Thursday, October 16, 2014

alexis reviews: books!

If you're not a big reader, don't feel weird!
Other than a few good reads, I basically took a five-year break from reading while I was in college and beyond, and I don't regret it one bit.
Certain times in our lives are more conducive to reading,
and other times it's a struggle to even squeeze in a few minutes of scripture reading each day.
No judgment here.
I did receive some good advice once though:
"no matter how busy you are, always be reading a good book."
(even if it takes you a year or two to get through it!)
I like that.

That being said...
now is actually a great time in my life for reading!
Because of that, I want to share some of the books
I've just been eating up (and some that I haven't!)
so hopefully I can offer some good suggestions to those
who are looking for a good, inspiring read!

Book #1: Seabiscuit

This is the book that made me fall in love with non fiction!
I hadn't seen the movie before I read it, but my husband knew I would adore the story.
It's a thrilling, emotional read and through it I saw a different side of the depression era.
Plus, I gained a lot more respect for those tiny men who jockey!
If you're trying to branch out into nonfiction, this is a great place to start.

Book #2: The Millionaire Next Door

If you want to be inspired to focus less on material things and prepare better for the future,
It totally helps you prioritize your finances and change your mindset on how you view money and perceived wealth.
One of my favorite things it does is take two people who earn the same amount of money, track their finances, and show who looks like their are financially stable and who actually is.
So fascinating! So motivating! So love.
I also love that it gives suggestions on what percentage of your salary you should be spending on certain things, like how much to spend on a home, how much to allocate to travel... etc.
I highly recommend this book!!

Book #3: The Book Thief

I love historical fiction, but this book took a while for me to get into!
To me, the narrator seemed like a strange, etherial form of the grim reaper,
and it kind of weirded me out for a while.
(and right after I wrote that I found this alternate cover...)

I got about halfway through the book and lost interest, then a few months later I picked it back up again and finished it just a couple of days later.
I'm glad I read it, because I really did appreciate it much more as the story unfolded,
but it was a slow burn.
So I'm sorry if I offend anyone who really really loved this book by me only kind of loving it!

Book #4: The God Who Weeps

Similar to The Book Thief, this one was also a slow starter for me!
It's written in very scholarly language, 
and sometimes that just makes me feel uncomfortable.
It's probably the journalist in me.
But once I got a chapter or two in, I was amazed at the different aspects
of the atonement and the nature of God I was beginning to see!
It was a game changer/life changer for me.
The sacrament is more meaningful,
and I have a deeper appreciation for the Savior.

And because it was so great, two things I extra loved from this book:

1. God's purpose is not to just give us mere existence in the eternities, but an abundant life fully like his own. His design is not to extend our life indefinitely, but to enhance it permanently.

I love that this book reminds us how we wanted to come to earth in the premortal life, and even though it seems like we digressed sometimes by being away from God, we were taking a step up in our spiritual progression by coming here, but only if we are faithful . Having a body susceptible to the pains of mortality is a necessary step in our pathway to an abundant, eternal life.

2. The authors quote a poet named Derek Wolcott, who says, "The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and will smile at the others' welcome and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was yourself."

I read this and literally froze because I feel like I had a small glimpse of this a couple of months ago!
I was at the Mesa temple when I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror.
I was dressed in white, and I looked into the girl's eyes who was staring back at me and saw a familiarity in myself I had never experienced before. It was a very real confirmation to me that I existed before I came to earth. I think we're a lot older than we look, you know?

Book #5: Heaven is Here

 Wow, wow, wow!
How had I not read this before?
I had heard it was good, but now I'm that crazy girl who basically forces people to read it
because I loved it so much!
The book is Stephanie Nielson's autobiography and details her life before, during and after
a terrible plane crash that burned most of her body.
I read this to and from work in the back of the van that takes me there
(the nuclear plant is an hour and a half away!)
which is saying something, because normally I get way car sick!
I must have really loved it.
But seriously, I probably cried at least eight times in the van,
hoping all my bearded van-mates weren't looking.
Just do me a favor and read it so I can stop talking about it, okay?
Also, a fun fact I remembered as I read this book...
I think I was in a benefit concert for the Nielson's when I was a senior in high school,
but I didn't know who they were at the time.
Or maybe I just made that up to try to seem really cool. You decide.

Well, I hope those book reviews really did it for ya.
And if they didn't, maybe next time!

Coming up...
My Name Used to Be Muhammed
The Power of Habit
(Maybe. I'm not really digging it at the moment)
& A Christmas Carol

Thanks for reading!

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