Posts tagged ‘reading’

July 15, 2014

Yellow Chrysanthemum

‘These are for you,’ he said, thrusting [the bunch of chyrsanthemums] at me. I saw that the stems had been broken very roughly and that they were not tied together at all. 

‘Are they out of your garden?’ I asked 

‘Yes; I snatched them as I was hurrying for the train.’

Somehow they seemed a little less desirable now. He had not chosen them, had not gone into a shop for that purpose, they had just happened to be there. If he had gone into a shop and chosen them… I pulled myself up and told myself to stop these ridiculous thoughts, wondering why it is that we can never stop trying to analyse the motives of people who have no personal interest in us, in the vain hope of finding that perhaps they may have just a little after all.”

– Barbara Pym, Excellent Women, 221

January 26, 2014

Yes, I am letting my own experience color my answer, which is what experience is for.

Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown, 203

January 20, 2014

[…T]he original creation covenant is no more set aside than the law of Moses, but rather is fulfilled — not by use by by the one who was appointed mediator before the foundation of the world and has appeared in these last days, born under the law, to redeem those under the law. ‘There is no gift that has not been earned by Him.’

Michael Horton, Introducing Covenant Theology, 108

January 17, 2014

Reading Update (September 24-December 31, 2013)

Boy howdy, have I really not done a reading update since September?! Shocking.

I read some good books in that chunk of time, and the total for 2013 was 137 books. Not record-breaking (especially with all those picture books), but more than I expected.

  1. Widows and Orphans by Susan Meissner – Weak.
  2. The Book of Common Prayer Daily Devotional – I was reading it every day, and then I became impatient and read the whole rest of it in like 9 days.
  3. Irish Tenure by Ralph McIrney – Not bad.
  4. Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle – Delightful.
  5. Die Trying (Jack Reacher #2) by Lee Child – I rather like Jack Reacher, it happens.
  6. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff – I was a bit disappointed.
  7. Rutland Place (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt #5) by Anne Perry – Love.
  8. Bluegate Fields (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt #6) by Anne Perry – Also really good.
  9. Tripwire (Jack Reacher #3) by Lee Child – Yay Jack Reacher!
  10. The Subversive Copy Editor by Carol Fisher Saller – Loved it, grammar geek that I am.
  11. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – JK Rowling really did quite a good job on this one.
  12. Death in the Devil’s Acre (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt #7) by Anne Perry – Not my favorite Thomas & Charlotte Pitt, truth be told.
  13. To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander – Fine. Liked A Lasting Impression much better though.
  14. The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry – Slightly better than eh.
  15. Running Blind (Jack Reacher #7) by Lee Child
  16. The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crimes #1) by Jasper Fforde – I like Fforde’s off-beat crime novels, but I seem to tire of them once the novelty wears off.
  17. Echo Burning (Jack Reacher #8) by Lee Child
  18. Cardington Crescent (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt #8) by Anne Perry
  19. These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
  20. Eldest (Inheritance Cycle #2) by Christopher Paolini – This was great. Can’t believe it took me more than 6 years to finally pick up this second book (which I owned!) – really excellent.
  21. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins – Had to reread after seeing Catching Fire. Loved, again.
  22. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins – Loved better this second time around.
  23. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins – Finally really appreciated this one.
  24. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – I think this was my 3rd read-through.
  25. Old Man Winter: The New Season by Bethany Burke – This picture book has beautiful colored pencil illustrations.
January 13, 2014

Love is holy because it is like grace – the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead, 209

September 24, 2013

Reading Update (31 March – 23 September)

There are a lot of these. Fifty-one, to be exact.

Ok. Here we go. Most of these have notes. Some of them do not. One universal concept you can keep in mind is that I always love Agatha Christie.

There are probably altogether too many words in this post. Oh well.

  1. Future Grace by John Piper – very good
  2. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – On my b-i-l‘s “favorite books” list, so I had to read it. Not on my “favorite books” list, but that’s ok. It was definitely worth the read.
  3. Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie
  4. Marianna May and Nursey by Tomie dePaola – This is the beginning of a run of picture books. This one was not so great
  5. The Clown of God: An Old Story Told and Illustrated by Tomie dePaola – Another picture book. I thought I liked Tomie dePaola. I guess I was wrong.
  6. The Song of Francis by Tomie dePaola – Another picture book. This one was weird too.
  7. Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling – I’ve heard about this one since I was seven. Now that I’ve read it, I can safely say it does not live up to the hype.
  8. Fly High, Fly Low by Don Freeman – Another picture book. I’m pretty sure I love Don Freeman.
  9. Will’s Quill: or, How a Goose Saved Shakespeare by Don Freeman – Another picture book. This one is very cute.
  10. Manuelo the Playing Mantis by Don Freeman – Another picture book. Now I KNOW I love Don Freeman.
  11. Be Gentle with the Dog, Dear! By Matthew J. Baek – Another picture book. I need to get this one for my nephew Brad. He likes to pounce on Westley.
  12. Half a Pig by Allan Ahlberg – Another picture book. It was kinda weird.
  13. Monsieur Saguette & His Baguette by Frank Asch – Another picture book. Yay for teensy bits of French.
  14. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – I kind of get why this one is beloved.
  15. James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl – Eh.
  16. Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger – Eh (disappointingly)
  17. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – LOVE.
  18. Inside Out by Larry Crabb – Sanctification ain’t easy, chaps, but it’s good.
  19. On Beauty by Zadie Smith – I did not like this book. Occasionally disturbing and gross.
  20. The Killing Floor by Lee Child – Hello, Jack Reacher. I think I love you.
  21. Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield – SO AWESOME.
  22. Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie
  23. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – This is so depressing. SO. DEPRESSING.
  24. The Pact by Jennifer Sturman – Clever, wry, and suspenseful.
  25. Writing Jane Austen by Elizabeth Aston – You have to suspend your disbelief a little bit for this one, but it is SO fun. If you love Jane Austen and wish you could read Pride and Prejudice or Mansfield Park or Sense and Sensibility for the first time all over again, this book is what you’ve been looking for.
  26. Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture by Adam S. McHugh – Read this aloud to my brother and dad on our roadtrip this summer. (Of course, right? The extrovert is reading the book OUT LOUD to the introverts.) It was really good and profound and thought-provoking. Oh, and apparently I’m like 70% introvert, 70% extrovert. Which is confusing.
  27. The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller – Excellent, quick read.
  28. Christians Get Depressed Too by David Murray
  29. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry – Glad I read it; glad I’m done.
  30. Susanna Wesley by Charles Ludwig – I loved this book when I was a kid. I wanted to be like Susanna Wesley in many ways. She was a pretty awesome lady.
  31. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien – FINALLY. (Also – LOVE.)
  32. The Ghosts of Cape May: Book One by Craig McManus – I think someone should write a collection of ghost stories who actually thinks they’re interesting as folklore and cultural artifacts. This is not that book. Dude is a medium and has lots of channeling sessions and this book is just creepy.
  33. The Cater Street Hangman (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt No. 1) by Anne Perry – Hello, new series. I love you.
  34. Are Women Human? Penetrating, Sensible, and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society by Dorothy L. Sayers – This was a 100% worthy reread. Sayers is spectacular.
  35. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson – Living in North Korea sucks. Want to really feel the weight of that? Read this book.
  36. The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories by Agatha Christie
  37. The Charming Quirks of Others (Isabel Dalhousie No. 7) by Alexander McCall Smith – At the behest of a dear friend, jumped straight into book 7 of this series and adored it, which surprised me since the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series bores me to Snoozeville.
  38. Wise Words: Family Stories That Bring Proverbs to Life by Peter Leithart – This is a horrible book. Some theologians should NEVER try to write fiction.
  39. When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy by John Piper – Very good.
  40. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – You know what I think about this one.
  41. Callander Square (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt No. 2) by Anne Perry
  42. Paragon Walk (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt No. 3) by Anne Perry
  43. The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White – Excellent. (I’m such a nerd.)
  44. See Delphi and Die (Marcus Didius Falco No. 17) by Lindsey Davis
  45. Resurrection Row (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt No. 4) by Anne Perry – By this point in the series, I am quite determined to own all of them. Because they are that good.
  46. Noah’s Rainy Day (Liv Bergen No. 4) by Sandra Brannan – This is a raw, gritty series, but I really appreciate it. About 40% of this particular book is narrated by a boy with severe cerebral palsy. Masterful work.
  47. Crown of Fire (Firebird No. 3) by Kathy Tyers
  48. The Sunday Philosophers Club (Isabel Dalhousie No. 1) by Alexander McCall Smith
  49. Decked by Carol Higgins Clark – Cute and cozy; brings to mind Agatha Christie’s travel mysteries – a slight twist on your traditional, run-of-the-mill locked room mystery.
  50. The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Excellent, if you go in for magical realism.
  51. The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason – I liked this by the end, but I’m still confused about why it was written.
September 21, 2013

A Few Things

1. God apparently agrees with me that there should be more babies in my life. So many of my friends and acquaintances are pregnant. YAY!

2. I have decided to make a playlist for my trip to upstate NY next week that is exclusively songs I listened to before sophomore year of college. (Now taking recommendations…)

3. I just started my own college admissions consulting business! Check it out at 

4. I am currently reading book #111 of the year. That means I reallllllllly need to update you guys on what I’ve been reading. 

5. My dog is awfully snuggly tonight. Image

March 1, 2013

First 23 Books of 2013

Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner – Lisa Gardner is good at the whole mystery/thriller-writing-thing
The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung – very good
The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson – 3rd book in the 100 Cupboards series
The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie – dude writes just like Dr. House talks
The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie – this one was particularly great fun
At Bertram’s Hotel by Agatha Christie
Adopting the Racing Greyhound by Cynthia A. Brannigan
A Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie
The Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowens – quite a bit of “meh” to be found here
The Devil Colony by James Rollins – who doesn’t love a ridiculous conspiracy theory thriller?
The Skeleton Key by James Rollins (novella)
Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies by Lee Livingood – most helpful book on greyhounds so far
My Life in France by Julia Child, with Alex Prud’homme – very interesting; strong motivation to learn how to make beurre blanc
Mystic River by Dennis Lehane – enjoyed it
The Lost Van Gogh by A.J. Zerries – ridic
The Racketeer by John Grisham
What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw by Agatha Christie
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Love Walked In by Maria De Los Santos – LOVE LOVE LOVE
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis – LOVE LOVE LOVE
A Conspiracy of Tall Men by Noah Hawley – barely made it throug
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – very, very good – I can see why it managed to make most of the “best novels of 2012” lists

January 1, 2013

Reading – The End of 2012

The final count for the year is 167. Here are the most recent 40+. I’ve bolded the ones I liked best, and made a few notes for fun.

The Next Accident by Lisa Gardner
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Lot’s Return to Sodom by Sandra Brannan
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (translated by Lowell Bair) – so it turns out Lowell Bair is AWESOME. I got all the books he’s translated from French after I read this.
The Jupiter Myth by Lindsey Davis
Dragons of the Valley by Donita K. Paul
The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams
Widow’s Might by Sandra Brannan – one heck of a mystery novel. you want a strong female? you got it in this series. (this is book 3)
Gideon’s Corpse by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
The Drop by Michael Connelly
Dragons of the Watch by Donita K. Paul
The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafor
Broken Harbor by Tana French
Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside by Greg Dutcher
The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise (Victor Legris #2) by Claude Izner
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner
Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul
Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera & Bill Cleaver
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
Sandstorm by James Rollins
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
Gone by Lisa Gardner
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
The Professor’s Assassin (short story) by Matthew Pearl
DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul
Silent Night (short story) by Deanna Raybourn
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir…of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – yep, read the British version. really appreciate the Britishisms that didn’t make the cut in the US version.
Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli
The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
The House of the Wolfings by William Morris – this book was very influential for JRR Tolkein, and you can tell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh
The Survivor’s Club by Lisa Gardner
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

September 22, 2012

Convalescent Reading List

Here’s what’ve I’ve read in the last 3ish months. It turns out I’m a grumpier reader when I’m sick, which means I give up on books more quickly. For example, this quarter (did not mean for it to get this long, sorry), I gave up on Eliza Haywood’s Love in Excess. It was slow and the guy was a complete jerk and she kept trying to get me to like him and I finally said, “You know what? I don’t have to read this!”

As for the rest, this time I’ve added some notes, but I should start by saying that Lisa Gardner and Michael Connelly write some fabulous mysteries. I prefer Gardner’s current D.D. Warren series, but I’m doubling back to catch her FBI Profiler series now as well.

Oh, and I’ve bolded my favorites.

  1.  The Italian by Ann Radcliffe – deliciously all things Gothic, complete with swooning and convents
  2. Nothing to Hide by Mark Bertrand – absolutely love this guy and everything he puts out
  3. Echo Park by Michael Connelly
  4. The Overlook by Michael Connelly
  5. Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Gannett Stiles
  6. Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian by John Piper – This book isn’t revolutionary except for the fact that it’s TRUE. Racism is evil. Let’s kill it dead. 
  7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – so sad!
  8. The Pretty One by Cheryl Klam
  9. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin – she just keeps getting better, although my favorite is still Baby Proof
  10. The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman – very interesting 
  11. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Finally finished the whole thing!) 
  12. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
  13. The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner
  14. The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner
  15. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
  16. The Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare – so racist! I never realized as a kid.
  17. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen – really cute
  18. The Technologists by Matthew Pearl – fascinating. get wrapped up in medium-old Boston for a little while. 
  19. The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
  20. The Unwritten: Inside Man by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
  21. The Great Divide by T. Davis Bunn – a legal novel about  attacking human trafficking
  22. The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner
  23. Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and David McKean
  24. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – absolutely enchanting; very clever 
  25. World War Z by Max Brooks – zombie war is over; oral history is compiled. very cool.
  26. The Last Oracle by James Rollins
  27. Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream by Dinesh D’Souza – investigation of the president’s ideological base
  28. The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House #2) by Mary Pope Osborne- if i can extrapolate from this book, i’d say that the Magic Tree House books are a fine way to familiarize kids with other times and cultures, but a TERRIBLE way to teach them to take notes. HORRIBLE. REALLY.
  29. Words Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser – a story of healing after tremendous loss
  30. Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Williamson and a host of illustrators

If you know much about about popular literature, you’ll probably see this list and pick out a bunch of what my 3rd grade teacher called “candy bar books” – basically junk food books. I am immensely grateful for them. Right now, they are easy for me to understand where lots of other books take more energy. Plus, they are fun. And I read fast.