Recommended Books

Books I Read in January

I posted at the beginning of the year that one of my goals for this year was to read 3 books a month. In order to keep me honest about that, I’ve been posting on Instagram and Facebook as I finish books, but I’m also going to start doing a blog post the last day of the month with a review/summary of the books I read. That way 1) it keeps me motivated to keep reading and 2) if you’re looking to read more books, I can give you some recommendations. For your convenience, I’ve even provided links to the books on Amazon so you can easily purchase them if you’d like (I must also note that if you do, I’ll get a tiny little commission). So here are the three books I read in January:

Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie F. Downs

This book was so timely in my life! I asked for the book for Christmas after seeing Annie Downs in November at the Business Boutique event in Nashville (PS: if you’re a woman looking to start your own business, you should check out Business Boutique if you haven’t already, tons of great resources and many of them are free). Annie just seemed like a super fun person, so I was eager to read one of her books. This one was awesome. Can’t recommend it highly enough.


The whole book is just like sitting down to have a chat with her. She shares funny stories, sad stories, and everything in between. You’ll laugh out loud. You’ll cry a little. You will feel like her best friend after you make it through.


Every chapter is a little essay about an episode in her life when she had to be brave. She uses her experiences, the experiences of other people, and Scripture to show how God is calling you to be brave. She reminds you that being brave doesn’t always mean that you succeed, but it does mean that God is with you every step of the way preparing you and using you for His purposes.


In the midst of my very first Ebook launch and feeling a bit like a failure when I wasn’t an overnight success (which I didn’t really expect, but I was a little disappointed with my slower start), this book was the word from God that I needed. I’m so thankful that I read this book when I did. It has inspired me to continue to be brave this year and do what I think God’s calling me to do, trusting that He will catch me when I fall.


No matter where you are in life, you need to be brave in some area, and this book will help inspire you to do so. Plus you might pee your pants from laughing in the process.


This Side of Paradise by Scott F. Fitzgerald

This was another Christmas book. A few years ago, I read pretty much everything Fitzgerald wrote, but I read it all online. I really like physical books, so I decided to put all of his works on my ever-growing Amazon Book Wish List. I got this one and Tender Is the Night (which I will probably read next month). If you’ve never read any Fitzgerald besides The Great Gatsby for high school English, you really should. He was a great writer.


I will say, all Fitzgerald novels make me a little sad, but I think that’s why I like them. The Fitzgeralds (Scott and his wife, Zelda) had a pretty messed up life. They were super popular, but pretty selfish and only lived for themselves. This same characteristic is true of all his book characters. It’s a wonder to me that he didn’t see how sad and empty that was as he was writing.  I’m not usually one for over spiritualizing the emptiness of life without Jesus, but that’s what I think of every time I read a Fitzgerald novel.


I also tend to like Fitzgerald’s books because I feel like his time period was very much like our own. I like finding parallels between his book characters and situations and people in our own time.


This particular book tells the story of Amory Blaine and his growing up years in high school, college, and young adulthood. He’s pretty full of himself and is always trying to get other people to realize how awesome he is. His life is pretty empty and he has no ambition. He thinks he deserves to be great, but he doesn’t really try to do anything.


This was Fitzgerald’s first published book and the one that originally made him famous (though I think his later works are better personally). I’m pretty sure it was fairly autobiography of Fitzgerald himself, which in my opinion makes it all the more interesting.


The Little Things: Why You Really SHOULD Sweat The Small Stuff by Andy Andrews

I’m a big Dave Ramsey fan girl, so when I heard Andy Andrews on The Dave Ramsey Show promoting this book, I added it to my Amazon Book Wish List. Then I got it for Christmas. It’s a little book filled with a lot of little tidbits of wisdom.


Each chapter is a different “little thing” that you should pay attention to. Some examples of small things that can have an impact are taking offense, quitting, change, and perspective. I actually really liked the chapter on taking offense. It was probably one of my favorites.


The book addresses issues that come up in business, money, and just life in general. The whole book was pretty good and (bonus) it was a super easy read. A nice little book you could knock out in an afternoon, but that you’ll probably want to come back to for the little nuggets of wisdom.


What books did you read this month? I’m always looking for new book suggestions!


Photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash

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