Saturday, July 29, 2006

I Really Love Books

One of my favorite things is books. No, not just reading, but books themselves. I love reading them, browsing online and reading about them, walking through the aisles of a bookstore or the library, or perusing my own collection. The thought of a free book, or a basket of books purchased for a pittance at a thrift store or book sale, has truly been known to give me heart palpatations.

I always have several books "going" at a time, usually one fiction and several non-fiction of the Christian discipleship, parenting, adventure variety (those are three separate categories, but they could be one big one, couldn't they?).

I've been reading a lot of fiction this year, but I've also gone months and months without reading any. How can that be? How can I be so fickle as to abdandon something I love so much? There are so many hours in the day. What is it that I truly want to spend them on? By figuring out what my favorite things really are (and what the important ones are, too), I can evaluate how I'm spending my time. The important things are my family and my Lord. I know that there are many "shoulds" that go along with those two priorities, and so I try to squeeze them in (although housekeeping for my family still falls way behind some of my other loves that I will mention next). My leisure time is then spent reading or blogging (both reading and writing). What has happened is that I have let other interests fall by the wayside, like TV and Blockbuster online rentals. Just last night, Terry and I were going to try to tackle at least the first half of , which has been sitting here for weeks because he is not at all interested and it's three hours long (I'd welcome feedback if anyone has any). It started getting later, and he had his weekly sports news to catch up on, and I thought of the pile of books by my bed, and so we read. If I had chosen to pop in a DVD, I would not have finished The Living End. This is my first read by Lisa Samson, who Dianne recommended on the book meme thing, and wow, I feel like I have found a new friend in her books. I know that I will be reading many others. This book is literary and thoughtful, funny and sad and life-affirming, all at once.

Here are some books that have stuck with me. I won't call them favorites, because I never do so well on choosing favorites. It's like choosing a favorite child or something. They come in roughly chronological order of my first encounter with them. Since I'm wordy, and a bit opinionated, I will let you in on what I like about each pick, too.

Mandy by Julie Edwards. I read this book as a child, and actually remembered details about the plot. I thought that having a secret place all my own would be the coolest thing ever. I came across one in a used bookstore (thump, thump), and I figured that it was about time for Amanda to read it. We read it aloud, and she, too, was pulled into the story just as I had been. It was so wonderful to share it with her.

It and The Stand by Stephen King. I actually don't generally read horror anymore, although I've been tempted to pick up the Stand again, especially since I've seen it listed on others' favorite lists. King is a great writer and he makes a world of fantasy become quite real. In fact, I was in high school when I was reading It, working as a (don't hit me) telemarketer. We got a ten minute break every hour, and I would go out into the lobby and sit and read. I even remember reading this book while driving the car on the way to work, and maybe home, although it would've been dark making that a doubly stupid choice.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell . I have never really seen this movie. I'm sure it's been on while I've been in the room, but I've never been a fan. I read this book in the car (while Terry drove) driving to Yellowstone National Park. It struck me as a masterpiece. That was over ten years ago. I should maybe read it again, as well.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. This was another book that just really stuck with me. The story is of a fateful climb up Mt. Everest, and I learned so much about climbers and what motivates them and the sacrifices that they make to do what they do.

A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George really changed my outlook on being a wife and a mother, under the tutelage of God. This merits a reread as well.

At Home in Mitford (and the whole series) by Jan Karon. I love the quirky and real characters in these books. They have all become like dear friends. It reminds me how to live as a person of faith in this world, and what life would be like if everyone thought of the good in others and the good that they could do for others. It also makes me chuckle, but I think I'm an easy laugh.

The Color Code got me excited about eating fruits and vegetables. It's a neat way to try to get a lot into your family, and last summer, Amanda even got into counting up her colors. We have strayed and need to start making that a priority again.

Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. I breezed through this book last summer. It is a fictionalized account, but based heavily on Prentiss' own experiences. It follows one woman from age 16, in 1831, through motherhood and beyond. It is written in journal form. Deep thoughts such as sanctification and good works and why and how we should do them are tackled in this book as well as the transforming power of change that can occur when we submit to God.

It seems that I have added to my own "to read" list by thinking through these. I hope that you have found one or two you might want to pick up, too.

**I have provided links to either, or, based on price. is often cheaper than (for example, Stepping Heavenward is $3.99. Can you buy anything for $3.99 anymore?, and for some Christian study resources, their selection tops amazon by a mile.

The Blogging Chicks Carnival has been trying out some themes. Click the picture link on Sunday to read more about Favorite Things.


Katrina said...

I'm a complete book-a-holic, too. And while I also enjoy getting a good deal on books, there's nothing quite like the feel of a new book that's all mine.

I read my fair share of Stephen King books in high school, and "It" has also stuck with me - not in a good way (I have clown issues). I don't read horror anymore, either, but I agree that King definitely has a way of making his books feel very real.

I have been curious about Into Thin Air, and will put it on my "get from the library" list. And thank you for recommending Stepping Heavenward - you had suggested that to me a long time ago and I picked it up (who can resist a $3.99 book?) and enjoyed it, too.

Great post.

Jane said...

Hi, thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog, thank you for this post, I love reading too and always have several on the go and I have been known to read at bus stops, waiting for my mouth to freeze in the dental surgery.....I am currently reading Under the banner of heaven - my husband recommended it to me, he has read all his books and loved Into Thin Air as well.

Elizabeth George's books have also had a profound influence on me too!!!

With the tour of the homes, I kept finding myself twisting my head sideways to look at peoples books and see what was on their shelves!!!

Love your blog, I'll be back to visit too!

Dianne said...

Heart palpitations - I can so relate! Recently I purchased a book for a friend (K) and I read the entire book on my way to work (yes I was driving!) You can never have enough books. And no, you don't have to read 'em all - covah to covah - as they say! They're nice just to refer to, to line your bookshelves, to enjoy flipping through. My husband does not get this but it's so comforting to know there are those who do!

Glad you enjoyed Lisa Samson . . . I can't wait to get my hands on her new one (a freebie!)

I just picked up two of Alexander McCall Smith's mysteries today - something different. I'm anxious to dig in.

Laurel Wreath said...

Yeah, a fellow book lover I will have to list the books I have read this summer...


Anna Venger said...

I thought I was the only one! Just being in the presence of books is a joy, isn't it? Bibliophile, I think they call us.

And Gone with the Wind is priceless.

Jen Rouse said...

My mother-in-law shared "Stepping Heavenward" with me several years ago. It is so good to receive good books to read/book recommendations from other Christian ladies!

CyberCelt said...

I am amazed at how many of us blogging chicks are read-a-holics. Its great. If we pass our love of books (and God) to our children, the world will be a better place.

eph2810 said...

Reading used to be my favoirte thing as well. For some reason I don't find the time anymore. Or at least the engery. I have quite a collection too - fiction and non-fiction.
I have to say though that my all time favorite book/story is Bill Myers' "When the last Leaf falls" - I think you can buy it new for $2.99 at

I have to agree though - the Midford series was a blast to read :)...

KristieD said...

my boyfriend and i used to read together all the time. I share a couple of favorites with you, such as stephen King. he was one of the 1st authors i really started trying to read everything he wrote. Both the books you mentioned are great. I also really liked the Dark Tower series, but not too many other king fans i know agree. Also good by him are the 2 books he did with Peter Straub: the Talisman and something else (sorry cant remember the title) they have a sort of dark tower feel to them.

Anyway- over here via BC..did my post on reading as well.

Malissa said...

books are my favorite too!

Elizabeth George ranks right up there with the most favorite devotional books.

Mitford too! love her stories.

Have you read the Yada Yada prayer group books yet?

TurtleHeart said...

I'm a total book junkie myself! "Mandy" was one of my absolute favorite books as a child. So nice to find someone else who loved it like I did. :-)

Karen said...

I loved Into Thin Air- the whole thing is just amazing. and definitley sticks with you.

Pamela said...

My sister in law gets books on CD so she can listen when she commutes. I've wondered if I could do that while I'm doing housework? Since I hate housework, I probably wouldn't get much reading done that way!!!

Robin said...

Hey Jennifer,

Bloggers have to LOVE reading I am now convinced (heck, just looking at how many BCs listed that as a "favorite"! Did you see my post last month on "Rediscovering a long, lost love"? It's about picking up this..."hobby"...again after letting it go for a number of years.