As far as reading goes, I'm moving back into school mode, so I thought I'd take stock of what I actually read this summer. I did not meet my 25 book desired goal, but I did enjoy a rich assortment of reading. Here is what I read, along with a (short! don't want to bore you) review.
1. Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart by John Ensor. This short little book was the Girl Talk book club choice, and I read it and liked it and recommend it to any single or dating person. Emily, I am bringing it for you to borrow. (wow, I just re-read that and it sounded so flippant like "hey, read this FUN book if you are on the dating scene -- like, for sure!" But what I really meant was "I agreed with the underlying principles of this book -- sort of the I Kissed Dating Goodbye for this generation. The author has straight his theology on man's depravity and God's plan for marriage").
2. Shopping for Time by the Girl Talkers . . . I've already said enough about this one, I think!
3. Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. This was the best book I've read on Titus 2 -- every married woman should read it!
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This was a re-read I'd been dying to do, and I enjoyed it even more the 2nd time around, since I'd been in Scout and Jem's world for a couple of weeks when my little sister Abby was staying with us. She read it and loved it so much she started right over and we got the movie from the library and everything.
5. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. Another re-read. Just as good the 2nd time. I'm very fond of this book.
6. Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. This is another one I've written much about. If you did not hear me before, hear me now -- I haven't met anyone yet who hasn't been wowed. Ask Morning Rose!
7. Love, Ruby Lavendar by Deborah Wiles. This was my bedtime book during Camp OUTT: light, sweet and original. The title comes from a series of letters a little girl writes to her grandmother, who is also her best friend. It would be a great book to read with your daughter. Some good scenes of forgiveness and understanding when Ruby finally forgives a mean girl who has really done her harm.
8. Each Little Bird that Sings by Deborah Wiles. (Another re-read), One of my all-time favorite children's books, it won the read-aloud award in 2006, and makes me think somehow the author had access to my own brain as a child. Comfort Snowberger lives above a funeral home and goes to all the funerals. The book certainly has some sad parts, but it is peppered with humor (such as Comfort's tips on how to act at funerals and what sort of food to bring), and will leave you wanting to make funeral-dinner potatoes.
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. This final book in the famous series was my favorite. The link I included in the title takes you to an excellent article in Christianity Today which summarizes much of my thinking better than I could. Check it out if you are a Potter fan or skeptic. Here is a picture of me reading the first chapter aloud at midnight to some of the people at the Ultimate Night of Magic thrown by my darling old bookstore, Blue Kangaroo Books. The hundreds of other people who were there were in line for their books, and thus not in the picture. I did have a handful of teenage boys stop by to hear me read and as they left, called out "thanks! You're a good reader!" Awww.
10. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. I explain here how I read this book for Camp OUTT. It's maybe my favorite Narnia story (after Last Battle, and LWW, and . . . )
11.Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. All of you who had to read this in high school will say "what? You didn't know that?" when I say that I was taken aback by the violence and darkness of this book. I suppose up to this point I've chosen to read the sweeter Dicken's classics, which I like a great deal better. I can't argue, though, it is a good book, full of superb characterization, which is my favorite element of literature.
12. What Is a Healthy Church? by Mark Dever. This smaller version of his book Nine Marks of a Healthy Church is designed for lay people, and has a frank, clear manner that makes it easy to read as well as personally challenging. Totally recommend this to anyone thinking about leaving, looking for, joining, improving or just being in the life of a church.
13. On Asking God Why by Elisabeth Elliot. This is a good book to read one chapter of each day along with your devotions, or any other time you need a short chapter with a truly good deep thought in it. That said, this book is not best read as a whole -- each chapter is on a different subject (unlike my favorite Elliot books: The Path of Suffering and Shadow of the Almighty). It's probably a collection of devotionals she wrote for her newsletter. But it's her pen, and it's good stuff!
I've read several chapters of a slew of other books, including The Four Loves, The Last Battle, Relationships, From Homer to Harry Potter, When Sinners Say I Do and others I grab if I'm on break at work. I'm off to class required reading!