Thursday, June 15, 2017

2017 Book Challenge, March Update!

If you want to read about how I did on my Book Challenge in January or February, the links will take you to those posts. Today I'm posting about how March went for reading, and what books I read.

I'm a little behind in posting updates (as well as posts in general) because of a lot of life changes, including getting ready to move, taking care of a sick family member, several projects at work, and taking care of sick cats. I plan on regularly posting again, and this post and the next will talk about my reading through May, and get us all caught up (because of time constraints, I didn't read much in either month, so I'll be consolidating those reviews into one post).

March was a chaotic month for me, which you'll notice in the fewer number of books (one was a little longer, but the others were rather short). I spent a lot of my free time this month helping out my ill family member and taking sick cats back and forth from the vet, as well as dealing with illness of my own (which for some reason, I have a hard time reading when I'm sick, anyone else?). But I was pleased to see that, even under those time constraints, I still was able to read four books.

1.  The Joy Of Less*, by Francine Jay

Rating: ****

In this book, Francine goes through and teaches you how to organize, declutter, and simplify your life, and helps challenge your current thinking so you realize why you would want to.

She has a wonderful way of looking at things. From challenging you to think about what you would actually pay to replace if it was all lost, to encouraging you to realize how much you already own when you feel the need to buy more (she suggests trying to number your things when you think you don't have a lot), Francine works on challenging your rationalizations for why your stuff matters, and encourages you to get rid of those things which don't.

2. Lilith*, by George MacDonald

Rating: **

A young man finds himself trying to save children and the woman he loves from her mother, who is bent on destroying them all.

I wanted to read this book because I've read others by him (such as The Wise Woman, my favorite by him), and enjoyed them immensely. Add while this book was intriguing, it was hard to follow in places, and although I finished it, I probably won't read it again. MacDonald goes into rambles sometimes that draw away from the story (although, as this is a book from the 1800s, it probably was typical of these types of books of its time). I would recommend his works for children (such as The Princess and the Goblins) before this one.

3. The More of Less*, by Joshua Becker

Rating: *****

After realizing he spent the day cleaning his garage when he could have been playing ball with his son, Joshua and his wife Kim decided to try downsizing their possessions and see what they really can do without.

I loved this book. Joshua gives some wonderful tips for downsizing, and reasons why. I love his idea of experiments, trying for 29 days to live without something to see if you really need it (I'm currently trying that with sweets, and so far it's been going great!). He also put forward some ideas for minimalism I hadn't come across before, such as having more time to volunteer and give to others in need. There's a lot of books on minimalism out there, but this was the first one I've come across which seems to be written from a Christian's perspective, and as a Christian myself, I enjoyed his connecting minimalism with Biblical principles (but if you are not a Christian, you don't need to worry about this book being "preachy").

4. The 100 Thing Challenge*, by Dave Bruno

Rating: ***

Overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in his and his family's house, Dave decides to experiment and see what it is like living with less by getting rid of almost all of his personal belongings and committing to living for one year with 100 or less things.

I confess, I am not at all interested in living with just 100 things (I was, until I decided to number my stuff just for the fun of it and found out I have over 100 things in my bathroom alone, if you count small things like extra razor blades). I am working on downsizing what I do have, though, and using up my extras (like my 15 little notebooks, for example). I was intrigued with how he did it, and how his year went. I appreciated how open he was with his struggles about living with less, as well as the joys he found in it. There is some swearing in this book.

As you can see, two of the books listed here were not part of my list for my original challenge. I'm pleased to be finding other books I want to read besides those 42 I listed. And even though I did not read much in April or May, I feel pretty good at this point that I'll be able to read 52 books this year.

I've also posted reviews of these books on my GoodReads Account.

*For the sake of brevity, I have not included the subtitles of these books.

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