Category Archives: memoir

Wednesday Reads: Summer Has Entered the Building

Summer has entered the building. Okay, well maybe not all the way in the building for some of you, but at least he/she is in the parking lot. That means graduations (from Pre-K, K, 5th grade, 8th grade, 12th grade, college), family vacations, kids repeating “I’m bored”, and a myriad of other “things” that make summer so great and sometimes so exhausting.

So to fill those days with some purposeful even frivolous reading, here’s a few books to consider for the people in your life.

For the female graduate (middle or high school):

9781414375243_p0_v1_s260x420Popular: Boys, Booze, and Jesus by Tindell Baldwin – the title alone will grab most girls’ attention. Flip over to the back cover and they’ll be even more interested:

All I wanted was asking for at fifteen was to belong, to be love, and to be a part of something. Deep down, I wanted to be loved, not for a night but for a lifetime. I wanted to be found beautiful because of who I was, not what I looked like. I wanted so much, and my Christian life seemed to provide me with so little. 

Tindell’s vulnerability oozes through the pages. She speaks to young women as if she was the best friend they never had. One who tells the truth about high school, friendship, boys, and sex. It isn’t preachy; it’s honest and raw. She reveals the “ugly side of sin and the amazing redemptive power of a Savior who” loves us desperately. As a women who has worked almost exclusive with teens all of her life, I cannot recommend this book enough.

The-Selection-Series-768x1024 Selection Series by Keira Cass – This four-book (with a promise of a 5th) is a cross between The Bachelor and the book of Esther. In true dystopian fashion, Cass has given female readers less gore and more romance. The female lead is strong yet feminine, while the male lead is dashing and masculine. Their characters are not without flaws including stubbornness and secret scars. Aside from the four novels, there are several novellas which depict side stories told from different characters points of view. With just the series alone, the girl in your house could fill and entire summer with reading. (Click here to see a Wednesday Reads dedicated to the first book.)

For the Adult Female (this could be you)

me_before_you_final3Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – Fair warning: I’m two-thirds of the way through with this book and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna end sadly. However, I am intrigued by the two main characters: a 20-something female who lives a uneventful, normal life and a 20-something year old male quadriplegic, who lived a fascinating, adventurous life before his injury.  Both characters are multi-layered and the heart of the plot is controversial and thought-provoking. While it sounds like a heavy read, I have found it to be more of just great story telling. Read it and let me know what you think.

 

7244809_GGo Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee – This is the “assumed to have been lost” novel that Harper Lee tried to sell to publishers before To Kill a Mockingbird was published. Since TKAM is one of my all-time favorite books, I will be purchasing my copy in advance. In fact, I will be getting a physical book just as a keepsake.  Here’s a brief summary provided by the publisher:

Go Set a Watchman features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Returning home to Maycomb to visit her father, Jean Louise Finch—Scout—struggles with issues both personal and political, involving Atticus, society, and the small Alabama town that shaped her.

Exploring how the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird are adjusting to the turbulent events transforming mid-1950s America, Go Set a Watchman casts a fascinating new light on Harper Lee’s enduring classic. Moving, funny and compelling, it stands as a magnificent novel in its own right.

For the Men in Your Life (sons, husbands, etc)

Unbroken-MovieUnbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand – if the man in your life have seen the movie, they will still enjoy the book. In fact, the movie didn’t even do justice to Louis Zamporini’s story.  The historical facts surrounding WWII that Hillenbrand presents alongside Louis story are utterly fascinating and will increase your appreciation of not only veterans but what our military sacrifice even today. So worth every page that is written. (Can’t get the men in your life to read, try the book on DVD. It’s wonderful too! Side note: Rory’ Gilmore’s TV grandfather reads the audio version.)

41NHKOqQHqL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_A Dangerous Faith: True Stories of Answering The Call to Adventure by James Lund and Peb Jackson – (Great for male graduates) The publisher’s summary says it all:

Meet the called: mountain climbers, deep-sea divers, fighter pilots, and jungle missionaries who follow God into the adventure of a lifetime. Dangerous Faith tells their dramatic true stories, revealing incredible truths only risk can inspire.

Each of these trailblazers rejects security to reach for a perilous place few Christ-followers dare. Their stories will thrill and amaze you. What they discover just might revolutionize your life–because He’s calling you, too, into a life of risk.

Adventure. Passion. Freedom. Truth. Are you prepared for a Dangerous Faith?

For the Kiddos in your Life (elementary age – to read themselves or to be read aloud by you)

A_wrinkle_in_time_digest_2007A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’engle – What a classic that should be shared generation after generation. A touch of magic, blended with deep truth, and loads of plot twisting suspense. Possibly the best book to ever start off with “It was a dark and stormy night.” Read it with the kids and share in its amazingness all over again.

 

 

 

 

wonder_rj-palacio_coverWonder by R.J. Palacio – a powerful tale of a young boy with a disfigured face. Full of life-lessons that will offer hours of family discussions. Here’s a summary provided by the publisher:

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

 

Hope this gives you a little nudge to get the family reading this summer.  I know I will be “encouraging” it around my house.

And to get you started, I’m having a book giveaway for a book I’m planning to read this summer. Just leave a comment below letting me know your summer reading plans, I will pick a random winner Friday morning.

51buYyRFFtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The winner will receive a copy of Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer. Check out the book information by clicking here.

Don’t forget to leave a comment!

 

Edition: Friendship 101


Wednesday Reads Widenobody-book-cover-transMelanie Shankle’s third book Nobody’s Cuter Than You digs deep into an area where many women today struggle: developing deep friendships. She says it best in the books introduction: women “have a tendency to swim in the shallow pool of relationships because we know getting deep can equate to being vulnerable.” Unfortunately, social media outlets like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook widen the shallow end, allowing women the illusion of being involved in one another’s life. In reality, it’s simply a bunch of pictures and status updates that don’t often reflect the whole truth about a friend’s life. It’s a false world that offers little in the way of real friendship and support.

The best thing about Melanie’s book is that not only does she write inspiring quotes about friendship, but  she tells stories that illustrate the powerful bond of female relationships. It’s not a how-to book — although following her friendship example can help all women learn how-to be a better friend. It’s a nostalgic trek down friendship lane that forces its readers to remember friends from their childhood, high school and college years, as well as today. And in the remembering, we are compelled to deepen our friendships, the kind that shares joy and pain, love and loss, through thick and thin, day in and day out.

Nobody’s Cuter Than You, of course, will puddle the eyes with tears for its poignant moments, but it will also make readers laugh out loud with its hysterical analysis of stupid friendship antics, such as hideous clothing choices, eating habits (better to buy clothes than food in college), spontaneous road trips, and unexpected life changes. With every memory Melanie shares, readers remember why friendship is so vital to a full life.

The book is an easy read. I read it over the course of two days, only because I was trying to savor it. The read filled my heart with memories of friendships past and encouragement to connect with friends in the present. My heart was lighter, my smile brighter, and my mind determined to make friendship a priority in my life. Overall, Nobody’s Cuter Than You was worth every tear, chuckle and penny I spent!  (Watch the book trailer here. So worth it!)

PS: If you haven’t read her blog, you are missing out on daily laughter.

PSS: Don’t miss out on Melanie’s other books: Sparkly Green Earrings and The Antelope in the Living Room.