Mike&Sarah

Sarah’s Books

There’s something wonderful about getting lost in a good book, whether it’s a fictional tale of adventure or heart break, a biography about someone else’s life lessons, or a good book to help focus my thoughts on God.  Book suggestions come from lots of places like facebook friends, other friends’ book clubs, books I hear about in the news and gifts from others.  You can recommend a book on our “Contact Us” page.

I’ve listed out the books which I think will have mass appeal to the people who stop by my blog.

Currently Reading

Secrets of The Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau ::

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child: A Step-by-Step Program for a Good Night’s Sleep by Marc Weissbluth :: Ah, the value of a good night’s sleep for baby and parents!  Here’s to a good 12+ hours a night of sleep for our Cutie PIE!

City Baby New York: The Ultimate Guide for Parents from Pregnancy to Preschool by Pamela Weinberg and Kelly Ashton ::

(Hm… I’m catching a theme here.  Looks like our Sweetie PIE has commandeered my reading list!)

A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller ::

The Holy Bible (in The Message Version) :: This will be on the list for another year.  Last year I read it cover to cover with some women in an online community. This year I’m joining those same women to read the New Testament chapter by chapter.

Finished the Book

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins  ::  fiction.  Sometimes I wait a while before jumping on the pop-fiction bandwagon.  Goodness, this movie is already on DVD, so the bandwagon has come and gone.  But the joy of reading the first two books in the trilogy during the same weekend made for an absolutely delightful escape from changing diapers and dealing with piles of mail.  This is the story of Katniss Everdeen who lives in District 12 who, when her sister is is chosen as a tribute, volunteers to take her place as a participant in the annual reminder of the Capitol’s reign: The Hunger Games.  I was quickly sucked into her world!

Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas :: This is the vest book I’ve read on asking questions and building relationships with clients, business partners, colleagues, even family and friends.  During a recent series of daily meetings, I’d read a portion of the book, jot down some questions, then use one during our meetings.  Without fail, those power questions helped clarify our discussions and catapult our thinking to the next level of creativity and effectiveness.  Power questions, indeed.

Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist ::  non-fiction.  A collection of auto-biographical short snippets, Niequist writes with an honesty and authenticity radiating from each word.  Sitting down with her book, even when on the subway, transports me to a mental place where I forget my chaotic environment and feel like I’m sitting in a comfy chair talking with one of my favorite girlfriends. There’s an easy manner about her writing, even when she shares her deep hurts or describes her favorite foods.  She’s also the author of Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Lifewhich was the first book I read by this author (and another book I’d recommend).

The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character and Achievement by David Brooks  ::  non-fiction.  This just makes my head spin in a good way.  It is fascinating to read how our minds work and how our identity and character are shaped by the people and experiences in life.

In The Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larsen  ::  non-fiction.  Another well-researched book from Erik Larsen (he wrote Devil in the White City.  See below). This one centers around William E. Dodd who, in 1933, became the first US Ambassador to Germany.

Drought by Pam Bachorz  :: fiction.  This book was a bit of a stretch for me, and it might be for you, too.  When I started the book I didn’t know anything about it.  It was loaned to me to read for a book club I was recently invited to join.  Eager to connect about books with people in Brooklyn, I simply started reading.  It’s the story of a gal who has been enslaved for 200 years, since 1812 when time stood still for her and the Congregants who were enslaved to harvest Water by Darwin West and his Overseers.  She barely ages in that time, and only her blood can save the other Congregants.   Yes, I know, odd concept, but I liked the book.

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larsen  ::  non-fiction.  This is the first book I’ve read by Erik Larsen, and I think he is a genius.  He researched this historical event and pieced the facts together in a riveting fashion!  Highlights the achievements of the Chicago World’s Fair while chronicling the rise of one of the first serial killers in America.  Fascinating writing style!

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman  ::  fiction.  This is one of my favorite books of the year!  I loved this story of a little girl who was rescued from a life with a mentally ill mother.  A story of hope.  (And I cried. Just a little.)

Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Frienship by Gail Caldwell  ::  non-fiction.  Author Gail Caldwell shares the story of her friendship with fellow writer Caroline Knapp.  Both dog lovers, Caldwell and Knapp fell into an easy friendship based on similarities and supported each other through relationships and life, even through Caroline’s lung cancer which took her life in 2002 at age 42.

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton :: :: fiction.  Could there a little bit of Undine Spragg in each of us, or just in me?  The book takes place more than 100 years ago, but social climbing, insatiable appetites for money and glamour, and self-centeredness are common to any era!

Spousonomics by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson :: :: non-fiction. Fascinating examination of the application of economic principles to improve marital relationships.  Really fascinating.  A great read for someone who has been married a few years… with immediate applications!  Turns out, when it comes to arguments, I have loss-aversion.

Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp :: :: WOW! I’m still near the beginning of this collection of 52 meditations on Psalm 51, but it is good.  The meditations are a page or two long, and the two reflection questions at the end of each chapter are excellent for making it personal.  This is phenomenal.  I’m humbled.

ethNYcity, the Nations, Tongues, and Faiths of Metropolitan New York by Chris Clayman and Meredith Lee :: :: Fascinating book with one-page overviews of 82 people groups in New York City.  Written for the Church, this is a great introduction to the beliefs of some of the major ethnic groups in the City.

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson  :: ::  An enjoyable novel about a retired British army officer coming to terms with the changing times.  I so enjoyed this book that I read it in two days, and didn’t want it to end.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok :: :: powerful story about an immigrant girl who comes to America with her mother and virtually nothing else, yet fights for survival.  It takes place in Brooklyn.

A Million Ways to Die by Rick James :: ::  a hearty book about the Christian concept of “dying to self”.  James is a passionate speaker who paints vibrant word-pictures with the grace of an artist’s touch.  His examples and illustrations stick with you, underscoring his point that just as there are a million things to idolize and worship, there are a million ways to die to yourself and lift up Jesus Christ.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott :: :: Sigh, can life or literature get any better than this classic novel?  Beautiful, simple tale.

Zero Regrets: Be Greater Than Yesterday by Apolo Ohno :: :: This is the Olympic Champion’s autobiography, detailing the choices he made during his short-track speed skating history-making career, not to mention his championship Dancing With The Stars season!

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin:: :: Incredible real-life story about one man’s effort to build schools and educate young girls in Pakistan

Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath :: ::  An engaging business book about how normal people created massive change in organizations.  It’s an easy read, filled with success stories.

The Whole Truth by David Baldacci ::  ::  Felt like a James Bond international thriller!  Fascinating story about “perception management”, especially in today’s information age when we get our “news” from facebook and twitter!  Click on this video to watch an interview with the author: Author David Baldacci on THE WHOLE TRUTH

Imagine:  A Vision for Christians in the Arts by Steve Turner.

What’s He REALLY Thinking?:  How to be a Relational Genius with the Man in Your Life by Paula Reinhart

Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life by Queen Noor  ::  ::  Queen Noor has had an extraordinary life as a real-life Cinderella: an American who married a king!  But I found the writing style to be a bit more fact-driven and dry, rather than narrative and engaging.  I guess I was hoping for more of the fairytale. But what changes she ushered into Jordan!

Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey:: :: Hooray!  We’re debt-free, and hope to stay that way.  Here’s to cash budgets, at least for incidentals.

The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life by Ivanka Trump  ::  ::  I was quite surprised by this book, and quite impressed with Ivanka Trump.  Her intended audience seems to be young women, but I thought some of her principles for success applied to anyone.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett  ::  ::  WOW – this is a beautiful and engaging story about courage and race relations in the south in the 1950s.

Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Marry Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows  ::  ::   Looking for a fun read?  Try this one.  The entire book is simply a collection of fictional letters.  I kept waiting for the “real story” to start, but then I realized the genius behind this method of storytelling… so engaging, and I felt like I knew each of the characters.

Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream: True Tales of Mexican Migration by Sam Quinones  ::  ::   This is a *must read* for lots of people!  It gave me insight into the challenges and courage required by Mexican migrant workers to come to the US and showed me some of my undiscovered prejudices.

Traveling Mercies:  Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

The Last Jihad: A Novel by Joel C. Rosenberg

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Sarah’s Classics

The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer  ::  ::   This is a thin little book chocked full of incredible theology and insight into God’s character.  Each chapter is only a few pages long, opening with a prayer and ending with a poem, and covers one aspect of God’s character, like His Holiness, His Sovereignty, His

Heart to Heart About Men:  Words of Encouragement for Women of Integrity by Nancy Groom  ::  ::  Amazing book exploring the God-designed need which all women (married and single) have for good men in our lives.  The reflection questions at the end of each chapter made me examine my own heart, motivations and demands.  This book now serves as a handbook for me, and I refer to it regularly since I first read it in 2000.

The Pursuit of God by A.W.Tozer  ::  ::  This is a meaty book by one of my favorite authors.  Deep and profound, I even typed out an entire chapter of this book to send to some friends!  It’s a solid read for cultivating a heart that follows God.  (I confess, I judge a book by it’s cover, so if you are like me, don’t discount this book.  I don’t like any of the newest cover-art for the book!  But the content is great!

Sacred Marriage:  What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? by Gary Thomas  ::  :: WOW – is this a good book or what?!  I’m encouraged and inspired to think about the Divine purposes my marriage could fulfill.

Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life

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