The 3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ the 1 classic movie we watched)
Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.
A Word on My Star Ratings
The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.
I was really excited to read this book as I thought it would be great for me to prep for birth and postpartum recovery — especially since I’ve struggled with postpartum depression/anxiety after all three of my pregnancies. (I think a lot of my struggles were related to not taking time to properly rest and heal after my births.)
Going into reading it, I knew the book wasn’t written from a Christian perspective and had a lot of influence from other religions in it. I was prepared for this. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting past a lot of those sections. So much of the advice just felt so self-serving and humanistic… and some of the advice to ask for so much help and set such strong boundaries after the birth kind of felt like it was encouraging you to come across as a jerk. (Just being honest here!!)
That said, my big takeaways are that rest, good nourishment, and limited movement for the few weeks after birth are really important. Those are my hopes for this postpartum period for my upcoming birth and what I’ve spent the last few months prepping to make happen! This book definitely encouraged me to prioritize that.
Does anyone have suggestions of a good book for postpartum that encourages these things that might be a better fit for me (or something for me to recommend to others)?
I have heard of Kendra Adachi’s podcast (The Lazy Genius) but, truth be told, I’m not a listener. I think I may have have heard one episode way back when or maybe have heard her on another podcast, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge of her.
Despite that, I really loved this book! It’s well-written, funny, practical, and realistic. Kendra has the perfect balance of truth, humor, and grace sprinkled throughout it. She also makes you feel like you can actually get your home and life in better order (notice I didn’t say “perfect order” just “better order”? I think Kendra would approve of that language!)
I love her approach to be a genius about those things that truly matter to you and your family and to be lazy about those things that don’t matter to you and your family. I also found her light-hearted footnotes throughout the book to be a fun addition.
While I’ve read a LOT of time management, home management, and life management books, I still found so much fresh perspective and inspiration in Kendra’s book. And now I’m thinking I need to check out her podcast!
Okay, I was a little scared to write this review, because it seems everyone I know absolutely adored this book. And, while I really loved parts of it, there were other parts of it that I just couldn’t stand behind wholeheartedly.
Let’s start with what I loved: I loved the author’s desire to encourage what she calls, “Radically Ordinary Hospitality”. It is a lost art in our usually-busy worlds and I think it is one of the biggest building blocks to genuine community and Christlike love.
I also loved that the book shone a light on foster care and the need for Christian families to prayerfully consider being involved in this ministry in some way. (You all know how passionate I am about foster care!)
That said, what bothered me in the book was that she presented hospitality almost as a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. That it’s only in the context of your church and neighborhood and that it pretty much always involves opening up your home for a meal.
While opening up your home is fantastic and serving food is great, I think hospitality can also be inviting a friend to the park or to coffee or to join you in a walk or reaching out to the lonely-looking person sitting on the sidelines at your child’s baseball game or inviting your co-worker to lunch… and a thousand other things.
For me, I believe hospitality is going to take on many different forms — because we all have different giftings and different spheres and circles we run in. I wish she would have talked much more about this.
The second thing I didn’t like in the book was that she was super honest about situations they’ve been through with other people — the good, the bad, the ugly. And in many cases, she shared a lot of details about conversations that I felt were private and not ones to be shared in a published book that anyone in the world might read.
I feel like there’s good chance some of the things she shared openly and in detail about very personal hurts and situations could very well damage relationships in her life — even some of those that might be ones she’s seeking to practical “radically ordinary hospitality” to.
(Maybe she got every single person’s permission to share what she shared and maybe each person was 100% okay with it… even then, I think many of the examples and conversations could have been omitted and the book would have still been as powerful. For me, it would have been even more powerful.)
And now I’m going to go duck from all of the rotten tomatoes I’m going to get thrown at me! 😉
Verdict: 3 stars
Classic Movie We Watched Last Week
The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it.
I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!)
Last week, we watched Mr. Bean’s Holiday — a movie Jesse and I had watched together a long time ago together and thought the kids might enjoy. They did enjoy parts of it, but they found it a little on the slow side and thought it drug on — especially toward the end.
(Note: I don’t think this actually qualifies as a “classic movie” since it came out in 2007, but oh well, we’re going to say it is since it was the movie we watched last week!)
What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list??