The 4 Books I Finished in August

Summer is drawing to a close in New Hampshire, and I’m not disappointed about that. I like the routine of school and regularly scheduled activities. I hit a milestone with my reading in August; I completed my Goodreads Challenge of reading 40 books during 2016! It felt great to meet that goal. This past month was only so-so on the book choice front. I didn’t find any favorite-favorites, and I seemed to get in a rut of not making enough time to read. Today is the start of a new month, so I’m going to forge ahead at a good clip. Here are the four books I finished in August.

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

My Thoughts: Shauna Niequist’s memoir about slowing down her fast-paced public life and trading “perfectionism” for presence contains gems of wisdom about focusing on what’s truly important to you and setting your own pace for your life. Although I’ve seen some folks critique the book as not easily relatable because Niequist is in the spotlight with a big writing-and-speaking career and most others of us are not, I really enjoyed her story and was able to gain some perspective on my own tendency to get frantic about things that are silly. The cover of this book is gorgeous, and I’m glad I preordered a hard copy for my shelf.

Length: 240 pages

When I Read It: August 9-11, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Preordered a hard copy on Amazon for arrival on release day; read it the old-fashioned way.

Memorable Quote: “In the space that used to be filled with a whirring ball of anxiety, now there is a new patience, a new settledness, a new desire to be just exactly where I am right now.”


Kitchens of the Great Midwest by Ryan J. Stradal

My Thoughts: My friend Mary from my favorite online book forum recommended this book to me. It traces the fictional story of Eva Thorvald and her growth from a quirky, foodie child to an all-star chef. The individual chapters in the book highlight different characters in Eva’s life and build a vivid picture of the food culture that contributed to Eva’s success. This book will definitely make you giggle and probably make your stomach growl.

Length: 10 hours, 7 minutes

When I Read It: August 2-14, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Placed a hold through Overdrive; listened to the audiobook.


The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis

My Thoughts: I love Pope Francis’s focus on mercy (I think Jesus might too) and his description of the Church as a field hospital for the wounded, so I was really looking forward to reading The Name of God is Mercy. The book is actually the result of an interview given by Pope Francis to Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielli. Although I enjoyed learning more about Pope Francis’s definition of mercy as prompted by Tornielli’s questions, I was more moved by the appendix, which is a copy of Pope Francis’s letter declaring the Year of Mercy, than the interview itself.

Length: 176 pages

When I Read It: August 11-15, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Bought it at Gibson’s Bookstore; read it the old-fashioned way.

Memorable Quote: “To refrain from judgement and condemnation means, in a positive sense, to know how to accept the good in every person and to spare him any suffering that might be caused by our partial judgement, our presumption to know everything about him. But this is still not sufficient to express mercy. Jesus asks us also to forgive and to give.”


Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

My Thoughts: One of the categories for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge is to read “a book you’ve already read at least once,” so I picked up this childhood favorite a few weeks ago and decided to give it a re-read. To my surprise, I didn’t like it as much this time around. I actually had to force myself to finish it, and I probably would have abandoned it if it wasn’t part of the reading challenge. I wonder if I’ve watched one too many TLC shows about large family dynamics, but I just didn’t find the Gilbreths as charming or fascinating this time around. I did, however, still cry at the end of the book.

Length: 224 pages

When I Read It: August 10-24, 2016

Where I Found It/How I Read It: Picked it up off my shelf; read it the old-fashioned way.


I already have several promising books going for September: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and It by Stephen King. I can’t guarantee I’ll finish all three this month, but I have a good feeling about my reading life in September. You can friend or follow me on Goodreads for the latest updates.

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