A Few Reviews

It’s officially Christmas break, which means it’s that time of the year when I turn my attention to finishing my 50 book goal for the year. Some times this can be a daunting task, but this year I’ve discovered a lazy and ingenious hack to help finish my reading goal. Are you ready for it?

Here it is–I’ve discovered that if I start lots of books but never finish them throughout the year, then in December I only have to finish reading the books I’ve already started. Finishing 10 books feels much less daunting that reading 10 entirely new books!

Anyways, here’s one blog post with three mini-reviews to share a little of what I’ve been reading. I hope you enjoy them!

1. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

Yes, that Tom Hanks–the one who is an actor and a producer and a screenwriter. You know who I’m talking about? Well, it turns out Tom Hanks is also an excellent fiction writer. This collection of short stories has a common theme–typewriters. A typewriter makes an appearance in each and every story. And even if each story didn’t mention typewriters, this collection would still be pretty cohesive. A few of the stories follow the same characters, and Hanks’ writing style is unique and easy to pick up on. Some repeated words and phrases throughout the collection stood out to me as hallmarks of his style. My favorite part of this collection is that the stories feel fresh and new. The characters, the conflicts, and the settings are all different and unique. I don’t know if I’ve ever read any short stories quite like these. Some are heartwarming, some are sad, and others are just plain funny. I’d highly recommend this as a last-minute stocking stuffer for the book nerd in your life.

2. The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

Usually when we call someone or something “bird-brained,” we aren’t paying it too high of a compliment. Ackerman’s book breaks apart the myth that birds aren’t intelligent simply because their brains are small. In fact, after reading this book, I’m even more amazed by birds! I’ve never been drawn to birds as pets or as fun animals to have around–they’re a little too unpredictable and flighty for my taste. In spite of this, birds turn up a lot in my poetry and my fiction. I think there’s something really moving about the idea of flight, and I’ve always loved the verses in the Bible where Jesus tells us to consider how God takes care of the birds. So if you’re in the market to take those verses very, very seriously, and actually spend time considering the birds–this might be the book for you! The book is nonfiction, and it is rather scientific in tone, but Ackerman tells stories about different types of birds to illustrate the scientific point of each chapter. All in all, this is a very well-written and engaging nonfiction book for the animal lovers among us!

3. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I broke out this classic childhood friend on our unexpected snow weekend, and immediately was drawn back into the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I absolutely loved these books when I was young, and it was fun to revisit the pioneer days. This book has so much to say about patience, perseverance, and hope in the midst of bleak days. I loved having the chance to go back as an adult and realize that some of those lessons are things that stuck with me. Plus, this book made me so, so grateful that I have access to heat and electricity!

So there you have it! These are the three books I’ve finished this week, and hopefully there will be more reviews in the next few days as I wrap up 2017. I’ve also got my best books of the year to share and (hopefully) an exciting new challenge for 2018.

Keep checking back, and keep reading!




  1. Your intro had me giggling. I actually find it harder to finish books that I’ve started than to start reading something new. I’m so bad I should create a GoodReads shelf for them. And they’re not even bad read. Their reading just got put on hold and eventually they made their way back to the bookshelf 🙈.


  2. […] Silenceby Shusaku Endo: One of those books that makes you think for a long, long time. 9. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks: Unexpectedly fresh and creative plots, plus interesting characters and […]


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