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With a nice long Easter holiday in the sun behind me, this month has seen me plough through some great books that I have had on my to-read list for a while.
After I finally managed to find a bit of temp work back in March, my husband and I decided to spend the money gained, as we have been unable to splurge on anything for quite a while now due to a tight budget.
After an amazing meal at the Rumwong Thai Restaurant in Guildford (complete with reclining cushions rather than hard chairs, beautiful food and wonderful service), we had some money left over which we decided to spend on books. We are both big readers, whether reading Harry Potter books or The Velveteen Rabbit to each other, or reading spiritual books, classics, fiction, and many other types of books ourselves.
As a result, I ended up with two books I have been particularly dying to read, and they did not disappoint. I raced through them, and have been enjoying various other books since!
So, without further ado…
Books I Read in April
A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman (from Chatting at the Sky)
In Books I Read in March, I shared my excitement over finishing another of Emily’s books: Grace for the Good Girl. I love her style, and so was really excited to finally be able to buy another of her works I have been waiting to get for a while now: A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live
This book is for all those who have a longing to be ‘creative’, to find their ‘art’, but are unsure where to start and wonder if perhaps they have nothing to offer. Emily walks you through recognizing what we mean by art and where it comes from in the first section: “Who Is the Artist?”. She then takes you on a more practical journey through “Uncovering the Art You Were Born to Make” and “Releasing the Art You Were Made to Live”.
Her words are lyrical and beautiful, making this an incredibly easy book to read. She weaves in stories of her own and of other people, and you feel like you are being guided through the artistic journey by a loving friend. This journey is one that takes you deep into yourself, and I would warn you that there is a certain amount of deep self-evaluation, which I found to be incredibly helpful, but also at times quite challenging. The first section became almost an examination of conscience for me, but it was 100% necessary for me to reach the right place for the next part, and I am better for it!
I hope, if you choose to buy this book, that you will discover as much about yourself, your art, and your God, as I did.
Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider (from The Art of Simple)
This was the other book I had been desperate to buy, and it not only didn’t disappoint, it went above and beyond my expectations! This book, along with Jan Johnson’s Abundant Simplicity, has revolutionized and helped me to determine my views on simplicity and a slow, intentional and fulfilling life.
The book reads like a memoir, a collection of wonderful stories from Tsh’s exciting life, and yet there is a layer of practicality and guidance underneath it all. Having grown up abroad, I recognized myself in some of Tsh’s own discoveries, but it’s her ability to take these discoveries and figure out how to build life around them that I really admire.
This book has helped me to build our Family Manifesto/Mission Statement, and given me hope, as well as a basic blueprint, for the ways in which I can simplify my own (and my family’s) life, and learn to enjoy life’s little treasures more.
I would not hesitate to recommend this book to a friend, as it has quickly made its way to being one of my firm favourites…ever!
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
As you can tell from this list and last month’s, I love reading non-fiction, often spiritual and practical books. However, I have always had an unquenchable thirst for fiction, one that lead me to my English literature degree, and I felt I was missing that recently. So, I rummaged through our bookshelves (there are always books that have yet to be read!) and came across some Terry Pratchett books I’d been wanting to read. I have read Discworld novels previously and really enjoyed them, so thought I would give The Light Fantastic a go.
I’m glad I did! It was nice to escape into a fictional world for a bit, and it has been a steady companion for me on the nights when my pregnant body is tired, my muscles ache, and I really just need a lavender bath and some time with a book.
If you’ve not read the Discworld novels before, it is certainly worth a go! Pratchett books are, in my experience, hilarious as well as intelligent and entertaining. You find yourself wanting to read “just a little bit more” everytime you pick them up. They are full of wonderfully flawed characters, amusing anecdotes, and regular ramblings from the narrator that are particularly fun to read. If you crave a little fiction every now and then, this is a wonderful series to reach for.
On Becoming Baby Wise by Gary Ezzo and Dr Robert Bucknam
I have made a pact with myself that I will really limit myself on reading parenting books, as I have been exposed a little to the sheer amount of conflict, contradictions and confusion that is found there. However, after reading a particularly good few reviews of this book, I decided to give it a go. It seemed to follow similar “flexible routine” advice to The Baby Whisperer, and I was happy to give it the benefit of the doubt.
As it turns out, I am over-the-moon that I chose to give this book a chance. The book is realistic and full of mercy, and it helps you to focus on establishing a “flexible routine” for your baby while reminding you of the importance of your marriage in truly great parenting.
I cannot guarantee that this book will be to everyone’s tastes (they speak quite negatively at times of attachment parenting), but the stats speak for themselves of the amazing successes, while the writing style is personal and (for the most part) non-judgmental, encouraging you to really just enjoy your baby and the time you have with them.
I feel like this book comes from an angle that very much speaks to my heart, and I will have to wait and see if its philosophy works as well for our baby in the summer as it has for countless other parents the world over.