Tuesday, January 31, 2006

 

Through Gates of Splendor

Book #3: Wow!!! The book Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot was amazing. It was amazing because the story is incredible and it challenged me in my relationship with God. Elisabeth tells the story of 5 men who were brutally killed by a savage Indian tribe in Ecuador while they were trying to reach the tribe to tell them about Jesus. The men's journal entries, Elisabeth's perception of the situation (she was married to one of the men), and her obvious passion for the work of God through the missionaries lives made the book hard to put down. The story is not only a story of how the men reached out to the Indians but a story of forgiveness. What Elisabeth doesn't write much about is the fact that after the 5 men were killed their widows continued to try to befriend the Indians. By God's grace, through their hard work and commitment to God they befriended them and many Indians learned the message of God's forgiveness through Christ.

This book challenged me because I'm not so sure that I am ready to go into the jungle, or anywhere for that matter, where my live is literally at stake. The sheer obedience to God by the men and their wives is enough to inspire and encourage me to shoot for half of that. Also, I was captivated by the attitude of the wives. They knew that their husbands were stepping into an extremely dangerous situation but all they did was support and pray for them joyfully. They understood that God comes first in all situations. I don't fully understand this because I'm not married but I often want my friends and family to put me first instead of God. I want to be like those women who obey God by letting the people closest to them put God first. What a blessing it would be for those around me to know I cared more about their relationship with God than their interest in me:)

This book is a must read.

Monday, January 30, 2006

 

The Sidekick

Okay, so this isn't Super-Anne, it's her awesome sidekick Venus the Reader. Super Anne challenged me to read my own 100 books this year and blog about them with her. This is my first blogging experience so allow me to introduce myself with a few brief remarks. I am a snob. I thoroughly enjoy reading and think other people should do so as well. It broadens the mind and gives you new ideas about which to think. I have grammatical pet peeves, one of which is the misuse of the word "quote." That is a verb, but most people use it as a noun. The proper noun form is actually "quotation." Hm, that's all I can think to write about being a snob, which is why I'm blogging about books and not the weird things that happen to me. Anyhoo, this is becoming boring, so I'll just let you in on my first book. Actually, think I'll post about that tomorrow, because I can't put a picture to match as am not on my own computer. But be watching out for "The City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt, which i just finished last week.

 

Three Weeks with My Brother


Book #2: Nicholas Sparks has written a plethora of fiction novels about people falling in love in the midst of horrible tragedy or tragic love stories ending because of a some horrible life circumstance (distance, disease, disaster). I readily admit I love reading his books but I can't read one without crying. He is most famous for the book and recent blockbuster The Notebook if you are unfamiliar with his work.

When I saw Spark's recent book at the library entitled Three Weeks with My Brother I checked it out immediately. I hoped that I would be able to read it without crying because it was a travel log detailing his trip around the world with his brother and memoir of his life. Without ruining any of the story (because its printed on the book jacket), I will tell you his mom, dad, and sister all passed away before he was 35ish. This memoir was enough to make me cry at least 3 times and help me understand why all of his other stories are so sad. One thing that caught my attention was how candidly Nicholas and his brother talked about their faith and the different struggles they had or didn't have with it because of their family circumstances. It was a great book and I enjoyed reading his story and added several locations to my unending list of places I would like to visit someday. Many of the places they visited on their trip were remote places that I hadn't heard of so I had to look up several of them on my map. I think I'm going to write a few bestsellers so I can buy a glamorous trip around the world.

Friday, January 27, 2006

 

A Match Made in Heaven

Book #1. The first book that I read in 2006 was a book by Wendy Widder called A Match Made in Heaven. It is subtitled, "How Singles and the Church Can Live Happily Ever After." I was intrigued by this book because the church often ignores and excludes single people and often times may not realize it. Thankfully I attend a church where the people consciously try to do neither. Wendy started the book well and explained briefly the theology of the church pre-Luther and the sacredness put on celibacy in the early church. Then she went on to explain that Luther tried to offset that imbalance he perceived by focusing on the traditional family. Then communities of believers began to see the traditional family as a means to strengthen the church. Then bang the thesis of the book...The church spends so much time focusing on the traditional family that the family of God is forgotten and in turn singles are left out and feel odd, rejected, etc. At this point I was pretty pumped to process some ideas about how the body of Christ could function more as the family that God intended us to be.

To my disappointment Wendy then spent a greater portion of the book addressing the fact that our marriage to Christ is the most important marriage of all. While this is very important and definitely true, I was hoping for a different spin and some practical advice. I didn't really want to read a singles book that built my self esteem and made me feel better because I have Christ. All in all Wendy did have a few good points throughout the book but it wasn't what I had hoped for.

Book #2 coming soon: Three Weeks with my Brother by Nicholas and Micah Sparks


 

My Goals

Allright...so here it goes. I decided about 1 week ago to try to read 100 books in the year 2006 knowing full well that I may not even come close to reaching this goal. Ever since I learned how to read I've enjoyed it and have read whenever I could. On good weeks I read 3 books a week and on bad weeks I read a book a month. I would say I average around 2-4 books a month, which puts me at 24-48 books a year. This is less than half of the goal that I have set for myself. But, why not shoot for the stars. In the past 2 months I've read about 12-15 books and if I keep this pace up I can get very close to my goal. Also, keep in mind that I am a teacher and have the whole entire summer to knock off one book after another.

So about this 100...
My criteria for a book is pretty low. It needn't be something deep, moving, eye opening or even worth my time. All it has to be is a book not written for little kids. I enjoy good Christian chick-lit, Micheal Crichton, John Grishm, Mary Higgins Clark, travel literature, spiritually challenging, and spiritually irrelevant books, and whatever is available in print. When it comes to reading I'm not picky.

When I told some friends recently that I wanted to read 100 books, one friend quickly remarked, "you're not going to remember what you read." Little did she know I have a pretty low retention rate already so I'm not too concerned about that. But to make my reading worthwhile and memorable, I decided I would keep a log and write a summary/review about the books I've read/will read this year. Then the idea dawned on me: Why not put it on the Internet? And this blog was created.

So, I will be reviewing (if you can call it that) any books I read this year and keeping track of the number of books I have read.

The GREAT news is that I have a co-reviewer by the name of Jerusha. She is super cool, super inteligent, and a super avid reader. She can't get enough of books and the library. We also share a favorite author in Mary Higgins Clark. If you haven't read one of her mysterys check one out now. You'll probably enjoy Jerusha's reviews more than mine and I'm ok with that.

One last thought and I am done. Please do not feel like you have to read this blog or even comment on it if you are reading it. If you do comment feel free to recomend books too. Also, I'm not really into proofreading so just ignore any of my errors and if it annoys you too much just quit reading.

First review to come soon!

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