I was looking back on my reading habits this year and noticed that in the school year my reading is drastically low and in the summer I read more.  I have declared this the summer of reading for me, and I'm trying to get in as many good books as possible.  I'm mainly a consumer of fiction and memoirs.  Non-fiction books (other than memories) are hard for me.  To be more disciplined I'm going to commit to one this summer.  I know, that's really pushing myself isn't it!

Sometimes when I am reading People magazine (because my grandma gets a subscription and a few times a year my mom brings me all her old magazines, which means I'm behind on celebrities lives, but I can still read about the books) I go through when they do the book reviews and add them to my goodread account so that I have them there.  Then I'll go through the public libraries website and put as many books on hold as it will let me and whatever comes in is what I'll read!  It's a terrible way to pick books and you never really know what you are going to get, but hey it's my strategy for this summer and it's working.

So far, here's what I've read in 2013:


I am slowly but surely reading all of these books to my children.  We finished this one early in the year and since they had already seen the movie they seemed to enjoy it better, which led me to reevaluate my decision to make them read books before they see the movie.  Although as an adult I clearly understand that books are better than movies, sometimes I think as young children it helps them to understand the book better if they have seen the movie.  For all the Chronicles of Narnia books that we have read, they like the ones better that they have seen the movie already for.  We need to move onto the next book soon!


2.  THREE LITTLE WORDS by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

This is a memoir written by a girl that grew up in the foster system and was eventually adopted into her family that she has now.  I was moved by her story and at times convicted of my own parenting as I read her story.  She came from a very hard place in life, and my son, Amos, has come from hard places as well, and so when she would describe some of the ways she would act out it was as if she was describing my son.  The convicting part hit me when she talked about why she did it, and how it hurt her when adults responded in certain ways to her behaviors.  It truly was a great insight intosomeones heart and emotions that has been through hell and back and lived.  Ashley had a terrible childhood, and is an inspiration that children's hearts can be changed and they can begin to trust and love again.  I recommend this book to anyone that is involved in adoption.


3.  Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

I am a fan of Shauna's writings already and so this book was one that I devoured when it came out.  Shauna dives into the fact that so much life happens around the table.  Communities are built and friendships are maintained around bread & wine.  Aaron and I love having people over in our backyard to grill out and experience life together and so this book was speaking my language the whole time.  Shauna is a great storyteller and you feel as though after each chapter you understand her heart more.  I laughed and cried through most of this book.  Each chapter contains recipes that will make you want to cook after each chapter.  In fact, my kids are begging for the blueberry crisp that she outlines in the very first chapter.  It's delicious, easy and gluten free!  I highly suggest you read this book this year sometime!


4.  The Real Win by Matt Carter & Colt McCoy

I already told you guys about this book, but again I highly recommend this book for the men in your lives.  It's challenging, convicting and uplifting all in one.  I know both of these men personally and am so proud of them for living their lives chasing after Jesus.


5.  Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids by Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller

That may be the longest title ever for a book, but it covers everything I was needing in a book.  I put out a plea recently on Facebook asking for help with discipline for my kids.  This summer, we are spending LOTS of time together and I was already frustrated with the way they were speaking to each other and sometimes to me as well.  Someone recommended this book and a few others commented that they agreed and so I bought it from amazon that day.  I devoured this book and loved it so much.  It talks a lot about teaching your kids to honor each other, their siblings, and ultimately themselves.  It encourages us to address these behaviors early on and not to let them slide.  After I read this book we started addressing some ugly behaviors and I felt like I was getting a handle on things.  I am seriously going to review this book at least once a year for a while, and maybe even twice.  If you are looking for a good parenting book, here's one for you.  (As with all parenting books, take some and leave some – that's my obligatory advice when recommending parenting books to people!)


6.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitgerald

Don't gasp when I tell you this, but I did not like this book.  I am certain I was required to read it in high school, but I can assure it that doesn't mean I actually did read this.  When the movie was coming out I declared that I would read this again so that I could see the movie knowing I had already read the masterpiece of a book that this is.  My friend Maris claims that this is one of her all time favorite books.  I have no idea how, but to each his own.  Most people I tell that I hated this book look at me as if I have just claimed that the Pope hates God.  They can't compute how I could say such words.  But honestly it just isn't my type of book.  Everyone then asks if I noticed the theme with the colors.  Nope, I didn't.  Sorry.


What have you read this year?   I'm always looking to add new books to my goodreads account!  What MUST I read this year?  I've read some good ones in June and I'll tell you about those later.

Jamie Ivey