Category Archives: The Book Cellar

What I’m Reading, June 2017

Yep.  June means strawberries.

Strawberry pie for Pete’s birthday. Strawberries in the freezer.  Fresh strawberries for dessert.

I like moving into the summer schedule.  No stress to be out the door in time for school. More quiet time in the morning, which is critical for my mental health.

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

(Note: 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

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

Kyle and Tsh Oxenreider took their three kids, ages 4-10 on a 9 month, around the world trip.

That in itself piques curiosity.

It’s a transparent book about international travel: the heat, the crowds, the kids puking.

Tsh chronicles their globe trotting, but, more importantly, reflects on some of the deepest longings of the human heart: how to make a home, the need for belonging, even peace with God no matter where we lay our heads.

These are favorite topics for me: what are the elements of “home”? What is the drive behind wanderlust? What are the deeper longings of the heart that cause restlessness and rootlessness? How do we satisfy our longing for community regardless of where we rest our heads?

I think these are questions worth pondering.

I know a lot of global nomads. I know these are issues for them. They are issues for me.

 Buy now from Amazon

Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

The novelized account of our country’s first female sheriff was fascinating.

Three sisters living alone in the country manage to get on the wrong side of some shady characters.  How they hold their own, some family secrets and facing danger head on made for a great story.

Stewart writes in an engaging style that kept me flipping pages.

I was glad to see the author follows the sisters’ story in another book.

 

  Buy now from Amazon

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Note: Heads up for language.

I didn’t really understand apartheid until I read this book.

Seeing how it played out in people’s lives is sobering.

Trevor Noah has a white father and a black mother.  In South Africa, it was illegal for his father and mother to procreate.  His very existance was against the law, hence the title, Born a Crime.

It’s mind-blowing to think about the world and the life that Trevor Noah was born into. It’s a cautionary tale, especially for those who have a vote in their government’s laws and leaders.

I liked Noah’s personal and relatable writing style as well as the occasional political commentary.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

Hashimoto’s Protocol by Izabella Wentz

I found that this book isn’t as readable as her other book. Not sure why. I have to take it a little bit at a time.

For me, I’ve implemented one or two things at a time. Making wholesale changes was too overwhelming. But, it’s amazing the difference little tweaks can make.

I don’t have all the symptoms of Hashimoto’s. I think that’s because there are so many different root causes, and often multiple root causes. Pinpointing the root causes takes time as well as trial and error. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Even though I see some dramatic improvements in my health, there’s still a long way to go.

What are you reading this month?

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What I’m Reading, May 2017

The lilacs have come and gone in our yard, and I didn’t get one picture of them.

My husband walked away from a serious car accident virtually uninjured.  We took a quick trip to PA for a wedding.  The school year is wrapping up with characteristic craziness.

Some great books read this month and one abandoned.

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

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

  Buy now from Amazon

Everything I Never Told You

by Celeste Ng

I liked this book, although I wasn’t sure where it was going and didn’t know I liked it till the end.

It’s about a teenage girl who comes up missing.  Rarely have I read a novel that explores the family dynamic in such depth.  It felt believable.  It rang true.  You could feel the pain.  People do things for a reason and even extreme behavior can be understandable.

I wouldn’t say that the characters in this novel were relatable.  But, there was enough mystery to propel the novel forward and a fascinating tangle of human relationships.

It was a real case study in family systems.

  Buy now from Amazon

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I can’t remember the last time a novel made me cry.  This one did.

Love, friendship, community and social awkwardness.  It’s the recipe for a great novel.

Ove is near the end of his life, but this novel takes us back to his family, his first love and his losses. It is a bittersweet exploration of what really matters in relationships and what gets in the way.

It demonstrates in brilliant colors that no man is an island.

  Buy now from Amazon

The Course of Love by Alain de Botton

This novel is an unusual look at marriage.  It traces the story of two fictional characters, but steps back to analyze and philosophize at intervals between the story.

I found it fascinating because the dynamics between husbands and wives are more complex than we give them credit.

Although I wouldn’t recommend this to young people because it does normalize non-traditional values, I found the interactions to be instructive.

   Buy now from Amazon

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

I loved this book written for middle grades and I read it twice.

It gets five stars for being wholesome and a thumbs up for real heroes.  When I read middle grade, I find myself identifying with the teachers and principals.  Ha.

I loved the two families portrayed here and the real struggle with how twelve year olds deal with the heavy issues of life.

I liked her style.  I liked her characters.  I loved seeing the main character win the battles in his world.

This is How it always Is by Laurie Frankel

This is an exceptionally well-written novel.  I abandoned it, however, because it contradicts my world view.  I know there is a growing trend to accept the abnormal as normal and even to embrace it.  But, this is a dangerous trend.  It starts with presuppositions that aren’t true and builds on premises that aren’t true.  I feel that well-meaning people are genuinely deceived.

Books that normalize non-traditional values are not for me.  This is why I abandoned it.

What are you reading this month?

Stay tuned for my Summer Reading Guide for All Ages  Coming soon!

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What I’m Reading, April 2017

Wow.  What a month.

I stepped into my sister’s shoes and cared for her four daughters (ages 2 to 12) while she and her husband led a team to Israel.

I explored why I’m directionally challenged and what helps.

I went to Peru to catch up with my hubby who had already been in South America for a week.  It was a ministry trip that didn’t go as planned.  Our laptop got stolen, I missed my plane in Miami, massive flooding in Peru meant changes in itinerary and an unplanned visit in LA became one of the highlights of the trip.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

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

  Buy now from Amazon

A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

I loved Katherine Reay’s first book, Lizzy and Jane.  Her second and third ones not so much.  I found this one to be slow moving.  By the end, I came to appreciate the setting and the plot was satisfying.  I can’t say I identified strongly with the characters or it was one of my all-time favorite books.

Emily Price is a professional restorer of art on assignment in Atlanta.  She meets Joseph and his brother, Ben, Italian natives that have family in Atlanta.  Emily discovers Ben and Joseph’s family differs quite a bit from her own and long buried family secrets are revealed.

  Buy now from Amazon

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

Kara’s bravery in the face of her own mortality is inspiring.

It’s hard for young children to lose their mother to cancer.  It feels unjust.  But, Kara’s acceptance of God’s will for her life showed the world what it means to believe that God is good, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

She faced the reality that her marriage wasn’t eternal.

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with God’s sovereignty.

 Buy now from Amazon

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was gratuitous language.  Sometimes language in a dialogue can prove a point, but there’s no good reason for it to be in the narrative.

That being said, I love the social analysis wrapped around a boot-strapping overcomer’s story. J.D. Vance emerged from an impoverished childhood to graduated from Harvard and become a successful lawyer.

It has some similarities to Ben Carson’s story in Gifted Hands.

I love the positive impact and stability the author’s grandparents brought to his life.

My heart breaks for the young people in this country, especially for the homes that so many grow up in–for the poverty–not of money so much as love, stability, education and faith.

One thing that struck me is that the author wasn’t able to find much help in counseling, but research, learning and understanding about himself and his formative years brought a measure of peace.

 Buy now from Amazon

An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

“The true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny.”

An inspiring story, well told.

An Invisible Thread is a story that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time.   This is another book that made me get philosophical.  The culture of poverty at work again.  And, once again, it’s not so much about the money.  It’s the opportunities, the education, even the relationships that are poor.  And that plays out into material lack.  The whole mindset has to change.  The way you believe about yourself has to change.  The way you believe about your destiny has to change:  are you a victim of your circumstances or do you control your fate?

Laura Schroff reached out to Maurice in a gesture of friendship and began a relationship that endured three decades.  She nurtured her unexpressed maternal instinct.  He grabbed a lifeline out of a culture of poverty. It’s interesting that one thing read more

  Buy now from Amazon

The Girl with No Name by Diney Costeloe

Lisa Becker was a German Jew escaping Hitler’s regime seeming sanctuary in England.  Torn from her family at age 14, the struggle to love trust and suffer loss follows her.  She faces the uncertainty of life during war time.

I liked this book.  It made me wonder about how we deal with loss, especially how children deal with loss.  Although a work of fiction, it highlighted the heroism and sacrifice of the British people during World War II.

Strangers giving homes to children is a beautiful thing.  What makes a community?  What makes a family? My mind always strays to the philosophical.

Highly recommended.

   Buy now from Amazon

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz

This is a very through tome.  And although it ‘s written conversationally for laymen, there are parts that made my eyes glaze over.

Have read a lot of Izabella’s articles on the internet and implementing her advice, based on my experience and her recommendations, I suggest these first steps:

  1. Eliminate gluten.  This has been found to benefit a high percentage of Hashimoto’s sufferers.  It has certainly helped me.
  2. Take selenium supplements.  Start with 200 mpg and work up to 400 mpg.  Take on an empty stomach paired with Vitamin E for best absorption. I’m taking quite a few supplements and I’m convinced that this one is helping the most.
  3. Buy the book.  Yes, this is a shameless plug.  Brain fog, short term memory loss and difficulty focusing and concentrating are symptoms of Hashimoto’s, so you might need to read more                                                                                                                                                  What are you reading this month?
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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis by Izabella Wentz

This is a very through tome.  And although it ‘s written conversationally for laymen, there are parts that made my eyes glaze over.

Have read a lot of Izabella’s articles on the internet and implementing her advice, based on my experience and her recommendations, I suggest these first steps:

  1. Eliminate gluten .  This has been found to benefit a high percentage of Hashimoto’s sufferers.  It has certainly helped me.
  2. Take selenium supplements.  Start with 200 mpg and work up to 400 mpg.  Take on an empty stomach paired with Vitamin E for best absorption. I’m taking quite a few supplements and I’m convinced that this one is helping the most.
  3. Buy the book.  Yes, this is a shameless plug.  Brain fog, short term memory loss and difficulty focusing and concentrating are symptoms of Hashimoto’s, so you might need to take it slow.  Bite sized pieces of advice from her blog are helpful, too, if you can’t handle too much at once.                                                                                                                                                            I found the book especially helpful for putting things in context and for understanding how complex this disease is.

Apparently, parasites and bacteria feed on starches and sugars and starving them is one way to get rid of them.  Antibiotics are another way.

I took two tests that confirmed that I had Hashimoto’s.  My TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) fell in the normal range.  My TPO was elevated.

I highly recommend this book to anyone suffering with Hashimoto’s.

 

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A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

I loved Katherine Reay’s first book, Lizzy and Jane.  Her second and third ones not so much.  I found this one to be slow moving.  By the end, I came to appreciate the setting and the plot was satisfying.  I can’t say I identified strongly with the characters or it was one of my all-time favorite books.

Emily Price is a professional restorer of art on assignment in Atlanta.  She meets Joseph and his brother, Ben, Italian natives that have family in Atlanta.  Emily discovers Ben and Joseph’s family differs quite a bit from her own and long buried family secrets are revealed.

Please follow and like us:

The Girl with No Name by Diney Costeloe

Lisa Becker was a German Jew escaping Hitler’s regime seeming sanctuary in England.  Torn from her family at age 14, the struggle to love trust and suffer loss follows her.  She faces the uncertainty of life during war time.

I liked this book.  It made me wonder about how we deal with loss, especially how children deal with loss.  Although a work of fiction, it highlighted the heroism and sacrifice of the British people during World War II.

Strangers giving homes to children is a beautiful thing.  What makes a community?  What makes a family? My mind always strays to the philosophical.

 

Please follow and like us:

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

Kara’s bravery in the face of her own mortality is inspiring.

It’s hard for young children to lose their mother to cancer.  It feels unjust.  But, Kara’s acceptance of God’s will for her life showed the world what it means to believe that God is good, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

She faced the reality that her marriage wasn’t eternal.

I highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with God’s sovereignty.

Please follow and like us:

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was gratuitous language.  Sometimes language in a dialogue can prove a point, but there’s no good reason for it to be in the narrative.

That being said, I love the social analysis wrapped around a boot-strapping overcomer’s story. J.D. Vance emerged from an impoverished childhood to graduated from Harvard and become a successful lawyer.

It has some similarities to Ben Carson’s story in Gifted Hands.

I love the positive impact and stability the author’s grandparents brought to his life.

My heart breaks for the young people in this country, especially for the homes that so many grow up in–for the poverty–not of money so much as love, stability, education and faith.

One thing that struck me is that the author wasn’t able to find much help in counseling, but research, learning and understanding about himself and his formative years brought a measure of peace.

 

Please follow and like us:

An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

An inspiring story, well told.

An Invisible Thread is a story that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time.  “The true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny.” This is another book that made me get philosophical.  The culture of poverty at work again.  And, once again, it’s not so much about the money.  It’s the opportunities, the education, even the relationships that are poor.  And that plays out into material lack.  The whole mindset has to change.  The way you believe about yourself has to change.  The way you believe about your destiny has to change:  are you a victim of your circumstances or do you control your fate? Now that is a good question that I’ve been wrestling with a lot.  Who’s in control of my life, me or God?

Laura Schroff reached out to Maurice in a gesture of friendship and began a relationship that endured three decades.  She nurtured her unexpressed maternal instinct.  He grabbed a lifeline out of a culture of poverty. It’s interesting that one thing he latched onto when he saw a healthy family in action was the idea of everyone sitting down at a dining room table to eat together, to talk and share life.  That was missing in his home.  It just goes to prove that building a culture—even a family culture— has to do with what you value and believe, not about money.

Everything was not idyllic in Laura and Maurice’s relationship for the next thirty years.  This is real life and when is life always smooth sailing?

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What I’m Reading March 2017

Although we did have snow accumulate this week, the weather in general continues mild.

White barns figure prominently in my life lately as I’ve been pondering why I’m severely directionally challenged.  I’m happy to say I’ve made strides in my navigational ability in the past two weeks.

Still reading from the Best of 16 Lists, so lots of good reads and my life is happy.

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

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

The Revenge of Analog by David Sax

Sax looks at the growing interest in vinyl records, board games, paper, printed books, watches with springs and gears and retails stores.

One of the most interesting observations in the digital versus analog debate is the idea that there exists a greater need to engage all of the senses.  Digital captalizes on the visual.  Holding a book in your hand and physically turning pages is a different experience than reading on a screen.

Revenge held a special interest to me since we own a bookstore. We tried to get into ebook sales several years ago, but that didn’t pan out. Some report that ebook sales have plateaued and are possibly now declining.

I think ebooks will settle into a niche.  The great thing about ebooks is they can lower the barrier for readers.  They can be shorter.  They can be cheaper.  There’s no pressure to recoup the cost of printing.

It’s interesting to me to see the way trends develop.  The rise and fall of trains, for instance, and the disappearance of phone booths and eight tracks.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I abandoned Persuasion after trying over and over again to get into it.  I read at least 100 pages, but  just could not get engaged.  I really wanted to like it.  I love Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.  Even though I haven’t read Emma, I liked the story in the movie version.

So, I’m still a little puzzled why this Austen didn’t work for me. I felt the plot moved too slowly and I didn’t find the characters relatable.

If you’re a fan of Persuasion, I’d love to hear why.

Wildflowers From Winter by Katie Ganshert

I was surprised that I enjoyed this book, even though it had a somewhat predictable plot.  There was enough mystery to keep the pages turning and enough resolution to feel satisfying.

The story focuses on an architect from Chicago who is forced to confront her past in small town, Iowa.

Simple, sweet story.

Do It Well. Make It Fun. by Ronald P. Culberson

I stumbled on this book randomly at the library.  Wanting to improve the quality of my work has been on my mind for a long time, so naturally, the title caught my attention.  There’s so many things in my life I don’t do well.  There’s so many things I let slide for shear survival.  How do you do it well?

Fun tends to be an illusive element in my life, as well.

I enjoyed Culbertson’s humor and anecdotes.  However, looking back, there wasn’t any advice that was memorable enough to stick with me.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham 

Good story.  In the tradition of Johnny Tremain, except based on an historical person.

Nat Bowditch was very smart, but he wasn’t able to go to Harvard because he was indentured at age 12 to work as a bookkeeper.  Because his family had fallen on hard times, it was necessary for him to work to earn his keep.

The story is inspires kids to persevere in the face of difficult circumstances.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

What a great book!

Every Christian should read this as well as every Muslim.  I learned so much more about the context that Muslims live, learn and think in.  Nabeel made reference to the shame-honor cultures, in contrast to the guilt-innocence culture that we live in.  So much of what he accepted to be true was in the context of the person in authority teaching him the truth.

First, he sought to understand and disprove Christianity.  He had been given a lot of coaching answers for arguments with Christians.  For those of his friends who didn’t know their faith well enough, he was able to counter their arguments.  In college, he finally had a Christian friends who had a deep enough understanding to show him where his arguments were coming up short.

What he eventually found was that the sacred writings of his religion did not match up with what he had been taught his whole life.

It was a painful conversion.  He sacrificed much to finally embrace Christianity.  The chapters on his personal dreams and visions were fascinating.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood

I listened to the author interview on Read Aloud Revival and was intrigued enough to check out the books.

Lots of fun elements, although the characters of the children aren’t developed, like in the Penderwick series.

But, there’s some mystery.

Lots of great principles for kids to live by.

Penelope is a likable charachter.

The time period and the setting are fun.  What is it about British children’s stories that opens the door to possibilities?

Plus, I just have to say I love the word incorrigible.

Genius

Interesting movie for book lovers.  Great cast. Follows the life of Thomas Wolfe.

It’s a slow moving story, but a fascinating behind the scenes look at historical book publishing.

I conclude that editors are the unsung heroes of the industry.

What have you read this month?

 

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