What I’ve Been Reading

A couple weeks ago I posted on Facebook that I had been reading too many serious non-fiction books and I needed some lighter fiction to read on vacation.  People weighed in with some great suggestions and although I am a slooow reader I took them up on several and thought I’d report back.  So here’s some fiction and a couple of terrific non-fiction books you might want to check out.

Maisie DobbsThis was an engaging read that takes place just after World War 1 in London. Maisie Dobbs, a detective, is like a female version of the PBS series “Foyle’s War”. I love the setting and the period in history and found the historical information on WW1 and its aftermath to be sobering. A cool mystery.

The Invention of Wings. People have been recommending this to me for years, but because of some vague recollection of something I read previously by the author that I didn’t like, I’ve resisted. My loss. This book chronicles parallel lives, based on a real woman of privilege in early 1800’s Charleston S.C., and her slave girl (close in age). It is beautifully written, engrossing and enlightening.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.  Quirky, different, and a quick, read. This is the story of a young widower on Alice Island in New England who runs a book store and discovers a toddler left to his care. It’s a bittersweet story of love and loss and choices that change us. I always want inspiring and uplifting endings and didn’t really get it here.

SkiosMy friend, Joanne is a voracious reader with much broader taste in books than mine (Read: she’s smarter and more literary). If you haven’t checked out her blog, you should. I got this suggestion from her, but I’m not crazy about farce or mistaken identity so I probably should have given this one a pass. It’s about a man (who I pictured looking like Hugh Grant) assuming the identity of a visiting lecturer at a gathering uber-rich folks on a Greek island and the mishaps that ensue. For me it was alternately entertaining, ridiculous, frustrating and tiring waiting for all the story lines to finally converge.

All the Places to Go (How will you Know?)  John Ortberg has impacted my spiritual journey more than any other.  This new book, about open doors and discerning God’s will, is immensely readable and relevant, filled with John’s delightful humor. He has great insights about biblical characters as always. Most of my copy is underlined. Highly recommend!


My husband, John, read The Boys in the Boat and LOVED it, so that’s what I’m reading now. Also, check out my friend Matt’s post on what he learned from The Boys in the Boat.

One last thing…I don’t know if I’m the only one, but the change of seasons really affects my appetite.  Blustery fall days with crimson leaves make me want to make soup. Lovely spring days like we’ve been having lately make me want to bake cookies. Similarly I find my appetite for God’s Word can change with the seasons of my life. Lately I’ve been ravenous, gobbling up Scripture like someone gobbling up chocolate after Lent.

I’ve written here before about how I like to mix up what I do for devotions, but one constant this year is a “Bible in One Year” reading plan through the YouVersion online. The one I’m using was created by Nikki Gumbel who started Alpha. I love it because his commentary identifies a unifying theme each day. I have found this particular discipline so valuable and strengthening. I have grown in my love of God’s Word and amazement at His care for every detail of our lives.

Now it’s your turn! What have you been reading that’s engaging, inspiring, uplifting??



  1. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for the plug. 🙂 We bloggers stick together. 🙂 Reading tastes can vary so vastly, especially when it comes to humour, so no surprise with Skios. My next recommendation is Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey. I just know you’ll love it. And I’m doing Gumbel’s ‘Bible in One Year’ too! Usually I burn out after a month or two with a BIOY but I’m still with it and it’s April! It’s good for all the reasons you mention. Blessings, Joanne

  2. I loved your suggestions. I seem to go through moments when I read and read. I like to read multiple books at a time. Here’s what in my virtual shelf and next to my bed: I’m reading, “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr. It’s historical fiction that narrates different stories together. It’s long and I feel a bit overwhelmed at the length of the book, but I’m enjoying it (slowly). I have three kids and I have so much to learn about parenting. Usually I have about three parenting books going at once. I obviously need a lot of help! I’m reading, “Motivate your Child,” by Scott Turansky. Fantastic tips and so helpful. I love what he writes about heart attitudes and helping my kids learn to make right decisions. I like it so much that I’m also reading, “Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Child,” by the same author. I just stumbled across his books but they’ve been helping me see long term goals and how to practically change (again, obviously you can see I need a lot of help!) I’m trying to help him translate one of his books into Chinese because I think that they would really be great tools for parents here. I finished “Called to Conquer,” by Derek Prince and enjoyed his easy writing style. He makes it seem easy to apply different truths. And when I have extra moments in my day, sometimes I read a few pages from, “Charlotte Mason Companion Personsl Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning,” by Karen Andreola. I try to supplement my son’s learning. Before he leaves in the morning for local Chinese preschool I try to teach him reading and work on his numbers. I have a lot to learn and I feel out of my comfort zone. I never imagined myself homeschooling. But this book encourages me to read a lot to him and gives me a long term perspective of how to homeschool (yikes!!) Thanks for sharing your selections and perspective. I will check out your recommendations once I finish these. Blessings. http://www.lukeandchristina.blogspot.com

    • Great to get your recommendations and your site Christina! Thanks! I loved All the Light We Cannot see, but my best friend wanted a neater, more uplifting ending.

  3. Laura, thanks SO much for these book suggestions along with your comments!
    Blessings, Caren

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