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52 books in 52 weeks

I’m a little behind, but I have been reading!

So far, I’ve read:

“Between the Assassinations,” by Aravind Adiga

Read

“Freckles,” by Gene-Stratton Porter

“The Wisdom of Stability: Rooting Faith in a Mobile Culture,” by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Reading

“Under the Overpass,” by Mike Yankoski

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last year, in books

“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy,” Edward P. Morgan

Here are the books I’ve read in the past year that I remember. They are in no particular order:

“A Thousand Miles in a Millions Years,” Donald Miller
“Searching for God Knows What,” Donald Miller
“The Grace of God,” Andy Stanley
“Radical,” David Platt
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” J.K. Rowling
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” J.K. Rowling
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” J.K. Rowling
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” J.K. Rowling
“Three Cups of Tea,” Greg Mortenson
“Water for Elephants,” Jacob Jankowski
“The History of Love,” Nicole Krauss
“Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” Rick Riordan
“Percy Jackson and the Lightning Theif,” Rick Riordan
“Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters,” Rick Riordan
“Percy Jackson and the Titan’s Curse,” Rick Riordan
“Percy Jackson and the Battle of the Labyrinth,” Rick Riordan
“Three Weeks with My Brother,” Nicholas Sparks
“1984,” George Orwell
“Chasing Fireflies,” Charles Martin
“White Tiger,” Aravind Adiga
“The Bonesetter’s Daughter,” Amy Tan
“Run to Overcome,” Meb Keflezighi
“Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half With America’s Cheapest Family,”Steve and Annette Economides
“Transforming Church in Rural America,” Shannon O’Dell
“The Voice,” editors include Chris Seay, Lauren Winner, Brian McLaren, Greg Garrett, David B. Capes
“Uncle Sam’s Plantation,” Star Parker
“Immanuel’s Veins,” Ted Dekker
“Outlive Your Life,” Max Lucado
‘The Butterfly Effect,” Andy Andrews
“The Boy Who Changed the World,” Andy Andrews
“Cast of Characters,” Max Lucado
“Istanbul,” Orhan Pamuk
“Snow,” Orhan Pamuk
“Life of Luther,” Barnas Sears, D.D.
“Mornings and Evenings,” Charles Spurgeon
“Outliers,” Malcom Gladwell
“The Mysterious Benedict Society,” Trenton Lee Stewart
“And Then There Were None,” Agatha Christie
“Windows of the Soul,” Ken Gire
“Humility,” Andrew Murray
“The Best American Travel Writing, 2008,” Anthony Bourdain
“The Sacred Romance,” John Eldredge
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,” Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows

Have you read any of these? Any recommendations?

I’ll leave you with two more book quotes:

“Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book,” Author Unknown

“A good book should leave you… slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it,” William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

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The Boy Who Changed the World

I like history a lot. I really love reading books that either are based on history or are history. Historical fiction is my favorite genre.

This is why I enjoyed Andy Andrews’ children’s book, “The Boy Who Changed the World.” I read this book after reading Andrew’s book, “The Butterfly Effect.”

The message in both books is the same: you were created for a purpose and everything you do matters. “The Butterfly Effect” is geared toward adults and “The Boy Who Changed the World” is for children.

The butterfly effect is a scientific theory that Andrews summarizes in the book as:

“When a butterfly flaps its wings, it moves tiny pieces of air . . . that move other tiny pieces of air . . . that move other tiny pieces of air. In fact, on the other side of the world, they might be feeling a big whoosh of wind—all because a butterfly flapped its wings here just a few minutes ago!”

The butterfly effect is a call to live a life of permanent purpose.

In “The Butterfly Effect,” Andrews talks about George Washington Carver, Henry Wallace and Norman Borlaug, who all changed the world. “The Boy Who Changed the World” also shares their stories in an-easy to understand format for children.

Andrews gives several examples of the butterfly effect applied in life. Because George Washington Carver, took interest in Henry Wallace, the former vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt, Wallace became interested in agriculture. He became the Secretary of Agriculture and later hired Norman Borlaug. In the 1940s, Borlaug hybridized high yield, disease resistant corn and wheat for arid climates. This saved two billion lives from famine.

The book sends a great message to children.

“That means every little thing you do matters: what you did yesterday, what you do today, and what you do tomorrow. God made your life so important that every move you make, every action you take, matters . . . and not only for you or the people around you,” Andrews writes.

I’d read the book to my children. (I don’t have any, but if I did, I would).

Also, as a side note, I loved the watercolor illustrations in the book.

Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze provided me with an electronic copy of this book. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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Tears.

It’s 1:57 a.m.

I just finished reading Nicholas and Micah Sparks’ book, “Three Weeks With My Brother.”

I cried.

I didn’t intend to stay up this late reading and it’s been awhile since I have. It was worth it.

For whatever reason, I used to pride myself in the fact that I didn’t cry reading books or watching movies. A proud entertainment stoic, I’d frequently tell to others this in response to their sharing about shedding of tears.

I did cry though, don’t get me wrong. I am a very emotional person. I just usually didn’t cry during books or movies.

Now, everything has changed. I find myself crying more in general and in books and movies. And I am OK with that.

Being a stoic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I cried watching Toy Story 3 the other night. Toys held, and still hold, a special place in my heart. Just like Andy in Toy Story, my toys were close companions. I believed they were real and took their feelings into consideration always. It tore me up to give away toys. Just ask my parents.

When I was younger, I’d line up all of my stuffed animals on our couch so they could watch TV with me. I also had imaginary friends, but that’s for another post.

I cried when Woody made the choice to write a note suggesting that they be given to Bonnie. I was snot-nosed and sniffly in the last scene when Andy gave away Buzz, Rex, Slinky and especially when he gave away Woody.

Growing up is hard. Adulthood is hard

I cried reading Nicholas and Micah Sparks’ book. It is an intensely personal book. It’s a memoir. The Sparks brothers lost both of their parents and their younger sister. I promise that wasn’t a spoiler, it’s given away on the back of the book.

Reading about their losses profoundly touched me. It reminded me, not that I needed reminding, about how strong the bonds of family are. What tends to make me cry is when I relate a certain sad incident to my life.  Reading “Three Weeks With My Brother” made me think about losing family. That hurt.

I cannot imagine the pain the Sparks brothers went through. My family is so important to me, so integral to who I am, I just simply can’t imagine. I don’t want to imagine.

My extended family has dealt with a lot of loss. I lost one of my grandfathers, two uncles and a young cousin. Reading this book opened some of those wounds. It was painful.

In the book, faith and trust in God is a crucial part of the book.

I think what God’s teaching me is that crying when reading a book or movie can be good. That sounds really elementary, but I’m realizing that different books and movies can bring out our past so we can remember God’s grace, so we can remember lessons learned and so we can value and treasure life.

Media imitates life. The stories we read and watch are snippets from our lives. Spark’s book, “A Walk to Remember” is based off of his sister. His book, “Rescue” is about his son who has developmental issues. Since media imitates life, there are applications to each of our lives if we’re willing to take them.

It’s important to be in tune with feelings and emotions. It is so important to process and share feelings — especially when tragedy and loss are involved. Holding tears in doesn’t help.

Reading or watching something sad that strikes an emotional vein can bring reflection and healing if we let God work.

No longer will I brag about being an entertainment stoic. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Trust me.

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