Choosing Beauty: A 30-Day Spiritual Makeover for Women, by Gina Loehr

I read so many rave reviews, and then Katharine Barron of Catholic in a Small Town started a book club podcast based on this book, and that put me over the edge.  I ordered my copy and a copy for my best friend.  We read it sort of together (she ended up reading it mostly all in one night, and I spread it out over 30 days).

What IS beauty, and what does God want when He calls us to be beautiful women?  That’s what this book examines, though it’s not nearly as boring as that question might make it sound.

What I liked:
– short daily reflections
– examination of the virtues through the lens of redefining beauty
– Gina’s writing style, which is direct and approachable
– the layout of the book (call me a major book geek, but I always notice this; just lately, though, I’ve thought to mention it as a plus)
– thinking about beauty as more than just physical, but also including the physical

This book would make a great book study book, especially for busy women.  It’s not limited in its approach to mothers or wives, which I appreciated (though I fall into both of those categories).

Incidentally, it’s billed as a companion to her earlier book, Real Women, Real Saints, which I reviewed earlier this year.
souls at rest

Souls at Rest: An Exploration of the Idea of Sabbath, by Charlotte Ostermann

I received this book from the author, and when I was done reading it, I sent her an email thanking her for taking the time to write it.  I don’t know how much of what’s in this book is new, but I found it new.  I’ve been examining Sundays as Sabbath in my own life for a few months — just because of a gentle nudge or two internally — and this book came along at a good time for me.

What I liked:
– the inherent challenge in the book, gently given, to reexamine what Sundays are
– the history lessons that are woven throughout the book and provide a backdrop for understanding Sabbath from a historical viewpoint
– the many references included throughout the book, giving me plenty of opportunity to further reading and research, if I feel so inclined


Be the Pack Leader, by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier

This book had a thin coating of dust on it when I pulled it off my to-read shelf.  It might have gathered more dust, if not for a new canine in our household who requires some special attention.  (The lesson, folks, is to do your research before you bring the dog home, and don’t base it on a dog you used to have.)

We discovered Cesar Millan’s show, Dog Whisperer, on National Geographic Channel, at some point right before or right after my oldest daughter was born, and we watched it enthusiastically.  He’s brilliant with dogs and with people, and since having children, I’ve found that the idea of being a pack leader can apply, in many ways, to parenting as well.

When my second daughter was born, my parents brought me a little gift bag, and in it was this book, which was his newest book at that time.  (He has since published two or three more.)

That was two years ago.

This book was GREAT.  It captures Cesar’s direct style and the vignettes are entertaining (and sometimes a bit close to home).  I found it helpful, though a bit like a book about exercise.

I’m not good at the discipline required for exercise, so reading about it, while good for my brain, doesn’t always (ever) motivate me to actually get off my duff.  This book had wonderful information and explanations about dogs and their needs.  Now I just need to get off my duff and apply my new knowledge and increased understanding to the problem dog at home.

What I liked:
– the voice of the book (as a big fan of the show, I could almost hear Cesar talking)
– the organization of the book, making it easy to find the information I need to reference
– the vignettes (because I’m a sucker for a story)

What have you read recently?