The (3rd) Quarter in Books

My reading totals dropped off this quarter, probably due to the fact that we started school at the beginning of August.  Below are short reviews of the 23 books I read in July, August, and September, broken down loosely by genre.  I’ve included a short blurb on each one, with links to my longer reviews.


  • Touching the Hem – An excellent, theologically sound, Scripturally-based response to hardship.
  • Half the Church – A sobering and thoughtful call to base our view of the role of women in the church on Scripture not on culture, since the Gospel is applicable to people everywhere and from every demographic, not just for middle class people from the modern West.
  • Bittersweet – I’m not sure how to characterize this exceptional book, since it’s about writing but just as much or more about life and difficulty and faith and relationships and parenting and identity and tons of other things.  Quite possibly relevant to everyone, whether or not you’re a writer (or a parent, or a foodie, etc).
  • Broken Down House – Good throughout but notable for being probably the best explanation/framework for how to handle suffering that I have ever read.


  • The Unwired Mom – A thoughtful tool for living deliberately when it comes to the internet (not just for parents).
  • From the Garden to the City – A good start toward developing a theology of technology use.


  • Anna Karenina – If you like complex, sprawling novels that combine politics and literature, Russian lit will never disappoint.
  • The Language of Flowers – An intriguing novel with an unusual premise and plot frame–I recommend it.
  • World War Z – I never read zombie trash fiction, but there’s a first time for everything.  If you saw the movie, you can still read the book, because the only thing the two have in common is the title, and the whole zombie idea.  I feel done with zombies now.
  • Outlander – Compelling story, great setting, memorable characters, but sadly marred by superflous and gag-me-with-a-spoon romance junk.  I’m still sad to miss the rest of the series, but just can’t stomach the useless, repetitive, silly “love” scenes.
  • When Christ and His Saints Slept – Decent historical fiction about the fight between Henry I’s children for the throne–kind of long.


Time/Productivity/Life Hacks

  • The Leap Year Project – Visually appealing, but weak on content.  Probably not worth your time.
  • The Secrets of Happy Families – A thought-provoking,wide-ranging treatise including topics from how to handle conflict to building better traditions to advice on family meetings, this book is helpful and inspiring on a lot of levels.
  • You Learn by Living – Possibly of interest if you’re really into Eleanor Roosevelt or life management books, but probably not ground breaking if you’ve read anything in this genre before.
  • Born to Run – Slightly hyperbolic but quite interesting memoir/manifesto on running, extreme sports, and those weird shoes that look like gloves.  I have not yet taken up barefoot running, but I am eating chia seeds thanks to this book.
  • Decisive – A super helpful look at the ways we make choices, and how to improve upon our efforts.
  • The Talent Code – An incredibly helpful and thoughtful exploration of how people get good at stuff, and how to amp up your own efforts.  Also applicable for kids.
  • The Little Book of Talent – A follow-up to The Talent Code, with more helpful suggestions.  Read The Talent Code first.


What is the best book you read this quarter?

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