On my nightstand: November edition

Here's a look at what I've been reading this month. To see more of what I've been reading or to trade book recommendations, follow me on Goodreads. I'd love to hear about any recent literary gems you've found (or books that I shouldn't waste my time reading)!

Big Little Lies

I loved Liane Moriarty's What Alice Forgot, so I was not surprised that this title also one me ever.  Moriarty's works are chick lit at its best--charming, heart-warming, and uplifting.  The book premise sounds sinister, but she weaves a tale that ultimately provokes sympathy in the reader.  Kudos to Moriarty too for tackling a difficult issue--domestic abuse--with grace, nuance, and courage.

A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

You'll notice that I'm ramping up my religion reading in preparation for the GOEs (General Ordination Exams), which I will take in January.  This book is not for the faint of heart.  It is over one thousand pages and densely packed with Christian history of best the East and West.  Neither is it easily skimmable.  That said, if you are a history buff, or if you are interested in filling in some of the gaps in your knowledge, MacCullock's book is well done.

The Confidence Code

This book was not surprising but enlightening, if that makes sense.  We all know instinctively that women do not project confidence in the same way men do (generally speaking).  But Kay and Shipman put science to anecdotal evidence.  I tend to get frustrated when distinctions between the sexes are too overdrawn--after all, we find what we look for--but their takeaway advice was on the money, particularly concerning raising "good" girls.  The book is slow to get started but hits its stride in the later chapters.  Bottom line: Women should think less and act more.  


The Liturgy Explained
Full disclosure: this short little work was written by one of my seminary professors.  It is easy to read in one sitting and illuminating for church geeks and church novices alike.  If you're interested in dabbling more into ritual and liturgy--and especially in understanding what the Episcopal Church does and why--pick up this book.  It is both accessible and deep, a combination that is a rarity.

What Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

This book is actually a compilation of three small e-books.  Negative reviews point out that the book's content is skimpy for the price, and I must agree.  However, the content is great.  Vanderkam always delights and inspires me with her out-of-the-box thinking, and she is thoroughly--almost exhaustively--practical.  Not only does she talk about using time well, she shows you how to use time well with real life examples.


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

I didn't fall head over heels in love with this book like some others did, but I appreciated its message.  I feel like our world keeps getting fuller and fuller, noisier and noisier, busier and busier, and this book was a good reminder not to try to do it all but instead focus on what most matters.  Visual learners will enjoy the books graphs and pictures that clarify principles.


Bread & Wine

I honestly didn't think that this book would live up to the hype, but it does. I'm already biased against books, movies, and other cultural media that goes viral, so I prepared to subject this book to great scrutiny. But Niequist voice shines: she's poetic and authentic and seductive as she describes the power of the table and food to draw us together. This book is like a good friend and warm cup of tea and rich chocolate cake all in one: empathetic, comforting, and indulgent.



The Divorce Papers

The book's concept seemed winning, but it fell flat in execution.  For the book's length, there was little reward (Of course, perhaps that is partly the point?  Aren't most legal briefs and documents long on words but short on substance?).  This book is entertaining enough to read once, but only once, if only for the novelty of absorbing a story through the transfer and exchange of documents, letters, and emails.



I'm linking up to Modern Mrs Darcy's Twitterature (a monthly book review linkup). To see more book reviews, head over to the site!

What have you read recently?