Saturday, January 31, 2015

50 Books In 2015

Here's a list of the 2015 Book Challenge. I will update this each month with the books I read! Not too late to join in the adventure!

1) A book with more than 500 pages (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)
2) A classic romance
3) A book that became a movie
4) A book published this year
5) A book with a number in the title
6) A book written by someone under 30
7) A book with non human characters 
8) A funny book
9) A book by a female author
10) A mystery or thriller
11) A book with a one word title (Churchless by Barna and Kinnaman)
12) A book of short stories (Chicken Soup for the Soul Love Stories)
13) A book set in a different country (Nelson Mandela: South Africa's Anti-Aparteid Revolutionary by Diane Dakers)
14) A nonfiction book (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer by C.S. Lewis)
15) A popular author's first book
16) A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet (One and Only by Emily Giffin)
17) A book a friend recommended (It Takes a Fool: A Tough Lesson Learned on Bullying by Sasha Dreams)
18) A Pulitzer Prize winning book 
19) A book based on a true story
20) A book at the bottom of your to-read list 
(Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman)
21) A book your mom (or dad) loves (Homer Price by Robert McCloskey)
22) A book that scares you
23) A book more than 100 years old
24) A book chosen based entirely on its cover
25) A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't
26) A memoir (Wild Tales by Graham Nash)
27) A book you can finish in a day (The Art Lesson by Tommy dePaola)
28) A book with antonyms in the title
29) A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit
30) A book that came out the year you were born
31) A book with bad reviews
32) A trilogy
33) A book from your childhood
34) A book with a love triangle
35) A book set in the future
36) A book set in high school
37) A book with a color in the title
38) A book that made you cry (Educating All God's Children by Nicole Fulgham Baker)
39) A book with magic
40) A graphic novel
41) A book by an author you've never read before 
(Story of Awkward by R.K. Ryals)
42) A book you own but haven't read yet (A Praying Life by Paul Miller)
43) A book that takes place in your hometown (or surrounding area)
44) A book that was originally written in a different language 
45) A book set during Christmas
46) A book by an author with your same initials
47) A play (Escape to Freedom: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass: A Play for Young People by Ossie Davis)
48) A banned book
49) A book based on or turned into a TV show
50) A book you started but never finished 

Here are more books that did not fit into these categories:

  • Meditating on the Word by Deitrich Bonhoeffer
  • The Pursuit of God by A.W. Towzer
  • Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets
  • The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
  • The Power of A Half-Hour by Tommy Barnett
  • The Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado
  • The Autobiography of George Muller by George Muller
  • Memories of Vietnam: War in the First Person by Ellen Weiss
  • The Worst Day of My Life by Bill Cosby
  • Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O Zelinsky
  • The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola
  • Praying in Color by Sybil MacBeth
  • Schools in Crisis by Nicole Fulgham Baker

January: 6 Books

I read six books in January. Kind of a miracle based on the fact that I am usually happy if I get through one book/month. The first book I read was Wild Tales, which is my last post. 

A Praying Life was a great book about prayer. It was practical and easy to read. I had a few people comment about the book when they noticed I was reading it. This was one of the required books for my C.S. Lewis fellows program this month on the topic of prayer. 

Sometimes I just want to read a story. I was interested in the title, The Story of Awkward. This book was simple. I didn't really like the ending (but in case you read it, I won't share what happened). I thought it was kind of out of sync with the rest of the book. Ryals wrote this for her daughter to help her realize and appreciate her differences and what makes her unique. It was an ok book.

My brother's girlfriend let me borrow this book. Can't say I've picked up one of these Chicken Soup for the Soul books in YEARS. It was nice to read on the bus on my way to Philly last year for Christmas... I finished it in 2015, so I'm counting it in this year's books. As always, inspirational little stories about love. Might be the perfect time to pick it up for Valentine's Day.

Emily Giffin is a talented author. I have devoured her other books and this one was no different. I really like the way she writes about real life topics that matter and in the first person. This is not my favorite one of hers, but it was interesting story line.

Another book for the Fellows Program. Newman brings a lot to the table in what he has to offer, but I don't necessarily like reading books like this. I am glad I read it, and it's better than other books we have had to read in the same vain. If you're interested in the topic, it would be good to pick up and read. 

Six books. Only January. I might be able to complete this 50 books in 2015 challenge!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Wild Tales

My first book completed in 2015 is Wild Tales by Graham Nash.
Typical of a rock and roll star, he talks about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. WARNING: If you're not into reading curse words (particularly the F word), find another book.

I like reading books like this, although sometimes I get lost in the details. It helps me realize my parents grew up in this culture. I really enjoyed seeing his perspective on life. As a school dropout, he's done pretty well for himself and goes to show that education is not always best in schools. His artist personality is appealing, since he does more than just sing.

"[CSN had] been together for practically ten years, through our unstable twenties, in the spotlight for all that time. All three of us were complicated, intense, headstrong, talented, unpredictable -- qualities that came with risks. Add money, women, drugs, and alcohol to the mix, it's a wonder we weren't in high-security lockdown. No question CSN was a rocky marriage" (251).

I like that Nash shares the good, the bad, and the ugly.

"To this day, a camera is never far from my reach. I get such a unique perspective looking at the world through a lens, an outlook that has captivated me all of my life... It has taught me to become more aware of my surroundings to see the beauty that exists around us all the time, to appreciate all forms of imagery. I'm amazed anew every time I look through a lens" (338).

I've never seen so many famous people's names in one book. While I would chalk it up to name-dropping, it was actually HIS LIFE... and HIS PEOPLE! Wow. To be among the first rock and rollers -- to hang out with Jimi, the Beatles, the Everly Brothers, Joni and more... AND the fact that he gave money to a few of his son's friends to keep going in the music business... Thank God because they turned into Maroon 5!

At 72 years old, he is still rockin' out -- and looks great. Check out this youtube clip to see him just last year (note: I haven't watched it all yet, so I cannot vouch for it, but he looks great).

Now I just need to find time to go to the National Museum of American History where I can see his photography equipment/prints! YEA!

A little over a year ago, I read Neil Young's autobiography. Halfway through learning about the lives of CSNY members... Now I need to figure out if Stills or Croz have autobiographies.

I reviewed this book for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Margaret Feinberg has a unique writing style -- and I love it! She was so honest and open about life experiences. In the beginning she talked about hiking in Scotland with my former boss, Juliet! 

This is exactly what I needed to prepare me for 2015. Glad this was my last read of 2014.

"Though discouraged, I refused to stop pursuing God" (13).

Being in the city, it was really challenging to read the chapter on the wonder of creation. There is something so incredibly beautiful about being in nature. My love for Lake Michigan and being outside makes more sense after reading that chapter and finding spots to go to in the city will be my new challenge for 2015.

"God never entices us with evil, but he does allow us to be tested and refined in our faithfulness. Sin will try to seduce us, challenging our fidelity and integrity" (88).

One of my favorite chapters was The Magic in the Table.
"To rediscover the wonder of friendship, I had to change. Rather than holding people back, I needed to invite them in.... The temptation to live a guarded life allures everyone, but walls constructed for protection ultimately leads to isolation" (116-117).

The awesome part is that I feel like if we were in the same city, we could be fast friends. She includes a playlist for each chapter at the back of the book. I created a Spotify playlist of it.

On the plus side, the journey is not over yet! She has "Thirty Days of Wonder" to keep going. Thanks, Margaret. This book has brought me back around in my spiritual life and I'm on the up and up.

Last Few Reads of 2014

Rounding out 2014 are the following books (and one last one that deserves its own post):

This year, I am part of the C.S. Lewis Institute Fellows program. One of the books we read was Mere Christianity. The next time I read it, I want to read it in order. Because of the program, we were jumping all over the place but still read the entire book. It drives me crazy to read things out of order. 

I've heard a lot about this book from friends. It was interesting to read in light of where our culture is today compared to where Lewis' culture was when he wrote this book. 

Some of my favorite parts (WAY TOO MANY -- read the book!):
  • Progress means not just changing, but changing for the better (13).
  • Free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having (48).
  • A Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble (63).
  • Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before.... either into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature (92).
  • The Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives (112).
    YES! This is not just limited to British people. We need to quit holding people to a standard they don't hold for themselves. 
  • No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.... Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.... A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later (142).
The chapter that hit me the hardest was probably the one entitled, "The Greatest Sin". It was all about pride, a sneaky little vice that can rear its ugly head at any moment.

Another book for C. S. Lewis Fellows program was this one, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness. It was a small booklet and quick read. 

Don't you want to be the kind of person who, when they see themselves in a mirror or reflected in a shop window, does not admire what they see but does not cringe either (35)?

I finally read this book, another one I've heard a lot about from friends.

It was different than I thought it would be. I didn't realize it was more of a storytelling of her own love story with Jim Elliot than how to date well, although I did find it slightly annoying that the foreward was from I Kissed Dating Goodbye author Joshua Harris. 

If you're looking for a straight-forward talk about purity and how it looked for her, read this book.