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The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, by A.J. Jacobs.

This is a book about... a man who tries to follow the bible as literally as possible for a whole year (ah, how I love descriptive titles). It is a really funny book and I enjoyed it a lot. There are no great theological insights here, although quite a lot of information, most of it accurate (this is a man who read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica in one year, and then wrote a book about it, The Know-It-All).

Jacobs has to first, read the bible and make a list of its rules; and then decide for himself how to interpret them. While he takes religious tradition into consideration, he is not bound by it. He also visits groups who take the bible literally, or at least claim to, such as the Amish, ultra-orthodox Jews, and snake-handling fundamentalists. I know I'm starting to sound like a sixth-grade book report, but my favorite part of the book was when Jacobs calls the headquarters of the Watchtower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) and asks them to send someone to his house. At the end, he still claims to be an agnostic, but he has a greater understanding of the importance of faith and his own religious heritage.

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, by Peter Walsh [CD AUDIOBOOK].

I first heard about Peter Walsh from Oprah's website, where he is her "clutter and organizing guru". Our library doesn't have his book, but they do have the audiobook. Now, I don't usually listen to audiobooks, since as a stay-at-home mom I don't have much of a commute. But I found it a refreshing change from listening to the radio while cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. And the book was inspiring, too - I got rid of a lot of unnecessary kitchen clutter while listening to the book. This would be a great book to listen to on headphones while cleaning the house.

Peter Walsh's approach is part organizer, part therapist. He deals with the physical aspects of clutter, walking you through each room in your house, with a definite plan of attack. But he also deals with the emotional aspects of why we hang on to junk. He also pays special attention to the relationships in a family - between spouses or partners - and how decluttering your home can affect your family, both positively and negatively. And he emphasizes that we should teach our children to have limits, that they should not acquire more "stuff" than they have the space for in their lives. One of the best books I have read on this subject.

The Family Manager, by Kathy Peel.

This book is full of helpful suggestions and strategies for running a household, given with a mom-as-manager attitude.

The Parting (The Courtship of Nellie Fisher, Book 1), by Beverly Lewis.

I need to remind myself not to be so eager to read a newly-published book when it is part of a series. Book II will likely not be published until next fall, at which point I will have forgotten what happened in Book I and will re-read it.

Anyway, it's another winner from Beverly Lewis.

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