Monday, May 27, 2013

Good Reads

One perk of not having internet for a while last month was that I did a LOT of reading. I've always loved reading, and since I'm in a book club, I'm guaranteed to read at least one book a month. But sometimes, at the end of the day when the kids go to bed and the house is quiet, I just want to sit in front of the computer and do something mindless. When that wasn't an option, I rediscovered that reading a book can be just as relaxing and is (in my opinion) usually a better use of my time :) I've read some good books, so I thought I'd share some of them!

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

This was our book club book last month, and it was actually my pick. It ended up being so good! It was totally heart-wrenching and even hard for me to read at times because it was so sad, but I thought it was very well written and the story was beautifully told. It was a great book club book because there were a lot of moral dilemmas in the book that made for good discussions. It was also interesting because, within our book club, there were very different opinions and perspectives on the main character. I would definitely recommend this book, but if you don't enjoy books that will very likely make you cry, then stay away! ;)

Because I loved You by Patricia Dischler

This was one of the books we were required to read for our adoption. It's written by a birthmother who chose open adoption for her son. I read most of this book while sitting by the pool in Watercolor :) It's not your typical "beach read" but I actually ended up enjoying it. It's a very easy, quick read, and it really was great for me to read something from a birthmother's perspective. It gave me a new appreciation and a huge amount of respect for these women and the terribly difficult decision that they have to make when they choose to relinquish their babies. The author wanted to stress that this decision often times is made not because these ladies don't want their babies, but because they LOVE them. It was a wonderful reminder, and it caused me to be more determined than ever to always speak very highly to our child about his or her birthmother and the brave decision that she made for him or her. Good things to ponder.

Indelible by Kristen Heitzman

I ordered a book to take to the beach, and it didn't come in in time (Amazon Prime FAIL). So, towards the beginning of our trip, I ran in Books A Million to grab another book. I ended up with this one, and I liked it! Kristen Heitzman is a Christian fiction writer whose books I enjoy. I think I've read all of her books -- this book was the second in a series and I had read and enjoyed the first one a while back. A lot of Christian fiction is pretty cheesy and predictable but, in my opinion, these are some of the better ones. I'm not saying these books are great pieces of literature or anything (haha), but they're entertaining and I like that they are clean. I always enjoy a good suspenseful plot as long as it's not too scary or graphic, and I think Kristen Heitzman's books have that balance.

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

This is the book I ordered to take to the beach that didn't arrive in time. It was waiting for me when we got home, and I immediately started (and finished) it. This book was recommended to me by a book club friend, and she told me it's hard to put down and she was right! It's about a home birth that ends badly and the subsequent trial that takes place. It was SO interesting, and if you're into labor and birth stuff, you'll love it :) If the whole "natural/home birth vs. medicated/hospital birth" debate drives you insane, this might not be the book for you. That whole debate usually irritates the heck out of me, but I enjoyed this book because I didn't feel like the point was to determine what is the "right" way to give birth; the point of the book was simply to tell a story, and I thought it did that well!

The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis and David Cross

This was another required adoption read. I have mixed feelings about this book. I think it has a lot of great advice for dealing with children who are adopted out of terribly difficult circumstances, which is kind of the point. However, as just a parenting book in general, it doesn't really match up with our philosophy of parenting as a whole. I think the authors maybe have a slightly different worldview than we do (I'm not even sure if they're Christians -- the book isn't written from a Christian perspective), so obviously there are going to be some things that we disagree with. Of course, I don't think that you have to agree with 100% of a book to glean some good and useful things from it. My biggest takeaway from this book was that sometimes bad behavior from children is just the symptom of a bigger issue that's going on with them, and it's very important to get to the heart of an issue and deal with it. David and I are trying to be more intentional about doing that.

Next up on my reading list:

In their Own Voices by Rita J. Simon

This is the last required book that I have to read for our adoption. This book is a series of interviews with transracial adoptees telling about their experiences being raised in families of a different race. (Oh, and just to go ahead and put it out there in case anyone was wondering -- David and I are open to adopting a child of any race. We understand that there might be challenges associated with raising a child of a different race, but we're ready and willing to take on those challenges if need be.) David is almost finished with this book, and he said it's been interesting. I'm looking forward to reading it next.

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel

This is our book club book for this month. It's supposed to be funny and kind of lighthearted. I haven't started it yet, so I can't say whether that's true or not. Book club is in a week, so I'll be starting (and finishing) this one soon ;)

Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman

Some of my friends from church were talking about this book in Bible Study one week, and I filed it away in my mind to read later. Then my mother-in-law gave the book to us a few weeks ago! My friends said that this book has some very practical advice for parents in guiding our children in worship. The past several weeks at church, I've really felt like we could (and should) be doing more to help Aubrey actually participate in worship instead of just trying to keep her quiet. We understand that she's not going to "get" everything that goes on, but we fully believe that the Bible is applicable to all ages and stages of life and she should be participating in worship as much as possible. We also know that Aubrey isn't too young to worship, and as her parents, we should be helping her do that. So, I'm looking forward to reading this book.

A Praying Life by Paul Miller

This is the book we're doing this summer in our Tuesday Bible Study. I've heard from several ladies who have already read it that this is the best book on prayer they've ever read. So, I'm super excited to get started! My prayer life is something that I really want to focus on, and I desire to grow in that area. I would love to just be in constant communion with God throughout the day. Our Bible Study starts next week, so I'll be reading this book over the course of the whole summer.

So, I think that's everything on my short term reading list. Of course, I'm sure there will be others that get added along the way. Let me know if you've read any awesome books lately that I need to add to my list! :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Praying Life gets a big thumbs up from me. I've blogged about it several times recently and I've probably given away close to 3 dozen copies in the 2 years I've known about it. It's not 'perfect' by any means, but is probably the most honest/raw book on prayer I've found - and what I wish had existed years ago. It'll also resonate with anyone who might know someone with autism, as interwoven in the book is how his daughter having autism impacted how he prayed.

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist was quite good. It's another I've given several copies away of (though nowhere near as many as Praying Life) - it's kind of about community and doing life around the table. It's got recipes in it. Her stuff is good b/c you don't have to read it all at once but can read it in snippets as they are short sort of writings more so than a book that necessarily flows all the way through and would leave you hanging if you set it down for a few days. Bittersweet is kind of about change/when life is hard, and Cold Tangerines is more light-hearted.

If you don't have, or haven't read Jesus Storybook Bible or Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing both are must haves, in my opinion. I've given dozens of both of those away, also. And both I have quoted or have images from, etc. on my blog. While they are intended for kids, I really think that they can be as challenging for or inspiring for adults as kids. I can't speak highly enough about them! I've been in and out of the hospital over the last nearly 7 months now, and those are all I've had with me in my hospital bag most of the time. They're that great :-)

This isn't faith based, but Tales of a Female Nomad is one I just finished and enjoyed. For someone with no Christian background, she places a surprisingly strong emphasis on community, and as she travels the world, she dives in, builds relationships, picks up the language, and really gets to know people. She went a fascinating assortment of places just in that book alone (and I know she went places beyond those) and it was a fun way to travel vicariously.

I also like everything by Beth Guckenberger - Reckless Faith and Relentless Hope are sort of more book books, Tales of the Not Forgotten and Tales of the Defended Ones are more stories and could be appropriate for with kids also. She and her husband do orphan ministry and have adopted a number of kids also. I've heard her speak and she was super and I've enjoyed her books.

For the ones I've mentioned having referenced on my blog - click on "books" or "quotes" in categories to find them the easiest way)

I could write about books endlessly...but that's a few more :-)