What I’ve Been Reading

I had quite a list of books that I wanted for Christmas.  And I received a bunch, including two copies of the same book, both from my husband (He blames it on the fact that he didn’t save all his shopping til Christmas Eve like is his usual custom, so he forgot what he had bought. And wrapped, apparently)

Anyway, I’ve been enjoying making my way through this stack and I thought I’d share some with you.


Three of these are memoirs about painful experiences:

Rare Bird, a memoir of loss and love by Anna Whitson Donaldson                                                                                                                                              The story of the drowning death of their 12 year old son.

Undone, a story of making peace with an unexpected life by Michele Cushatt                                                                                                                     Michele’s story of divorce, cancer, and adoption. I love her determination to lean into the Hard and continue to choose life.

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, tasting the goodness of God in all things by Sarah Hagerty                                                                                                           A journey of infertility and adoption of children from Africa. (I haven’t finished this one yet)

Clearly pain sells.  And with each of these, I thought of friends who are experiencing similar circumstances.  I thought they would be encouraged reading these.

Because the two words that most people long to hear when they are in pain are “me too”.  Each of these books address that longing to know that we are not alone in our pain.



The other three books in my stack I loved, each in a different way.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – I savored this beautifully written fiction “about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.”

Small Victories, spotting moments of improbable grace by Anne Lamott. This is a collection of essays (some published before) by one of my favorite authors.  Funny, profound, and honest.

Life Together in Christ, experiencing transformation in community by Ruth Haley Barton. In this book, Ruth uses elements from the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus to provide a insights on how God can use community to transform us.  Really insightful. I’m re-reading and discussing this book with my small group.

So, that’s my list for now. What are YOU reading? What would you recommend??





  1. Thanks Laura. Always love new book suggestions! I also loved Anthony Doerr’s novel. Because the focus of your post is kind of on hard times, I would recommend the following two books, one fiction and one non-fiction.

    The Etiquette of Illness: What to Say When you Can’t Find the Words by Susan P. Halpern
    – this is a great little guide about how to respond to people who are suffering or bereaved, very practical and compassionate.

    The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
    – a beautiful inspiring historical novel that is full of heart and soul about two little girls who create a unique bond in the south – one is a slave who longs to be free, and the other is a girl who wants to be a lawyer; a highly readable novel of courage and hope in the midst of adversity

    • Fantastic! Thanks so much for these recommendations, Joanne. I haven’t read either of them and will pick up both. I love reading your blog and getting your reviews!

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