Blog Books

The 2016 Book Challenge :: April through July

August 3, 2016

As the year carries on, the books it contains are just getting better and better.  In my travels, the book consumption has remained at an all-time high, mostly because I listen to them while driving or sitting on the train.  I already established that blogging while traveling is far more difficult than I first thought, so here I am, 3 months behind on my book reviews.  Oh well. My next blog post will piggyback off this one and be called “The Books that are Ruining My Life”, and I’m excited about it.

Anyway, here are my favorites, it’s been difficult to choose.

Sign of the BeaverSign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare.  This was the last book I read this with my 3rd grade reading group in Port Alsworth, all boys.  Let me tell you, I learned here that in order to get kids excited about reading, you have to give them something that they are into and can relate to.  Most kids in the country might not relate to this book, but Native Alaskan boys who live out in the bush and subsistence hunt and fish…they do.  On top of that, this book opened up some profound conversations about prejudice and about learning to know people individually before assuming you know anything about them.  It was the boys’ favorite book of the school year, and for this reason, it was also mine.






814983Cold Tangerines, by Shauna Niequist.  Perhaps it’s that I read this in transition, and she wrote it in transition, but it just GOT me.  I kept getting all choked up and found my eyes a bit teary on several occasions.  I take pride in not being emotional over certain things…but whatever.

This is a delightful collection of “small moments” and insights to go with them.  It’s a book about noticing the small things and embracing life wherever God has you.  Read it.

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”  –Shauna Niequist




Amazing Grace: The Story of William Wilberforce, by Eric Metaxas.  Easily the best biography I’ve ever ever read, except for the one he wrote about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  That was also amazing.

Sometimes I wonder, why is storytelling so important?  Why is it important to share insights and history and people’s lives and about their relationships?  And then I read a story like this, and realize that God uses stories and testimonies to change the world.  Wilberforce spent his earlier years tirelessly working to end the slave trade in England.  He spent his latter years tirelessly working to enforce it, and to better society.  He worked until the end of his life at the cause he believed in.  I am inspired.

Eric Metaxas weaves stories so beautifully that I hardly realized I was reading a “boring ole biography”, and I couldn’t put it down.  Twice now, he has done that.  I’m won over to the world of riveting life stories.




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Dinner at Antoine’s, by Frances Parkinson Keyes.  An old-fashioned “who done it” murder mystery, written in 1948 and handed to me by someone in Alaska who knew I liked to watch crime shows.  It was so fun!  It was like playing a game of Clue, I thought.  Set in New Orleans, high society, it’s got all the Southern charm a girl could want.  Plus, it’s got some good history with it– as one who has very very limited knowledge of New Orleans, I got to doing some research, and found out that Antoine’s is a 5th generation family owned restaurant, and the book was actually written as a gift for the 3rd generation owner.  Some of the dishes are described as part of the plot, and they are the very same dishes that I could go there today and order.  This nerd enjoyed it.






Here is the complete list of what books I’ve finished since April. Yes, I have a life. I’m just a compulsive reader, apparently:

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