What I Read August 2019

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

I was lured in by the title and because it was a story of two ex-pat women navigating friendship and a new culture. So, relevant to my life.

One of the women goes to an appointment and doesn’t return in a reasonable amount of time.  The other begins reading her journal…partly because she’s nosy and partly because as the hours go by she’s getting nervous and is trying to figure out where her friend might have gone.

The story is told through alternating journal entries and the main character’s recollection of some of the same and some different events.  I liked how it was told through the two perspectives and how the bulk of the story is told during a few hours, remembering past events.  It was a good format for telling the story

I didn’t love the characters.  I think it’s easier to appreciate and relate to characters who are flawed in the same ways as we are and these characters were flawed in different ways than I am.  Also, I was afraid there was going to be kidnapping or torture (spoiler alert: there wasn’t).  Another spoiler alert: it’s still not a particularly happy ending.  But it was an engaging story and a departure from what I’ve been reading lately so I’m glad I read it.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

Good friends who were visiting us in Mongolia found out I’d never read Harry Potter.  My objections of not liking fantasy and science fiction were irrelevant excuses in their eyes.  After much badgering, I bowed to peer pressure and agreed to read at least the first two.

I liked it.  Not loved it, but liked it, and I’m checking out the next one soon (but not until I feel like I actually have enough time to read it).

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie

I’ve watched Poirot with my mom on PBS but this is the first book I read.  I liked it.  Cory found the complete Poirot collection free digitally so I am set for the foreseeable future.



Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

I had NO idea that Agatha Christie was such a good author.  But her style and her characterization and wonderful!  I understand why people enjoy watching Miss Marple and Poirot but, oh my gosh, reading the stories is so much richer.



The Body at the Library by Agatha Christie

So, in addition to reading the books, I’ve discovered that the Hoopla App has a few seasons of  Miss Marple.  And that the TV show goes through Christie’s books and keeps to the books surprisingly closely.  So, now, a fun thing is to read the book, watch the show.  The places where they depart from the books are interesting and keep you on your toes.


Murder on the Nile by Agatha Christie (Audio)

Once I discovered how wonderful Agatha Christie is (but how I can still put the book down before I go to bed…it’s not so engaging that it keeps me up until I’m done).  I borrowed this audio book from the library.  It gives me something fun to listen to while I’m doing food prep, dishes, or exercise.


Go the F*ck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

Obviously, if the F-word offends you this is not a good book for you.  It’s short–written like a kids book–and is NOT a kids book.  It’s a book for parents to let them know they’re not alone.  You’ll read it in less than 5 minutes, chuckle, and move on.



Half of What You Hear by Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Definitely worth the 6 months I waited for it while it was on hold at the library.  A disgraced former social secretary from the White House moves, with her family, to her husband’s small hometown to start the next phase of their life.  She has all the struggles of moving to a small town where it’s hard to break into the social scene and there’s tons of gossip.  She takes an job to write a story about a controversial figure in town and she, along with her readers, are left to wonder what to trust, who is telling the truth, and who to align with.

Weeks later I still find my mind wandering back to different places in the book, wondering what really happened and how differently we all see and experience the same actual events.

GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

I almost didn’t read this one.  I had read SO MANY books that quoted Duckworth’s research that I wondered if reading the book would be redundant.  But It was worth it.  It’s given me new language when talking to my 9-year old (or myself!) about challenges we’re facing.  We’re also adoption her family rule that everyone has to pick at least one endeavor that requires focused practice and must stick with it for the season/year (whatever the natural break is).  In high school, the rule is two years, her research explains why.

highly recommend this book for parents, educators, or people who have goals they want to reach in any field that doesn’t come naturally to them (like, maybe, learning Mongolian).  You can also check out her Ted Talk here.

Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Chambers

This appears to be the month of classics I’ve never read.  I’m reading it in preparation to teach about church leadership and structures.  The book seems to be written for potential leaders but hold relevancy for people who have lead for a while (if they’re willing to see it).


Winning on Purpose by John E. Kaiser, Bill Easum, et al. 

 This book was recommended for talking about models for church leadership by several people I trust.  I was well laid out and easy to understand.  I was unconvinced at first, because one reviewer highlighted how it gives the lead pastor more power…as I kept reading I realized that power is for empowering the congregation for ministry.

Thinking about it from a cross-cultural perspective…the whole thing was written around team sports analogies that wouldn’t work in a culture that doesn’t embrace team sports. It’s a model I’d like to share…I just have to figure out a different, more relevant analogy to use.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.  If you click through to Amazon and end up buying something I’ll get a small commission at no cost to you…which will give me a little more cash to buy more books with.  Everyone wins. 

What I Read January 2019
What I Read February 2019
What I Read March 2019
What I Read April 2019
What I Read May 2019
What I Read June 2019
What I Read July 2019

6 thoughts on “What I Read August 2019

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