How Do You Measure A Year? In Books, Of Course!

It’s been a full year for me in books…just not the books I planned on reading. It was more about the books I wrote, the books I sorta read, and the books that came out of nowhere. I at least started about half the books on my list. The others…not so much.

I keep saying I finished one book this year, when actually I realized one book and two journals. I published my Serious Prayer Journal in early February. It was a 21 day prayer journal based off the Lord’s prayer to help women build the habit of prayer in their lives. I’ve since began revising it to add more days, more information on prayer, and other enhancements to make it a better tool. I also published Jump Start the Journey: Pen to Paper, a Christian Non-Fiction Writer’s Journal designed to take the writer from idea to organized outline and first draft. Jump Start the Journey will be a three journal series about penning, publishing and promoting a Christian non-fiction work. The second journal will be out sometime next year.

Now let’s move on to the books I read from my list:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert: I liked this book. I think Liz does a great job of helping to inspire writers not to treat their writing like their baby or expect it to support you. I like some of the stories she shares and advice she gives. But I didn’t love the book. The talk of the universe and some of the personification of creativity just doesn’t mesh with my beliefs as a Christian or a writer. I LOVE the podcast series she does where she helps creatives get unstuck and pursue their creative passions, Magic Lessons. I wanted this book to be the podcast in book form, but it wasn’t.

A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer: I was excited to read this book after I heard Brian Grazer on Entertainment Weekly’s radio show talking about his curiosity conversations with famous people and how he feels it has helped him get to where he is in life. While I enjoyed reading about him getting all of these interviews and what he learned from them, some of the exposition on curiosity was a little dense and dull. I like to be curious more than I like to read about it. I was expecting this book to be more memoir than exploration of curiosity itself. A good read, but not at all what I expected and wanted.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman: I really wanted to like this book. Everyone was talking about it and gushing over it, and I wanted to be in the cool Christian girls club, too. I scooped up the ebook for a great price and was excited to dive in…and I belly flopped. There were parts of this book that were really beautiful and took root in me, and then there were parts I couldn’t really get into. As much as I love listening to Emily on the Hope Writer’s podcast, I couldn’t find my rhythm with this book and ultimately didn’t finish it. I may try again at some point, but it wasn’t for me in this season.

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver: So what happened with this was…First of all, I have started this book no less than three or four times, and I kid you not, I always get super busy every time I try to read it. It’s ironic, really. When I finally had time to read it, I was deep in my bible study, which includes Mary and Martha’s stories. I didn’t want to borrow from Ms. Weaver, so I decided to hold off on reading it. The parts I have read are wonderful. Maybe next year.

Talk Like Ted by Carmine Gallo: I just couldn’t get into this book. I read a chapter or two and put it down. I’ll probably never learn to talk like TED speakers now. *Shrugs Shoulders*

Still Writing by Dani Shapiro: I am in the middle of this one. I am reading it slowly, a section at a time, savoring it. It’s a really great book for a writer to read, a good balance of advice and memoir. I’ll finish it, just slower than expected.

I didn’t crack open On Writing, Celebration of Discipline, Rising Strong or The Art of Fiction. I didn’t even buy Not a Fan, Muscle and a Shovel, The Best Yes or Women in the Word. It was a rough year. What can I say?

I went off script and exchanged one Lysa TerKeurst book for another. I went to the store for The Best Yes and walked out with Uninvited. I was a part of the Loop Group promoting the book and got to read the beginning of it before it came out. I found myself nodding along. Uninvited spoke louder to me in this season, so I grabbed it. I’m still reading it, but so far, so so good.

Also off script, I read Chip and Joanna Gaines’ new book, The Magnolia Story. I loved it! I loved reading about how they got where they were and the lessons they learned along the way. I’m a lot like Joanna in my personality and thinking, so I got a lot out of her aha moments. It was a super quick read for me and worth the time.

I finished reading Make It Happen except for the guide to making it happen. Yes, I stopped short of doing the exercises to uncover how to make it happen. I know! But that’s OK, because I’m going through that section now. I completed the first step yesterday and boy was it a big one! Looking forward to finishing it for real before January 1.

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