ve probably heard about it and/or read it already. If you haven’t, this is an EXCELLENT (and extremely well-researched) examination of the historical threads that led to the current entanglement of toxic masculinity, Christian nationalism, and political leanings in white evangelicalism. I hosted a book discussion of this one a few months after reading it when a few local friends had a chance to read it, too. Highly recommend!

Never Have I Ever, Joshilyn Jackson –I’ve been a fan of Joshilyn Jackson’s work for years and while this was more dark and twisty than many of her earlier titles, it’s fast-paced and compelling and FUN even though it’s kind of an awful scenario. If you sort of love reading characters who are suffering consequences, finding strength to battle creeps, and trying to guess what’s REALLY going on with a neighborhood bully? You’ll love this.

Oh My Stars, Sally Kilpatrick –So, this is a Christmas-themed story and while reading it in January I kept thinking I should have checked it out from the library a month previously. But it was fun and light-hearted and exactly what I needed after the heavier books I had just devoured.

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite –True confession, I only picked this up because it was on the MSWL comparison lists for a few of the lit agents I admire. I don’t think this cover or title would have grabbed me if I were browsing in-person at a library or bookshop. I’m so glad I read it, though! Way outside my usual comfort-reads, I found it delightfully CRAZY, and it was very cool to read something set in Nigeria.

The Liturgy of Politics: Spiritual Formation for the Sake of our Neighbor, Kaitlyn Schiess –Kaitlyn is a frequent contributor on the Holy Post Podcast and when I heard her interview about this book, I knew I needed to read it. I sort of hate politics. I started the year reading Jesus & John Wayne, which gets into politics, and I normally wouldn’t read ANOTHER political book for years after something that heavy. However: Schiess describes a fresh way of viewing politics, considering that we are being shaped and formed by the politics we consume. My husband is a self-described news & politics junkie, and I enjoyed sharing excerpts of this book with him to discuss. I actually plan to re-read this one, because my first go-through was the e-book and I’d like to purchase the paperback so I can underline and mark it up!

Roots of Wood and Stone, Amanda Wen –I feel like I know Amanda Wen, even though we’ve never met. She’s a member of ACFW and I’ve been following her on Instagram since before her book deal. This is a sweet, uplifting work of Christian fiction. It’s a dual timeline, with strong romance plots in both the contemporary and historical storylines. I loved these characters, loved the setting, and can’t wait to read whatever she writes next! Content warning for adoption themes.

Flat Broke with Two Goats, Jennifer McGaha –One of my husband’s colleagues lent me this quirky memoir, and I am so glad he did! This story of a woman’s life after her husband’s financial failings come to light is funny, weird, and sad by turns.

The Vision Volume 1: Little Worse Than a Man & The Vision Volume 2: Little Better than a Beast, Tom King –Shortly after we got hooked on WandaVision like the rest of America, I found this short run and devoured it. If you aren’t familiar with the world of comics, trade paperbacks collect several issues (usually 6 in my experience) of a run from a series. They are my FAVORITE way to consume comic arcs, especially because so often in the Marvel world an arc includes single issues and crossovers. The downside is that they are released after the run, so for some series I cannot wait and I read month-by-month. Sorry, that was a detour. These trade paperbacks collect #1-6 and #7-12 of a print run from 2015, with a story line you’ll love if you enjoyed the Disney+ series.

The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t, and Get Stuff Done, Kendra Adachi –-Kendra offers a ton of practical tips without actually telling you what to do, because as she so rightly points out: there’s no single perfect way. What matters for one person won’t matter at all to another. She excels at asking probing questions to help you get to the heart of the matter for your own life, household, and to-do list.

Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, Linda R. Hirshman –My 3rd grader wants to be a lawyer, because she wants to be a judge, because she wants to help families and fight for fairness. She’s a wee bit obsessed with Thurgood Marshall and RBG, and we’ve been doing a Law elective this school year (one perk of homeschooling, y’all! Learn what you love!) I grabbed this book for an adult-level overview of Ginsberg’s life and legacy, and it didn’t disappoint. I’m a child of the 80s and don’t really remember O’Connor’s appointment to the court, so it was interesting to read about the political and legal forces at play when she became The First Woman Justice. In a time of deep national division, it was also good to read about the ways the justices have historically been able to interact and even socialize with their peers who hold opposing viewpoints.

I’m aiming for 13 books in the second quarter to catch me up to my goal of 52 books for the year. Got recommendations for a book you just couldn’t put down? Leave me a comment, and you can follow me on Goodreads here!


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