Reading Review

When I first came to Cambodia I felt guilty if I did anything but review vocabulary and practice speaking the brand new language I was learning. I found out pretty quickly that my brain could only handle the new words and sounds with no break for so long before moaning and groaning in protest and completely shutting down before I made it to Friday. So, I started adding in a little reading for fun and in an effort to continue in this endeavor and stretch myself in a brand new year, I started a list of categories to fulfill each month with a new book. Here’s a quick check-in of what that has looked like so far! Maybe you’ll find inspiration to start your own list or read something you wouldn’t normally have read. Or, you can look at my list and smile at how different our tastes in books are and go back to your favorites!

“A Book for Work”
Contagious Disciple Making by David and Paul Watson (completed January 23, 2015)
I have met David and Paul Watson before and was interested in their take on disciple making movements. If you’ve never been exposed to the principles of reproducing movements- disciples that make disciples and churches that plant churches- this book is a good place to start. The first section deals with basic lessons we need to learn as disciple-makers and the later chapters delve into key components of movements. If you are looking for a lot of stories and examples this book might not be as helpful, although there are a few personal examples here and there, but it is a good introduction.

“A Memoir”
Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth (completed March 3, 2015)
So I didn’t quite get this book finished within the month of February, but I also traveled to Turkey and moved across the country! You may have heard of the BBC TV series based on this book and others by Jennifer Worth, who was a midwife in the 1950s in a poor part of London. This book does include graphic detail related to birth experiences and other issues of the day (which I loved but you might not be so interested in), and gives an interesting look at culture, family life and the speed of change.

“A Book From My Childhood”
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (completed March 19, 2015)
This is a Newberry Prize-winning book that my mom and dad read to us kids when I was growing up. Back then the title was rather scandalous and I remember being so frustrated over the injustice of how everyone treated Kit, the main character. It was fun and fascinating to read the book again now with a few more years of life experience. It is a book about quick judgments and misconceptions and accepting people who are different from us.

March #2
“Historical Fiction or Non-Fiction”
Unbroken: A WW2 Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (completed March 29, 2015)
Thanks to a little break from our normal routine I was able to complete two books in the month of March. This was a really excellent choice, that I picked because I had heard a bit about the story and it was pretty cheap on Amazon as a Kindle book. I loved the way that the author told the story without making it a list of dry details. I’m a sucker for a good sports story (weird, I know), and I like finding out the insider’s perspective on major historical events so this book was a treat for me!

“A Book by an Author I’ve Never Read Before”
I’m currently reading I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy by Angie Smith. I’m soaking up her honesty in dealing with painful life experiences. Stay tuned for more on this one!

Bonus book: I’m reading along with the Velvet Ashes book club as they explore the book Expectations and Burnout by Robynn Bliss and Sue Eeigenburg, which deals with the expectations women have on the mission field. I’m not sure exactly what category it will fit in to, but it is eye-opening and I keep finding myself saying, “Wow, other people think this way too!”

I’ve found that reading is a way I can recharge, relax and transport my brain to another place other than my little village life for a few brief moments. We each need to find those things that are restorative and life-giving, and this is one of mine. What about you?


  1. joshmeares says:

    I use Goodreads to track my reading. I normally to finish a book a month as well. Give or take. Best book of the year so far … The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. Second place, Fight by Preston Sprinkle. But, to be honest, nothing truly great this year so far. Graphic details of childbirth make me think I may skip that one, too.


    1. joshmeares says:

      Except Jane Vella! I’m almost forgot. Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach is a really good book. Or a mediocre book with really good material. 😀


  2. shilkemann says:

    You would definitely NOT enjoy the midwifery book. 😀

    I started using Goodreads this year, and I’ve gotten some ideas from your lists/reviews. 🙂 Right now I’m reading Anthropological Insights by Heibert. I want to read C.S. Lewis at some point. Hopefully you can hit that truly great book this year. 🙂


  3. Amy Young says:

    Sarah, fun to read through your list :). I am a fan of Goodreads, but I know not everyone will dig it 🙂


  4. Thank you, thank you, for sharing this, Sarah! I’m looking forward to creating my own reading challenge – but for about a year from now as I’ve got to wrap some things up first.


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