Monday, June 6, 2011

Six Month Update: Books Style

In January I set the goal to read 25 books this year.  So far, I am ahead of where I was last year at this time. 

1. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
This easy-read is a fictional story with religious undertones.  It's a good book but not to be considered the answer to all things.  (Of course, I like Jesus and He's only a minor character here).

2. Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman with Ellen Vaughn
Some people write because they like to write.  Some people write because they have a story to tell.  Mary Beth is the second.  Choosing to See does have a mixed feeling of "I'm famous, so I wrote a book" and "I'm doing this because my counselor told me to."  But she's very vulnerable with her audience and honest about her battles with depression and the horrors of losing a child.  As a Steven Curtis Chapman fan, reading some of these stories was almost like hearing a retelling of my own family's stories in that parts were familiar and just as funny or sad as I remember them.

3. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
This novel is really hard to write about in one paragraph since I used some of its themes to write a twenty-five page thesis.  Alavrez does a great job of opening up to the readers the world as seen by Dominican emigrants and their challenges in living in the United States, both cultural and familial.  It's written reverse-chronologically which is interesting but not necessarily a bad thing.  Definitely worth exploring.

4. Lifestories by Mark Hall with Tim Luke
Mark Hall is a youth pastor first and the lead singer of Casting Crowns second.  His book, like all of their CDs, reflects this.  It tells the stories behind the songs on the Casting Crowns and Lifesong CDs, but it's not a "sit back and have a story told to you" book.  It's a "sit, read, reflect, and grow spiritually" book.  The only thing I would have done different would have been to include the song lyrics with each corresponding chapter.  I think you're supposed to read the chapter then watch the music video.  I know better than to put down a book to turn on the computer...

5. Lipstick in Afghanistan by Roberta Gately
This novel tells the story of an ER nurse who moves to Afghanistan through Aide du Monde (ADM).  It talks about her transition to working in an Afghanistan hospital, her struggle to get to know the culture, and her effort to build relationships with the people there.  Even though parts of it broke my heart, I definitely enjoyed this book!

6. Forgotten God by Francis Chan
This is a book I'm going to have to read again I enjoyed it that much.  Chan takes a look at the Holy Spirit, or the aspect of God he declares "forgotten."  Really, how often do you give credit to the Spirit?  Check it out!  Definitely a must read!

7. Navigating the Rough Waters of Today's Publishing World by Marcia Meier
If you're clueless about today's publishing world, this book is a good resource.  If you have some background knowledge in writing and publishing, this book doesn't have a lot of new information.  However, it was interesting to get Meier's opinion on the situation.

8. Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
This novel is the story of a psychiatrist who is being blamed for a teenager's shooting spree and suicide.  She essentially loses her practice the same time a mysterious lost child appears in her hometown where her sister is the police chief.  It's a story of questioning one's self-esteem, perseverance, and courage.  I found myself in this book in several different situations.  I'm not really sure what the title has to do with anything and the "strained family relationship" mentioned on the back cover isn't as strained as one would expect.  I enjoyed this book but I did find parts of it to be predictable. 

9. A Loss for Words by Lou Ann Walker
Lou Ann Walker is a CODA (a Child of Deaf Adults), so I picked up this autobiography to see a slightly different perspective on Deafness.  Parts of the story broke my heart in how her parents (and her entire family) were treated. Parts of it I enjoyed and parts I thought droned on too long.  Walker's a journalist so sometime she just wrote what happened and didn't drawn any conclusions which frustrates me as a writer.

10. Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins
I won this book from a blog giveaway, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I loved it!  Maybe it was my pre-existing interest in Lyme disease or how well the book is written, but I devoured it in three days!  It has a lot of good information about Lyme and isn't too technical while also telling a compelling story.  My only real criticism would be that during the most intense moments of the story, it seemed Jannie's Lyme symptoms were ignored or forgotten.  The plot line is a lot of building and then a quick ending but it wasn't necessarily bad.  Of the novels on this list, I think this one was my favorite.

11. Friendships for Grown-Ups by Lisa Whelchel
This book holds hints of, "I'm famous, so I wrote a book about my life" but it also have some very helpful information regarding friendship in adulthood.  One thing that I found especially useful is the resources at the end containing practical tips about being intentional with friendships and building relationships.  Sometimes Whelchel went into what I would consider to be superfluous details with each relationship scenario that I felt could have been summed up with an, "Every relationship is different."  But I know some people want that kind of detail and information regarding the differences in relationships.

Current Moving Bookmarks:
Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels
Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado
Saints at the River by Ron Rash

Reading Wish List:
Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado
Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Eli the Good by Silas House
I own books 2-10, so if you want to borrow them, please let me know.

My parents bought a Kindle they're going to let me take to China, so I need to make a list of what I want to read on the plane.

What have you been reading lately?  What should I check out?

<>< Katie


Anonymous said...

Ohmyword all of these sounds soo good i want to read them all! haha I just got a kindle for my birthday last week, I read "Stories I've only told my Mom" by Sarah Bryden-Brown Its really touching and a REALLY quick read. I read it in a few hours, I just started The Hunger Gamesby Suzanne Collins its good so far, and very interesting

Anonymous said...

Eek! I couldn't put Choosing to See down, probably because I am slightly obsessed with the Chapman family.
I heard about the book by Lisa W. at the Woman of Faith conference; thanks for reminding me about it!

Right now I'm reading They Like Jesus, But Not the Church; it's pretty intriguing. I also want to read the new Max Lucado book. Good thing it's summer!