Wow, November was just crazy! Amidst all of the political frenzy and social divides, I think it would be a good idea for all of us to read more. Read more books about history and the mistakes of the past, read more about other countries that are foreign, but maybe next-door to us. This challenge has definitely pushed us in that direction and we have learned alot through it. Tim Challies recently posted the reading list for 2017. If you didn't participate this year, you should think about doing it next year. I have my own 2017 churning in my brain, so more about that later. For now, here is our November list. We need to read 11 books in December and we are DONE!
The Book Theif by Markus Zusak (Book About WW2) - I have read several books about WW2 this year. This one stood out. I really loved the way it was written, from the narration of "Death". This was unique and brilliant. I loved and hated the fact that Death gave a lot of spoilers. It kind of prepped you, and I think I breated a sigh of relief after each chapter that my favorite characters were still breathing. I was almost dreading the end, fearing something gruesome and cruelly tragic. But it ended much more simply, peacefully and gracefully. This was pure mercy on the author's part, because by the end of the book you really loved the characters. I will definitely seek out other things written by this author.
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Book Based on a True Story) - I tried reading this to the kids, but they found it really boring. My city slickers just can't relate to farm life and it was hard to visual a lot of terms they didn't know without illustrations. But I was already invested in it so I finished it off. I actually really enjoyed reading about the Mom and how innovative she was with every single resource. There is certainly a beauty there which I feel we are lacking.
Justification by Jared Wilson (Book Targeted at the Other Gender) - This was definitely not a huge insight into men, but it was helpful in thinking about the common struggles, and I think Wilson was talking to specifically to men. Although anyone in any capacity could find beneficial principles. I left with a deeper gratitude for the faithful men who have impacted me and my family.
Revival by Martin Lloyd Jones (Book About Revival) - This was a series of sermons commemorating the 100th anniversary of the revivals in 1859. I am not very familiar with that time period, so it made me curious to do some further reading there. The biggest take away for me was the challenge to not be content with the status quo in my own life. He stressed that revival is about renewal inside first, that will flow outside. It is not a dramatic campaign. It is more challenging of a read, but I was able to easily understand his main points even if I got lost in some of the details.
A Complete Guide to Delivery by Al Fasol (Book About Public Speaking) - I was hoping this book would be really helpful but it fell short of my expectations. It is mainly basic common sense things. The things that I did take away might actually do more harm than good, as I am maybe too overly concious of them now. You could get it as a gift for someone who is a terrible public speaker and doesn't realize it :)
Broken Vows by John Greco (Book About Marriage) - It was a helpful book to be able to look at how God used divorce in the life of the author to grow him and draw him closer to God. Though he admits how terrible it was, he was able to rejoice at how God had used it. The highlight was Chapter 3: What shall I answer? which struck a helpful balance of being both understanding to divorcees yet not treating them as victims.
The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914 by David McCullough
(A Book by David McCullough) - Having known nothing about the Panama Canal previous to reading the book, it was incredibly enlightening. Seeing the hard work and patriotism that went into the building was striking. People going to work on it pretty much knew they would probably die, but saw themselves as soldiers in a war fighting for their nation's pride and legacy. The importance of it is overshadowed today by air travel. I liked how McCullough focused on the politics and comman man stories as opposed to intricate details about the technology and process of the construction.
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!
Nine months completed and now we are getting to the point in the reading challenge where we are really having to pick a book for the category, rather than taking a book we want to read and finding a category for it. This is the first month that I have had a book I really wanted to read and it did not fit anywhere (except the Extra Credit, so lets see if we make it there!) It wasn’t our best month for numbers, but we’ve got several books half-read on the back burner. I love how our bookshelf is filling up! As it gets fuller, I did feel like the graphic needed some tweaking. Can you spot the differences?
Pakistan : A Personal History by Imran Khan (A book about a country or city) - I enjoyed this book mostly for the amount of information that I never knew. There were a lot of "humble brags" and in many instances I felt like I was just getting half the story, but that was mostly in regards to his personal journey than the history of the country. He honestly exposed much of the corrupt political activity, which he has worked against throughout his own political career. It helped me to understand even more greatly the affects of post-colonialism, which we have also seen in other parts of Asia, although it took on unique elements being a Muslim country. I was most intrigued by his description and explanation of the native people who inhabited the remote areas where much of al Queda hid post-911. It certainly brought a different perspective.
Who Made God? by Edgar Andrews (A Book about Science) - Since it has been around 12 years since I have taken any sort of science class, the first couple of chapters left me wondering how I would make it through the whole thing, even as he attempted to use really basic analogies. I guess my mind founds its way and by the middle of the book I was tracking with him more easily. It made me all that much more impressed with creation and confident that science neither has or could disprove the existence of God.
Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndman (A Book about Art) - I really wanted to read at least one book about Graphic Design, and of course, I love typography. This is the first real tangible book that I have purchased for the reading challenge, but it just didn’t seem right to read on the Kindle. You can check out my book review of it here.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (A Book by or about C.S. Lewis) - I can't believe I held out this long to read this book. You would think this was standard reading for a boy growing up in the church and Christian schools. But I actually was able to read it for the first time to my children. And it was worth the wait! Loved the simplicity and the complexity of the book. It was neither too easy of a parallel, nor was it so hard to find. The balance that Lewis stuck was spot on. And he was descriptive in just the right ways. How he described Aslan's death and resurrection with the girl's reaction was splendid. What a joy to read.
I recently read the book Why Fonts Matter by Sarah Hyndman as part of our 2016 Reading Challenge. I read it for the category "Book about Art" but it could have very easily qualified for the "Book about Psychology". It is a fun book with lots of great graphics, charts, and activities. It is not targeted at professional designers, but the common "type consumer", which includes all of us (even professionals). As a font nerd, font snob, type lover or whatever else you want to call me, I enjoyed the book. However, if you could care less about fonts, or have ever wondered what the big deal about fonts is, this book just might show you that you care more about them than you think. Either way, you will get to eat jelly beans, so win-win!
Here are a few parts of the book that got me thinking --->
When I teach my elementary graphic design lesson on typography, I talk about how fonts are like people, with names, families, unique shapes, sizes and personalities. This book gave me so many great ideas for activities that I could do in my class. I especially loved the type designing activity based on different styles of songs. I will definitely be incorporating it in my next class and will be sure to let you know how it goes.
The Ethics of Typography
This is part of a larger debate on overall marketing tactics, but Hyndman brings up an interesting point that different fonts do suggest certain things about a product which may or may not be true. There are regulations concerning the wording and photography in advertising, but fonts can equally suggest a false claim without any consequence. She will spend a good portion of the rest of the book documenting the associations we have with certain fonts. As I compared the associations that we make with colors, I found it interesting that colors take on different meanings depending on their context and usage, but fonts are much more singular in their personalities.
Designer vs. Consumer
Designers are known to get caught up in a design bubble, and it is always good for us to get feedback from non-designers. What we may have thought was a clever use of contrast, color, negative space, etc. might be hard our audience to interpret. The same is true for typography. We may tend to associate some fonts with their historical background, while non-designers might view them much differently, and more accurately to common public perception. Sometimes we need a humble reality check :)
This was definitely an area of typography that I had never considered. Hyndman offers research to show that the type of fonts used on food packaging can have a placebo affect on how we taste food. While I didn't taste a noticeable difference during the jelly bean experiment, I think I was just overthinking and was too aware of the results that I was supposed to see. It would be a lot of fun to do these in person, at one of her type tasting events. At the end of the book, she suggests that this placebo affect could possibly be used for good, by allowing companies to reduce sugar and fat in their products and replace it with a good use of typography that would induce this placebo affect on our taste buds. Who knows, typography might just save the world after all!
You can check out more about the books and type research at www.typetasting.com.
One of the cool things about reading is being able to enter into a world that you are not apart of. I am not talking about fantasy here. I'm talking about real places in time and history that we will probably never be able to visit. Both fiction and non-fiction can provide this sort of experience and bring greater awareness to our BIG world. I appreciated that element of both of the fiction books that I read this month. At the beginning of the month, we knew we each needed to read an average of 5 books a month for the rest of the year. I am pretty shocked we were able to do that this month, with the Olympics consuming a large portion of our free time. It gives me hope that we will have no trouble finishing out the rest of the list!
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (A novel set in another country) - This novel was the memoir of a British butler during World War II. It wasn’t suspenseful or gripping, but it was an interesting glimpse into a world I’d never given much thought to. I don’t really like rereading books, but this is one where a second read might reveal subtle details you didn’t notice the first time around.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (A Book over 400 pages - It was 402!) - This is one of the best books I’ve read all year, and definitely tops the list for fiction! It is a somber, but beautiful story of two women in Afghanistan. Though fiction, I also learned a lot about the history of Afghanistan. Not much else to say, but read the book!!
The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God by John Piper (A Poetry Book) - If you have ever wished to read the Wisdom Books as the poetry that they are, this is the closest you might be able to come without learning Hebrew. Piper does take some liberties with the story, but it is a really well written and there are nice connections made to our present day faith.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (A Book for Children) - I read this to the kids at bedtime and it was a good reminder for me about how kids view events, adults and life. It actually gives me some good perspective during my parenting. It was fun to read.
1984 by George Orwell (A Classic Novel) - I am really glad I chose this. Its my favorite book so far of the year. Written in 1948, it predicts what life would be like in a strict communist regime. It got me thinking more politically than I normally do, and helped me understand the suffering under such systems. It was a powerfully well-written book.
Habits of Grace by David Mathis (A Self Improvement Book) - It definitely did a good job of renewing my passion and motivation for the spiritual disciplines. It is not the first book I have read on the topic, but I did enjoy the unique angle he took on them.
Here we are starting our second half of the year. Today Luke and I were talking about how surprised we are that we have kept it up this long. As I mentioned at the beginning, we are pretty good at starting things and not finishing. He says he is motivated the most by the competition. Though we are completing it together, we are still keeping track of who has read the most (currently 30-29 in my favor!) But I think I am more motivated by the monthly updates. They give me small goals to work toward and the feeling of accomplishment of completing another month. Either way, it's working for us. Here's what we read this month...
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (Christian novel) - I am not usually interested in Christian fiction, so I picked this book because it is my sis-in-law's all-time favorite. It is based on the book of Hosea and naturally has some mature themes and scenes that are probably not helpful for a young reader. But I thought she did a great job of bringing out the reality of how shame can embed so deeply in the heart and how beautiful it is when the good news breaks through (and in a pretty non-cheesy way).
Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Book about the Natural World) - This woman made a pretty impressive trek across over 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in California, on very little experience. Its not wildly exciting or climactic, but I did enjoy the read and found myself cheering her on to finish.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid : Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney (Graphic Novel) - It was nice to read a funny book after several non-fiction. It reminded me a lot of middle school drama from when I was a kid, which hopefully will help me relate to my kids a little better, especially as they get older.
How Shall We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer (Book by Frances Schaeffer) - I liked being able to brush up on my history of thought and philosophy. It is so interesting how thoughts from 500-600 years ago affect much of the way we think. Its a good call to revisit our presuppositions and where they have come from.
Future Men by Douglas Wilson (Book about Parenting) - The book helped me think more deeply about shepherding my son into a man, and how in subtle ways I could be discouraging some biblical traits he should have as a man. A good read for any father of boys.
I have a major confession. In the middle of writing this, I am ashamed to say, I just screamed and threw a major tantrum at our library people. We renewed our yearly library service this month. Yes, we have to pay for it! Don't ever think your taxes don't do anything! We get to check out 4 books at a time, and are promised new book deliveries every Tuesday and Friday. Pretty sweet, right? Except it never works like that. The website isn't accurately updated, the books aren't available and the delivery guy won't show up for weeks. But when I am having my finer moments, I really love and appreciate our little library. It has been a big help in some of the more unique categories. The first book on the list this month is compliments of it, as well as quite a few past books. Here we are, halfway through the year, 50 down, 54 to go!
The Walmart Effect by Charles Fishman (Book About a Hobby) - I think this fits into two of my hobby categories - shopping and watching Shark Tank. The book is several years old, so I would have loved to read an updated version. But I found it really fascinating. The author shows just how much power Wal-Mart has in the global economy, and how it has been used for both good and bad. One thing I found interesting was how much Wal-Mart avoids any kind of press, even in cases where it is positive. I don't think we should just point a finger at Wal-Mart. We should really all consider how Wal-Mart has redefined pricing for us, forcing their vendors and competitors to lower cost at any price. We should question ourselves if frugality has become too high of a moral good in our hearts. Perhaps there are a lot greater retail ethics to consider than... dare I say... the bathrooms?
In a Sun-Scorched Land by Jennifer Ebenhack (Memoir) - I always enjoy reading books about other people's cross-cultural experience. It seems that no matter which culture someone submerges in, a lot of the same internal struggles arise. Anyone interested in living cross-culturally would definitely benefit from the realistic portrayal of the numerous challenges they might face. It also recounts a heart-wrenching adoption waiting process and the fundamental struggle for all of us to trust God when we don't understand His plan.
Blame it on the Brain by Edward T Welsh (Book about Psychology) - I was initially interested in this book because I thought it might help me in several different counseling situations. But it was really helpful for me personally. He kept highlighting that most issues do have a spiritual and physical dimension and we must address both. Addressing only the physical, which is common today, may mask spiritual problems or leave us in continual defeat. Also, he kept stressing how important it is to be knowledgable on these topics, so we have greater compassion and greater understanding about the tangible ways we can help.
Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler (Book About Leadership) - The premise of this book was that a leader must possess deep belief and passion in whatever arena he is a leader. Otherwise he is simply unfit for the role. Mohler then outlines 25 core qualities of effective leaders. Twenty-five points is a lot for a book, so it just scratched the surface of each one. It was good and left me wanting further study in each area. I wish he had included some additional recommending reading at the end of each chapter.
I know I'm a little late catching up with our progress on the VT Reading Challenge, but with good reason. We spent the first two weeks of June showing Luke's mom and sister around India. It was so much fun giving them a peak into our daily lives. Then, I knew our May list was long, so I kept procrastinating. Yesterday, Luke had Lasik surgery, leaving him *somewhat* strapped to the couch for a couple of days. So, I figured, now was a great time to get it done.
Last month I really noticed that as I read books I get voices in my head. Not the crazy kind of voices, but I definitely imagine the author's voice and tone while I am reading the words, and it seems to affect the speed I read. Anybody else out there ever notice that? Anyways, on to the list - we are currently at 42 done, 62 to go!
Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins (New York Times Bestseller List)- Confession : I listened to the audio book for this one. That counts, right? It was a really intriguing story and I can see why it has been so popular. It took me a while to suspect what happened, until she started giving obvious clues.
For The Love by Jen Hatmaker (A Book by a Woman Conference Speaker) - I was really torn with this one. I have been a fan of Jen since 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (which I appropriately read while we were downsizing to exactly 6 plastic tubs of possessions). After reading the first chapter I was super excited about the rest of the book. However, it left me gasping for air halfway through, and I realized there was so much left. She tries to tackle so many subjects in one book that it comes across feeling more like a whole bunch of blog posts. Everything is high-energy and dramatic (which is one reason why I, and thousands of other women, enjoy her writing), but for me it was too much in book form. In Chapter 25, I thought she missed out on a huge opportunity to explain how the good deeds she promotes are part of the gospel (the outworking and testimony of it), but instead she left me feeling like she was pretty closed to any sort of criticism (which I can understand as such a public figure she probably gets a lot of, and in general I really respect anyone who puts themselves out there like that for the sake of what they believe). I also thought that while she bathes her criticism of the church in her proclamations of love for the church, I could imagine unchurched people taking statements like "I love Jesus, but sometimes his followers give me a migraine" and persisting in hatred/judgment of the church. In my own life, I have found sarcasm a terrible way of showing love, which is ironically the name of the book. All that to say, I didn't disagree with most of the content, but the presentation was lacking for me.
Life and Ministry as a Human Being by Zach Eswine (A Book Someone Says Changed Their Life - Thanks Sheetal!) - Reading this after reading For the Love was kind of funny. Both books had a lot of similar thoughts, but this one dragged on and on for me. He had some really great points, but sometimes he took a really round about way to get there. My biggest takeaway was the reminder to be mentally and spiritually present where you are geographically present. This is a struggle for me as sometimes it seems like our family is a part of two completely different worlds at the same time.
Covenant of War by Cliff Graham (Book About Ancient History) - I enjoyed this sequel to Day of War, again bringing out the probable struggles of David and his mighty men. It demonstrated how much the Lord really would have had to be on their side to gain such victories. It was eye-opening to see how much it took for David to fight for Israel's peace.
The Great Tamasha by James Astill (Book About Sports) - This was a great book on the history of Cricket and India. It was interesting to see how cricket has evolved in India and then gone on to affect cricket internationally.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle - Of course this is a classic. I had a lot of fun reading it. Finally by the last story of the book I was able to figure out who was guilty before it was revealed!
Jataka Tales: Tales of Misers by Anant Pai (Comic) - This is a comic based on the ancient Jataka Tales ("birth history" in Sanskrit), which contain numerous stories about the previous births of Buddha. It had some laughs, but overall the illustrations weren't great.
Our bookshelf is filling up! That is both our Reading Challenge bookshelf and our actual real-life bookshelf at home. Luke brought back over 100 books from his recent trip to the US. Some were free giveaways from the conference and others were generous gifts from friends. He also bought some awesome children's books. When I commented on how amazing all the illustrations were, he admitted he hardly read through them but bought all the ones with nice colors and designs. He knows me too well! We made good progress this month. We currently at 33/104. Here's what we read.
The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz (Book about Money) - This was a pretty interesting read about new ways of thinking about and doing philanthropy. The author has been very successful in investing in socially beneficial businesses throughout Africa and Asia.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (Author with Initials in their name) - I enjoyed the second book as much as the first, maybe more. Now that the characters are getting more developed, I can understand how the cult obsession grew with each book release.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (Book by Jane Austen) - I feel that I am finally a woman for having read this book. I can see why it is so well loved!
Mrs. Funnybones by Twinkle Khana (A Humorous Book) - She is the wife of Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar and writes for a major Indian newspaper. She is lighthearted and makes fun of mostly herself. I was always excited when I understood her obscure Indian references and therefore understood the joke. I think she wants to relate to the common wife, mom, woman, but she is after all, very much a part of the Indian elite.
Day of War by Cliff Graham (Book Your Pastor Recommends) - This is the first in a series of dramatized accounts of David and his mighty men. It painted of picture of what their day to day life might have looked. It made me think more about David as a real person and how his contemporaries would have viewed him. It definitely brought these stories more to life.
Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller (Book by a Presbyterian) - This is a book about the Biblical understanding of work and how we really can do everything for the glory of God. Keller reminded me that every job, whether having the nobility of a doctor or the shame of a garbage man, is of equal value in the sight of God and should be so in our eyes also.
Happiness by Randy Alcorn (Book about Joy or Happiness) - My biggest take-away was how all the words in the Scriptures - joy, rejoice, gladness - all stem from the same idea of being happy. We have really let the culture and false teachers hijack the idea of happiness from us. But God does want us to pursue happiness, it is all about where we look for it. The book was over 600 pages, and I think he could have said all the same things in way less space. Towards the middle and end it was very repetitive.
If You Bite and Devour One Another: Principles for Handling Conflict by Alexander Strauch (Book that gets its title from a Bible Verse) - The book offers exactly what the subtitle says. He takes verse by verse, reminding us mostly of the attitude we are to have during conflict. If we stop and ask ourselves this crucial question - "Am I acting out of the flesh or of the Spirit", we will be able to deal much more wisely in conflict.
We have finished another month of the reading challenge. We are a quarter of the way through the year, and have read 22/104 books. That means we are 4 books behind where we should be. April may be our chance to catch up. Luke will be traveling for 3 weeks, meaning he will have a lot of plane and car time. I will be in India by myself (well me and the kids), meaning I will have a lot of alone time (when they go to bed) and no one to watch old episodes of Shark Tank with. Now, confession, most of my book choices were made this month simply because of what was available to me for free. But I wasn't disappointed. Here is our update!!
True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney (book by a pastor's wife) - I liked the book and appreciated the fact that it was applicable to women at any stage of life. I reviewed it on my friend’s blog here.
Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Novel longer than 400 pages) - This was an engaging story, and honest confession, I couldn’t sleep one night because I kept thinking through the clues and wondering whodunnit. Although the answer wasn’t that surprising, because at some point or another I had suspected pretty much every body.
Joni by Joni Eareckson Tada (A biography) - I assumed I knew Joni Earickson Tada’s story. I’ve heard snippets of it all my life. But I was really impacted by reading the book first hand. I devoured it in a couple of days. She was so honest about her suffering and her times of rebellion against God. It encouraged me as I think of my life, and the lives of my kids, that God really is powerful enough to sustain us through the darkest times of life.
You Can't Make this Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Non-fiction by Lee Gutkind (A Book about Writing) - Since starting this blog and enjoying the writing process quite a bit, I was excited to read a book about writing! Frankly, I picked this one because my friend had a copy and I didn't know what other book to choose. I loved it! I didn't complete any of the exercises he assigned, but maybe in the future I will. I mostly enjoyed learning about the genre through all of the cream-of-the-crop excerpts that he included in the book. And it gave me a host of good options for the "Memoirs" category of the reading challenge.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (A play by Shakespeare) - I appreciated reading a play, which I am not accustomed to, because you have to really imagine the scenes. You only get the dialogues, not beautifully created scenes as in a novel. And it being a tragedy, it was good to consider Shakespeare's views on life and death, and therefore, my own.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickins (A book by or about Charles Dickins) - This is a classic story of redemption and sacrifice. I appreciated it as a historian, because it brings to light a lot from the French Revolution. Usually studying history, you get the big picture. But this brings you up close and personal with how it affected the common man.
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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