Reading: February 2017

One of my goals this year is to journal more regularly regarding what I’ve been reading. Here are my notes from February.

Currently

The Nightingale by K. Hannah
I have heard this book talked about so much and I finally reserved it from the library last week. It’s a WWII book (one of so many in the last few years) and I am about half way through it as I type this. While I’m truly compelled by the story I have to admit I’m honestly not liking the characters very much. The two man characters are sisters who are at odds with each other, amplified by their differing responses to the war and the occupation of France by the Nazis. The narration goes back and forth between the two and I’ve rarely read a book where honestly I’m sort of annoyed with both of them. I’m not sure what it is. I keep hoping that redemption will come in the end.

War Horse by M. Morpurgo
My daughter and I are listening to this on Overdrive and so far it’s honestly been pretty depressing! It’s a strange book in that the narrator is the horse. The time period is World War One, which we’ve constantly had to talk about as we’ve moved into studying about WWII with our school work. We have about 5 chapters left and finally I feel like there might be a happy ending – which for most of the book I didn’t think was going to happen. The audio book is narrated by John Keating who is phenomenal with his accents and voices.

Love Walked Among Us by P. Miller
I started this one as my spriritual focus this month. I love Paul Miller and his writing style and this one does not disappoint. It is the first book he wrote so it does feel a little bit like reading backwards because his other two books I’ve read were newer. I’ve just gotten a few chapters in and I’m trying to read and journal my way through it so I’m not reading so quickly.

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by J. Trafton
This is our bedtime read aloud between my daughter and I and it’s another book I had heard so much about. Trafton is one of the Rabbit Room writers I read so much about and this also was a book club pick for the younger group in our book club; they raved about it. It’s total fantasy and so far it’s been pretty cute and somewhat funny. The characters are pretty farcical so as an adult reading it you kind of roll your eyes a little bit, but my daughter likes it so far and it is a great read aloud.

Still Waiting by Ann Swindoll
I’m actually on the book launch tour for this book so I received a copy in compensation for my review. I’m about half way through it and it’s taken the place of my morning reading right now and I’m honestly still trying to figure out what to say about it!

Finished

Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by H. Anderson
I really loved this book. While I do feel like I read it slowly, I wish that I had read it even slower and journaled more as I was reading. She approaches the study of humility and pride through nature and I feel like for me it was the most refreshing (if reading about how sinfully prideful we are) book I’ve read in a while. She weaved stories of her life, but ultimately I felt more like it was truly a study of what humility really is and isn’t. I highly recommend it.

The Signature of All Things by E. Gilbert
I started out listening to this on audio and gave up because I knew I would never finish it in time. But I was already invested in the story so I reserved the actual book from the library. I have to say I like this book much more actually reading it than listening to it. There are some parts that honestly made me uncomfortable and I was happy to be able to just skip over them versus having to figure out how to fast forward the audio. It was a very compelling story and Gilbert is excellent at her character development. It’s a sweeping story that covers gobs of time, but she does such a great job of linking it all together. I will say that Alma’s time in Tahiti was just weird; just plain weird. It kind of reminded me a little bit of Life of Pi and the whole weird island thing. But over all it was a good read.

Emma by J. Austen
I finally finished it an ah! this is totally one of my favorite books. I swear it’s one that I would totally challenge myself to read maybe once ever year or so. There is so much that I miss in the language that I know I would pick up more if I reread it. I love Emma though and when she and Mr. Knightly finally realize they love each other in the end…goodness. I’m excited to attend a lecture at the University of Tennessee about Emma during their AustenFest in early April. Check out more details about the festival here.

The Curated Closet
I’m not sure that this actually qualifies as reading, but I did finally get my hands on this book. It was on my original list of books I wanted to read this year and I was on the waiting list forever at the library. The book is basically all about how to create a wardrobe; not necessarily a capsule wardrobe per se, but sort of. There was a lot in there that really didn’t interest me and much I had already gone through with Colette’s Wardrobe Architect series. There were a few pages of questions to ask yourself when purchasing or figuring out what to purchase that I felt like were really helpful. It’s a super book to get from the library and look through if you are like me and trying to figure out what to wear as I creep further into my forties and my style and life changes.

What’s Next?

I started to read Shiloh by Helena Sorenson (another Rabbit Room recommended book), but put it down to finish Signature and then I got wrapped up in the Nightingale. I’m sure I’ll pick it back up again. I really need to pick up Hillbilly Elegy again and I’m hoping to finally finish reading On Being a Writer in March also.  I want to finish Upstream by Mary Oliver, but I had to return it to the library because someone had reserved it. I’m back in the queue to get it again hopefully soon.

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being real…

beingrealbutton

I sat down this morning and asked myself…why does one write?
Why do I have this space, who even reads it (um…not many) and does it really matter if anyone reads it?
How does my writing transform when I write for an audience of one
not to gain an audience?

I have this page here called “blogging upside down” and it is a prayer borrowed from A Holy Experience. I see that page heading and I wonder if I really even pray that prayer? I don’t even read it often.

I have a card in my Bible that is a prayer card with these words by Richard Foster…
By the authority of almighty God, I surround myself with the light of Christ, I cover myself with the blood of Christ and I seal myself with the cross of Christ. All dark and evil spirits must leave. No influence is allowed to come near to me but that it is first filtered through the light of Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.
and on top of that card is a reminder to pray this before writing-studying-praying.

But I don’t do those things. Why? Because I feel like I’ve got this space under control. This space doesn’t need anymore of God than the words that come to my while I’m typing now. But that is so untrue.

While reading this morning in Paul Miller’s book The Praying Life (which is fantastic by the way), I was reminded of this…
we pray not for an answer
we pray not merely out of obedience
we pray not because it’s a discipline to master
we pray because we are helpless – we pray in and through our helplessness.
My act of not praying for this space (or anything else I find needless to pray for) is a response that I have it all together or that it isn’t “worthy” of prayer.
There is not one aspect of my life that doesn’t warrant prayer.
None.

Prayer is an expression of who we are…” ~ P. Miller
and my prayers (or lack) are an expression of how deceived I am with the control I have over my life.

I long to move myself from the story I am trying to write of my life
into the reality of the great epic that God is writing and unfolding.
That begins with prayer.
Even in a miniscule place such as this.

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