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On My Bookshelf: What I’m Reading in October

source: Mo Riza

For many years, I was so busy with my littles and working from home that I rarely made time to read. Then, I got a Kindle and picked up where I had left off many years before, reading 2-3 books a week. There are still times when I have to read less to make time for family events or work projects, but reading is my #1 choice for relaxing & learning, and I make time for it as much as I can!

My favorite source for reading material is Amazon’s free Kindle books. I’ve gotten more than 400 books over the last 18 months, and I’ve discovered more than a few authors and series that I love. Although I prefer to read on my iPad, Amazon offers free Kindle apps for your PC, Mac, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android or Windows 7 phone as well!

Here are the books I’m currently reading or have recently finished as well as what’s in my to-be-read pile. I’d love to hear what’s on your lists as well!

Current Reads

Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman:

I’ve mentioned this book a time or two over the past month, but this book has had such a profound affect on me, that I want to mention it again. If you’re living the “try-hard” life, trying to maintain a mask of perfection at home, with friends, at church or in the workplace, I highly recommend this book. As someone who’s been there herself, Emily gets straight to the heart of the matter, and almost every word she wrote resonated in my heart as I read!

The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang:

I’m not a huge fan of books that switch between two perspectives or — even worse — eras throughout the book, but this book really drew me in. As Talie Ingram seeks to connect with her past through great-great-great grandmother’s journal, she discovers a “curse of feebleminded offspring” that runs through her family. With questions about her own son’s development, she tries to ignore what she’s ready but is drawn back to the journal again and again. It’s a beautiful story of family legacy and the struggles and joys of raising a special needs child.

A Daughter’s Inheritance by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller:

Tracie Peterson is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, and I really enjoyed this story, about a young girl torn between the wealth of her family and her desire for a simpler life. Reading stories like this one always makes me so thankful that I wasn’t born in high society with all of its rules and requirements! Note: The cliffhanger at the end of this one will have you buying the next in the series!

The Shakespeare Manuscript by Stewart Buettner:

As I mentioned a few months ago, I’ve found myself really drawn to Suspense, and I was hoping for a little more intrigue when I picked up this book, which ended up focusing more on the relationships of the characters than the actual mystery of the newly discovered “original” Hamlet manuscript. This one is still free, but note that there are some mature topics and scenes in the book; not explicit, but there nonetheless!

Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson:

Have you heard of the Amana Colonies? Originally set up as a closed religious society in the mid-1800s, Amanians lived a communal life governed by strict religious beliefs. I’m fascinated by the lifestyle and beliefs of the original Amana Colonies (the society no longer functions as a commune), and I enjoyed this story as an “outsider” and his daughter discover the beauty and kindness of the Amana.

The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund:

Based loosely on the life of John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, and his second wife, this story is about the struggle of Puritan ministers — and their wives and communities — in 17th century England.

A Time to Heal by Barbara Cameron:

I read the first book in the Quilts of Lancaster series several months ago, and I was excited to pick this one up as well. Like the Amana Colonies, I’m fascinated and drawn to the simple, hardworking Amish, and I enjoyed reading this modern story about a soldier who ends up in Amish country looking for an old friend and discovers love, faith, peace and clarity while he’s there!

Embers of Love by Tracie Peterson:

I was excited to see another one of Tracie Peterson’s books on the Kindle freebies list, and I started reading it right away. I’ve just started it, but so far I’m enjoying the story of two girls living in an eastern Texas logging town. Having completed their education back East, Deborah Vandermark struggles to find her purpose in a town where education isn’t valued or appreciated. Meanwhile, Lizzie Decker is running from the fiance she left at the alter. I’m looking forward to reading more and seeing where their story ends up! As of today, this one is still free as well!

On the Shelf

I don’t typically read fiction bestsellers or the books that everybody is talking about — with the exception of The Help! — so there’s no telling which fiction books I’ll read in the coming month. However, I usually have an ever-growing pile of non-fiction. This month, I’m determined to get through list of books I’ve already started, but I’m also focusing on learning more about natural remedies and using herbs, so I’ve added these books to my pile:

Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar:

From Amazon: “Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health is the author’s practical compendium of herbal know-how. Written with her signature warmth, this must-have reference will help readers of every life stage enjoy radiant well-being, every day. Limit stress and anxiety, get adequate rest, boost immunity, improve mental acuity, and embrace life balance — these are elements of Gladstar’s prescription for wellness, longevity, and boundless energy. To help achieve these goals, she offers a number of general-wellness recipes, including 7-Herb Long-Life Soup, Long-Life Elixir, and energy-inspiring Zoom Balls.”

The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook by James A. Duke, PhD:

From Amazon: “Did you know that the oats you eat can also soothe itchy skin when put in your bath? That witch hazel shrinks hemorrhoids? From the herbs Americans take most to lesser-known medicinal plants, this readable and revealing guide helps you make smart choices about your health. The most thorough and comprehensive herb reference of its kind, The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook was compiled from Dr. Duke’s database of the world’s medicinal plants. The database, which he began during his career as a top botanist with the USDA, is a major resource for herbalists around the world. Written in Dr. Duke’s own folksy, jargon-free language, this important reference work explains each herb with care.”

See earlier “What I’m Reading” posts here.

What are you reading this month?