Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Reading...Doing Any?

What is it about reading in the summer that makes it so much richer and more meaningful? Summer reading lists abound and I can’t seem to get enough books piled around me. My library list is loaded and my nightstand is weighed down with BOOKS! 
One would think that I’d been on a “Book Fast” all winter and spring the way I’ve been devouring books this summer--that’s not the case, however. I've been a very productive reader this winter and spring and I hope I can keep up the pace this summer! 

Below are a few of the books that have made a difference to/in me this year and one that I read years ago that I include in every book list I'm asked to provide...
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
My favorite book of this year so far is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, a mother of 6 children living with her “Farmer Husband” on a large farm in Canada. I previously posted my reservations about reading this book here

I overcame my reservations and inhaled this book and was so enriched by its message and its focus.  One Thousand Gifts is one of those small but powerful books that will change your perspective entirely--for the better. The writing is beautiful and will surly point the reader to the very heart of our God.

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living
I've already mentioned the very thought provoking book by Tsh Oxenreider (Not misspelled, there really is no vowel in her first name) entitled, Organized Simplicity. The subtitle of the book is, “The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living.” The words intentional living are beginning to leave an imprint on our summer and on our home and its “stuff.”
Redeeming Love
For fiction fans, my all-time favorite book is called Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Honestly, any book by this talented author is worth your time and energy, but Redeeming Love is especially so. It is the retelling of the book of Hosea in the Bible, but the setting has been changed to the American “Wild West”. 

This book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning for many nights in a row (this was before children of course!). The theme of the story is God’s overwhelming, unconditional, redeeming love for His wayward children.

Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese is 688 pages long and was my huge book for last summer. It was the sort of book that after you've finished, you find yourself missing the characters. The story is set in Ethiopia and America and centers on a set of twin boys born to a devout nun in a mission hospital who dies giving birth to them. The story follows the lives of the boys into adulthood as well as the lives of their adoptive parents, both doctors at the mission hospital. Portions of the novel deal graphically with poor decisions made by the boys and deal glowingly with their triumphs. 

An epic novel, Cutting for Stone involves personal drama, political drama, love, loss, failure, and success. It is the first book I've read that involves the geography so realistically in the story. I found myself having cravings for the Ethiopian food described in the Cutting for Stone that, of course, I've never even tasted. To read more about the book, click here or on the title.

By David Platt: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream
Radical by David Platt is subtitled, "Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream" and is in a word, powerful. Don't read this if you don't want your toes stepped on a little completely flattened by a steam roller. 

David Platt, without even a hint of condescension, challenged me to be a better steward of the vast, vast stores of blessings that I enjoy daily and take for granted hourly. An easy read as writing style goes, but a challenging and stirring read for the heart.   It made me aspire to so much more!
I’m very excited about the books in my reading queue for the remainder of the summer which include:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon is the "big book" of fiction I'm diving into for the summer. I picked up a used paperback copy of this book on our last date night and it's 600+ pages of smallish print should keep me busy until at least the end of summer, and quite possibly I'll still be turning pages as the snow begins to fall. 

The book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001 and has won many many other awards as well. The Washington Post said of it, "Absolutely gosh-wow, super-colossal--smart, funny, and a continual pleasure to read." I'm three chapters in and I'm quite enamored with the writer's style and charm. 

I'm not clear on the story yet, but from reviews I've read, the story begins in 1930s Europe and moves to New York City and comic books are involved. I'm no comic book fan, but I really am enjoying the characters I've met so far.

The Fitting Room: Putting On the Character of Christ
The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter which is about putting on the character of Christ. I wish I’d begun this one earlier in my husband’s Colossians sermon series, but who knew he’d finish his series in under a year?? Kelly Minter has written another super book called No Other Gods which is excellent as well.
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elise Fitzpatrick & her grown daughter Jessica Thompson is a book that I’m very curious about. For the last 12 years I’ve found myself squarely in the parenting camp of, “I said it, so do it,” and frankly, I know of no other way to go about it. I’ve an idea that this book with the word GRACE on the cover is about to stretch my parenting muscles a bit. 

I’m reading Give Them Grace because of the stellar reviews it received from many, many sources, one especially that says, “It’s the best parenting book I’ve ever read, because it takes the radical, untamable, outrageous nature of the gospel seriously and applies it to parenting. It’s nothing short of revolutionary...”. 

Writer Anna Quindlen, in the New York Times article "Enough Bookshelves," says, "I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who thing decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." 

I'd be the first to tell you that there are a few other things I'd like instilled into my kids that are more important, but I really agree with the spirit of Ms. Quindlen's quote! The entire article can be read here, and I recommend it. I just printed it out with real live ink for my Man to read. It is a charming and smile-inducing piece of work.

NOW...may I ask, what are you kind folks out there reading this summer? I'd LOVE to know! Drop me an email or leave a comment below, I'd be ever so grateful! 

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