This reading challenge has really spread to the whole family. Our oldest son has been asking lately if he can do the reading challenge next year. I don't know if there will be a next year for me, but I know that reading has now become a big habit that will stay with me, even if not at such an intensive level. It would be fun to create a small one for him, though. One friend was also telling me this month that all of this reading has inspired her to start up a small reading group in her new city. How cool! This month's reading was made possible by the 40+ hours we spent traveling by train, and has left us with 18 books to complete the challenge.
Reckless Magic by Rachel Higginson (Book You Own but Have Never Read) - I have had this book for around 2 years without reading it. It is the first book by this author, who was an acquaintance from our college days. It was definitely geared more toward teens and I can see why it has been so successful with that demographic. I doubt it would be as successful with adults as Hunger Games or Harry Potter. But the story was engaging enough and I loved the fact that it took place in Omaha.
Mao : The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday (Book about a World Leader) - This was the most challenging book I have read this year. I hesitated to pick it, because it is 768 pages and the end of the year is coming quickly upon us! But I am so glad that I did. It was fascinating, informative and well enough written that I didn't get bored or bogged down in all of the details. She wrote that a lot of her findings contradicted the long-held stories that had been promoted especially in Chinese history. But everything seemed incredibly well researched and documented and it would be no surprise that propaganda efforts would have severely distorted the truth. It can be hard to process the senseless violence and starvation that so many people suffered, but it is certainly better than being ignorant, as I previously was on the topic.
Complete Indian Cooking by Hamlyn (Book about Food) - I've read through this book a couple of times throughout the year and have tried two recipes from it - the Samosas and Kabobs. They were not very close at all to what I have had in India. First, I would need to at least quadruple the amount of spice to get it somewhere close. But it has a nice variety of recipes and some good explanations of different spices, flours and lentils that are common to Indian cooking.
Being There by Dave Furman (Book about Relationships) - While there are a lot of books about suffering, this book is written for people who are caring for someone who is suffering. I have often found myself unsure of how to really help or encourage people who are in a situation that I do not understand. My biggest take-aways were that suffering people need friends who will speak the truth in love to them, who will let them grieve and grieve with them, and who are willing to die to their own physical and emotional needs for their sake. Easier said than done.
Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Book by or about a Russian) - This is a really well-written book. You see elements of philosophy, religion, ethics, politics all rolled up into the story. It keeps you guessing until the end, which wasn't exactly what I was hoping for but made me think. I can see why it has its effect on phycology even today.
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (Book Written in the 20th Century) - It wasn't as good as the first book, a little dry through the middle and the kids didn't stay as engaged as I read it to them. I enjoyed how he described faith through the story, with the dwarf who stopped believing that Aslan was real and coming back. The others held their faith and when Aslan returned, he rewarded them. It was a unique and thought-provoking way in which Lewis articulated that reality.
Star Struck by David Hart Bradstreet and Steve Rabey (Book about Astronomy) - I had never given a second thought about space and the exploration of it since my school days in science class. NASA has come a long ways in the last 20 years. I loved hearing about space exploration from a Christian point of view. The authors had a few agendas that strayed away from the book's purpose, such as constantly driving home the defense of old earth and how that is most compatible with Christianity. They made too much huff about it. But overall the book was a good experience and I am glad that I was challenged to read because now when I look up at the stars, I have a renewed sense of awe and worship of the magnificent God who created it all for His glory!
Luke and I are married and have four little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, education and graphic design.
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