My Favorite Winter Books

If you’re looking for a book to curl up with by the fire, keep reading. . .   

        Let me know if you  enjoyed one of these books and I’m always looking for another good book to read if you’d care to share your favorites with me.  (I am an Amazon Affiliate so you can click on the book title or picture to go directly to Amazon to purchase).  

Atomic Habits (non-fiction) by James Clear

What It’s About:  I heard James Clear speak on a podcast and knew I wanted to read his book.  He gives you easy ways to begin new habits and break bad ones.  His advice is simple, practical and logical.  His goal is to get 1% better every day with tiny changes that add up over time.  He will teach you how to avoid mistakes, get back on track when you veer off track and how to stay motivated.  

Why I Liked It:  This book is something everyone can benefit from. It’s encouraging, motivating, and most importantly practical.  I want to read this book again and slowly implement James Clear’s advice.  Great read for those of us who have trouble staying on track.  A great way to start 2019!

Present Over Perfect:  Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living  (non-fiction) by Shauna Niequist

What it’s about:   Shauna Niequist invites you to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.    As she puts it: “A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.  

Why I liked it:   Shauna writes honestly about having success as an author/speaker and  a wonderful family and yet being unhappy, tired and frustrated.   She shares the emptiness of having to perform, produce and hustle while encouraging us to live a life that is smaller, slower and simpler. 

Becoming Mrs. Lewis:  The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis   (historical-fiction) by Patti Callahan

  What it’s about:   When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love.  In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us.   C.S. Lewis called her “my whole world. . .”

Why I liked it:  This powerful, moving, love story was so well written I enjoyed every word of it. This story of a woman who faced marital heartache and then single motherhood, supporting herself and two sons as a writer, will strengthen your heart.  This peek  into her relationship with the author, C.S. Lewis, the love of her life is a treasure for any of us who have read his work.  Many times the story of the woman behind the man is never told, but Patti Callahan’s research and gift of writing make  both of these writers more dear. 

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis  (memoir ) by J. D. Vance

What it’s about:  From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class.  A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels.   Author, J. D. Vance tells the true story of what  social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. 

Why I liked it:  I had heard Hillbilly Elegy was a great book, but put off reading it  because I thought it would be a typical story of a boy climbing out of poverty to success.  While it is a fascinating story, the part of this book I found made it unique was the author also providing statistics and research into the  whys of how families struggle to breakout of the cycle of addiction and poverty.  Hillbilly Elegy was a peek inside the houses and lives of people we don’t always understand and the struggles they have to break into a better life.

Unwritten  (fiction ) by Charles Martin

What it’s about:  When someone wants to be lost, a home tucked among the Ten Thousand Islands off the Florida coast is a good place to live. A couple decent boats and a deep knowledge of fishing and a man can get by without ever having to talk to another soul.   Until the one person he still talks to, Father Steady Capri, drops a famous suicidal actress into his solitude.  Ultimately, he will need to leave his secluded home and sacrifice the serenity he’s found to help her. From the Florida coast they will travel to the French countryside where they will discover the unwritten story of both their pasts and their future.

Why I liked it:  Charles Martin has become my favorite author find for 2018.    He draws you into the story by giving you just enough detail to make you want to dig deeper until you find a treasure of characters and plot masterfully woven. Martin dives deep into the pain of these characters and brings them back to hope and a future.  His stories twist and turn and always surprise and thrill.

The Mountain Between Us  (fiction ) by Charles Martin

What it’s about: On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport.  Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding.  Dr. Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and has surgeries scheduled for the next day.  When their flight gets cancelled, these two join together to charter a small plane to take them from Salt Lake City to Denver.  When the pilot has a heart attack and the plane crashes in the high mountains, an epic story of survival and companionship begins. 

 Why I liked it:  When I found out that one of Charles Martin’s books was made into a movie, I had to read it first before watching it.   This story was so heart-wrenching and tender that even though I suspected the characters survived, it just seemed impossible given their circumstances.  This book is a page turner and the movie such a disappointment that you will hardly recognize the connection between the two.  Read the book.  Skip the movie.  This story captivated me! 

The Magnolia Story  (non- fiction ) by Chip & Joanna Gaines, Mark Dagostino

Capital Gaines  (non- fiction ) by Chip  Gaines 

What they’re about:   Most of us are familiar with the HGTV show “Fixer Upper.”   These two books are about their story of hard work, determination, mistakes and  growth.  After a trip to Waco, I was  inspired to read both their books and was not disappointed.  These books give you an inside look to who Chip and Joanna are and how they do life and business.  Quick, easy and fun reads.  Chip is just as much a character in real life as he is on television.  If you want to start at the beginning, read “The Magnolia Story” first. 

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