Friday, March 16, 2018

Seven Recent Reads

-The Boxcar Children… I had planned to read this one to A about halfway through kindergarten, which is next year. I loved this book as a kid. The only children’s chapter books Ryan can remember from his childhood are the Goosebumps series… but when he saw the cover, he suddenly remembered that he’d definitely read The Boxcar Children too. A got crazy excited for it one day and so I naturally got crazy excited too and we went for it. It worked out great! He’s honestly always loved for me to read chapter books to him, long before he could really comprehend the stories. At least at this point he’s our most extroverted child by far and I think that’s why. He wanted me to be reading something out loud while he played with LEGOs or colored, at least until his sisters started to be old enough to play with him. He’ll be five in about a month and I think it was a perfect age for us to read this one together. He absolutely loved it, was always asking for a chapter (and then for one more chapter), and he retained all of the characters and storylines quite well. He had me request the next book in the series from the library right away.

-Emma… I have been meaning to read this book for years and recently got excited about it again when I found out that the movie Clueless is loosely based on the story. The other night I stayed up really light trying to get a large file to download using the Internet on Ryan’s phone and it was taking forever so I started reading Emma. I just don’t know. I couldn’t grasp it for some reason. I kept getting confused about characters and having to flip around to figure it all out, then never picked it up again after that night. I want to not give up on myself, and to hope that I will try again when it’s not already an hour past my normal bedtime, but only time will tell.

-Give Them Grace… I’ve had this grace-based parenting book in my shelf for quite some time and finally got around to starting it last week. I didn’t honestly finish it. I got it and agreed with most of it but it started to feel a bit repetitive in concept so I felt like I had gotten what I wanted out of it and skimmed the rest. There were a handful of things I didn’t necessarily agree with (while not necessarily disagreeing with either, in most cases) but in general I feel like it’s one that’s worth checking out

-Grace Revealed: Finding God’s Strength in Any Crisis*…  I don’t even know how to review this book. The short story is that I didn’t really like it but am keeping it to read in the future. I think it’s probably an excellent book to read when you’re experiencing a crisis. At the moment, praise God, my life is pretty crisis-free so it just fell flat for me in some ways. That just feels really unfair to say since I do truly think it’ll be an excellent and inspiring book down the road and freely admit that I think it would have been amazing at other times in my life. The stories were a bit depressing for me right now, even though they of course all revealed amazing grace, and the way they read just didn’t resonate with me in my personal style. I’m very curious to see what others think about this one because it gives me such strange, mixed feelings. I feel like my review is “It’s a great book and I didn’t like it” which seems silly… but that sometimes happens, right?

-The Stolen Marriage… I love Diane Chamberlain books but I didn’t finish this one. I actually didn’t even get very far into it. I’m not spoiling anything unless you haven’t even read the description so move along if you don’t want any spoilers at all… There’s a sex scene very early on, where she is wildly in love with her fiancé but then gets drunk and loses her virginity to a complete stranger that just drove me nuts. It wasn’t a horrendously graphic sex scene or anything but I just didn’t really want to read the book at all after that. I’m very sensitive to adultery subject matter but I still manage to read entire books that talk about it without feeling too horrible so there was just something about this particular scene that made me feel really sad so I put it away and hugged Ryan instead. It does sound really good but I just can’t imagine I’ll pick it back up again any time soon.

-The Storyteller… Another Jodi Picoult novel and this one just blew me away. I’m in a WWII phase, as you probably know, and this one naturally had my attention because of the subject matter. The main character, Sage, is a total wreck and I always like that in a character. Reading this book gave me a million emotions at once. There is a bit of old Polish vampire lore woven in and I didn’t mind it at all which is really saying something since I am so not a fan of vampire anything. There were times when I was reading it, for the briefest of moments, when I allllllmost felt sorry for an SS officer which was of course a crazy feeling. I want to be all mature and spiritual and say that is God’s job to judge, not mine… but then I think about all the horrific accounts I’ve been reading about, both fiction and non-fiction, and let me tell ya, I struggle. That’s the thing about her books, she takes a subject that rubs most people the wrong way and humanizes “the bad guy” in a way that confuses the heck out of you and makes you really think about life in the other person’s shoes. It is definitely not always easy to think about the tender sides of a school shooter (Nineteen Minutes) or a neo-nazi (Small Great Things), nor to wonder about the character of an SS officer “who was just doing his job.” The writing in this one was so gripping and emotional, so raw and often sickening, that I wanted several times to put the book down for good but was so desperate to know how it all ended (and if I had guessed right about a surprise twist ending, which I had) that I would just wipe away my tears and keep going. And gosh, I’m not even touching on the deeper stuff here, on forgiveness specifically. Especially forgiveness that doesn’t involve you, forgiving someone for a past mistake they committed against someone else… suffice it to say that this book was very heavy and I definitely liked it but I have to warn you that you are taking on a lot if you decide to pick it up.

-Twenty and Ten… I’ve been working my way through all kinds of children’s fiction booklists and this one was listed in quite a few of them. It’s a fictionalized account of a true story about ten Jewish children being hidden among 20 French children and I can see why it’s so popular. I blew through it during one day’s naptime and know I would have loved it as a kid so it’s staying on my personal children’s chapter book list.

Current reads: $100 Startup with Ryan // Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with A (oh man, y’all. I am so loving this read-aloud stage) // Man’s Search for Meaning // Just downloaded a bunch of fiction to the Kindle so we'll see!

What are you reading/ have you recently read?

*I received a free copy of Grace Revealed from LitFuse in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks so much for your comments! I always read them, don't always have time to answer quickly. Sorry about that!