what we're reading {july edition}...

i kind of love posts like this.
i'm naturally a nosy curious person...
i love those "here's what's in my purse" posts...or "my daily makeup regimen"...or "my wardrobe staples"...
i love little glimpses of intimate information that you wouldn't normally share on a 
just-getting-to-know-you basis.  
it's kind of like stealing a base.  like finding a great footpath through the woods that really does get you to the creek ahead of everybody else.  it's like a friendship shortcut.
i love to learn about a person by poking around in different areas of their home.  
not intruding on privacy, mind you...just being observant...
the doo-dads balanced precariously on end tables...the minutia that gathers on the nightstands...
the daily clutter that lands on kitchen counters...and best of all, the bookshelves.  
one can glean so much knowledge about another by observing the books that person reads.

i thought it might be fun to give you a peek at what we're reading this month.

first, just a little bit about us.
paul {my husband}, doesn't have a lot of time to read.  but he makes up for that in different ways.  
me...you already know most everything you need to know about me...and anything else you can probably find here.
our oldest daughter, austyn, is eleven, in sixth grade, and is a very advanced reader.  she reads voraciously, often going through an entire book and into a second one in a single day.
our only son, colton, is what i'd describe as a hesitant reader.  he has never had his sister's hunger for reading...until this summer.  more about that below...
addison and eden are still a little young to be reading on their own.  i may include them in future "what we're reading posts," but they aren't joining us today.

here's what we're reading...
erin's pile--home safe by elizabeth berg.  i'm only a few chapters into this book {although i've read it before}, so i can't give you a thorough synopsis on it {i'm notoriously bad at remembering what a book is about, hence the reason i love to own them and will often re-read books i've enjoyed}.  i will say, i love all of elizabeth berg's books and own all of them save her most recent release {april 2014}.  she has a way of dialoguing her character's thoughts and emotions that will leave you stunned.  i have often found myself silently saying, "i thought i was the only person that thought like that!"

the longest ride by nicholas sparks.  again, yet another book that i'm only a few chapters into.  i started reading this book last fall, immediately after it was released {sparks is on a short list of author's whose books are on my amazon pre-order list, so i received them theeee day of release}, but just couldn't get into it.  i picked it up again recently and am enjoying it, but so far it hasn't gripped my attention in a can't-put-it-down sort of way.  but that's ok.  i prefer light, non-engrossing reads in the summertime, anyway.

a homemade life by molly wizenberg.  when i say "light, non-engrossing reads," this book is exactly what i mean.  i'm already ten or so chapters into it, and loving it.  wizenberg's style of writing reminds me a lot of shauna niequist's...and this book actually seems like a soul-sister of bread & wine.

just for fun, i'm including the stack of books i use for my devotionals {not pictured, but definitely used on a daily basis, is my Bible}.  my daily routine varies and some days i will read from only one of these, while other days i may read and journal quotes and thoughts from all three.  

the pursuit of holiness by jerry bridges.  we are going through this book together in our adult sunday school class.  bridges's down-to-earth approach to a very high-minded subject has made it easier to apply biblical truths regarding holiness to my everyday life.

seasons of a mother's heart by sally clarkson.  this book was gifted to me by a fellow homeschooling mom {actually, one of my friends that will be guest-posting for the finding balance series}.  i appreciate clarkson's realistic view on life as a mother; and while this book was targeted specifically for homeschooling moms, its truths are universal and the book could easily be enjoyed by moms whose children are in traditional schools or even working or single mothers.  this book has been a slow read for me...usually just a page or two at a time, as i don't want to miss the tiny golden nuggets of advice and wisdom that are scattered throughout.  i love that reading this book feels like i'm picking the brain of someone who's walked my same path but is several years ahead of me.  reading this reminds me of the adage i've often heard, " experience is actually the second-best teacher.  someone else's experience is the best teacher."

devotions for morning and evening with mrs. charles e. cowman.  although i own my own copy of this book, the one seen in the photo above is the copy i regularly use and belonged to mom.  all the little colored tabs you see peeping out of the top are hers...most of them are written on...and her notes are scattered all throughout the pages of this book.  the book itself is a fabulous devotional--really, i can't recommend it highly enough.  it's been my favorite devotional book for years and years.  but finding her notes here and there...that's like unexpected little joy-gifts on those days.

this book, as you may guess from the title, has two devotional passages for each day--one for morning, one for evening.  i often read both passages at the same time, during my morning scripture-reading.  most of the excerpts in the book were written many, many years ago, and as such the language used is a bit different than our modern vernacular.  i truly enjoy the differing terminology and don't find it in the least distracting. 

 austyn's pile--when i was preparing for this blog post, i told austyn to go get me the books that she's currently reading.  that was the only instruction i gave her.  this is the stack she brought out to me.  it did my momma's heart good to see her Bible on the top of the pile.

soul surfer by bethany hamilton.  austyn has long held a fascination for anything surfing/ocean-related.  she devours books about underwater sea life and even once wrote a report detailing her future life living in a shack on the beach.
austyn watched the soul surfer movie several months ago and wanted to borrow it again from the library.  when she looked it up in the catalog, it was already being used, but she was thrilled to find that there was a book {she hadn't known that before this} and eagerly checked it out.

the kings of clonmel {from the ranger's apprentice series} by john flanagan.  i fanatically read through this entire series last summer...going through all ten books {there were only ten that i was aware of at that time} in a few short weeks.  these are books that i stayed up into the wee hours of the morning to finish...they're that good.  they're classified as young-adult fiction, but they thoroughly entertained me and i didn't find them to be distractingly juvenile at all.
austyn started reading the series a couple weeks ago and has been flying through the books at lightning speed.  she's currently on book 8, but asked to include book 9 in the photo.  i obliged.☺
i highly recommend this series for your young adult readers.  because of some battle/lovey-dovey content, i wasn't ready for austyn to read them any earlier than she did {she'll be entering sixth grade this fall}, but that's certainly up to your own discretion.  if you're in doubt, read them yourself first...you will not regret it.  they are great books.

 colton's pile-- i described colton above as a reluctant reader.  it's not really that he hates reading...just that he can always find something he'd rather be doing.  i've always loved to read, even as a young child/teenager, and was really anxious to find books that he'd actually enjoy.
thankfully, at the beginning of this summer, he re-discovered the magic tree house books and has been devouring them as quickly as we can check them out from the library.  most of these books are between a second and third grade reading level; and while colton is going into fourth grade this fall, i have no qualms with him reading these books.  it's not that he's a struggling reader...it's just that he doesn't necessarily enjoy reading.  these books may be below his reading level, but if they get him to read and to enjoy reading, it's more than fine with me!

hurry up, houdini is colton's current read, though he goes through them so quickly, i'm sure that will change by this evening.

i don't have photos of paul's reading pile...
paul drives a truck for nestl√©, and while he has very little time to read ink-on-paper books, he goes through audio books quite quickly with his many hours on the road.  when he talks about having read a book, i tease him that listening doesn't count and that he didn't really read it.  but truthfully, he is an audio learner and i am a visual learner...he retains just as much {if not more} by listening to his books as i do by actually reading them.

paul is currently listening to the tipping point by malcolm gladwell.  before this, he listened to blink...and after this, he plans to listen to outliers, both by the same author.
he also has the longmire series downloaded as a soon-read.

so, there you have it.
what are you reading right now?
i'm always looking for good book recommendations for myself, and also especially for colton.  i'd love to find him a series that's geared a bit more toward his "real" reading level, but that he'd enjoy just as much.  your suggestions are appreciated.


  1. I always love seeing peeks into others' lives as well, especially stacks of books. I wasn't familiar with any of the first three you shared -- definitely looking into the Molly Wizenberg book. I love Shauna Niequist's books, especially "Bread and Wine" so another like that sounds right up my alley.

    Has Colton read any of the Sugar Creek Gang books? They are a little above Jackson's reading level but he loves them! We always keep our eyes open for vintage copies, it adds to the appeal for Jackson. We have just been reading "My Side of the Mountain" and "On the Far Side of the Mountain" and I highly recommend those. Have any of you read any of the Mysterious Benedict Society books? They are awesome. I think I would have read them without the kids even. Has Austyn read the Penderwick books? Grace and I read those together and loved them. I will have to look into those Rangers Apprentice books.

    Thanks for sharing!

    --laura k.

    1. laura...
      austyn has actually read all of the Mysterious Benedict Society books! she LOVES them! they're on her "must own" list. i don't know what reading level they are at--wonder if colton would enjoy them?
      i haven't read either of the "mountain" books you're talking about, but i've seen you mention them several times on IG...i'll have to check them out.
      colton hasn't read any of the SCG books...i read some of them when i was a kid...i'll have to see if i can find him some.
      haven't heard of or read the penderwick books. will look into those for Austyn.
      thanks for the recommendations! they surely help!!!


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