I have come back to the present.

After taking a two-day hiatus from being present in the lives of my family, I finished listening to the last five minutes of my book club book “Unbroken” on “audible” as I pulled into the driveway of my friend’s house for book club last night.
And now I’m ready to be a mother once again.

But although I had my phone glued to my ear as it spilled out unthinkable stories for a few days, I do think it was pretty motherly of me to listen while doing laundry, sorting pictures, watching a volleyball game (I was still totally paying attention, Elle), making dinner, driving carpools, listening to piano lessons, etc. I mean, I did have to drive back and forth from the school seven times yesterday for one reason or another, so it was nice to have my phone to keep me company…feeding awe-inspiring tales into my ear.

Audible is amazing (that’s the first time I’ve used it).

But even more amazing than being able to listen to a book while multitasking and even being able to speed up the reading voice up to three times normal speed when you are really in a hurry, listening to a book like “Unbroken” will change your life.

Seriously, I think everyone should read (or listen to) that book.

I love that it is a true story.

I love that it taught me more about history in the most vivid, tangible detail.

I love how it described pre-wartime Germany during the Olympics.

I love how it talked about running. And that it went into some background of the lead-up to the famous “four-minute mile.” I heard a lesson on that long ago and think about often ever since.

I love that it is a story of survival and the resilience of the human body…especially when that mind encased within that body finds God and the beauty of forgiveness.

The part about Billy Graham made me cry.

I love to think of all the research and effort that went into the minute details.

I had to stop every so often and catch my kids up on what was happening…the bird infested with lice the guy tried to eat. Sharks lurking under a castaway lifeboat. Life as a prisoner of war. The story of finding faith amidst trial. Their eyes became as big as saucers at some parts.

It is a beautiful book.

(Ordering info. and lots of reviews here.)

I really liked the last book we read too:
Another story that sucks you in and helps you feel life in a way you would never experience otherwise while tucked safely of the normalcy of the every day.

In the beginning it had me all worked up that a labor and delivery story could take over 100 pages to spin out while the characters sat around wringing their hands. I wished I could reach through those pages and slap some sense into those despondent characters. And I always have a tough time with unsaid “I love you”‘s. But man alive that initial frustration wove itself into quite a story (with a few parts I could have done without). I loved that it took place in Ethiopia and New York City…places Dave and I have had the chance to visit and could relate to the beauty of the author’s explanation of their vast differences. I loved the characters. I loved that I had a real book in my hands I could dog-ear and underline to my heart’s content.

I had to cram for that one too. I proclaimed FHE a read-a-thon one night and other nights I sat mesmerized by the story from a faraway land populated with heartbreaking and heroic characters as children crawled over my lap and under my legs.

The “dessert” of a good book to me is getting to discuss it with my book club…women who I love and who not only always read the book but who are always game to discuss it’s intricacies in minute details until late into the night. (And who forgive me that I do not always get the reading in.)

(Ordering info. and tons of reviews on that one are here.)

Yes, there’s nothing quite like getting a good book under your belt.

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  1. I read "Unbroken" several months ago…I LOVED it!! Such a powerful account of how human beings can overcome some of life's most awful trials. One of the best books I've ever read. 🙂

  2. i love my book club, it's one of the things i really look forward to. I love hearing about books that others have read. I just finished 'Sarah's Key', i loved it! and i'm about to start 'The book thief'. thanks for sharing your books

  3. Isn't "Unbroken" amazing? I completely ignored my husband on a short road trip to finish reading it on my iPad. Thanks for the other suggestion. I need a new book too!

  4. LOVED 'Unbroken' I especially loved the AWESOME example of applying the Atonement!! I LOVE it when I read a great book like this… where you learn so many great principles and history lessons at the same time!!

  5. I LOVE true stories because they are usually so inspiring and they tend to lend themselves well for discussion, so they're great for book clubs. Here are two awesome true stories that I've recently read:
    #1) Life Is So Good
    #2) Same Kind of Different As Me

  6. I have to laugh because last week at book club the girl who has Oct. came with two books which she couldn't decide on, Unbroken and Cutting for Stone. We chose Unbroken but I was going to read Cutting for Stone too as it was on my good reads "TO READ" list anyway. Now I'm extra excited to read both!

  7. I just finished Cutting for Stone myself. And the characters were some of my favorite ever written, especially Ghosh. But those parts I could have done without, I definitely could have done without. Why ruin an almost perfect story with that?

  8. thanks for the book suggestions 🙂 adding them to my wishlist…maybe i can read them when my kids get a little older 🙂

    i have read, a few times, that you were searching for some good books to get Max hooked on reading… i came across this article…thought you might find some of the websites useful for searching for titles he (and your other kiddos, too) might like… 🙂 i used a few of the search sites when i was teaching 3rd grade… 🙂
    it's also a great article to read… 🙂
    here's the link:

    hope it helps 🙂

  9. I have had Unbroken on library hold for quite some time – I can't wait until I get the call that I'm next in line! But, I may have to consider purchasing it for my FIL for Christmas…sounds like a great book from all the comments I've heard or read about it!

  10. Sometimes I wish I could lock myself in the house for 24 hours and do nothing but read! Ah, wishes…

    I know this is going to sound strange, but my favorite "inspirational" book to read is 'Band of Brothers' by Stephen Ambrose. I've seen the mini-series and loved it, but I've read the book 5 times. Sometimes I read parts of it when I feel like I'm losing control, and it reminds me that there are so many things in this life that are larger than me and my problems and I just need to take a deep breath and be thankful and happy for my uncontrollable life.

  11. Great book reviews! I love that you have done that from time to time because it motivates me to find time to read in my busy life. Some of my friends and I are talking about starting a book club in our ward. Could you provide us with a top-ten "must read for book club" list? (Ones you particularly enjoyed, as well as ones that lend themselves to great discussion.) Thanks!

  12. Hey, Shawni — I'm headed to TOFW in Richmond next month — hope to see you there for at least a quick hello. It's been ages — I also LOVED "Unbroken" and "Cutting for Stone". Excellent stories, especially Unbroken. Anyway — I hope all is well — you Inspire me!!

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