Book Talk with Books on Top


I did something a little craaaaazy over the weekend. I cleared off half of my review to-read shelf and put those books onto my giveaway shelf.

Talk about a lesson in detachment!

There are a number of titles in that group that I’ve wanted to read, that I’ve intended to read, that I’ve had to admit that I may not read for another few years.

So why sit on them? There’s a freedom in moving them two shelves down…

And wow, my reading list this week has some truly noteworthy books on it. So enjoy (and stay tuned for some book giveaway plans I’ve been hatching around here)…

Recent Reads

Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants, by Shane Stanford & R. Brad Martin (Abdingdon Press, 2013)

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

What this book does is take the story beyond the facts. It applies it to everyday life. It borders on gimmicky, but I forgive it because, by gum, it’s useful. The premise is that David grabbed five stones to conquer his giant, so here are the five stones any of us can use to conquer any of the giants in our lives, from addiction to the jerk at work.

It’s written anecdotally, which makes it approachable and non-preachy. And there’s a bonus: a five-week “training manual” with daily scripture readings, centered around each of the five stones.

Rebuilt: The Story of a Catholic Parish: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, and Making Church Matter, by Michael White & Tom Corcoran (Ave Maria Press, 2013)

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I’ve had this sitting on my to-read shelf for quite a while. And here lately, it seems like everyone is reading it. What put me over the top and made me actually crack it open, though, was my pastor. Not only was he reading it, but he had it almost finished in three days. I caught him making copies for our all-day parish staff meeting and that was all it took for me to dive in.

And it was a good book! I enjoyed it a lot and I’m still chewing on many of the ideas and concepts. Highly recommended.

A Land without Sin, by Paula Huston (fiction, Wipf & Stock Pub, 2013)

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I didn’t expect to read this in a weekend, so be warned. This is a well-crafted and very compelling novel. I’ve been a fan of Huston’s nonfiction work for a while, and I was delighted that her fiction-telling is as good (or better?) than her other writing. I felt like I had traveled to Mexico and was crawling through the jungle, even as I related with the main character, Eva. This is a book that keeps it real and, though the ending isn’t depressing, it’s also not a song-and-dance-happy-snappy-eyeroll affair. I must say, I appreciated that. Highly recommended, and a book I’ll be recommending to my fiction book club.

Current Reads

Bernadette, Faustina, and Therese: Three Saints Who Challenged My Faith, Gave Me Hope, and Taught Me How to Love, by Elizabeth Ficocelli (Ave Maria Press, expected publication 2014)

Though I have at least four other books on my “currently reading” shelf, this is the one I’m out to finish and that has my attention now. I’m a little over 25% through with it and I’m enjoying it. I’m just getting into her interactions with Saint Therese, so look for more about this next week…I can’t say much because I’m not far enough into it!

New to My Reading Shelf


God’s Bucket List: Heaven’s Surefire Way to Happiness in This Life and Beyond, by Teresa Tomeo (Image Books, 2013)

I have high regard for Teresa Tomeo and so, despite the fact that this book feels a little cutesy on the surface, I’m looking forward to it.

Here’s the blurbage about it:

Scripture tells us only God knows the desires of our hearts. It was, after all, God who placed them there because they are designed to lead us to His will for our lives. Why, then, is it so challenging at times to figure out if we are on the right track when it comes to what we believe we want or need? God’s Bucket List will examine what God wants for each of us: mercy,  fruitfulness, fellowship, and peace, just to name a few, and will explain what the Christian faith teaches about these gifts and how we can begin to achieve and cross out, one by one, the items on that heavenly list.


Rock-Bottom Blessings: Discovering God’s Abundance When All Seems Lost, by Karen Beattie (Loyola Press, 2013)

This book is either fascinating or over-the-top. I can’t decide, but I’m committed to reading it and hey, the cover’s pretty. 🙂 Here’s what the publisher has to say:

What does it mean to live an abundant life? Some might say living abundantly means living comfortably, having the family you always dreamed of, receiving accolades from your peers, in short—living a life that is commonly accepted by many as blessed. But what if having an abundant life is more than the “good life”? Can we actually be blessed in the midst of serious disappointments and setbacks?

In Rock-Bottom Blessings, Karen Beattie makes the case that true abundance is found in the transformation that happens when we experience God’s presence during periods of grief, loss, and disappointment. With the help of her friends and her newfound Catholic faith, she learns to trust that God’s plan is better than hers. Beattie began to see life’s challenges as gifts to be accepted like all other gifts: with reverence and gratitude.

Beattie’s story makes abundantly clear: it is the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ (the paschal mystery) that can inspire us not only to find blessings in every season of our lives, but to be utterly transformed by God’s riches.

What have YOU been reading lately?

*Are you on Goodreads? I’ll see you there!

Curious about what my ratings mean? Here’s an explanation of what the stars mean to me.

Be sure to check out our Book Notes archive.

Copyright 2013, Sarah Reinhard


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.


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