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Always be reading

As you start this week, may you be reading something, anything—even just a page. I just finished my traditional holiday novel that I read between Christmas and New Years, and I was reminded how much I love a good story. I got lost in the world of fictional characters and places.

This book stayed with me for days after I finished, and it reinvigorated my love of getting lost in a good piece of fiction. I hope to read many more this year.

I try to always be reading something, even if it’s two paragraphs in a book right before I pass out from an exhausting day. I’ll sometimes read three to five books at once, simply because one only has so much time to read all the books in the world, and because I gravitate towards different types of writing at different times of day, on different days of the week.

Books are lavish but simple entertainment, the very best kind. They keep your brain from turning to mush during the baby years; they teach you things you never knew you wanted to learn; they’re a passport to worlds and cultures and times you’d never otherwise travel. I’m a declutterer at heart, and I yearn to continually live with less—but books are my friends. I agree wholeheartedly with C.S. Lewis.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. -C.S. Lewis
Print from Mandipidy

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Navigating Early, by Clare Vanderpool—reading out loud with the kids this month.
Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, by Richard Swenson—I’ve had this on my Kindle for ages, so somehow it seems apropos to finally read this as I prepare for my book’s release
Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules, edited by David Sedaris—a collection of Sedaris’ favorite essays and short stories
• Chasing God, by Angie Smith—my friend Angie sent me her newest book, and its premise sounds right up my alley: Angie admits she wasn’t following God; she was trying to catch up with Him.

A quick favor

Notes From a Blue Bike, by Tsh OxenreiderThank you all, SO MUCH, for the super helpful feedback about an upcoming book tour for Notes From a Blue Bike! This book has my heart; it’s my baby, so I really cannot wait to share it with each and every one of you. And to say hi to some of you in person? Even better.

If you wouldn’t mind, please answer this quick, one-question poll to help us get a feel for how many people to guesstimate for each gathering (if you’re reading this via RSS or email, you may need to click over).

[gravityform id=”6″ name=”Blue Bike Book Tour: location possibilities”]

A note: at the moment, we’re not adding new cities—I know many of you had ideas for other locales, and I’m willing to hear them in the near future! But for this week, I need to focus on these cities. Thanks for understanding.

I’d love to hear what you’re reading this month! Do share.

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Christie

    I am currently reading The Golem and the Jinni, listening to A Tale for the Time Being, and I just finished reading Longbourn (a companion to Pride and Prejudice, but far more historical fiction than chic lit). I highly recommend all three

  2. Carly

    I read a book the week after Christmas as well! It helps whet my tastebuds for reading and kick off the year right. I tend to read the most between the months of January and May, when life slows down from the holidays and the earth hasn’t warmed up yet. This year I read John Grisham’s latest, “The Racketeer” which was a quick, engrossing read, and now I’m plowing through “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” by Rachel Held Evans, which is giving me lots of food for though. Great post, and congrats on your own book BTW. I hope you can come to the SF Bay Area.

  3. Southern Gal

    I tried to pick a city for the survey and got this:
    This field requires an unique entry and ‘Charlotte’ has already been used.
    A glitch? Anyway, Charlotte would be my pick.

    I just finished The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. It wasn’t one of my favorites of his. I’m still working on my list for 2014.

    • Tsh

      Thanks for letting me know! I’ve fixed it. I can’t go in and select it for you, so if you’re able to take a quick minute and select Charlotte, that’d be great. Thanks! 🙂

  4. Leanne

    I agree that it’s wonderful to have several books going at one time. I’m usually working on a fast fiction read and a slow fiction read, something nonfiction, and something self-improvement-related. I love jumping around between them. I too am reading “Children Playing Before A Statue of Hercules.” It’s taking me awhile, as I’m not that into short story collections- I don’t like that I get absorbed in the characters, and then the story’s over! But they’re good when I know I only have a limited amount of time. I’m also reading Harvey Karp’s “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” and Higashida/Mitchell’s “The Reason I Jump,” a wonderful insight into the mind of a teenager with autism. I just started Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” as part of my 12 months of reading Shakespeare resolution (#readingShakespeare2014).

  5. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    Wellll of course I like the sound of “always be reading.” 🙂

    I just finished The Rosie Project (so fun) and am wrapping up Guernsey (finally!) I’ve also been working through The Sports Gene, and it’s good, but not nearly as much fun.

    Excited to hear the details for your tour and launch!

  6. Sarah Joss

    I also got an error message, but I would totally drive to Charlotte!!

    • Tsh

      I fixed the error; sorry, Sarah! If you’re able to add Charlotte when you get a chance (I can’t do that for you), that’d be soooo helpful. Sorry for the inconvenience!

  7. karen

    I just finished Loving Frank (Horan) and the Wool Series (Wool, Shift & Dust by Howey). Now working on The Paris Wife (McLain) and restarting – for the third time – When I Was a Child I Read Books (Robinson). I try so hard to read nonfiction… really I do. 🙂

  8. Allie

    Hey there,

    You probably know this, but I got an error message when I responded to the poll. It says…

    This field requires an unique entry and ‘D.C. area’ has already been used



    • Tsh

      Yes; thanks! It’s fixed now, so if you can go in and add D.C., that’d be so helpful. I appreciate it! 🙂

  9. Casey

    I’m getting the same error message as others above, but my pick is Charlotte!

    • Tsh

      Thanks, Casey! Yeah, I fixed the glitch, so if you can add Charlotte sometme today, that’d be really helpful (I can’t add for other people). Thanks so much, and hope to see you there!

  10. Ann

    I’m reading multiple books, too. I started Water for Elephants around Thanksgiving. Then I decided to start reading the Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing by my favorite speaker, Don George, and I started Crazy Rich Asians this week. I’m also considering another book to start, but we’ll see how these go first.

    And when I’m on my computer I have a few marketing e-books I’m enjoying at the moment.

  11. Maggie

    I’m becoming mesmerized by game of thrones. It was in my Christmas stocking. Not the kind of thing I would ever guess I would like! But it feels so good to crawl into a book when it’s -15 outside right now!

  12. Jen

    Couldn’t get the submission to work online but please come to Houston! 🙂

    • Tsh

      Thanks, Jen! Yep, it’s fixed now, so if you’re able to add Houston when you get a chance, that’d be great. Appreciate it, and hope to see you there!

  13. Angie

    I’m listening to Why Gender Matters on audiobook, which, other than sitting to read the Bible, is the only way I’ve found time to read. I listened-read What A Difference a Mom Makes by Dr. Kevin Leman in December, which was such an encouragement to me as I am raising my 16 month old son!

  14. Steph

    I just finished Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. Headed to the library on Thursday to get something else!

  15. Sarah M

    Yay, a book post!My favorite.

    I just finished “Pastrix” by Nadia Bolz-Weber. I had first heard her on NPR’s On Being and wanted to read her book. I finished it in 3 days.
    Now I’m in the middle of Jim Trelease’s “The Read Along Handbook” and I love it, although with me he is preaching to the choir. 🙂
    Right after that, I’m going to read “Call the Midwife” by Jennifer Worth. It’s my favorite show on TV. I can’t wait to hear the real stories as they actually happened.
    Sarah M

  16. Suzanne

    The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman — phenomenal story of love, loss, what it means to love a child, to be human. I read it almost in one sitting.

    Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo — shocking, haunting, mesmerizing non-fiction book by a journalist about life and death in the slums of Mumbai.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman — just thinking about this book makes me want to read it again, it’s THAT good. Like the best of the Brothers Grimm and Philip Pullman, this story demonstrates what all children instinctively know – the scariest and the strongest power on earth is the human imagination.

    • Angela

      I loved loved loved Behind Beautiful Forevers. Boo does an amazing job and the story behind her book writing is so amazing

  17. Nora

    Love that C.S. Lewis quote & print! I want that for my wall!
    Currently reading ” Love & Respect in the Family” by Emmerson Eggerichs.
    Great book that talks about the crazy cycle we go through & illustrates it for you.

  18. Caitlin

    Hi Tsh! I chose Chicago, and would really love to come visit here! Thanks for always encouraging reading and sharing what you read. I’m kinda like you, I read several things at once, although I have a real hard time with fiction. Currently, I am reading “Eating By the Light of the Moon” – to help promote positive relationship with my body and food; “Do What You Are” – this is the second time I am reading this (first time in 2007) to help gain a better understanding of who I am and what kind of work I would prefer, it uses the Briggs-Meyers Types; and “Holding Your Family Together” – a book club book at church for how to incorporate more connection between God and family. I also read several daily inspirational books throughout the day.

    Got your book on my list!
    Best of luck!

  19. Julie

    Philly is not on the list (is that a city you’re already committed to go?) but since my daughter lives there, I’d plan a visit for the date you’re in town. I’ve just finished reading “Holy is the Day” by Carolyn Weber and loved it. I also finished the little gem by J.I. Packer “Weakness is the Way.” The above-mentioned daughter gave me “Judges for You” by Tim Keller for Christmas, and I’m looking forward to reading it. As for fiction reading I’ve chosen to reread “Emma” by Austen…love it!

  20. Alison

    ah, I’m a huge fan of reading–such a wonderful indulgence! It keeps my mind positive when I’m in the middle of mundane tasks or breaking up toddler spats. I’m currently reading The Rules of Civility (blech) and just finished The Husband’s Secret (wonderful). I even have a site devoted to “reading”–books, movies, people, everything. 🙂

  21. eila

    We gave our son, Navigating Early, for Christmas and he can’t put it down!

  22. Liisa R

    Right now I’m reading Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton (an eye-opener!), An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor, Northanger Abbey, and Just a Couple of Chickens by Corinne Tippett.

  23. Caroline Starr Rose

    Navigating Early is on my shelf. You’re the second person in the last two weeks to recommend it! The thing about The Time Traveler’s Wife that wowed me was the planning that must have taken place to make it happen. Incredible.

  24. Claire @ Lemon Jelly Cake

    “They keep your brain from turning to mush during the baby years” . . . haha, so true! I’m currently reading “More Hours in My Day” by Emilie Barnes and “Grace for the Good Girl.” I just finished “Dear Cary” written by Cary Grant’s fourth wife; a somewhat depressing read at times, but still very interesting.

    Most of my days are two paragraph days and I don’t think I’ve spent an entire afternoon curled up with a book since before I got married, but the reminder to always be reading is such a good one. 🙂

  25. Jen

    I’ve usually got at least a few nonfiction and one fiction going at once. Just finished The Husband’s Secret, it was good, though I could have done without the last chapter. And I’m rereading Eat to Live for a diet tune-up. Also paging through a beautiful book called Back to the Cabin, full of great simple living inspiration!
    I read The Time Travelers Wife six years ago and it has stayed with me ever since. I think it’s time for a reread! 🙂

  26. Tanya

    One of my goals this year is to read more than I did last year. I’m looking for my next book to read.

  27. Mary Keel

    I tried to vote for San Francisco, but couldn’t make it work.

    I’m reading a classic by Lewis Mumford called The City In History in preparation for a book on intentional living in the City. It’s a monster, but I’m loving it!

  28. Mary Keel

    Okay, I after I posted it worked and I got to put my vote in for San Francisco. 🙂

  29. Kelli

    Tsh, I just got through posting my 2013 book list. I have to admit it felt self-indulgent! I’m so happy to have discovered a kindred spirit bibliophile. Can’t wait for book to arrive! Have fun on the your and maybe I can meet you in NE Ark.

  30. Sharon

    A few good ones from last month: Tomorrow there will be Apricots, Running for My Life, Love Does, The Kitchen House & The House on Mango Street. Just in the midst of making up my book list for this year, but my reading for grad school will likely take over. sigh.

  31. Kim from Philadelphia

    ” Dearie” , a biography of Julia Child’s life. It’s delicious!

  32. Traci

    I fully agree with this motto! Reading is one of the most important components of a happy, sane life. However, I did JUST finish a book and need to get to the library!

  33. Rebekah

    Tsh, how exciting! NYC here specifically Long Island City/Astoria area.I would love to come to a signing at B&N or other locale. I’ve been to big ones here so it’s hard to imagine it being very personal. One thought is Strand Bookstore in Union Square but they usually host big signings in other places. I can also imagine home gatherings similar to house concerts which Dave Basan has done very successfully here and other cities. I would be thrilled to host a home book signing/talk! We haven’t tried it yet but I bet we can squeeze in 25 or more adults who are willing :). Another idea is a local neighborhood pub…I think ours would be thrilled to host! I can reach out to local churches and our kids’ school as alternate spots to hold more peeps. Finally, I’d also offer to host your family in our home NYC apartment style-if you’re up for it!

  34. Andrea

    I also read multiple at a time 🙂 Currently I am reading “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” and “The Last of the Mohicans” along with a bunch of grad school books.

  35. Angela

    I’m reading Looking for Alaska by John Green, because The Fault in Our Stars was just amazing. I am also in the middle of Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessy.

  36. Sarah Caldwell

    I love this post! 🙂 (And that print, I’m ordering it for my favorite bookshelf.) I’m reading so many wonderful books right now, and I’m so excited for all of the new releases coming out this year–including your book! 🙂 (I devoured it in 3 days this past fall, and can’t wait to blog more about it to help spread the word!) I read Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber in about 3 days the first week of this month–absolutely LOVED it. I’m currently reading Where’d You Go Bernadette and A Million Little Ways. I also just started a FANTASTIC book on writing recommended by a writing friend–Still Writing: The Perils & Pleasure of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro. I started reading Start by Jon Acuff again, since its the beginning of the year, and I think the book is resonating with me more than when I tried to read it last year. And because I’m getting ready to take a quick trip to Canada, I’m reading a book on travel journaling (my inner geek LOVES books on journaling) Writing Away: a creative guide to awakening the journal-writing traveler by Lavinia Spalding.

  37. Alyssa

    Where in NW Arkansas? I live in Tulsa, OK and would definitely try to make the drive to see you.

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