Reading Recap: September 2018

Oh, man, I struggled to get through books this month.  It took ages to get through a single title.  Life has been absolutely crazy and it’s impacting my reading life.  A new job, new semester of grad school, and variety of other factors and responsibilities leave me exhausted at the end of the day.  I’ll read a few pages, then put the book down in favor of my Facebook feed.

My first foray into the work of Agatha Christie slowed everything down.  The Murder at the Vicarage sucked up over a week of my life, keeping me from the books I actually wanted to be reading, which was very frustrating.

Looking at this month’s list, I notice an equal blend between YA, adult fiction, and faith-based nonfiction.  Thinking about this month’s list, the books that really stand out are the nonfiction.  This surprises me, as my go-to brain candy is usually fluffy YA.  But there’s so many avenues of personal research I want to pursue right now.  Sadly, grad school gets in the way of most of that reading.

Sept2018 Reading Recap.jpg

Overall Statistics:

  • Number of books read: 6
  • Number of pages read: 2,148
  • Number of audiobooks listened to: 2
  • Number of rereads: 1
  • Longest book: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
  • Shortest book: The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns
  • Highest rating: The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns (4.5 stars)
  • Lowest rating: Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie (2 stars)

Some notes on my stats:

  • Audiobooks are included in total page count.  It takes me longer to listen to a book than read it, so I count them
  • My ratings are on a 5-star system and are ridiculously subjective

If you want more information about each book, follow the links embedded in the titles.  That will bring you to the book’s Goodreads page.

Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue

  • Pages: 290
  • Rating:  4 stars
  • Format: Print
  • Thoughts:
    • This has been on my shelf for ages.  I’ve been listening to McHargue on The Liturgists podcast for years and finally got to his book.  I wasn’t sure how I would handle this book.  I knew there would be lots of science, which is NOT a subject in my wheelhouse.  But McHargue is a really good writer–I was never overwhelmed by the science and, at several points, was genuinely engaged with it.
    • I liked the first half of the book much more than the second.  The first half focuses on McHargue’s personal story of falling away from faith and coming back.  Much of the story was already familiar, as it comes up on the Liturgists at times.
    • There were times when the second half made me really uncomfortable.  I’m all for conversations deconstructing Christianity, but sometimes things are a little much for me.  Which is fine.  I’m learning to lean into these spaces.
    • Overall, this book is a wonderfully honest account that I know will give hope to many.

Love and Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

  • Pages: 303
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Format: E-book
  • Thoughts:
    • This was a fun, sweet YA story about a girl who overcomes heartbreak on a road trip across Ireland.
    • The plot was predictable, but that’s part of its charm.
    • Welch achieves a nice blend between travel, humor, and emotions.
    • The guidebook portions were a bit much for me.  I’ve been to several of the locations mentioned, so I mostly skipped over those bits.
    • What I appreciated about this book is that, while the title is Love and Luck, the focus isn’t on romance.  It centers on Addie’s journey of gaining self-confidence, family, and friendship.  The title encompasses all kinds of love.

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

  • Pages: 693
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Format: Audiobook
  • Reread
  • Thoughts:
    • Even when rereading, I have so many mixed feelings about this series.  The early books were just so poorly written.  By Empire of Storms, which is the fifth installment, Maas has hit her stride.  It’s still hindered by some of the early books’ sloppy plotting.  If you set that aside, it’s a wild, thrilling ride.
    • This book has an epic, sweeping plot and Maas weaves together so many characters and storylines
    • I really love the setting for this installment.  Pirates and adventure on the high seas is just so much fun.
    • Lysandra’s shape shifting in this book is just so dang cool
    • I’m starting to get tired of Maas’ go-to relationship dynamics, especially the scenes where characters are explicitly lusting after each other.  The primal nature that her fae characters constantly default to when around their significant other drove me crazy. Ugh.  Keep it in your pants, people.

The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb

  • Pages: 344
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Format: Audiobook
  • Thoughts:
    • My library system has a region-wide reading program that spans the months of October and November.  The Fate of Mercy Alban is this year’s pick.  It’s a mystery set in a Duluth mansion on Lake Superior.
    • I’m being extremely generous with my three-star rating.  If I didn’t have to promote this book, lead three book discussions on it, and host an author visit, I’d give it less stars.  I just didn’t think the writing was that great.
    • The best thing about this book is that it’s suspenseful and creepy.  There were some plot twists that surprised me, which I enjoyed.
    • The narrator was quite good!  I liked all her voices and accents.
    • I have so much beef with the main character.  Her elitism, priviledge, and lack of awareness drove me crazy.  I mean, who has the entire police force of a small city at their beck and call?  Don’t the police have something better to do?
    • The amount of drama in this book was completely unrealistic.

Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

  • Pages: 288
  • Rating: 2 stars
  • Format: Print
  • Thoughts:
    • This was my book club’s pick this month.  I was eager to delve into the queen of mystery.  Christie’s writing was witty, charming, and her characterization is consistent.  She brilliantly captures the idiosyncrasies of English village life.
    • That being said… this book was NOT for me.  The main tension of whodunit stories is the exploration and buildup of figuring out the identity of the murder and method of the crime.  The thing is, I JUST DIDN’T CARE.  I was so apathetic.  I had a hard time keeping the suspects and evidence straight.  I knew all would be explained by the end and mentally checked out for the majority of the story.

The Sin of Certainty by Peter Enns

  • Pages: 230
  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Format: Print
  • Thoughts:
    • I really loved this book.  Enns is speaking at a conference I’m attending at the end of next month, so I knew I wanted to pick up one of his books before then.  I’m so glad I did!
    • Enns addresses the problematic nature of faith as a checklist of beliefs.  Instead, he offers perspective on the value of doubt and uncertainty add to our lives.  He calls us to radical trust in God.
    • This book was well-written, with a nice balance between biblical analysis and personal experience.  The short chapters were perfect for my 10 minute post-breakfast tea/coffee time.
    • I’m definitely going to be reading more of Enns’ work in the future.

See you next month for another recap!

For more of my reading adventures, add me on Goodreads

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3 thoughts on “Reading Recap: September 2018

  1. danrunsfast October 1, 2018 / 9:23 am

    I haven’t read “The Sin Of Certainty” but I really enjoyed Pete’s book “The Bible Told Me So…”
    Might be a good one to pick up if you’re going to read more of him. Hope the conference is fun!

    • Amelia October 1, 2018 / 5:32 pm

      Hey Dan, I’ve already got that one on my list! Thanks for the recommendation! I’m really looking forward to the conference. It’s been fun reading books by the various speakers over the past few months.

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