Another month has gone by, and that means it’s time for my monthly book review (no spoilers)! This is quickly becoming one of my favorite posts of the month…I especially love how this fuels me to read a little something when I can. I didn’t always call myself a reader or book lover, but a few years ago I picked up something from the library (it was The Lady Elizabeth) and that all started to change. If you aren’t much of a reader like I used to be, I highly recommend trying out a book or two! I digress.
So here’s what I finished reading this month:
This is such a great group of books, once again, and with an even mix of fiction and nonfiction. If they were to be in a face-off, I’d say nonfiction took the prize of my favorite books of the month. But I can tell you right off the bat, that all of these books are good, so read on! 🙂
One True Loves
One True Loves has a gripping storyline that keeps you hooked from beginning to end. And I mean, the very beginning. Here’s the first sentence:
“I am finishing up dinner with my family and my fiancé when my husband calls.”
Emma became a widow on the night before her first wedding anniversary. She is devastated, broken, and suffering as she picks up the pieces of her life and tries to find happiness once more. Well, she does that very thing, and then she faces another wild drama when her husband comes back to her.
Jenkins Reid really excels at bringing love to life.
“When you love someone, it seeps out of everything you do, it bleeds into everything you say, it becomes so ever-present, that eventually it becomes ordinary to hear, no matter how extraordinary it is to feel.”
She’s also great at discussing family life and grief, too. It’s very well done chick-lit and is the perfect beach read, but it also has a ton of substance. However, I found the secular view of love and marriage to be a little hindering at times. I expected it, but was still a little annoyed with it. Even so, I have a few predictions for you when reading this book: you will definitely pick a side in the love triangle, you will definitely sympathize with the main character, and you will definitely discuss it with your best friend and your husband.
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and everything in between)
Oh my, how I love Lauren Graham. Talking as Fast as I Can is a witty, humorous look at her life in essays that reveal how close she is to her character Lorelai. Her writing shines and is full of fun moments like this:
“In this book, I will also see into the future and report my findings to you and to select heads of state. These findings will be lies, as I cannot actually see into the future, but who can stop me saying whatever I want here? It’s my book! I’m drunk with power!”
My husband started reading along because he kept hearing me laugh out loud as I read the first two chapters. In case you’re wondering: this book is good. Keep in mind that it’s a collection of essays and not a memoir. There were a couple of chapters that contained reflections on somewhat random topics (like Hollywood fad dieting), and if you aren’t ready for them you’ll probably find yourself saying, “Hey! Get back to your story!”
But she does. Lauren (we’re on a first-name basis) shares how she came into her own and reflects on working in Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and the Gilmore Girls reboot. I loved hearing her insights about the reboot, especially her emotions (there are lots of tears) and appreciation of being able to do it all over again.
Lauren shares some great advice and life lessons with a sense of humor. But what I really love is that Lauren is gracious. She doesn’t take jabs at people to get a laugh. She doesn’t get vindictive about showbiz decisions that affected her career. She’s not snarky or offensive. There’s an elegance to her honesty that I wish other funny, powerful women in Hollywood would emulate. Love her!
Oh, and she can write. She gets all the respect for that.
The Magnolia Story
Oh, how I enjoyed this book! I’ve been a fan of Fixer Upper before I knew it was a nationwide craze. And this book is like sitting down to dinner with Chip and Jojo and hearing them tell their story, from their childhoods to how they met and started their adventure in flipping homes.
It’s pretty obvious from the show that Chip and Joanna don’t seem to let fame get to them, and this book confirms it. There are some perfect Chip stories that will make you laugh, and some pretty surprising tales that will amaze you, too.
What I loved the most is how The Magnolia Story is really about how to trust God with your dreams. It’s not just entertaining, it’s inspiring, with some great tips on life, love, work, and parenting. Jojo says:
“I worked hard to try to do it all, to try to live up to the Pinterest perfection that only leaves you discontented. I finally realized that life isn’t found on the pages of a magazine—life is found in the glass of spilled milk and in the long, narrow hallway filled with socks and soccer balls.”
These two are so great at being authentic and encouraging us to embrace messy. One of my favorite quotes is this one from Jojo:
“If I had planned my life, it never would have ended up like this. So maybe it’s kind of fun not to plan. Maybe it’s more fun just to see where life takes you. After all, we’re living proof that sometimes even the messiest stuff and the biggest mistakes can take you someplace wonderful.”
The Whole Town’s Talking
This charming novel tells the story of residents of a small town, starting with its inception in the late 1800s until the year 2021. I had not read a Fannie Flagg book in a long time, and when my husband asked me what they were like, he was pretty surprised when I said they were usually Southern, charming, funny, nostalgic, tear-jerking, with something a bit other-worldly. I don’t think he expected that last word. But this one does have a little surprise in it.
I simply adore Fannie Flagg, and I liked this book. But I have to be honest–I enjoyed the first third more than all the rest of it. In my heart of hearts, I wanted it to stick with the story of the town’s settlers. Just when I was getting attached, a new generation would start up, and I wasn’t quite ready for a whole new group of characters.
The Whole Town’s Talking does have some slow spots, but is depicting a slower time. I loved Flagg’s historically accurate snapshots of each era, and I got into the spirit of each decade. At one point, I just had to stop everything and listen to Bei Mir Bist Du Schon by the Andrews Sisters. I learned some things, too, especially about life in America during WWII that I didn’t know before.
This book is not from a Christian viewpoint, so there were a few philosophical elements to not take too seriously. Because of that, for me, the ending felt a little silly and anticlimactic…but overall, this book still makes me smile. The whole thing could be summed up with this quote:
“It takes time and a lot of suffering, but sometimes, when you least expect it, life has a strange way of working out.”
If you want to know how I get my books, I wrote a guide to borrowing e-books online. I’m nerdy that way. What have you been reading lately?