Friends: praying you’re all staying safe and dry this week with the flooding in south Texas from hurricane Harvey. What a horrible thing to happen to so many people! Nate and I have power and running water, but I know that’s not the case for thousands of other Austin residents. And Houston is already mostly under water, and the rain keeps coming. Right now, there are a bunch of ways to help out monetarily, and I’m on the hunt for ways to volunteer. Have any leads for hands-on work? Email me at [email protected] so I can know! Thanks. 🙂
Moving forward to today’s post…it’s time for another month of reads!
This was one of the first times in a long time I didn’t travel at all in August. I had one short drive up to Dallas last weekend to visit my sister, but no planes or loooong road trips like in years past. Last August, my entire family of 10 went to Rosemary Beach in Florida. I was looking back on my 2016 READS from last year, and I listened to five audiobooks in August alone…haha. This girl gets car sick easily, so audiobooks are my only form of entertainment during a long road trip!
Anyway, I got around to reading 4 books this month. The day that I read all my books in one category will be NEVER, so, just like always, my book choices were all over the place.
I read a book about productivity, a suspense thriller, a novel from a chick-lit author, and a new release from Jen Hatmaker.
168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam
You’ve heard the quote “you have as many hours in a day as Beyonce”? Haha.. I was thinking about that the whole time I was reading this book. The idea of Laura Vanderkam’s book about productivity is that if we manage our time by the week instead of the day, we’ll get a better grasp on how we’re spending it, and how we can manage it better. We all have 168 hours in a week, and we could all probably learn how to use it better.
I thought there were a lot of helpful tips in here, but my biggest takeaway was thinking about how I use my free time. She suggests mapping out your free time before/after work and on the weekends to plan things that are relaxing and invigorating, rather than mindless and draining.
She suggests time tracking every moment of the day for a week. So, I actually did this! For a whole week, I wrote down what I did for 15 minute intervals. I was surprised by a few things:
- I sleep a lot more than I thought! When I averaged it out, I got about 7.5 hours a night. (Some nights were closer to 6, and one night I went to bed really early and got about 10 hours of sleep.)
- I waste so much time doing quick trips to the grocery store! I’ve mentioned this before, but I am the worst at meal planning…I hate it. I do the “I’ll-just-run-to-the-store-and-get-one-thing” way too often, and I could probably save a couple hours a week if I just planned out my entire week and did ONE trip to the store.
- Showering/doing my hair and makeup/getting dressed/changing outfits 4 times/taking makeup off…these things all take a lot of time in my day, too! I’m not taking copious amounts of time fixing my hair perfectly every day, but just running through the basics is a big chunk of my morning. So be it….I want to wear makeup every day, and I’m not apologizing for that. 😉
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
I did not love this book. I read The Girl On The Train last year, and thought it was “meh.” (I didn’t watch the movie, though – did you?). I wanted to give the author another try, so I read this thriller last week, and I just wasn’t blown away by it.
First of all, the character development was mega slow, so I couldn’t remember who was who! It wasn’t until I had read 50% of the book that I was able to remember all the names and stories.
I was also unimpressed with the suspense. It just wasn’t all that scary…except for the first page. Haha! The first page is literally the scariest page of the whole book.
Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
Jen is a Christian author and speaker, but regardless of your religious beliefs, you’ll probably enjoy this book. 🙂 She’s funny, sassy, and loving. I opened a bottle of wine, sat down with this book, and read it cover-to-cover.
Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life is a fun and very real series of essays to girls of every age who need a little help putting things in perspective. She writes a lot about parenting, but also about the early stages of life, getting through middle school, college, and the early years of a marriage. She writes about her relationship with her girl friends, which is one of my favorite things about Jen.
This is a feel-good book for those days when you aren’t sure you’ve got it together….and then you read this, and you know that you’re doing your best, and everything is ok.
The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
This is my fourth Jojo Moyes novel to read (I’ve also read Me Before You, After You, and Silver Bay.) The Girl You Left Behind takes toggles between France 1912 and England 2006. It’s about a legal battle for a French painting from WWII that has been found in a young widowed woman’s bedroom in London nearly a century later.
I enjoy historical fiction, so the chapters of the book that took place during WWII were my favorite. The majority of the book, though, was in modern day London, and those chapters were typical “Jojo Moyes romance:” the female character is all over the place (one day she’s in love, the next day she’s crazy and angry…does anyone else see this happening in all of Moyes’s books?).
Sadly, I think I’m going to be done with Jojo Moyes for a while. Every time I get to the end of one of her books, I think, “hmm, I could have probably spent that time a little better!” And it’s not that I’m anti-chick lit (HA! Have you seen how much Elin Hilderbrand I’ve read lately?), but I’m not finding these stories as gripping (ok, and silly….I know) as some other chick lit authors.
Next month, I’m trying to be more intentional about the books I pick. For instance: Jojo Moyes was picked as a last-minute resort when I just needed a quick audiobook for my drive to Dallas. If I had thought it over more carefully, I would have picked something else…but I just needed a book, fast. So I’m building a better list, and I’m throwing in a few more challenging books.
What have you been reading lately? I’d love to know!
Stay safe, friends.