What I’m Reading, September 2016


September means soccer for our family.  The weather’s been great for sitting in the bleachers, a nice relief after some sweltering days.   I haven’t brought any books to a soccer game yet, but they sure showed up at basketball games last year.

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

theageofmiracles   Buy now on Amazon

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

I believe that all great fiction rings true.  Even the ones with the most preposterous premises.

The Age of Miracles tells the story of a family dealing with the slowing of the earth’s rotation.  Every day is longer, every night is longer.  All the implications, all the choices, all the consequences.

Even though the premise is preposterous, the story still rings true.  Why?  Because it shows the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of cataclysm.  It shows the importance of deep relationship in the face of crisis.  It shows the inevitability of coming of age, in spite of whether or not the earth turns.

I liked the main characters.  That helped a lot.

I liked the traditional values portrayed in the story.  Which goes to show, you CAN have a great story without a moral slide.

oneandonlyivan   Buy now on Amazon

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

This book was recommended by Sarah Wright of the Orthodox Mama as one of her favorite Newbery Award Winner books.

I didn’t realize until after I was finished that the book was based on a true account of a Silverback that was captured as a baby and grew up in captivity without any others of his kind around.  It was a cute story and I finished it, so that says something.

I’m not sure I can put my finger on what kept me turning pages on this one.

I’m not much of an animal lover. In general, I prefer the ones on the printed page to living, breathing ones.  A mouse in a book can be adorable (I loved Mrs. Frisby).  Living? Not so much.

thetellingroom  Buy now from Amazon

The Telling Room:  A Tale of Love, Revenge, Betrayal and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese by Michael Paterniti

This book sits in a genre by itself.  Is it memoir?  Is it biography?  It could even be classified as a business parable.  That is part of it’s charm.  The story itself drew the author in like a tar baby and wouldn’t let him go until he became an integral part of the story himself.

I’ve come to the conclusion lately that every great book is a mystery.  Maybe not every book answers “Who dunnit?” but at least,  “What’s going to happen?”  “How does it end?”

This book has it in spades.  “How does it end?”  keeps you turning pages.  And, if the ending was a teeny bit of a let down for you as it was for me, it doesn’t much diminish the journey it took to get there.

And what is the story?  Well, it does center around the world’s greatest piece of cheese.  Maybe not the most expensive cheese ever, but, without a doubt, the most compelling cheese ever.  It’s the story of the creator of the cheese. His family, his friends, his environs.  Yes, the love, revenge and betrayal are all there, too, but I won’t spoil the story by explaining how.

If you’re looking for a story that eloquently captures the bittersweetness of human nature, this book is for you.

andthegoodnewsis  Buy now from Amazon

The Good News Is  by Dana Perino

I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it through the first few chapters of this book, when Dana traces her lineage back several generations, but eventually, the pieces fell together and the story took off.  The book basically answers the question, “How do you become the White House Press Secretary?”  In Dana’s case, it wasn’t something she set her cap for at an early age.  It arrived one step at a time, basically by being bored with all her other jobs, including a short stint as a stay-at-home wife.

bluelikejazz  Buy from Amazon

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

Blue Like Jazz is reminiscent of an Anne Lamott memoir.  They’re both off the charts in honesty, transparency and authenticity.  We identify with those inner insecurities that we can’t even admit to ourselves, much less to others, committing them to black and white and hurling them to the world.

I’ve read Donald Miller’s memoir several times. I have also read Scary Close, which is somewhat of a sequel, but it doesn’t have the same punch as Blue Like Jazz.  Growing up fatherless is an underlying theme of Blue Like Jazz.  By the time Scary Close was written, Miller has resolved many of his emotional issues and experienced a lot of healing.  So, it’s not driven by the same pain.

I believe writing in itself is therapeutic.  As is sharing your story.  I heard Miller recently talk about the desire people have to be heard and seen and known.  He’s been there, done that and now has no more need to be seen and heard and known.  He’s heading a successful company now called StoryBrand that helps businesses tell their story .


miraclesfromheaven  Buy now from Amazon

Miracles From Heaven by Christy Wilson Beam

The true story of Annabel Beam is captivating.  We saw the movie first and it was so compelling I had to read the book to see what was true.  I was initially disappointed that some aspects of the story were changed in the movie.  The real story was even more amazing, but understandably did not transfer well to film.

That being said, one little phrase stuck with me and rattled around in my head,  “mama bear”.  Aside from the miraculous intervention of God, this is the element that stuck with me.  Because I see that element in some moms I know— every day heroes who rouse that mama bear when the welfare of their cub is at stake.  Mama bear is a good thing.  The courage it takes to stand up to whatever is threatening our children is just as miraculous as the the direct intervention of God himself.  God placed the maternal instinct in moms that plays out every single minute all across the planet.

Miracles From Heaven tells the story of Annabel Beam— her incurable, life-threatening disease and the 30 foot head first fall that didn’t kill or injure her.  The Beams are a family of faith.  But faith isn’t the hero of the story.  God is.  Science cannot explain what happened to Annabel.  Whatever you believe, there is no natural explanation for what unfolded.


undoingofsaintsilvanus  Buy now from Amazon

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus by Beth Moore

I’ve just started this book, so I’ll revisit it again next month, but so far, I’m impressed.  This is Beth Moore’s first novel.  She is best known for writing Bible study workbooks.

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

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