Books

November books

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I am amazed at how many books I read this month! I’ve been averaging 4, but this month, I read 6. Granted, the last book, If Jesus Were a Parent, I’ve been reading for a couple months now. It was just so deep that I had to go slowly. To reach my goal of 100, I would have to read approximately 8 a month. Yeah, that’s not happening.

Laughing Gas by P.G. Wodehouse. I love this author! His books are hilarious and he has this fantastic, dry British humor. The characters are always getting into ridiculous situations and then respond by saying “What, ho!” In this book, Lord Reginald (Reggie) Havershot is in Hollywood, trying to save his cousin from a most unadvatageous marriage. A sudden toothache sends him to the dentist, where he meets the child film star, Joey Cooley. When the go under the “gas” at the same time, their souls change bodies. Hilarity ensues and opinions are changed. This was a great book! I enjoyed it very much.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. The Office actress and writer, Mindy Kaling, wrote this collection of essays and stories about her life and her struggles to get into the acting business. She is super funny and relateable and I feel like she would be such a fun person to know. Seriously, why aren’t we friends?

Eve’s Daughters by Lynn Austin. I think this was the first “grown-up” fiction book I read as a teenager. Definitely one of my favorites! It is Christian historical fiction and got me hooked on that genre. The story spans four generations of women, beginning with Louise, who emigrated from Germany around 1900. Her story is woven into the stories of Emma, Grace, and Suzanne, the women of the next three generations. The story centers around the need for forgiveness and understanding between generations. It shows that when that doesn’t exist, then relationships break down and mistakes repeat themselves. Austin has an amazing ability to really bring the characters to life and immerse the reader in the story.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I put a hold in for this book in April and it finally became my turn early this month. Geez, it had better actually change my life! I had a really hard time deciding what I felt about this book. I agree, people in general have too much stuff, much of which they don’t use. It did motivate me to do some purging. So I guess it served its purpose. I mean, it did have some useful bits of information. For example, when your house is in order, you can spend my time getting your life in order and doing the things you enjoy. She teaches that everything should have its place and when you are done using it, put it back (amen, sister!). And that the items you keep should bring you joy. At the same time, I hated this book and here are the reasons. She is completely OCD (throwing out her family’s stuff when she was a kid, emptying her purse every day). She recommends throwing everything away (only late in the book she backtracked to “donate” or “recycle”). She believes that you should not more than 30 books, all papers should be thrown away, and everything you own can be put in your closet (what if you live in a country that doesn’t believe in closets?). You are supposed to thank your clothes at the end of the day… Ok, I think that’s enough for now, but my recommendation is that you read this book, take what you want out of it and dismiss the rest.

The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag. I started out not liking this book at all, but after about 3 chapters, I couldn’t put it down. It is genre of “magical realism”, which I’m not usually a fan of, but I enjoyed this book. Cora (great name!) is a scientist who lost her parents in a fire when she was 5 years old. She was raised by her grandmother, Etta, who makes beautiful dresses for her (slightly magical) Cambridge dress shop. Cora has completely repressed all memories of her parents, and with that, closed her heart to love. Etta weaves a little of her magic to begin opening Cora’s heart, mysteries are solved, and love is found. This book is one of those with multiple stories going on a once, and I really like those.

If Jesus Were a Parent by Hal Perkins. Hal’s wife gave us this book (through Tim’s grandma) when we got married, and I decided now was the time to read it. I thought it was an excellent book! It begins with teaching your children to obey you as a parent, which will eventually turn into them obeying Jesus. Then it goes into how to have deep, meaningful conversations with your children, both about bad behavior and when they are hurt emotionally. And finally, it describes how to disciple your children in their relationship with Jesus. Everything he said was backed up with scripture, and the advice given was practical and godly. Right at the beginning, as I was reading the obeying chapter, I started to train Noah the way he recommended. It worked quickly, as much as you can train a child Noah’s age.

Spoiler ahead… I just have a weird connection between two completely unrelated books that I must share. If you are going to read either Eve’s Daughters or The Dress Shop of Dreams, don’t look below!

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In both Eve’s Daughters and The Dress Shop of Dreams, one of the women in the stories had a child with a man who became a priest and therefore couldn’t marry her. This struck me as really strange. Is this a thing that happens? In both cases, it was turned into a story of forgiveness and love (father/daughter, father/granddaughter). I know that as a priest, the man has taken a vow of celibacy to better serve God and the people in the church. But God also gave us the desire for relationship and intimacy. He has blessed marriage. So why give up something God instituted in order to better serve Him? And, it seems to me that someone who is denying himself love in that way will be even more distracted. Anyway, that’s my two cents’ worth.

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