Hello, my name is Magdalena and I am a book addict. I admit it. I probably read too much. It goes in waves for me. Sometimes I have more time to read or listen to books and sometimes I have less. The month of January has been a month of house projects for me, which means I have been able to listen to books while I completed some projects. I will share about my home improvement projects and some helpful tips about cleaning grout the easy way and making outdoor light fixtures look new in upcoming blog postings. My yard looks great at the moment. Thanks to the many free books I downloaded from my local library this month. I have read or listened to 10 books since January 1st. That is more than I usually read, but really it has more to do with motivating me to get house projects done. I let myself listen only when I am working on the yard, working around the house, running errands, or I am driving long distances. I also like to read actual books (the kind where you turn the page and they are made from paper, lol). Reading a book as I lay in bed before I go to sleep for the night is my favorite reading time, but sometimes I am so exhausted that it doesn’t happen. I have book cases filled with my books in my husbands office. I also have stacks and stacks of books In my master bedroom. I had to buy another book shelf for my master bedroom a few months ago because I could no longer see the top of my desk because there were too many stacks of books. Maria Kondo’s
decluttering methods, which I read about in detail in her popular book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, recommends that you keep no more than 30 books. Sorry Marie, I am a Kondo drop out. I just can’t get rid of my books. My house looks tidy enough…I am keeping my books.

I started a book club in my Southlake community called “Moms of 76092 Bookclub”. They are my tribe, my people. Books are so good for the soul, as are the friendships that are made in book club. I had started a book club in Fort Myers where I lived previously and for 4 years those ladies became some of my closest friends. I miss them! Our Southlake book club is maxed out. We had to cap it at 30 members since we rotate meeting at different club members’ homes each month. There are 5 on the waiting list (just mentioning this so you know the situation in case you message me to join). Book clubs are a great way to meet friends and keep them. I was in MOPS for years, I think 7 years total. But eventually I aged out. Once the twins started Kindergarten I graduated from MOPS. One year I became friends with the fellow moms in my daughter’s ballet class. I looked forward to seeing them and catching up each week. Sadly the next year we were all in different dance classes! Book club is different. Our kids can grow up and move out and we will still have our monthly book club gatherings….and cruises together! Going on a cruise with my book club ladies next month (I am sooooooo excited)!!!

Sorry for the digression. Back to audio books and then I will give you 15 of my best book recommendations (I gave all 15 five stars on Goodreads to these books and most books usually get an average of 4 stars from me, so a 5 has to be an exceptional book). I subscribe to audible via Amazon. It is a great way to get audio books. If you are a prime member they send out a list of audio books to their members each month and you get to chose 2 Audio books free from their list. Even better than this freebie is your local library. Most libraries now use digital libraries where you can download free books (Kindle or audio books are available). Our library in Southlake uses the Cloud Library app. It is so easy to set it up. I simply downloaded the app onto my phone. Then I entered my library card info into the app. After that I was ready to download. I couldn’t believe it, literally thousands of audio books available for me to download, free! I used to try to limit myself to 1 Audible book per week. My subscription via Amazon would give me 1 credit and then I would buy the 3 pack of credits from Audible each month. I no longer do that. No need for the audible purchases since I can now download from Cloud Library free. If you want to know what app your library uses for audio book download simply call them and ask. I called my sister’s local library recently to help her find out what apps they use since she already has a card. They actually use 2 different apps, so she has even more book available to her! I just found out that there are also some towns or cities in Texas that allow you to get a card with them if you are resident in the state. North Richland Hills is a town next to me and they offer free library cards to all Texas residents. I am going to go there to get a card next week. They use the Libby app for free audio downloads of books. This means I will have another app to use with even more options to download free! They have good options on Cloud Library. I like suspense/thriller for entertainment purposes. I have found plenty on Cloud Library, with many being on the New York Time’s Best Seller List. They are quality books and they are all free!

Are you taking a road trip soon? Then you may want to check out your local library and ask them what app or software they use for downloading audio books. Get on it and don’t miss out on all the free books you can be downloading!

It is debated (especially in a women’s book group on Facebook where I am a member) whether reading books is the same as listening to books. Science now says that there is no difference. Our brains are stimulated and process books the same whether they are presented in traditional reading format or are listened to. Here is an article about the results from this neuroscience study- https://www.discovermagazine.com/mind/audiobooks-or-reading-to-our-brains-it-doesnt-matter

Here are my top 15 book recommendations from books that I have read in the past year or two. I read “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” last month in one day it was so good. “Educated” is the best memoir I have ever read. “Orphan Train” and “Before We Were Yours” are wonderfully written and captivating historical fiction books that I couldn’t put down.

If you are looking for other good book recommendations then download the free app Goodreads. It is like social media all about books. You will find reviews on every book imaginable. I use the recommendations and rankings from Goodreads to make my decisions on what books I would like to read. Even if a friend tells me about a book I will then go to Goodreads and check the ratings and reviews. Anything that has thousands of reviews and has an average of 4 star or above is a winner in my book. I am participating in the Goodreads reading challenge for 2020. I decided my challenge would be 52 books for the year. According to Goodreads I am 7 books ahead of schedule, lol. I will slow down once conferences begin. Although maybe not. One of the things I look forward to in doing conferences is the drive time so I can listen to books. Below are two screen shots of the books I have read and recorded on Goodreads so far for the 2020 reading challenge.

And yes I still read and study the Bible every day. Lately I am doing that via audible too. I have been listening to “Jesus Calling” with the kids on the way to school. They have the kid’s version of this book available on Audible. I have read the Bible cover to cover twice. I don’t plan to read it cover to cover this year again, but I will still study and read the Bible daily.