Category Archives: What I’m Reading

What I’m Reading, February 2018

Indiana weather is living up to it’s reputation this winter: unpredictable.

The past twenty-four hours have been foggy as snow from last week melts and evaporates.

I’m grateful to be feeling better physically than other winters, but I’ll be happy to see Spring.

Linking up with Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit.

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

In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence by Kayla Aimee

Buy now from Amazon

Highly recommended!

Light-hearted stories that highlight deep truths.

I liked the way her faith was real and scripture informed her decisions and changed her life.

I loved her emphasis on grace. I loved her views on traditional values.

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin

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A doctor running from his past.  An endearing little girl fighting for her life.

Masterfully written.

Traditional values.

Unpredictable.

Just when you thought you had it figured out, you didn’t.

One of the best inspirational fiction I’ve read in years.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

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The orphans on the island follow the rules.  There’s a set way of doing things.  How and when they arrive, what they learn, how they live, how they live. Their survival depends on it.

I understand that this is a parable about childhood rather than a literary novel.

For me, it didn’t really accomplish either.

Maybe I’m missing the implications and parallels, but the story didn’t land for me.

A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family by Glen and Ellen Schunnecht

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It has been a long time since I read a parenting book.  Even longer since I liked one.

I liked the multi-generational approach in this book.  I liked the stories.  Realistic approaches to the challenges of parenting from a Christian perspective.

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith

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I’ve had trouble getting my hands on a copy of this book.

The first book in a trilogy, The Green Ember tells the story of a kingdom of rabbits.

Heather and Picket, brother and sister rabbit, are the main characters.  Lots of intrigue. Lots of action.

I can see boys really liking this book.

********************

It’s been a good month for reading and for my first foray into fiction.  Check it out here.

 

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My Favorite Best of 17 Book Lists

For the third year in a row, I’m publishing a round up of top books read in the previous year.

Best selling lists are interesting and fascinating, but aren’t as helpful as a curated list from someone you admire, know or trust.

Modern Mrs Darcy

Beautiful Hope

Sarah from Orthodox Motherhood

Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom

I have not kept up with 800CEORead this year.  I even had some trouble digging up this year’s list. Their short list includes their eight top books of the year in each category.

Sarah from Read Aloud Revival posted her list.

And a list posted on facebook by my friend, Karla, with her commentary.

1. Davita’s Harp by Chaim Potok. Ok, this is first because I love Potok, so I guess this one is in particular order. I first read this just after college, long before I knew we would live in Spain. Upon rereading it, I discovered that this book about a young girl growing up in a Jewish community in New York is full of connections to the Spanish Civil War, making it even more meaningful to me this time round. Potok is a treasure.

2. Miss U: Angel of the Underground. Autobiography of an American nurse in the Philippines during World War 2 who helped smuggle goods to men in prison camps. Couldn’t put it down. Contains graphic war violence and torture.

3. Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas. Story of growing up in American in an Iranian family. Full of cross-cultural humor.

4. Sky Unwashed by Irene Zabytko. Moving novel set around the Chernobyl disaster about old women and their little town.

5. Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg. Well-written true family story from the states of Georgia and Alabama during the depression years.

6. Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither by Sara Baume. A book about an outcast man who takes in a one-eyed dog. Beautifully written, a bit quirky, and downright sad. I didn’t want it to end.

7. In the Land of Invisible Women by Ahmed Qanta. This fascinating look inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was written by a Muslim woman doctor who grew up in the UK, trained in the US, and spends 2 years practicing medicine in Saudi (pre-9/11). Intriguing.

8. Telling Room by Michael Paterniti. This is the story of a small village in northern Spain and a feud over cheese.

9. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. This spy novel from World War 1 is also a mystery book. It was riveting and based on real women. Be warned, there are some pretty graphic torture scenes.

10. Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. I first saw the miniseries, then went looking for the books. There 11 books in three trilogies (I know, that leaves 2 books – they are brief linkage books that aren’t technically in the trilogies.) I fell down the Galsworthy rabbit hole and read them all. Period literature, family saga, the self-destruction of an obsessed man – I really enjoyed them.

11. Pearls of Great Price by Yazz. This collection of women’s stories of faith was written by a friend of mine. Lovely book. Great to hand to a friend who is searching spiritually. Unfortunately at the moment it seems to be only available on Amazon.co.uk and not Amazon.com, but it has just been released, so hopefully you will all have access to it soon.

Honorable mention:
East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Push Not the River is the first of a trilogy of historical novels by James Conroyd Martin. I enjoyed all 3.

Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg is the first in a series of Swedish immigrants to the US. I hope to read the rest of them.

Check out last year’s round up.

And the Best of 15.

What were your favorite books from 2017?

 

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What I’m Reading, January 2018

Around here, January means crazy Indiana weather and basketball.

We had a good Christmas with our kids.  Pete got a puppy for Christmas.

The stress of December spills over into January, but good things are on the horizon.

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

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

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How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds by Alan Jacobs

I had trouble focusing on this book, but I think it’s indicative of stress in my life, not necessarily any fault of the book.

I liked the fact that he comes from the perspective of a Christian and an academic and even addresses biases people tend to have against those two groups.

Chapter one, Beginning to Think, has the subtitle “Why it wouldn’t be a good idea to think for yourself, even if you could.”

My favorite Chapter was The Age of Lumping and the very telling illustration of the author’s experience with Timothy. The point here is that we’re conditioned to categorize people, but sometimes it works against us.

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The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller

I’ve been wanting to read The  One Thing FOREVER. I think I’ve been on my library’s waitlist for over a year.

Now I know what all the rave reviews are about.  This is a GREAT book!

It addresses the problem of distracted focus and the importance of lasering in on your most important work in order to achieve excellence.

A huge light bulb moment for me reading The One Thing was the idea of chaos derailing you and distracting you from your one thing.

Chapter 17, The Four Thieves of Productivity hit me hard.

The Four Thieves are:

1. Inability to Say “No”
2. Fear of Chaos
3. Poor Health Habits
4. Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals.

Wow. These were so good and right on the money.

Buy now from Amazon

Count to Ten by James Patterson

I picked up Count to Ten at the library because I know James Patterson is a super best selling author and I wanted to study his work.

The story is fast moving.

It has short chapters.

There were quite a few characters with strange names that were hard to keep track of.

That’s one thing that John Grisham does well– starts with only a few characters and adds them slowly.

Interesting plot. It’s a mystery, so the intrigue and unanswered questions moved the story forward.

In my mind, every great novel is a mystery answering the question, 
What happens next?

Another reason I picked up the book is that it is set in India. My parents live in India 8 months out of the year, so I was interested to learn more about life in that country.

Although there were a few tidbits here and there that reminded you of the setting, I didn’t feel like it really explored the culture. I felt like the characters could have been Americans. They didn’t seem to think and act like Indians.

Maybe I was expecting too much.

I just know that it’s possible to live in a country and not really understand the way of thinking of the people around you.

I won’t be picking up another James Patterson soon. Even though language and thematic elements colored only a small percentage of the book, it’s enough to put me off further reading.

Buy now from Amazon

In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence by Kayla Aimee

Highly recommended!

Light-hearted stories that highlight deep truths.  Her daughter is a hoot and she’s got some pretty funny stories herself.

I liked the way scripture informed her decisions and changed her life.

I loved her emphasis on grace. I loved her views on traditional values.

I started following Kayla Aimee’s work after I took her Affiliate course as part of The Genius Bloggers Toolkit. Her course was packed with so much helpful information. I knew when she offered something it was going to be high value.

When I had the chance to be part of the launch team for the book, I jumped at it.

In Bloom is about overcoming insecurity and Kayla tells personal experiences.

 

I will definitely be hand-selling this one at the store.

What are you reading this month?

 

 

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Books for Intro to Missions Students

Book List for Intro to World Missions 

When Pete taught Intro to World Missions, I made a book list of recommended books for his class.  Most of these are life long favorites that I recommend repeatedly.

Missionary Biographies

Brucko by Bruce Olson

Nineteen year old Bruce Olson lives with a stone age tribe to bring them the gospel.

Don’t Let the Goats Eat the Loquat Trees by Thomas Hale

Medical missionaries in Nepal. Humorous, well-written stories about culture and personal growth.

On the Far Side of Liglig Mountatin by Thomas Hale

More stories of medical missions in Nepal.

Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliott

Five missionaries were martyred in Ecuador while trying to reach a savage tribe.  Written by the widow of one of the martyrs.

A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliott

The story of Amy Carmichal, missionary to India who rescued girls from the atrocities of the Hinduism.

And the Word Came with Power by Joann Shetler

Wycliffe Bible Translator in the Philippines explains about culture and spiritual lessons.

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew

One man’s experiences getting God’s Word into Communist Russia.

Other Biographies

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

A Christian family in Holland hides Jews from the Nazis.  Stories of imprisonment and forgiveness.

Joni by Joni Eareckson

A diving accident at age 17 leaves Joni a quadriplegic.  Her spiritual journey.

The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway

A Christian pastor in China sees God work miracles in the midst of harsh persecution.

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Quereshi

Nabeel’s spiritual journey growing up in a devout Muslim home and confronting the realities of Chrisitanity.

Gifted Hands by Ben Carson

A transparent look at the culture of poverty how a single mom paved a way out for her two sons.

Other Helpful Books

5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

The five top reasons why teams don’t work and what to do about them.

Reading Personality by Anne Bogel

Short summaries of some popular personality frameworks and how understanding yourself makes life better.

On Being a Missionary by Thomas Hale

Transparent, practical explanation of what missionaries face and common obstacles to overcome.

Margin by Richard Swenson

The importance of not using all your resources and leaving yourself bankrupt.  Includes money, time, emotional and other resources.

Love and Respect by Emerson Eggeriches

What men and women need from their spouses.  Foundational understanding for building a strong marriage.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

The five main ways people express love and how to understand which way communicates best to individuals.

Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make by Hans Finzel

Common pitfalls that leaders fall into.  Helpful as a cautionary tale.

Turn the Ship Around by L. David Marquet

Healthy, effective leadership principles learned and practiced by a sub commander.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Timeless principles for living life well with yourself and others.

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brent Harris

Aimed at teenagers as a challenge to confront the status quo and impact the world by taking the high road.

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenrider

Tsh and her husband took their three children and circled the globe. The book traces their journey as well as Tsh’s reflections on travel, life and personal growth.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

A challenge to live gratefully by systematically noting what you’re thankful for. Written in poetic style.

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What I’m Reading, December 2017

One year ago today we were in California for our daughter’s college graduation.

This year is more typical: snow, basketball, busy at the store, getting ready for Christmas. Our out of state college kid is home for Christmas.  That makes mama happy.

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

On to this month’s books–

Buy now from Amazon

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

I’m tempted to go back and re-read this book now that I know the ending.

The plot was slow moving until all the pieces starting falling into place and it made sense.

From goodreads–

“Winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal. Miranda is an ordinary sixth grader, until she starts receiving mysterious messages from somebody who knows all about her, including things that have not even happened yet. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late. For ages approx 9-14.”

Buy now from Amazon

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

A Chinese boy and Japanese girl are assigned to kitchen duty at their all white public school.  This is the forties and anti-Japanese sentiment is high.  Their friendship transcends prejudice.

Sweet story that takes an inside look at Asian cultures functioning in the U.S.

I liked it, even though the story was slow moving and a little predictable.

Five stars for being wholesome.  Recommended for all ages.

Buy now from Amazon

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Echo tells the stories of four different children growing up in four different times and places.

They all have a love for music.

To be perfectly frank, I was underwhelmed by this book. It just left me feeling kind of flat. I could see the common thread woven throughout so it felt predictable.

None of the sequences were long enough to really identify with the characters, so it was more about plot than characters.

It’s a long book, but not necessarily a long read.

Buy now from Amazon

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

A fascinating read.

I don’t agree with everything as I have some different philosophies of life than the author does.

The books focuses on how people sabotage their own success when they hit the upper limit of what they believe they deserve in life.  There might be something to that.

I also think he’s on to something with the zone of incompetence, the zone of competence, the zone of excellence and the zone of genius.

Good mental fodder.

Buy now from Amazon

The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Staner

Michael outlines seven simple questions to use while coaching.

His context is managers coaching their employees, but I think the principles are transferable to other situations.

His emphasis is on listening better, giving less advice and helping people solve their own problems.

Though simple, the questions are profound.  They build on each other and are designed to get to the heart of the matter in a short amount of time.

Insightful.  Actionable.

What are you reading this month?

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Breaking Free From the Poverty Culture: Four True Stories

I started this post thinking I had found four books that painted a realistic picture of the poverty culture.

What I didn’t realize was how much they have in common.

They are all overcomer stories.

They are all about boys who grew up with single mothers.

They outline a path of what it takes to beat the odds.

They are also well-written.

These stories stand out because they are unusual. Most boys in similar circumstances are not able to break the poverty cycle in their lives.

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

Buy now from Amazon

Hillbilly Elegy is masterfully written.

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 graduate from Harvard and become a successful lawyer.

Buy now from Amazon

Ben Carson and his brother grew up in a single parent home in Detroit.

Ben credits his mother for the impact on his life that resulted in all of them breaking out of the poverty culture.

She valued education, discipline, the importance of reading and making wise decisions in the use of her resources.

In turn, Ben came to see poverty as a temporary state.  He could see the way out.  He developed a vision for his life.  He eventually attained some of life’s greatest successes as a pediatric neurosurgeon.

Buy now from Amazon

An inspiring story, well told.

“The true story of an 11-year-old panhandler, a busy sales executive, and an unlikely meeting with destiny.” This is another book that makes me 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?

  

Buy now from Amazon

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.

**********

Four boys growing up in poverty with single mothers. What did it take for them to break free?
Self-awareness? A caring adult? Purpose in life? A belief that things could be different?

I see four common factors.

  1. The involvement of a caring adult. In some cases it was their mother, sometimes it was someone else.

2.   The importance of staying in school and finishing.

3.  The belief that things could be different.

4.  A vision for their lives.

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Man’s Search for Meaning

Vicktor Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning after surviving a stint in a Nazi concentration camp.

With a background in psychiatry, he studied the people in the camp looking for why some survived and why some gave up and died.

He found that those that had the will to live felt they had a mission in life to complete. In his own case, it was to finish the book he was writing and to see his wife again.

“Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a ‘secondary rationalization’ of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone.”

“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”

If the runaway success of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, is any indication people are desperate to find meaning in life.

But, what Frankl proposes is not just general, but a specific, unique mission only possible to be fulfilled by an individual.

“Frankl was once asked to express in one sentence the meaning of his own life. He wrote the response on paper and asked his students to guess what he had written. After some moments of quiet reflection, a student surprised Frankl by saying, ‘The meaning of your life is to help others find the meaning of theirs.’
‘That was it, exactly,’ Frankl said. ‘Those are the very words I had written.'”

 

 

 

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What I’m Reading, November 2017

On the home front, looking at the carnage of two rotten trees in our front yard makes me philosophical about loss.

I think it’s good to remember, to try to make sense of loss, to let yourself feel the sadness.

I also think it’s helpful to focus on what’s left, not necessarily on what’s gone.

Linking up on Modern Mrs. Darcy’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.)

On to the books–

 Buy now from Amazon

The Secret of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by Matt Bird

I am fascinated by story.  I believe with every fiber that story is one of the most powerful teaching tools, and probably the most underutilized.

I found Matt Bird’s observations to be insightful and helpful.  His field of expertise is TV and film, but I think a lot of the principles he’s discovered are universally applicable.

Here’s a few gems:

“You must write for an audience, not just yourself.”

“Audiences don’t really care about stories;  they care about characters.”

“Your story is not about your hero’s life; it’s about your hero’s problem.”

Good stuff.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

Five stars for being a wholesome, well-written YA.

It’s interesting to stop and think about what it’s like to be blind from birth. How impossible it is to picture anything. What it means for your social interactions.

Add the fact that you’re sixteen years old and transferring from a blind school to a public school.

This is an engaging, feel good story. Satisfying.

 Buy now from Amazon

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Viktor was a prisoner in a concentration camp in Germany. But, he was also a psychartrist. So, he analyzed the fellow prisoners, the ones who had given up hope and died and the ones who had the will to live.

He concluded that everyone needs to find their own reason for being on the planet: their life’s work. He had a book he was working on before he was imprisoned and he was also married.

Focusing his thoughts on finishing his book and seeing his wife again sustained him during the horrific experience of the concentration camp.

  Buy now from Amazon

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

The main premise of this book is that traditional PR, marketing and advertising with it’s big budgets and campaigns are no longer necessary for success.

Ryan Holiday should know. That was his field.
But today the playing field is leveled with desktop publishing, everyone as a photographer and social media taking your message viral.

I believe in some ways it’s easier than ever to get your message out. In other ways, you have more competition because everyone has access to what used to be only available to a few.

The challenge now is to stand out and be noticed in an avalanche of everyone promoting their message.

What are you reading this month?

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What I’m Reading, October 2017

Whew!  What a month.

Since September 15th, I went to Tribe Conference and my youngest turned 18.

Soccer season wrapped up with a heart break game.

We’ve had unusually warm weather, which is good for me.

On to the books:

  Buy now from Amazon

Fearless by Eric Blehm

I’m fascinated by the story of Adam Brown’s life.  He had some high highs and low lows.

The whole narrative around NAVY seals is interesting, but Adam Brown stood out, even it that elite group.

His journey to becoming a highly decorated SEAL is certainly not conventional.

What can I tell you that will let you know what a great book this is?  I don’t know how to describe it without spoilers.

I don’t know how to tell you what I was impressed with, what I was surprised by, how it all played out, because I want you to read it.

Okay, the interesting thing to me about Fearless is the addictive personality and the success as a Navy Seal.

He was a good kid. He did good when he was focused on the football team. But, when he got sucked into drugs he fell hard.

He got so many commendations for his work in the military.

He was able to deal pretty well with transitioning from his work to family life. He had lots of determination and drive.

He slipped up once after a few years of service and lots of commendations. He should have lost his job.

It was the recommendation of the father of one of his childhood friends that actually got him into the military service. Without that person sticking his neck out on the line, he couldn’t have done it.

 

  Buy now from Amazon

This Undeserved Life
by Natalie Brenner

It’s the pinnacle of compassion to see life through someone else’s eyes.

Natalie Brenner gives us a chance to do that: to walk her road with her, to feel her pain and know her sorrows.

She teaches us that everyone’s story matters, not just celebrities and newsmakers.

Transparency about our stories destroys the glittery facebook highlight reel that we imagine everyone else is living. Perceptions are not reality.

Her story isn’t just about fertility, adoption and parenthood. It’s also about relationships, calling and identity.

Natalie has given us the gift of her story.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

Reading People

by Anne Bogel

Reading People is a good way to get a quick overview of some of the personality frameworks. Some I was familiar with, some I wasn’t. I find personality fascinating.

It’s easy to see the practical applications and helpfulness of the different frameworks when Anne shares personal stories of how they have helped her.

I’m recommending this book to young people because it’s so important to know yourself. Having a vocabulary and reference points is so helpful for teams, co-workers, spouses and family members.

Highly recommended.

  Buy now from Amazon

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday

Writers want to write best sellers.  Lots of books don’t sell well.  I’m a bookseller, I know.

The premise of this book is that it’s a better goal to write a book that will be enduring, that has good enough content to sell over a long period of time, not just spike to a best seller list and disappear.

He has a good point.

We often don’t look to the long view.

This is a challenge to consider what your body of work will be long term and not strive for long term wins.

Of course, the majority of the population can’t write a best seller or a perennial seller, but every author in the history of the world started unpublished, so there’s that.

 

 Buy now from Amazon

If I Perish by Esther Ahn Kim

Esther was a Korean imprisoned for her faith by the Japanese in the thirties and forties.

Quite a story. I learned history that I didn’t know before.

She endured quite a bit of physical hardship. Songs, scripture and prayer was the lifeline for the Christians in the prison.

God answered some prayers in miraculous ways, but other times the prisoners suffered a lot.

Many believers today are persecuted for their faith, but we’re not hearing their stories much.

What are you reading this month?

 

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What I’m Reading, September 2017

September means soccer around here.

I’m feeling a little nostalgic because it’s our last season as soccer parents.  Our baby is a senior in high school, so an era is ending.

The weather’s been great for watching soccer games–not too hot, cold, rainy or windy.  You never know in Indiana.

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

 Buy now from Amazon

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before You Were Ours is a tragic tale with a hopeful ending.

This is not a feel good book, but it is well-written.

It touches on the trauma that children go through when their nuclear family is destroyed.

It traces the children of a riverboat family who were abducted and institutionalized in the South in the early 20th century.

Interspersed with that story is the story of a modern day teen in foster care who makes friends with a elderly widow, never dreaming that their childhoods carried similar threads.

This is the first Lisa Wingate novel that I’ve read, but I will be looking for more of her books.

It reminded me a little of Orphan Train.

 Buy now from Amazon

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

What if you lived in a small kingdom where the prince chose his bride from the graduates of the Princess Academy?

What if you had the chance for an education that would never be possible otherwise?

I loved this middle grade novel for telling a tale of what could be, the power of knowledge, friendships and courage.

One of my favorite parts of Princess Academy was how they snuck in principles of Commerce and Negotiation. It was fun how that played out.

There were a few weird and whimsical twists, but every fairy tale needs a little magic.

 Buy now from Amazon

Unselfie by Michele Borba

Michele Borba was in town last week to speak to the teachers in our district.  She’s gaining a following in our area.

I liked the stories of all the schools that developed programs or implemented teaching that turned the school community around or changed a classroom.

It gives you hope for the kids of this generation. It certainly is a fight, though, with the phones and digital devices.

I liked the support she gave for developing empathy by reading, especially fiction.

Lots of good tips on practical ways to teach kids empathy.

Lots of stories and good examples of kids at school and home demonstrating empathy.

It gives a good breakdown of the elements of empathy and the why it is such a critical trait for our kids.

 Buy now from Amazon

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Heads up for language and thematic elements.

The first half of the book was slow moving and a little confusing.

The second half was riveting.

A journalist is on assignment on a small luxury cruiser.  She notices some strange things happening, but when she looks into it, her story is called into question.

Good suspense.  Good resolution.

 

 

 

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