Monday, March 29, 2010

Books I've Been Enjoying...

  • Percy Jackson series-Rick Riordan- Nicole introduced this one to me, through a gift of the first 3 for Ryan's 3^3rd (27th) birthday. I just borrowed the last 2 of the 5 from a family in our church and really liked them. Great nursing books =D... Entertaining, especially would be great for students learning about the Greek myths. One thing I didn't like is the fact that most of the kids are from broken homes, but that goes with the territory of Olympic gods and their forays with mortals. My favorite part is the Spinx satirizing the standardized method of testing (Book 4-- Battle of the Labyrinth). 3 1/2 stars.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society, a book-club book that I think we ALL really enjoyed! Historical fiction about the Nazi occupation of the Channel isles. I didn't even know that there WERE islands in the English channel! It sparked great discussion and I gleaned several good quotes... but as I let my mama-in-law borrow it, I can't put any up- yet. The best part of the book is that it is laid out in the format of letters, which presented really fun ways of discovering characters and plot-line without being told outright (and it allowed for good stopping points, crucial when you're reading between burping sessions). As a wanna-be writer, I really like books that make me think "hmmm-- that author was really clever in how he presented that!" As I did in The Moonstone, which also has a variety of narrators, I enjoyed the variety of perspectives and narrative styles. 4 stars.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -JK Rowling-(again), I just cycled through the books again, and they are as good as ever. I discover more every time, especially since I've gotten How Harry Cast His Spell (formerly Looking for God in Harry Potter). These books never cease to resonate with and amuse me. I am convinced that it is because they so effectively echo the Great Story which God Himself is writing. (That's the whole premise of How Harry Cast His Spell). 5 stars
  • The Ranger's Apprentice, Books 5-6- John Flanagan,- another children's series introduced to me by my sister Nicole. At first I found the series' cultures to be too obviously based on real European countries and cultures (ie Gallica= France; Picta= Scotland...), but then I remembered that that might NOT be obvious to many of its intended readers, and would actually provide opportunities to let children experience them for themselves, as well as to poke fun or comment on them in a subtle way. The books get better as the series goes on, with narrative being less stilted and dialogue less forced (in my opinion). I'm looking forward to reading Books 7 & 8... whenever the library gets to me, or I can borrow them from that same family at church. 3 1/2 stars
  • Comforts from the Cross- Elyse Fitzpatrick- this is a devotional I'm going through as part of a ladies' book study at Immanuel. I know it's really good stuff, and it's in nice bite-sized chunks (which I especially like these days). The format has actually been good for discussion, too, which we weren't sure of at first. I'm praying that this book actually dents my hard heart, helps me care and not feel so mad at the world... that and maybe more sleep. I'm on Day 6 now-- we're supposed to read 5 "Days" every 2 weeks.
  • When I Don't Desire God- John Piper- excellent. The subtitle is "How to fight for joy," which is something I desperately need to do, and do want to do. So far it is a very readable book, especially for Piper, full of scripture and application. You either find Piper too thick or wonderfully rich; I personally find him amazing in chapter-sized doses or via audio. I'm on chapter 2 right now.
  • Spiritual Depression- M. Lloyd-Jones- a dear friend recommended this to me, and another one is lending it to me. So far it's been too heady for me to crack open, but then again I haven't had much energy or time to really try to crack it. There's a reason most of my reading list is on an 8th grade level right now! =D I'm on page... 1. =D
  • Mothers of the Wise & Good- full of encouraging anecdotes of mothers who made a difference through their faithfulness. My mom gave this to me when Eowyn was born, and it's been soooo encouraging. Quotes to come. My one wish as far as this book goes is that there be some stories of mothers of better-known people today (it's a reprint of a much older book), but still, it's a great source of resolve-strengthening. The writing is a little lackluster at times, I find, but it's not all about fancy turns of phrase, now is it? 4 stars.
  • How Harry Cast His Spell- John Granger- LOVE IT!! I got the first edition of this book from our public library and took it with me as plane reading to Paris. I just ordered it off Amazon and am now enjoying the updated chapters dealing with Book 7 especially. I do think some of Granger's "obvious" symbolisms aren't so obvious, but then again I don't have the breadth of knowledge that he does, so I leave that open. 4 1/2 stars.
  • Harry Potter's Bookshelf- John Granger- I can't wait to get into this, which is a book (which I love) about all the classic books (again, love 'em) in the Harry Potter series (you got it-- I love it, too!). I'm holding off reading it yet so I can fully enjoy it.
  • The Read-Aloud Handbook- got this today from the library and already LOVE it. Quotes to come! It outlines the benefits of reading aloud to your children, and recommends how to do it, and lists great read-aloud books by age-appropriateness. Seems like it would be a perfect new-baby gift, and a MUST for all families, especially those desiring to supplement their children's schooling (public or private). I really appreciated its section on 'why fiction?'
  • Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl- N.D. Wilson- a Christmas gift to me from Ryan, this is quite a unique find! Part philosophy, part science, part theology, and part hyperactive squirrel, all well-written and engaging. Thought-provoking; I can think of about 20 people I'd love to give this to. I'm still not quite finished with it... as you can see I've got a few books going at once. This one is so good that I'm trying to make it last! Really encouraging and helpful for the one trying to hear God in everything!
  • The Song of Albion- Stephen Lawhead- Ryan & I are reading this Christian fantasy aloud. It is different than Lawhead's other books so far, and we find it hilarious!! The narrator's descriptions and side comments make for excellent reading aloud. I hope the series' next 2 books are as fun! So far the book is set in modern England, but I know it's going to shoot backwards into Celtic mytholgy any minute now... oh yeah, can't wait.
  • Nourishing Traditions- Sally Fallon- yes, it's a cookbook =D, but as much of my time and energy is spent in feeding Ryan & I, and in planning how best to feed our precious daughter now that she's getting teeth, I thought it worthy of inclusion. This has been my go-to book for cooking various parts of the 1/8th a cow stashed in our freezer, as well as for guidelines on how to feed Eowyn. So far not one of the meat recipes in here have been a dud... the beef with chilis stew has delighted two sets of guests now!
  • A Life that Says 'Welcome'- Karen Ehman- a book I'm reading for my SWI class on "The Ministry of Hospitality." It's very readable. The first major point it's made has been that hospitality is primarily an attitude of the heart, not a system of organization or meal prep. Ouch. Not finished yet.
  • Great Food FAST! - Martha Stewart- another cookbook. =D On loan from a friend, but I think I'm gonna invest in it if I can. It's main draw for me is that it's seasonal!!! The recipes look wonderful, healthy, and uncomplicated while not insulting my intelligence. I'll let ya know...
Ok, little miss fussy-britches is stirring. Diaper duty, methinks!!


Jeannette said...

Spiritual Depression is definitely worth the effort! It's been a few years since I read it, so I should do a reread. I loved Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl too! That deserves a reread as well.

GloryandGrace said...

Just for the record - I largely have you to thank for my ever-increasing reading wish list :)

Ashley said...

Love the Potato Peel Pie Society. I don't read fiction much, but I really enjoyed that one!

Eowyn's Heir said...

I'm so glad, Jennifer! Nothing makes me happier than transmitting a passion for things I've enjoyed. =D

GloryandGrace said...

For someone who has never read anything by Lawhead, what would you recommend? A girl in my small group recommends Byzantium~

Eowyn's Heir said...

Jennifer-- so sorry to have NOT answered for so long!! Lawhead, hmm... I haven't read Byzantium so I can't speak on that one. My sister & I both got hooked as kids reading "The Dragon King" Trilogy. They really are well-done, classic fantasy without much magic or fantastical creatures, but plenty to stir the imagination! I spent a lot of time wondering where the lost people of Dekra went...
Talieson is a good starting point for those who are into Celtic mythology and/or Arthurian legend.