Monday, October 20, 2008

At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks

Bleh. Predictable with no emotional punch. Not recommended at all.

Why do I keep reading Nicholas Sparks books? Hum. They are usually good for an afternoon read. But after this one, I will be much less inclined to pick another up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Answering my Fan Mail

Today I will answer a question posted by one of my Faithful Readers (and I think there's five of you out there, okay, well maybe four). This is from Emily aka My Big Sister:

What are the five most important/meaningful books that you would recommend? Your sister, Emily

Dear Emily, Thanks for teaching me how to read! I've been reading ever since you taught me that great word, PET. I wonder if that's why I love animals too. Hum! Now onto your question!

Important books are ones that have somehow changed the way I live or think about life. Here they are:

1. Finding Contentment by Neil Clark Warren
Before founding eharmony, Neil Clark Warren wrote a fantastic book about how finding contentment is based on living out of who you truly are. This book made me more intentional about getting to know myself and making decisions out of who I really am.

2. The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge
This was John Eldredge at his best - challenging, new, and not quoting movies, but rather the primary texts! This book made me realize that God is after my heart...and not just some of it, but all of it.

3. He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo
I include this book not because it changed my life forever, but because it definitely made singleness much more managable and greatly reduced dating angst and anxiety. And if you've ever experienced dating and/or singleness angst (and I know I'm not the only one!), then you know how a little peace in this area of life is priceless.

4. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
A story about being yourself. Hum, a familiar theme...and it might explain why my favorite movie is What A Girl Wants.

5. Take Time for Your Life: A Personal Coach's 7-Step Program for Creating the Life You Want by Cheryl Richardson
In terms of very practical daily living and self-care, this book prompted me to make a lot of changes in my life. It goes through figuring out what's important to you and re-arranging your schedule so that your life and how you spend your time reflects that.

And to my Faithful Readers (all four of you!) out there, would you mind sharing with me which books have been important to you?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken

As a volunteer grief counselor for the last 1 1/2 years, I've been learning how important it is to talk about grief, to experience it, to honor it. I've also learned that grief sometimes does not go away. It may change and shift, but more times than not we need to learn how to live with the loss.

I wish that our American culture recognized this instead of expecting somebody to attend a funeral and go back to work the next day as if getting on with life was the most normal thing to do...when really the world has stopped for you.

This book is the memoir of a mother whose first child is stillborn. It is a beautiful and powerful book.

Sometimes I don't have a lot to say about a book because the book is stupid and isn't worth describing. For this book, I don't have a lot to say because there is nothing else I need to say except that this is an important book and I think everyone would gain from reading it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

In Constant Prayer by Robert Benson

This is an introduction to the practice of fixed-hour prayer, otherwise known as the daily office. Benson argues that we can't become people of prayer unless we actually start praying. The daily office is a discipline to get us more into the presence of God each day so that God might actually have a chance to speak to us and minister to us and so that we are worshiping him regularly regardless of what is going on. There are books of liturgy and Scripture that make saying the daily office more accessible.

This is one of the least daunting books on prayer that I have read. It is simple, yet inspiring. It not only made me think that I could actually integrate this practice into my life, but it made me want to as well.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli

I did not like this book at all. It was a scattered, disjointed mess. Bleh. It's not even worth telling you what it was about since I am not recommending it at all. Such a disappointment since I usually enjoy Spinelli's books.