Alrightttt here we are. The end of another year and many many many books down. I always start with my bookclubs book list and go on to the others I read this year. Despite COVID…our bookclub did meet twice in person after March and a few months on Zoom. (no one likes zoom…let’s be honest) We took off many months so we could all read whatever we wanted. So here are the books we read together:
Each year I read well over 30 books (which I will add their titles in categories below) but our bookclub alone reads 12 books throughout the year. 12 months, 12 books. One person each month chooses a book for all of us to read. At the end of the month we all get together at someones house to talk through the book and drink wine of course. We had some AMAZING books this last year, here they are :
December- Poems! Everyone brought their favorite poem to read during a holiday dinner. It’s hard to meet at the end of the month because of the Holidays, so we just get together to have a party and read poetry!
Genre: Autobiography, Christian Life, Women’s Issues
Page count: 281 pages
What I thought of the book:
I first read this book last January after a friend referred it to me. She knows I love all things rest, rejuvenation, and slow living. I went into this book thinking it would be like all the others, a guide to living a slow life. This is almost a memoir of her life’s journey chasing slow and failing miserably along the way. It’s a coffee book type of book because it’s designed so beautifully. It has hidden little notes, recipes, and design tips throughout. But it also has REALLY hard words to swallow when you are reading it because it will hit you hard.
She taught me there is something deep down within all of us, like a lion, that is searching for it’s next prey. The prey for her and for me, is striving for the next thing to do, always saying yes, and MORE (more money, more things, more stuff). Throughout the whole book she will use the analogy of the lion inside to describe this inner turmoil with ourselves. The constant back and forth of saying yes and learning no. The more we feed the lion the more it will continue it’s search for MORE. This is a book about slowing down yes but, it’s also a book about why and where does this need for constant more comes from.
Erin was one of those first bloggers in the 90’s when the internet went boom. When you are reading it feels like you are at coffee with her sitting across from the table listening to her life’s story, with all the messy beautiful moments.
The one reason this book is different than all the other is because half way through writing this book she recognizes while chasing slow- she is still striving for more. It’s in the chase that slow needs to happen. It’s in the striving that perfectionism needs to be put in it’s place, which is back on the shelf. I promise you will get something good out of this book. I read it once a year in January to remind myself what this life is all about and it’s NOT about the more or the next but being content with the already.
Beautiful design, descriptive words, and honest conversation.
Who should read this book?
Any woman who is needing honest true words about how HARD life is but how good it could be if we do the work to silence the lion inside. Anyone who needs to know you are not a lone in your busyness. Anyone who has been “trying” to live a slow intentional life but keep messing it up.
Why should you read this book?
Because it gives recognition to the struggle of life. It makes you think about the areas of your life you may have fallen blind to and call them “good”. This book tells will guide you in a way of life that could save your marriage and your relationship with your kids.
This was REALLY hard to find the best quote because I didn’t mark up this book. It’s too beautiful that I didn’t even underline one word….sooooo here is one!
“We fluffy this great pit with our ego boosts, our need for control, our unrealistic exceptions, and soon our days are dictated by it’s excuses. The lion sulks around our soul, pacing for his next meal, hungry for more than we are throwing his way. Perhaps we are feeding him the wrong thing. “
“WITHOUT GRACE, MINIMALISM IS ANOTHER METRIC FOR PERFECTION. Chasing”
It’s sensitive and powerful. It’s about faith transitions and new perspectives. She dares you to see what was once “broken” can be seen as beauty.
Lisa is a grammy nominee musical artist with her husband who has traveled the world playing their music. She takes us through the caverns and valleys of her life with words that will sing to your soul. She get’s it. She really get’s it. That this life is not a box, it’s not about pleasing other people, it’s not what we thought, it’s so much more! From her husband’s questions, birth of a child with medical defects, to a failing career, you will see her journey from life to death to life again.
This book hit me deeply and intensely. I was crying at many moments on an airplane or in my bed flipping through these pages because I soooo connected to every word she was saying. She discusses mother daughter relationships, dating in christian culture, questioning her tribe, losing her faith, new perspectives, being a mother, giving birth to down syndrome baby, and picking up again after devastating blows to careers and life. She is honest about each stage without holding back. She gives hope to those in the process of deconstruction saying, you are not alone.
Who should read this book:
Anyone who is bitter. Anyone who is going through a faith transition or deconstruction. Anyone who needs to hear beautiful words sing over them. Anyone who needs a shift.
Why should you read this book?
Because it’s a powerful representation of life to death to new life again. The power of expectations can ruin our life if we let it…Lisa did not let her expectations override her desires/wants in life. Because life is a constant shifting of perspectives, experiences, and mindsets- she shares how they can be painful but so beneficial if you let them flow.
“Sight often comes to us in what we don’t understand or expect. We suffer, and it unlatches a different perspective. A collapse of beliefs leads us to the opening of something true. A collapse of social structure leads us to see human essence. A different side of life was being lit up; I was just learning how to see it, struggling with my adult brain filled with definitions and expectations. Amelie saw it already. She wasn’t swayed by the chaos because she didn’t have a box for it. She saw only what was true. “
Tips on how to start a book club + book recommendations
My mother has been in the same bookclub for the last 25 years. They met once a month and have continued this tradition for all these years. I remembered when it was book club nightat our house. I would help my mom get the house ready, set up all the snacks, and help her make dinner for her friends.I would sit and listen to some of their conversation about the books they read and eventually got sent up stairs once the wine was flowing and conversation wasn’t “kid friendly”. Every night before bed I would read a book or listen to one on tape. I’ve done this ever since I could remember. Even last night I got in bed at 12:30am after a long night of finished editing and HAD to read at least for 10 minutes. It’s almost like my brain needs that space between technology, talking all day long, and activities to sleep time.
When I moved to Flagstaff I so badly wanted to start a bookclub but with me traveling so much I knew it was going to be hard to invest the time. Finally, after 3 years of being in Flagstaff I saw my schedule slowing down. Although, I had every excuse in the book for 6 months to not start the club. I don’t have enough time to read a book a month, that will get expensive (not like I don’t already buy a book a month?), and no one will actually read the book will they? My good friend Taylor kept asking me every month- “when are you starting this thing?” Sooooo eventually in January, flying home from Ohio after the Holidays ,I sent out a big text to friends and facebook messages to see who was interested. Well friends, we got a strong bookclub which meets once a month and EVERYONE actually reads the book!!! Here are some tips on how to start
Invite 6-8 friends/random people/strangers and have them invite 1 person who LOVES to read. I told my girls at the beginning this is not a small group where we’re going to talk about our feelings…we’re going to talk about the topics of the book!! (Although, we all end up catching up for an hour before discussing the book….I love it.) Don’t JUST invite your closest friends. You are looking for women who will have very different ideas, mindsets, opinions than you. That’s how you have great conversation and grow as an individual.
You don’t want it to become too big or not everyone will be able to talk. I think over 13-15 would get a little crazy. Not everyone can come every meeting too, so invite more than you think. People will drop out or want to bring more friends. Our is about 10 each time and it’s the perfect size!!
2. THE COMMUNICATION:
Start a facebook message or email chain with everyone in it so you can attach the book title, time, address for hostess house, etc.
Meet at each others houses ONCE a month at the end. We try to find a date that works for everyone. My moms bookclub meets the last Tuesday of every month, so it’s always a set date.
The person who is hosting chooses the book. New book, new house.
It’s really fun to see everyones houses and have a meal!
Have a sign up sheet for each month in the year so people can know when to plan and come prepared with the next book for the month at each meeting.
You don’t want to much time in-between the last meeting and when you give the title of the next. Some people read slower than others, so try to reveal the next book at the end of the meeting.
4. THE FOOD:
The host prepares a meal or appetizers! It makes it easier and everyone gets a turn at their house. Wine is always a must.
Good options are:
-Big Salad with toppings
-Thai Curry + Veggies
5. THE BOOKS:
You can choose ANY BOOK in the universe. We do a lot of novels, self help, nonfiction historical, etc. Anything under the sun. What is fun is that I would have never picked those books myself but was so happy to read them.
I would suggest going to your local library and renting books! SO MUCH CHEAPER. but I love marking in my books and giving them to someone else after I read them- so I tend to buy them a log through Amazon.
BUT new discovery- our local Bookstore has a 15% discount on all their books if you register as a bookclub…so I’m starting buy all my books there.
6. THE DISCUSSION:
The host usually comes prepared with 1-4 discussion questions to start conversation. If it’s a really good book we don’t need guided questions, the conversation ebbs and flows naturally.
Some questions we like to always start with are:
1.Would you recommend this book and why or why not?