3 Great Podcasts for Book Lovers

Read Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackensie

Read Aloud Revival features great children’s literature, young adult lit as well as author interviews.  Their mission is to help you build your family culture around books.  Everything connected with the Read Aloud Revival is a high quality production.

The podcast often lasts about an hour and is ad free.  There is also a membership site with access to more shows and events.  It’s a great resource for homeschoolers, teachers, librarians and anyone who loves children’s lit.

What Should I Read Next? with Anne Bogel

Novels for adults is the forte of What Should I Read Next?  But, there is also a smattering of memoir, young adult, children’s lit,  and non-fiction.  Anne typically interviews one guest and asks them for three books they love, one book they hate and what they’re reading now.  Then she gives them recommendations about books she thinks will match their tastes.

The strength of the show is hearing not only the basic premise for good books, but also emotional reactions and reading experiences as well.  That gives readers a lot more to judge a book on rather than just other readers’ reviews.

Getting to know guests a little during the interview also helps listeners decide how similar their reading tastes are to the guest on the hot seat.

Read to Lead Podcast with Jeff Brown

The Read to Lead Podcast is aimed at business leaders.   It’s a high quality podcast.  Every episode that I’ve listened to has interesting guests and Jeff does a good job with interviews.  I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in good books related to productivity, business and leadership.

If you’re new to podcasts . . . 

they can take a little getting used to.  (Warning: They can get addictive! ) You can listen to them on your computer, which is what I usually do.  You can also download them onto a device.  Don’t ask me how.  I’m technically challenged.  But it’s something I need to learn.

 

The Invention of Wings Book Review

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I was pleasantly surprised with The Invention of Wings.  It is masterfully written.  It reminded me Harriet Beecher Stowe and Eugenia Price.  The story follows two girls throughout their lives– one a slave girl, one the daughter of a judge.

It’s good to stop and think about what our country was like in the 1800s.  How slavery embedded itself into the very fabric of society, how the evil grew and the power that was necessary to break it’s stranglehold on large portions of the country.

One thing I appreciated about the book was the role of faith.  So many novels leave it out entirely.  Missiologists even have a term for it, the law of the excluded middle.  American culture tends to attribute everything to science and ignores the supernatural completely.  I think this is just as dangerous as the cultures who see devils behind every bush.

I was shocked to find out at the end of the book that the novel was based on the lives of real people.  Fiction was weaved in with the facts, and the author lays out what was true and what was invented at the end of the book.

Link

One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

This novel is brilliantly written.  The quirky characters are so relatable. The story is the unlikely friendship between an eleven year old boy and a 104 year old woman.  And, yet, it’s so much more than that.  It’s about human connection.

What makes a marriage work?  How does a parent relate to an unusual child?  How do you grieve an incomprehensible loss? What makes life worth living?

It makes you ponder the meaning of life:  what is the value of a life? Why do some people live lots of years and others not so many?  What matters most in life?

High and lofty themes, yet this novel wrestles with them well.

Any book that does that makes an A+ in my book.  It doesn’t glorify immorality, though it doesn’t take much of a stand for moral living, either.  That issue, plus a little bit of language makes me hesitant to recommend it to young people, but I highly recommend it for the discerning adult.

There is also a touch of sadness and mystery woven throughout the story. I’m coming to believe that every great story is a mystery.  That is what keeps you turning pages.

There’s a cross-cultural element as well, which I love.

 

 

What I’m Reading, February 2017

The view from my kitchen doesn’t look like winter without snow, but I’ll take it.

This is the warmest winter I can remember in Indiana.  I’m not complaining.  Cold is not my friend.

Here’s the pic before editing;  which just goes to show what perspective and spin can do.

Five star books this month!  I think February is my new favorite month for reading great books.

Appreciation due to bloggers who post “Best of” Lists.  Read my favorite lists here.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

  Buy now from Amazon

One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood

This novel is brilliantly written.  The quirky characters are relatable. The story is the unlikely friendship between an eleven year old boy and a 104 year old woman.  And, yet, it’s so much more than that.

It’s about human connection.

What makes a marriage work?  How does a parent relate read more

  Buy now from Amazon

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

I was pleasantly surprised with The Invention of Wings.  It is masterfully written.  It reminded me Harriet Beecher Stowe and Eugenia Price.  The story follows two girls throughout their lives– one a slave girl, the other a daughter of a judge.

It’s good to stop and think about what our country was like in the 1800s.  How slavery embedded itself into the very fabric of society, how the evil grew and the power that was necessary to break it’s stranglehold on large portions of the country.

One thing I appreciated about the book read more

  Buy now from Amazon

Wonder

What a great book!  I highly recommend it for all ages.

I like the literary device of telling the story from different points of view.

I love the way it tackles head on: embarrassment, shame, discouragement, rising above difficult circumstances, the elements of a true friendship.

It strikes at the very heart of what it means to be a person.  Where do you fit into society.  How does society react to you?

It’s not just an overcomer story.  It’s a family systems story.  Our family of origin matters so much when it comes to what we believe about ourselves.

August Pullman is a likable fellow.  If he were a jerk, this story wouldn’t have worked.

I love the middle school principal in this story.  I love the way he has a deep understanding of kids.  I love how he can see past the surface level to what is happening beneath the surface.  So good for teachers, administrators, youth pastors–everyone who deals with kids, as well as kids themselves.

  Buy now from Amazon

Published. by Chandler Bolt.

This book is for anyone who has thought about writing a book.  Much has changed in the publishing landscape in the last ten years.  Bolt faces those changes head on. Drafting your book is only a small part of the equation.  He explains how to self-publish and market your book, and which tasks should be farmed out.

Amy Lynn Andrews’ ebook, Tell Your Time and the back story behind it got me thinking.

I think, in general, our culture doesn’t value books, so they don’t budget for them and they don’t spend money on them.  People don’t mind dropping a lot of money going out to eat.  There are so many restaurants in Warsaw, yet only one bookstore.  It just isn’t part of the culture, it’s  part of the mindset. I’d love to see that change.  I think 50 page ebooks that only cost $3 could be a gateway drug.

In the same way that blogs and podcasts are gaining popularity, I think buying ebooks could become more popular.  Although, reading The Revenge of Analog is challenging that as well.

We have trained ourselves to be scanners.  To scroll through lots of information with lots of pictures.  To not read deeply, to not think deeply, to not write at all.  All this can change.  Here I am on my soapbox instead of doing a book review.

Just in case you’re wondering. . . Yes, I am in the beginning stages of writing an ebook.  Stay tuned.

 

 

  Buy now from Amazon

The Golem and the Jinni

If you read this blog much you know I’m always on the prowl for wholesome, brilliantly written novels.  This isn’t one that I’d recommend to my nieces and nephews.  Non-humans sleeping with humans made me feel uncomfortable.

That being said, there’s a lot to recommend for adult readers.  It is brilliantly written.  New York in the 1890s is fascinating. I’m intrigued by the Jewish community, the challenge of coming to the New World, even the myths and legends that are interwoven into the story.

That’s it for this month.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy for February’s Quick Lit.

 

 

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

Go Ahead, Rouse that Mama Bear

bears

I saw it in my sister this week.  She had to go up against the experts on behalf of her child.  It wasn’t a fight she was looking for or one that she relished.  She got all “Mama Bear” because her daughter needed an advocate.

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase will go to support this site.)

I’ve had to play the role occasionally myself.  It’s the needs of kids that propels moms into the unnatural state of fighter.

Before we had kids, my husband thought he would be up with the babies at night because I slept like a rock.  He had to drag me out of bed during a five point something earthquake aftershock because I slept through it.

But, after the birth of our first baby, the slight sound of an infant in distress was enough to wake me.  Of course, we all sleep on alert when listening for an alarm clock for fear of sleeping through it.  But, I believe it goes deeper than that.  That miraculous maternal instinct.  That sleeping mama bear that is roused in time of need.

We watched the movie, Miracles from Heaven last weekend.  I was so intrigued by the story I had to read the book to find out what was true and what was Hollywood.  (Read my book review here.)  Christy Wilson Beam, the mother in the story had to go up against the doctors on behalf of her daughter when they weren’t taking her symptoms seriously.  She referred to herself as Mama Bear when she had to fight to get the medical help her daughter needed.

What is it that turns mild-mannered mamas into to fighters?  I guess if you look at nature, it’s anything that threatens the well-being of the off-spring.  In our lives today, sometimes it’s the experts. They may know their field, but mamas know their kids.

 

What’s Saving My Life Right Now

Mindful gratitude gives me perspective.

It’s easy and natural for me to focus on the negative.

I’m thankful for the practice of pausing to be grateful.

Joining other bloggers on Modern Mrs Darcy who are sharing their life-savers.

What’s Saving My Life 2016 

500 Words a Day

I got the idea from Jeff Goins.  He says to be a writer you have to write.  The man has a keen sense of the the obvious.  His point is: be consistent.  Five hundred words a day.  Every day.  So I took the challenge.  I determined at that pace, plus a little more, I could write 50,000 words in three months.  Amazingly, I hit that goal.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the coliseum.  I was writing more and blogging less.  How is that possible?  I used up my time and energy getting my 500 words down and spent very little time editing, polishing, choosing photos, posting and promoting.  So, this quarter, I’m spending another 20 minutes a day doing those things while still drafting 500 words a day.

In order to get 500 words a day recorded in as short as time as possible, I was just “brain dumping”— stream of consciousness writing, without  focus or a plan.  I’m shifting this strategy a little to be more productive to write something that’s worth editing, polishing and posting.

Here’s the thing:  writing 500 words a day on whatever comes into my head has been good for my emotional health.  I don’t want to lose that.  It’s been a slow realization over that past few years that I NEED to write.  I don’t even necessarily need to be read.  It’s the way I process.  The way I make sense of things.  Once in a while I churn out something that helps someone besides myself.

There you go.

500 words a day is saving my life.

Ah, the therapy of fingers on the keyboard, thoughts untangled, conclusions that bring peace. 

 

Best of 2016 Book Lists

I admit it.

I’m a fiction snob.

It’s hard for me to find novels I love.  So, I scour the book lists, always on the prowl for wholesome novels, brilliantly written.  Sometimes I strike gold.

I did another round up this year of my favorite Best of 16 Book Lists.  This is a survival strategy for me.  I need great books like I need air, so I’m highly motivated to find them.

Crash Course in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Dr. Wentz

Izabella Wentz, PharmD., the Thyroid Pharmacist.

Last year I discovered I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  I searched the web for advice, hoping to avoid medication.

Izabella’s website has been the most helpful.

I cut out gluten from my diet.  I added some supplements— vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium, zinc plus a daily multi-vitamin.  My migraines have all but disappeared.  I think my energy levels are up, but it’s hard to gage.  My face doesn’t break out as long as I’m taking zinc supplements.

I know one thing:  It feels good to be feeling better.  I’m thankful for Izabella.

The bottom line is bloggers are saving my life.

I am grateful.

What’s Saving Your Life?

What’s Saving My Life, 2016 edition

My Favorite Best of 16 Book Lists

Last year, I loved doing a round up of the best of lists because it gave me such great picks for my To Be Read list.  So, I’m doing another round up this year, purely for selfish reasons.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

Interestingly, Deep Work by Cal Newport hit three of these lists.  I’d have to agree. It is one of the best books of the year.

Read my full review here.

 Buy now from Amazon

 

I’m a big fan of Michael Hyatt’s work.  From this list I’ve read Deep Work and The Four Disciplines.  I’d really like to read Mindset and Revenge of the Analog, especially in light of the bookstore.  Sleep Smarter doesn’t seem as intriguing, since sleep usually isn’t a problem for me.

Michael Hyatt’s Top 5 Business Books from 2016

The Best Business Books I Read in 2016

Crystal Paine’s Top Eight Books of 2016 

I loved Finding Spiritual Whitespace, Only read parts of Present over Perfect.   Johnny Tremain and Unbroken have been long time favorites.  Might try Carry On, Mr Bowditch, Good News for Weary WomenThe Happiness Dare and Presence.

 

My Favorite Books of 2016

Unbroken is one of my all-time favorites.  Boys in the Boat was one my top books of the year, as well.  The others look good.  I’ll have to check them out. I did not like The Girl on the Train.  I found the lives of the characters to be too depressing.

Sarah is a middle school English teacher, so I take her recommendations for YA books seriously. I read The One and Only Ivan on her recommendation. I haven’t read any of these, but I will be checking them out.

My Favorite Young Adult Books of 2016

 

Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy

I liked Everyone Brave is Forgiven, didn’t love Before We Visit the Goddess, am about to start One in  Million Boy.   The Course of Love sounds intriguing and I’d like to give it a whirl.

Deep Work is a great book.  I haven’t read Untangled–not sure if I will since my only daughter is 22.  You’ll Grow Out of It sounds interesting.

800ceoread’s book awards shortlist for 2016

The only book I’ve read on this list is Deep Work.  It’s interesting to me that this book hit three best of 16 lists.  Quite the endorsement. Their number one book of the year is about gender equality. I probably won’t read that one.

Victoria of SnailPaceTransformations

I haven’t read any of the fiction on Victoria’s list, so I definitely need to make note of those.  On her non-fiction list, I’ve only read Hands Free Mama (which was a good read).

This is making me think I need to get a little more organized about my reading list.  Many books that I’ve been interested in don’t get read because the library doesn’t have them.

Once again, loads of great books and the reason I love the “best of” lists so much.

Elena at Beautiful Hope has a massive list (36 titles!)  Scads of great ones.  I think maybe Elena has the most similar reading tastes to me of anyone I’ve bumped into in the blogosphere.

Many books on her list I’ve already read and enjoyed. Some I will add to my list.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi is one of her top picks.  Qureshi gave the commencement address at my daughter’s graduation in December.  I wanted to read it before then, but it didn’t happen.  I will get to it, eventually.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

What I’m Reading, January 2017

 

 

This is the view from my kitchen window, looking at the barn Pete and the kids built.  The picture was taken in January three years ago.  Now the barn is red.  At the moment, we have no snow.

This wasn’t a good month for reading.  But, my daughter graduated from college, we had a good family Christmas and the bookstore’s doing better than last year. So, who can complain?

Linking up again with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

What I’m Reading, plus What I Gave for Christmas:

   Buy now from Amazon

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Newport first builds the case for the importance of deep work, then he expounds on practical steps to accomplish it.  Simply put, what is needed is focus and discipline.

I agree with Newport’s main premise:  we are doing worse work because we’re distracted.  I see it all the time in the low quality of books that are published and the huge vacuums that exist in many genres for high quality work.

Newport is a college professor.  Publishing in scholarly journals is the deep work he needs to accomplish.  I think the principles apply to all writers, and probably all knowledge workers in general.

I think the most profound books are ones that are simple common sense:  ones that people agree with and see the wisdom of, but didn’t take the time to articulate themselves.  It seems so simple.  So obvious.  And, yet, it wasn’t done before.  I would put The Purpose Driven Life in that category as well as Deep Work.

It is the path of least resistance to fritter away our time.  When we are careful about every working minute and rest well away from work, we accomplish so much more.

I was intrigued by the end of the day ritual.  For sure, it is the lingering worries of work that sap your peace and relaxation when you’re away from work.  Learning to wrap things up at the end of the day and be at peace with where you’re leaving them is critical for resting well.

His chapter, “Quit Social Media” is a little misleading, because he doesn’t really advocate that you quit social media.  Some would argue that if you want to write, you have to leverage social media.  But, the irony is that social media is keeping you from doing your best work, because you become a consumer instead of a producer.

The instant gratification is a problem, as well.  The instant distraction, the problem of never being bored.  If you’re never bored, then you never think.  You don’t create to fill the hole of that boredom.  You don’t wonder, daydream, imagine.  That vacuum is filled.

What I Gave For Christmas

  Buy now from Amazon

 

I gave The Dangerous Book for Boys to my nephew, a fifth grader.  I’ve been in love with this book for several years, just waiting for one of my nephews to get old enough to appreciate it.

It looks like it’s an old-fashioned book, but it’s a fairly recent publication.  It’s got a little bit of everything that boys love.  Stories of extra-ordinary people.  Morse code, stars, tying knots, fishing, building a tree house and famous battles.  All the things that interest males and curiosities that are usually thrown over for video games, computers and all things screens. Little snippets and pieces of scads of interesting things.

  Buy now from Amazon

I gave a niece and a nephew Press Here.  Every page has instructions to the child that result in changes on the next page. I love it because it taps into the imagination of a little person.  Just like Harold and the Purple Crayon.  Just like Frindle.

  Buy now from Amazon

I gave some of my nieces (I have a lot of nieces) the Inspire Bible. It’s a New Living Translation Bible with artwork in the margins to color.  Some pages have blank margins to create your own artwork.

I gave the paperback edition, but there’s several different cover options as well as a large print edition.

What are you reading this month? 

 

 

What I’m Reading, December 2016

We got our first real snowfall in Indiana last week, school canceled and everything. December has always been packed, and we have pared down Christmas traditions in our house.   Someday we’ll be able to pick them up again.

Tomorrow my daughter graduates from college.  Eight family members are joining her in California to celebrate.  I’ll take that kind of jam-packed December any time.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for December’s Quick Lit.

(Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, a percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

  Buy now from Amazon

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler’s work flows so easily.  I think I read somewhere if the author does the hard work, the reader doesn’t have to.

She takes a multi-generational approach in this book and bounces back and forth between time periods. The plot is intriguingly complex. The characters are likeable.  Okay, the daughters in the family are a little flat.  But, in general, you like the rest of them.

Really, it’s the interpersonal family dynamics that are compelling.  Everyone can relate to them, because everyone knows someone like them.

I would have to say that it wasn’t necessarily a moral book, but it didn’t glorify immorality.  The reactions to it were appropriate.  It would be virtually improbable and implausible to have a four generational book without any straying from the straight and narrow.  That is human nature.  How society responds matters.

 

  Buy now from Amazon

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

It’s hard to say what the book is really about without spoiling the story.  It’s even hard to say who the story is for without spoiling the main plot twist.

All the reviewers do a good job of not spoiling the plot.

“In the end, the book doesn’t just break your heart; it takes your heart and won’t give it back,”  according to one reviewer.

It took awhile to get into this book and about a fourth of the way through it took a wild left turn.  I felt jaded.  This wasn’t where I wanted to go.

It wasn’t really a book that resonated with me at a deep level.  Certainly not a story to invoke my tears.

But, it explored that question “what if?”,  just like Age of Miracles.

I haven’t read the end yet, so I’m not convinced it will be heartbreaking for me.

However, a good story is a good story is a good story.  It doesn’t matter who it’s written for.

When all’s said and done, every great novel is really a mystery, because every great novel keeps you turning pages to find the answers.

  Buy now from Amazon

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

“The true story of one man’s miraculous survival after a mountaineering mishap high in the Andes of South America.”

I’ve been on the prowl for another great family read aloud, along the lines of Endurance and Unbroken.  Even though Touching the Void and Into Thin Air are incredible true life accounts, I didn’t think the writing was of the same caliber as those two.

There’s a lot of climbing terms and concepts that I didn’t understand and it took a while before the story became compelling.  If I hadn’t known what was coming, I’m not sure I would have stuck with it.  The account is a testimony to the human will to survive.  Although it was only given a passing reference, it’s also a testimony to the prayers of Joe’s mother.

It’s fascinating to me to analyze the decisions you make in the face of death.  What motivates you to keep going when it’s hopeless and what motivates you to give up?

  Buy now from Amazon

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

In 1996, eight mountain climbers lost their lives while attempting to summit Everest.  Jon Krakauer is a journalist and climber who survived and wrote about it.

To me, one of the most interesting dynamics is the role of leadership and teamwork in summiting as well as personal, individual responsibility.

One of the critical factors in the deaths of those on the mountain in 1996 was the enforcement of the turn around time.

Hall, the team leader, had been so strict about that for other teams, but with this one, he wasn’t.  He didn’t communicate clearly whether the turn around time was one o clock or  two clock.  On the actual summit day, people were summiting at 4 and 5 o clock.

No one seemed to know that there was a storm blowing in.

There’s a lot of competing forces at play:  people who spent a lot of money to summit, the commercialization of summiting, magazines that would pay a lot for the story, advertisers looking for heroes.

There’s also different teams that were summiting and the different philosophies of the team leaders.

Should a leader be making decisions that are unquestioned?  Does that actually put his team at greater risk because they don’t follow their own wisdom?  Actually, the genius of Hall’s leadership was to make the decisions ahead of time, not in the heat of the moment.  And the actual breakdown came in not following through with those wise decisions.

The safety net wasn’t there when it needed to be.

The bottom line is, it impossible to erase all the risk.  That’s one factor that makes the challenge so attractive:  there is an element of risk involved.  Defying death is part of the victory.

  Buy now from Amazon

The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler

I was profoundly disappointed by this book, though it is no fault of the author.  I had an expectation of this author’s work that was incorrectly based, as it turns out.  I had an expectation of the book based on the title, which was also incorrectly based.  So, it didn’t go where I had hoped and thought it would.

The story followed one family over the span of 70 or 80 years.  The things I enjoyed about the first Anne Tyler book I read still applied— snapshots over a long period of time involving the same characters.  Your desire to find out what happens to them keeps you turning pages.  Come to think of it, that’s the way Love Warrior was written–leaving out the boring parts.

What are you reading this month?

What I’m Reading, November 2016

leafinfrost

The weather continues unseasonably warm, but we got our first heavy frost last week.  We’re enjoying the lull between soccer season and basketball season.  The bookstore got a facelift with a new paint job.  Still waiting for our new signs to show up.

I thought I only had read a few books for review, but I had forgotten about some.  Some good picks this month.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  At no extra cost to you, a small percentage of your purchase goes to support this site.)

magnoliastory Buy now from Amazon

Chip and Joanna Gaines are extraordinarily ordinary people.

The Magnolia Story takes you behind the scenes of HGTV’s star couple.

They are unusual to take so many risks, but very human.  Hard working people with  a strong marriage.  No TV in their lives.  Talented, yes, but, really, it’s the synergy that they bring to the table that catapults them to success.

 

mr-penumbras   Buy now from Amazon

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore is a fun mix of old books and new technology. The characters are fairly engaging, likeable and relateable.

It did start to slog about a third of the way through, but a new character was introduced and that made a big difference.

The story is not really about a bookstore, it’s about a secret society, so there’s some mystery there that keeps you turning pages.

 

 

hamsterprincessBuy now from Amazon

The Hamster Princess is a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty.  Cute interpretation.  Not sure if I’ll read any more in the series, but that one was entertaining.  Really not sure which age level it’s aimed at.  I’d guess elementary school girls.  It did have some layered humor, now that I think about it, with all the references to organic cabbage and so on.

tribe Buy now from Amazon

Tribe is fascinating.

Interesting food for thought.

So Tribe talks about some interesting things, some are not intuitive.  One is that people miss war.  They miss the comradrie, the breakdown of natural human barriers, the absence of isolation that comes with war.  There’s actually less mental illness during war.  Possibly because people aren’t focused on themselves, but on a common enemy.

Here’s another thing:  sufferers of PSTD from rape have an easier recovery than war victims.  The author proposes that war victims have a harder time separating the good from the bad in their experiences.  Sleeping in close proximity with a lot of people apparently is better for your mental health than being isolated.  Maybe nursing home are a good idea.

Another thing was the difficult adjustment that servicemen had coming home and re-adjusting to civilian life. Again, there’s that loss.  The loss of living and sleeping in close proximity.  The loss of a common enemy.  The loss of people who understand you and your way of life.  So much of that can be applied to missionaries returning to their passport country.  There’s the loss of the expat community.  There’s the loss of the cause and the common vision of evangelizing a lost people group.  There’s the camaraderie of fighting a common enemy.  There’s even the living and sleeping in close quarters.  There’s a loss of living life together, even under less than ideal living conditions, maybe especially under less than ideal living conditions.

There’s a loss of identity in coming back.  There’s re-negotiating your marriage.  There’s re-negotiating all your relationships.

This type of sociological analysis intrigues me.

I was intrigued by the publisher of Tribe, also:   Twelve.  Apparently they only publish twelve books a year.  This one was a short book, shorter than most, and it is well-written.  I’ll be interested to see what else they’ve published.

acuriousbeginning  Buy now from Amazon

A Curious Beginning doesn’t get five stars for promoting morality, but at least it wasn’t immoral.  Four and a half stars for traditional values.

I bogged down a little in the middle, but I love a book that surprises me: honestly, a curve ball I didn’t expect.

I appreciated the two main characters in the book, even if I didn’t identify with them, I found them entertaining.  There’s also something enticing about a story set in England in the 1800s.  It almost makes me want to look up a little history from that time period.

lovewarrior Buy now from Amazon

Wow.

Raw. Real. Brutal transparency.

I’m haunted by her story. What a triumph of grace.

Not many memiors are page turners.  Love Warrior is.

It’s not just the honesty and transparency that’s compelling.  It’s the victory of the human spirit.  It’s the journey everyone takes that they are afraid to voice.  It’s the courage that it takes to say those things out loud.  It’s being afraid and doing it anyway.

And the reader, from the safety of their lazy boy, is free to judge or not.  But there’s something holy about a soul laid bare, exposed for the world to see.

She was bulimic and alcoholic that grew up in a loving home.  This book focuses primarily on her marriage and how two broken people try to find themselves and each other.

It’s messed with my mind at many different levels. It’s rare to find such gut-wrenching honesty about life without a spin.

Her hallmark is extraordinary courage.

Heads up for language and some graphic passages.

Postscript:  Since Love Warrior was published, Glennon Doyle Melton’s life has changed.  That has given me more food for thought and I’m hashing through it.

blackstar   Buy now from Amazon

I read SD Smith’s The Black Star of Kingston, mainly because I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of The Green Ember, which is the S.D. Smith book that I really wanted to read.  I was little underwhelmed by the story of a community of rabbits that has power struggles for control of the kingdom and fights enemies and is bravely loyal to king and country.

But, then again, I didn’t ever make it to the end of Watership Downs.

I’m hoping The Green Ember will be better, because I’m always on the lookout for great books to give my nieces and nephews.  I was hoping for a stronger spiritual message in the book.  Maybe I missed it.  There is a good classic conflict between good and evil and more than a glance at traditional values.  Those qualities alone are hard to find. I can live with that.

What are you reading?