What I’m Reading This Month + Book Giveaway Winner

It’s November. 

‘Tis the month of Thanksgiving, Christmas preparation, school parties, family gatherings, and two of my kids’ birthdays. I’m getting a rash just thinking about it. I stress over this month and want to savor every moment. This year I’m hoping for more savor and less stress.

Why on earth do I think I’ll get any reading done?

Because somehow, I just do. I manage to squeeze it into the margins of pick-up line, before I go to sleep, and in those moments when no one can find me because I’ve run off to my closet or am sitting in the van while it’s parked in the garage and everyone else has gone inside like normal people are wont to do. 

Has anyone seen your mother? 

It’s been asked a time or ten is all I’m saying. Often during the seasons that are most hectic. 

Words are my coping mechanism.

So in the name of coping, let’s dish a moment about books.

Here are the books on my nightstand this month. {And, who am I kidding, probably next month and the one after that too.}


My sweet friend, Stacey Thacker, who writes at 29 Lincoln Avenue, has written this lovely book: Being OK with Where You Are. 

It just may be a message for women everywhere because, let’s face it, often we are less than okay about our present circumstances.

Such a great title and book cover. 

Stacey and I met the last morning of She Speaks and then got to connect again at Allume last weekend. 

She is warm and real and you just can’t help feeling like you relax and be yourself when you’re around her.

I’m sure I’ll be back to dish about her book after I read it but you may want to snag a copy for yourself, especially if you’re less than okay about where you are. {If you want the Kindle version, it’s just $4.99 right now.} 

I’m also planning to finish a couple of writing / get-your-art-on books that I started late summer. 

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. 

Ms. Lamott is pretty much my matron saint of writing. I’m crazy about her. 

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. 

Pressfield feels kind of like my coach in the game of writing. The chapters are really short and directive so it’s easy to read just a couple of pages and then feel like you’ve got some good stuff to think on for a while. {This is handy when you are reading 12 books at once.}

I’m also hoping to begin re-reading two books that I know will be lifelong favorites. 

1,000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. 

I read this book nearly three years ago and it changed me. It helped me begin to grasp the deep power and necessity of the oft-overlooked practice of daily gratitude. I took my time through it. One doesn’t rush through Ann’s pages. 

Shortly after I finished it, life took me through deep waters. Ann’s voice stayed with me during that time, kept me afloat in some ways, helped me mutter the difficult eucharisteo when I wanted to say No thanks, God. I’ll take a different life please.

Gratitude is something we can’t forget. Our lives depend upon bowing low and looking up and receiving our own lives. 

This book helps me do that. It’s become a modern-day classic really. If you don’t have it yet, this month of Thanksgiving may be the perfect time to pick up a copy and begin your own gratitude journey.

Also? I don’t think I’ve told you that I got to meet Ann a week and a half ago at Allume. 

This picture was taken within the first twenty minutes of my arrival at the conference. I got so embarrassingly emotional when I met her and asked her to sign my copy of 1,000 Gifts. It’s not that I was star-struck {though I was a little bit}; it’s that she has a radiance I’ve never quite experienced. Meeting her in person was a gift. 

Her blog was one of the first ones I started reading many years ago and I told her what a lifeline it had been for me on so many days. She hugged me and said with the most heartfelt enthusiasm, Jesus is so good! 

The other book that I’m planning to re-read already is A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman. 

This book is courage to me. I realize that I just wrote a whole post on it but I have to plug it again. I got to hang out with Emily at Allume too.

Do you like how I look half-drunk in this picture and Emily looks completely lucid and normal? 

I have no idea what was wrong with me but it was the last night of the conference and I did feel a little tipsy from sheer exhaustion. 

I love this girl. And I like to pretend that I am the third sister. The Nester, Emily, and me. I actually told them that and I’m sure this is not at all creepy to them.

And finally, the whole family will be reading or listening to this:

The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. Also by Ann Voskamp. 

I was planning to purchase it this month and then I walked into our very first dinner at Allume and lo and behold, a copy was at each of our places. Christmas came early.

I have a feeling this book will be an annual tradition, something that prepares our hearts during Advent.

From the back cover: 

In what is certain to become an instant holiday classic, Voskamp reaches back into the pages of the Old Testament to explore the lineage of Jesus — the greatest gift — through the majestic advent tradition of “The Jesse Tree,” each day featuring its own exquisite ornament highlighting the Biblical story (free download of each of the 25 ornaments available from Voskamp’s website, annvoskamp.com ).

Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s profound reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ, so that come Christmas morning you find that the season hasn’t blurred past you but your heart’s fully unwrapped the greatest gift you’ve always yearned for.

So looking forward to beginning this journey with my own family.

And last but not least, this tiny little book that is challenging my husband and me in a big way.

Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Our small group is reading it and we only do about five pages a week. It’s that rich. Sometimes we don’t realize the illusions and ideals we hold too tightly until they’re confronted and called out. This book is doing that for us.  


So there you have it, my November book-stack.

Just typing all of this out, I’m laughing. Because friends, we all know that I will not possibly finish all of these books. I’m always reading too many at a time and that results in an embarrassingly low completion rate. 

But the great thing about not being in school any more is that there are no book-bosses in my life. There’s no reading guilt. I’ll peruse my way through these many lovely pages, glean what I can when I can, and choose from the teetering stack as my mood dictates. 

I admire you folks who pick one book at a time, finish it, and then move on to the next. Maybe I’ll be you when I grow up. Right now I’m much too fickle.

And now for the giveaway. The winner of the signed copy of A Million Little Ways is….

Kindel. {Yay Kindel!!!}

And to prove that I did not rig this in any way. Random Picker chose Kindel. So there you go. Girl, I will be in touch and get you your book. For those of you who didn’t win this one, you can get a copy on amazon for less than $10.  

So those are my November reading plans that we all know I will not finish. 


Your turn. Any great books on your radar? Also, what kind of a reader are you? Responsible, grown-up, only-read-one-book-at-a-time reader OR fickle, always-a-stack-on-the-nighstand reader like me? I’d love to know. 

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*all book links are amazon affiliate links


  1. says

    SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! This makes me so excited!!! You don’t know this, but I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of her first book! This sister book will go nicely!!! :) Thanks so much for an awesome giveaway! :)

  2. says

    On my shelf right now . . . Batterson’s “Circle Maker,” Ann’s “The Greatest Gift,” and soon, hopefully (since my birthday is just around the corner and your dad feeds my Grisham habit) . . . “Sycamore Row.”

    Congratulations, Kindel!


  3. says

    I just finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. It was good, and so reaffirming to this introvert who happens to be raising introverts. It’s so good I got through it in 4 days. And on my stack: Organic Church, Total Church, The Forgotten Ways, The House Church Book, plus a few others. I’m ambitious. And probably in need of some lighthearted fun, fiction along the way :)

  4. says

    Humbled to be on this list and sitting on your night stand! I’m praying God pulls all the words together in one beautiful song for your heart friend!


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