Once a month we share the books we’ve finished reading and are reading now at 5 Minutes for Books. Here is my list for January.
BOOKS I FINISHED FROM DECEMBER’S LIST
1. Just Mercy
A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson
Okay, this one! Read it! I was overwhelmed with the stories told by attorney Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. Stevenson writes compassionately and compellingly of his true-life cases with death row inmates and youthful offenders. I know it’s only January, but I see this book being one of the most influential I’ll read all year.
2. Your Family in Pictures
The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life
by Me Ra Koh
This book on taking better photos is helpful for both the beginner with a point-and-shoot camera as well as those of us wanting to better use our DSLR cameras. The chapters are short, to the point, and provide practical tips as well as help you remember the bigger picture of why you’re taking photos in the first place.
3. Think Like a Freak
by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Another winner from Levitt and Dubner in their Freakonomics series. They share new stories in a fun yet informative way on culture and economics. Topics this time include what we can learn from Nigerian email scammers, hot dog eating champions, and more things you’d never think of.
4. The Secret Life of Pronouns
What Our Words Say About Us
by James W. Pennebaker
This is for us word-nerd types. So naturally I found it fascinating! Author Pennebaker—who is also a social psychologist as well as language expert—shares his findings on how our word choices reveal more about us than we know. An interesting tidbit in the book is this website, Analyze Words. Enter your twitter name (or anyone else’s) to see how your words are reflecting your personality.
5. Born to Blog
Building Your Blog for Personal and Business Success One Post at a Time
by Mark Schaefer and Stanford Smith
This book says most bloggers fall into one (or more) of these categories: dreamers, storytellers, persuaders, curators, or teachers. So you don’t have to be a business blogger (I’m not!) to find helpful nuggets in this book, such as reminders to not aim for perfection; share your moments of truth; improve your posts by wiping out the first third of the story.
6. The Narcissist Next Door
Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in Your Bed–in Your World
by Jeffrey Kluger
Not my favorite, but this book did provide interesting and new information about the narcissists in our lives. In my section of the country, I see the most common garden-variety narcissism among sports fans (collective narcissism) which isn’t necessarily harmful (although it can be), but is definitely annoying (except to marketers, who find it profitable).
The Story of a Pigeon
by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
This novel is about training carrier pigeons during WW1, and was the 1928 Medal Winner of the Newbery Award. I read it for the Newbery through the Decades Challenge, and it was only so-so to me. Maybe if I had read it as a child in the 1920s I’d feel differently? It was slow on plot and heavy on bird research. Nonetheless, it was worth reading and makes me look forward to more modern award winners.
BOOKS I’M READING NOW
1. The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
I’m going slow on purpose. It’s that good. I don’t want this novel to end (even though I’ve already seen the movie and know how it ends). The writing is SO beautiful and the story is engrossing about a young girl’s life in Nazi Germany and about her love affair with books.
The Art of Living
by Richard Rohr
Warning: I’m in a Richard Rohr phase. This book is about finding joy through vulnerability, through self-surrender, through letting go of our preconceived notions of God and instead having a real relationship with him.
3. Falling Upward
A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
by Richard Rohr
This Rohr book is about understanding the different tasks of the two halves of life (and spoiler: the second half of life is even more exciting than the first!). We are already participating in something very good, and true religion embraces that participation.
4. Simply Open
A Guide to Experiencing God in the Everyday
by Greg Paul
After reading what Jean Wise said about this book, I knew I had to read it too. Greg Paul invites you to greater awareness of God all around you, particularly through your senses, to deepen your spiritual journey. I just finished the section about having open eyes. Good so far!
* * *
What are you reading this month? Please share here.
- Sometimes you do nothing
- “Your Family in Pictures” – Book review