Saturday, December 31, 2011

I've been a bad blogger the last six months. It's not that important things haven't been happening - they have. But I've had little energy to write what I've been feeling and thinking. For once, I've been a bit too busy living my life to spend so much time pondering it.

Aside from the struggles and joys of being a newlywed, teaching courses for students who live just under 4,000 miles away, health problems for both me and my husband (and the cats!), singing in my church choir and Christmas cantata, having family visit a few days, and being part of two bible study groups, one of the real joys I've had this year is my renewed love for reading.

I have always been a voracious reader. As a child, I would often get yelled at for not coming down to dinner on time because I was too engrossed in a book. I would build sheet tents in my bedroom and read for hours, or hide a flashlight in bed so I could read long after I was supposed to have my lights out. This love of reading was well and strong until I started graduate school. I had so much work to do - which, usually, involved reading at least one book per week per course - that I never had time to read for fun. In the 7 years I was in grad school, I maybe read 15 books for fun. Usually, I was just too exhausted to read by the time I was done with work and teaching.

One of my joys the past six months is that I have been reading like crazy. I've read 39 complete books since we got married (6 of them just in the week since Christmas day!).  I'm also in the middle of three more books. Some I wanted to read for work. Some I wanted to read to give my spirit a joy-lift.  And others are just goofy fun, or that I'm reading in part to have something to share with my husband.  I want to remember what I've read, so I'm making a list:

Horus Heresy Books - these are science fiction books in a series that my husband loves, related to miniatures gaming that he's been involved with for 20 years. Not my usual cup of tea, but it gives us something to enjoy together, so I'm learning to play the game and read the novels.
• Dan Abnett, Horus Rising
• Graham McNeill, False Gods
• Ben Counter, Galaxy in Flames
• James Swallow, The Flight of the Eisenstein
• Graham McNeill, Fulgrim
• Mitchel Scanlon, Descent of Angels
• Mike Lee, Fallen Angels

Jean Plaidy Books - I discovered this writer of historical fiction novels and fell in love. They are well-researched and have good bibliographies and, so far at least, are fairly accurate historically. They're also just great fun!
The Courts of Love: The Story of Eleanor of Aquitaine
• Katharine of Aragon: The Story of a Spanish Princess and an English Queen
• The Reluctant Queen: The Story of Anne of York
• To Hold the Crown: The Story of King Henry VII and Elizabeth of York
• The Thistle and the Rose: The Story of Margaret, Princess of England, Queen of Scotland
• Murder Most Royal: The Story of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard
Barbara Johnson Books - these are part of my "joy-lift" for my spirit. Johnson passed away a few years back, but her books are wonderful little love letters from God designed to make you laugh while God ministers to your hurting heart.
Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy
• Splashes of Joy in the Cesspools of Life
• Leaking Laffs Between Pampers and Depends
• He’s Gonna Toot and I’m Gonna Scoot
Religious Non-Fiction
• Max Lucado, God’s Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours
• Ken Ham, et al, The New Answers Book 3
• Josh Hamilton, Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back
• Steve Saint, End of the Spear
• Steve Saint, Walking His Trail: Signs of God Along the Way
• Elizabeth Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor
• Davey and Marie Jank, Our Witchdoctors Are Too Weak: The Rebirth of an Amazon Tribe
• Dee Brestin and Kathy Troccoli, Falling in Love with Jesus
• Anne Graham Lotz, Expecting to See Jesus: A Wake-up Call for God’s People
• Beth Moore with Dale McCleskey, Jesus the One and Only
More Historical Fiction
• Christi Phillips, The Devlin Diary - I also read her first novel, The Rosetti Letter, and loved both of them.
• Philippa Gregory, The White Queen
• Georgette Heyer, The Conquerer: A Novel of William the Conquerer, the Bastard Son Who Overpowered a Kingdom and the Woman Who Melted His Heart
• Lynn Austin, While We’re Far Apart

Other Fiction
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Greater than the Sum
• Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind
• Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Tribulation Force
• Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Nicolae
• Craig Shaw Gardner, The Cylons’ Secret
• Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

History Non-Fiction
• Graeme Donald, The Man Who Shot the Man Who Shot Lincoln and 44 Other Forgotten Figures from History
• Michael Farquhar, A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories of History’s Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors

My favorites were probably the Devlin Diary, both books by Nate Saint, all 4 books by Barbara Johnson, and my two goofy history books.

I have so many books I want to read, and am in the middle of a handul right now:
1. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women - it is still uplifting, even the third time I read it.
2. Adam Selzer, The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History - absolutely hilarious!
3. Barbara Johnson, Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death

I also have four more fictional books on tap. I love reading! Happy 2012!!