Best Books {from the First Half} of 2013

The first half of 2013 is over, which is a great time to look back at what have been the top books I’ve read so far this year. Through June, I’d read 126 books, so limiting this was a tough call! I’ve picked five each of my favorite nonfiction and fiction reads, although I do cheat a bit with the last fiction pick. 🙂

Best Nonfiction:

Best books from the first half of 2013 - Nonfiction 2013_1 Best books first half 2013 [Read more…]

Mini Nonfiction Reviews

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I read so much nonfiction that I’m getting a stockpile of titles to review. Time to do some mini reviews to help clear the backlog. Linking up to the monthly Twitterature post at Modern Mrs Darcy as well, once it’s posted on Saturday.

They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic WritingThey Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writingby Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.
Loved this guide to academic writing, and many of their ideas and methods translate to all sorts of persuasive writing. Wish I’d had it when I was in grad school especially – I think my history papers would have been a lot stronger if I’d used some of their techniques.

The Money Saving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a YearThe Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year by Crystal Paine by Crystal Paine.
If you read her blog Money Saving Mom, none of this will be new information, but it’s all organized in a useful way. Recommended if you need motivation or some you-can-do-it encouragement.

How to Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets to Getting Gorgeous without Breaking the Bank by Andrea Pomerantz Lustig.
Reads like a compilation of magazine beauty columns (maybe because the author is a magazine beauty editor), but it’s a lot easier to find the info you want in the book, instead of trying to remember which issue had that specific mascara brand mentioned that you want to try. Having it all in one place makes it handy, but it’ll date quickly, especially with all the celebrity references.

Making Room for Life: Trading Chaotic Lifestyles for Connected Relationships by Randy Frazee.
Enjoyed his take on it, but some of it doesn’t feel super realistic for us right now, and we also don’t have a huge problem with overcommitting ourselves. I’m such a homebody, my natural inclination keeps me out of trouble in that way (helps that our kids aren’t that old yet. I can see it getting a lot tougher as they get older).

Life in Christ: A Guide for Daily Living by John Stott.
I feel like I *should* have liked this, and my biggest issue with it was that it wasn’t the book I expected. It really isn’t a guide for daily living (or at least not a practical how-to guide), it’s more of a why behind the Christian life. Not a bad thing, simply not what I thought I’d be reading.

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Twitterature: Current Reads (May 2013)

twitterature-graphic1I’m back to my old habits of reading a huge stack of books all at the same time. Er, I mean, I’m currently reading in a number of books instead of finishing one and then moving on to the next, not that I’m truly reading multiple books at the same exact moment in time. Although wouldn’t that be a great way to make more progress on my reading list! Reading multiple books concurrently keeps me from getting bored with any one title, and some topics aren’t the sort that I want to read straight through.

So, what am I reading?

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary CanalGulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach by Mary Roach.
Very much like her book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversStiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (which I loved), only it’s about the digestive system instead of cadavers. It’s certainly not for the squeamish – bodily functions are discussed (and I haven’t even gotten any farther south than the stomach), but I find her writing style engaging and humorous.

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start MakingThe Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making by Jennifer May by Jennifer May.
Love the author’s voice, and love her perspective on making things from scratch – it all depends on cost, taste, and hassle, and where something falls on that equation can vary depending on what else is going on in her life. Her comment about being much more likely to tackle a huge kitchen project if you want to come over and take her kids for the afternoon? Yeah, I laughed because I am totally in that season.

Making Room for Life: Trading Chaotic Lifestyles for Connected RelationshipsMaking Room for Life: Trading Chaotic Lifestyles for Connected Relationships by Randy Frazee by Randy Frazee.
Summary: We’re too busy. It’s stressing us all out. We’d be better off saying no to good activities, because the better choice is margin in our lives. It’s good, but so far nothing has been all that revolutionary.

Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids LaterMean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later by Denise Schipani by Denise Schipani.
Reading this one for my 2013 Challenge, because otherwise I’d have given up on it. It’s not bad, I just don’t relate to her parenting woes or that supposed difficulty in being a mean mom. And by mean, she’s talking about being a parent instead of a friend to your kids, saying no to them, etc.

They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic WritingThey Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.
I wish I’d had this book when I was in grad school – I think it would have helped me immensely, when I was making the transition to the conventions of academic writing. Excellent short resource.

The Crimson OakThe Crimson Oak by E. M. Almedingen by E. M. Almedingen.
Historical kid’s fiction set in 18th century Russia. The pacing is slow and it’s not keeping my interest, but it’s another one that’s been on my bookshelf for years and I want to finish it for my challenge and decide if it’s a keeper or not. So far I’m thinking no way.

Life in Christ: A Guide for Daily LivingLife in Christ: A Guide for Daily Living by John Stott by John Stott.
When the subtitle is “A Guide for Daily Living”, I was expecting more in the way of practical advice, but I’m not getting much at all out of this book. Another one I’m finishing for my reading challenge, as it’s been on my shelf for ages – so long that I don’t even remember how it ended up in my possession!

For more Twitterature posts, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

April’s Library Haul, Twitterature-Style

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Just to mix things up a bit, instead of sharing about what I’m currently reading, I’m sharing about the library haul I brought home this weekend. Twenty-one books. Not all for me, so I’ll skip the books I brought home for the kids.

Fiction

Wolf Hall: A NovelWolf Hall by Hilary Mantel by Hilary Mantel. Highly recommended by Catherine, so I’m very excited about this historical novel.

Troubled WatersTroubled Waters by Sharon Shinn by Sharon Shinn. I love her books, and am hoping this first book in a new-to-me series is as good as her Twelve Houses fantasy series.
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March Current Reads, Twitterature-Style

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Another month, another up-to-the-moment-of-writing look at {most} of the books I’m currently reading. Twitterature-style.

I’m savoring Agatha Christie’s The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of MysteryThe Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery. It’s especially fun having just finished my first Poirot mystery.

I quickly reread my paperback copy of The Secret GardenThe Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett and found myself wanting more (especially when I realized that my version? It’s an abridgment! Horrors! Happily, my library had a lovely hardback version of The Annotated Secret GardenThe Annotated Secret Garden, which I am loving. Apparently I’m geeky enough to really adore annotated versions of books. Although, the annotated Sense and Sensibility had better annotations I have to admit. This one is still better than no annotations.

I’ve made it through one chapter of T.J. Wray’s Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister DiesSurviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies. This one is emotionally wrenching, so it may take awhile. So far, I would say that I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who has lost a sibling, although I do realize that it might seem silly to say so based on one chapter. 🙂

The closest I’ll ever get to mountain climbing is reading about it, and I’ve read several excellent books about Everest. Graham Bowley’s No Way Down: Life and Death on K2No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 is my first experience reading anything about K2, the second highest mountain in the world. So far it is excellent, and hard to put it down – I keep wanting to read just one more chapter.

And I’m still slowly working through The 3 A.M. EpiphanyThe 3 A.M. Epiphany, Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for MothersUse Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers, Deeply Loved: 40 Ways in 40 Days to Experience the Heart of JesusTwitterature: Deeply Loved, and The Old Curiosity Shop. Someday I’ll finish Dickens, but I’m beginning to doubt that it’ll be this month.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Twitterature: Current Reads

twitterature-graphic1Anne (a.k.a. Modern Mrs Darcy) is hosting a new reading link-up of brief reviews of books – “Twitterature” . Brief as in twitter-inspired 140 character reviews (although she’s not being that completely strict about it.)

No matter, my usual book posts are waaaay too wordy for that. So instead, an up-to-the-moment-of-writing look at the books I have in progress or am about to start reading.

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