Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

What I’m Reading: June 3, 2016

What I'm Reading: June 3, 2016


I’ve always been a voracious reader. But there for a while, I fell out of a regular reading habit. Life seemed too busy, and I became convinced that I couldn’t make time for reading and writing, and chose to focus on writing.

Of course, my writing suffered for that decision, because you can’t constantly pour out words without filling yourself back up with them. You have to take time to fill that creative well in order to find inspiration. It’s not even that simple, really. Writers need exposure to other people’s writing in order to help process ideas and not only know what they want to say, but also become equipped with the right vocabulary to say them properly. Reading is important, y’all!

A couple of years ago, after a long reading dry spell, I finally figured this out, and made a conscious decision to fit reading back into my daily routine, even if it was just fifteen minutes a day. And do you know what? It’s amazing how, when you decide something is important enough to make time for, other, less important things have a way of shifting around or even falling by the wayside to make room for this new priority, without you even having to give it much thought.

Anyway. The point is that I’m reading so much these days, I might as well start using this space to document and share what I’m reading. These are my current reads. I typically read two books at a time now–a nonfiction work digested slowly in small bites throughout the day and a fiction work that I devour in big chunks on nights and weekends–which is amazing to me because I’ve always been a staunchly one-book-at-a-time type of reader. See what I mean about things shifting around to accommodate conscious priorities?

Nonfiction: Even if Not by Kaitlyn E. Bouchillon – This book was on my wish list and I didn’t even know my husband had ordered it for me. It arrived just in time to accompany me to the ER when he had a health scare, and it couldn’t have been more appropriate reading as we waited for answers (which we’ve since gotten, and in case you’re wondering, he’s fine now). It’s a hope-filled memoir with an encouraging message about choosing to trust God in the in-between–in the waiting time between questions and answers, between problems and solutions, between hard times and deliverance–and making up your mind whether you will still trust Him if things don’t turn out the way you hope they will. It was appropriate to that upsetting weekend at the hospital, but it also speaks to the bigger picture of our lives these last several years, and it’s been doing a lot to encourage me and renew my hope in the middle of my own in-betweens.

Fiction: Paper Hearts by Deborah Williamson – I picked this up on a whim at a used book store. It’s not the sort of thing I typically read, but I’ve been trying to branch out and expand my horizons beyond the gritty genre fiction I typically prefer. And you know, I’ve actually been enjoying some of the more light-hearted and heartwarming reads I’ve come across lately. This is one of them. A teen running away from her abusive past has a chance meeting with an old widower who’s ready to give up on life, and they end up rescuing each other. It’s set in small town Oklahoma and filled with believable and believably quirky characters that I’ve quickly grown to care about. I particularly appreciate that Williamson, a fellow Oklahoma native, doesn’t paint any of her characters with a stereotypically Okie brush, and yet I can recognize the Oklahoma in them. It almost feels like I’m reading about my own neighbors and kin.

I’m nearing the end of both books, and hope to wrap them up this weekend. So hopefully I’ll have a couple of new books to share next week (including Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me by Alexandra Kuykendall, which I can’t wait to get started on).

What about you guys? I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Do you have an recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them in the comments!


  1. Lissa Clouser

    I think it’s so easy for reading to be one of the things we ‘accidentally’ give up when life gets busy. Happy to see you’ve found a good way to work it back in! Earlier this year I decided that rather than telling myself how much I had to read (other than a hopeful Goodreads goal that I usually forget to check until the end of the year anyway), I would just tell myself to try to read at least 2-3 times a week. Sometimes that’s only for 10 minutes and sometimes it’s for 2 hours, but moving my focus to actually picking up a book instead of how long I held it meant my reading time has increased quite a bit again!

    I think I’m currently in the middle of something like… 7 books? I can read up to 10-12 at a time comfortably. But that’s usually a combination of nonfiction, novels, short story anthologies, poetry, and kids’ books. I have a book I think you’d like and is a super quick read. “God Went to Beauty School” by Cynthia Rylant. (It looks like Tulsa library has a copy.) It’s a short book of poetry that I love love love… it imagines God in several simple ‘every day’ situations and paints a beautiful image of things we take for granted. Let me know if you read it! (I keep the poem “God Got a Desk Job” from that collection on my desk at work.)

    • Jean Marie Bauhaus

      Yeah, with writing, reading (or exercise or house cleaning or pretty much anything else) the important thing is just to get started, because something is better than nothing.

      Thanks for the book rec! That sounds intriguing. Matt and I need to renew our library cards. I keep telling him this but we keep being too lazy.

      Welcome back! 😀

  2. Kaitlyn Bouchillon (@kaitlyn_bouch)

    Thank you so much for sharing about Even If Not! I love that your husband surprised you with it… and at such a perfect time. Crazy! But so good, too.

    I’m grateful the words blessed you. Thank you again for sharing!

    • Jean Marie Bauhaus

      That book really has been a blessing. I underlined and starred a lot of passages and I keep going back to it. It’s been so helpful. Thanks for writing it, Kaitlyn, and thanks for stopping by!

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