Books I’m reading – March 2015

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 March.


1. Searching for Sunday
Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church
by Rachel Held Evans


My review here

If you follow Rachel Held Evan’s blog, you already know she is smart, insightful, and deeply in love with Jesus. She’s also not afraid to say what she thinks. This book is her journey with church, with all its ups and downs. She writes beautifully and stays on target with these seven sacraments of baptism, confession, holy orders, communion, confirmation, anointing the sick, and marriage. I’m reading a review copy; the real thing comes out April 14.

2. Scary Close
Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy
by Donald Miller


My review here

Donald Miller’s blog, Storyline, is another blog I read faithfully. His writings hooked me with Blue like Jazz and I’ve loved reading his writings ever since. This book is about his journey to let go of performance-based relationships and instead letting himself be known. He’s embarrassingly honest at times, but that makes for good soul-searching within the readers too.

3. Middlemarch
by George Eliot


A British novel about community and relationships and life in the early 1800s. It’s long, detailed, people-oriented, and very good so far.

4. Billy Budd, Sailor
by Herman Melville


Written in the late 1800s by the author of Moby-Dick. He left it unfinished at his death, so his wife figured out enough of his intentions to complete it. It’s one of the classics on my 2015 TBR Pile Challenge.

5. Abandonment to Divine Providence
by Jean-Pierre de Caussade


This is the 3rd of 5 books I’m reading right now that were written in the 1800s or earlier. No wonder I’m not making much progress! I’m having to read this one the slowest of all (maybe because it’s the very oldest and is non-fiction?). I don’t always get it, but the insights come regularly enough to keep me reading.


1. Being Mortal
Medicine and What Matters in the End
by Atul Gawande


My review here

Read this one! It’s important. Written by a surgeon (who also wrote The Checklist Manifesto, another great book), this book takes a hard look at how we face aging and death in our times. What we get wrong, and what we get right, and how we can make it better. It’ll be one of my favorite books of 2015, I’m certain. Gawande writes plainly and interestingly, using both data and personal experiences.

2. Pray, Write, Grow
Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together
by Ed Cyzewski


My review here

If you write and if you pray, this short book may be just for you. Can you relate to this . . .

“If you want to improve your prayer life, try writing.  If you want to improve your writing life, try praying.  The two require many of the same practices, disciplines, and virtues.” – Ed Cyzewski

3. A 10-Week Journey to Becoming a Vessel God Can Use
by Donna Partow


I didn’t do this book justice. I read through it quickly when it’s meant to be a slow, daily study book for small groups. But I have passed it along now, so maybe someone else can benefit from it more than I did and can glean from Partow’s Biblical examples and personal examples about how to be more submissive to God’s will in our lives.

4. Fever 1793
by Laurie Halse Anderson


From the young-adult fiction category, this book is about the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793. It was an easy read that makes me appreciate modern medicine even more than I already did. Even though the main characters weren’t real, their situations were, and the author did a good job mixing in factual information with her storyline.

5. Blue Willow
by Doris Gates


I first read this novel in elementary school. I distinctly remember it because I wrote a letter to its author Doris Gates, and she wrote back! I chose it for the Newbery through the Decades Challenge (1940s). It’s a sweet story about a family coming from the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, and how they finally settle down. Reading this as an adult now, I wonder what I thought when I read this as a child . . .

“So Janey danced once for Bounce, wondering as she did so why people like him had to clutter up an otherwise satisfactory world. Was it because there had to be some bad mixed with the good to keep everything from becoming so sweet you couldn’t stand it? Janey had the feeling, as the dance came to an end, that she would never really know the answer, not even when she finally became a grownup.”

* * *

What are you reading this month? Please share here.


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

27 thoughts on “Books I’m reading – March 2015

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Sheila. It helps me to step back once a month and evaluate what I’ve been reading and what I want to read next (even though there’s always more I want to read than I have time for).

  1. Barbara H.

    I just got Being Mortal after seeing you and Joyful Reader mention it.

    I want to get to Middlemarch some day.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Blue Willow – sounds like a lovely story.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad you got Being Mortal! I’ll be interesting to hear your take on it since you have daily experiences with much of this already.

      Blue Willow is a sweet little story. I’m glad I have a copy of it.

  2. Joyufl

    Finished Being Mortal last week! It’s not an easy read but one that everyone should read. NOW I need to read Searching for Sunday! I am so tired of this “church building” thing! I need to find a house church I think! 😉

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I definitely agree with you on wishing all could read Being Mortal. So important! I think you’d love Searching for Sunday. She goes through the gamut of things she tried, both good and bad, and what she learned from each.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s always encouraging to me to hear comments like this when I’m in the middle of a long book. Thanks, Tonia, for keeping me going! I have enjoyed Middlemarch but it is daunting even still.

  3. June

    Great collection, Lisa! I always enjoy these posts! I have a quiver full at the moment, but am adding some of these to my “wish list” so I don’t forget about them 🙂 Plan to check out those blogs, as well. Thanks!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      My quiver is overflowing with book titles too, June. 🙂 My favorite time to read is early in the morning, but I haven’t been doing as much of that lately. Hope to get back into that habit soon.

  4. Susan

    “Pray, Write, Grow” sounds really fascinating! And I have just downloaded Middlemarch from Project Gutenberg, after reading glowing praise about it numerous places.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I downloaded Middlemarch free from somewhere too (maybe Project Gutenberg also?). But I also checked out a hardcopy from the library, so I switch back and forth between the real book and my Kindle. It’s much easier to grab my Kindle when I’m reading in bed than that huge heavy book. 🙂

  5. Carrie, Reading to Know

    Ditto to what others have said about your lists always being interesting!

    I’ve never heard of Billy Bud, Sailor before. Interesting! Didn’t know he had another title. Interesting to think that Moby Dick wasn’t enough. ;D

  6. Victoria

    I have just finished reading In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden. It was fantastic – highly recommended novel of life in a monastery – way more engaging that that makes it sound!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wish there were a Kindle version for In This House of Brede. You’ve got me interested now! 🙂 I’ve always been mesmerized by all things monastery. I’ll have to see if my library has a hardcopy version soon. Thanks for sharing this, Victoria.

  7. Sharon B

    I was surprised last year when I enjoyed reading about the cholera epidemic or the Blue Death. I think I might add Fever to my to read list.

    I do enjoy seeing what you read each month. Excellent selections.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You sound like a good candidate for Fever then. 🙂 It’s a great book for children too. It does have some serious subject matter, but they deal with it broadly instead of grotesquely.

  8. Nicki Schroeder

    I am always amazed at the long list of books you are reading through Lisa. It is inspiring! I am currently reading through the bible as a book, which is an interesting way to approach it instead of picking apart everything and getting caught on the rabbit trails that commentaries typically lead me down. It’s been fun! Also reading Boundaries by Townsend & Cloud, which has been on my reading bucket list for years now. It’s a great read if you haven’t checked it out yet! 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That does sound like a great way to read the Bible, Nicki. I’m reading through the Gospels right now for a 40-day Lent challenge. I chose The Message for this because it’s so much easier to read. I think I read Boundaries a few years ago, but it’s probably time for a refresher course, even if I did. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Amy @ Hope Is the Word

    I’ve never read Blue Willow! However, I recently picked up a used copy (and handed it off to my 9 year old) knowing that you read it and liked it. I’m chuckling over your comment about wondering just what you were thinking when you read that passage. I’m sure some of the nuance of the stories DOES go over the kids’ heads. 😉

    SO GLAD you’re playing along!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Amy. I’m glad I’m doing this challenge too. Thanks for hosting us and giving us the great options each month! I started reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond this week. I must have re-read it sometimes in my adult years already because parts of it are coming back to me. I know my memory from childhood is NOT that good. ha.

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