Tuesday, September 11, 2012

August Books

Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris
I'm a big fan of Kathleen Norris's work. This is an interesting look at the history of acedia, which was originally one of the 8 evil thoughts but was subsumed under sloth when the 7 deadly sins were created. It is defined as a spiritual apathy. Norris explains how she has battled acedia in her spiritual life. She points out that many of the feelings we attribute to depression might have a spiritual rather than physical origin (although she is very clear that she does believe in depression as a real illness and believes she has suffered from both clinical depression and acedia). It was interesting to think about the responsibility we have to rouse ourselves from spiritual apathy. The book tended to drag a little in the middle, but I think it was a worthwhile read.

The Simple Dollar: How One Man Wiped Out His Debts and Achieved the Life of His Dreams by Trent A. Hamm
I had heard about this book on one of the personal-finance websites I read, so when it was offered for cheap on the Kindle, I decided to check it out. I mainly read these books for inspiration to keep going with saving. I don't really expect to learn anything new (live below your means, budget, etc.). This book had pretty standard advice. I got a little annoyed by the author's tone, though. He acted like everyone should be striving to earn enough to quit their job and stay home and write, but I don't think that's a desirable goal for everyone. Bottom line: I think there are better personal-finance books out there.

Chasing Mona Lisa by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey
This historical fiction novel is set in World War II. The Mona Lisa has been hidden in a French chateau (this part is true), and a Louvre curator and her French revolutionary boyfriend team up with two Swiss secret agents to recover the painting before a Nazi leader can steal it for his personal collection. This story was fast-paced, and the setting was interesting. I'm not sure exactly how accurate it is in its detail, but it seems to portray WWII-era Paris well. A good, quick read. 

Second Honeymoon by Joanna Trollope
This was a Kindle Daily Deal, and I got it on a whim. It's about a British family's struggle to adjust to life after the three kids have left the nest. I thought it portrayed quite realistically the challenges of transitioning into adulthood. The characters were sometimes frustrating in their whininess, but overall, it was a good story. 

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan
The second of the three free Francis Chan books I got for my Kindle. This one argues that Christianity has moved away from its original purpose and that Christians should stand out in their attitudes and service. I know a lot of people LOVE this book. I thought it was good, but I liked Interrupted (one of my July books) better. 

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler
A man at church gave me this book to read after I expressed frustration in my sometimes inability to say important things without getting emotional. I really appreciated the practical advice the authors gave. They said that the goal of every crucial conversation should be to be 100% honest and 100% respectful. This is a challenge for me. I worry a lot about offending people, so I end up not being completely honest. I was glad to learn some strategies for telling hard truths in a respectful way. I've also been trying to take their advice to remember the purpose of the conversation. Often, my goal shifts from exchanging ideas with someone to winning some kind of fake debate. I'm trying to curb this. I highly recommend this book.

At the Sign of the Sugared Plum by Mary Hooper
This is a young adult novel about a teenage girl who goes to help in her sister's candy shop in London during the plague of 1665. The main character is a redhead named Hannah, so, of course I loved her. :) It was a great story, and I enjoyed learning about this time period, but it ended rather abruptly. Perhaps there is going to be a sequel? 

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