Sunday, August 26, 2012

Love of books

I absolutely love reading.  When I was a child, I often got in trouble for staying hidden in my room reading instead of coming downstairs for lunch or dinner.  I used to make tents in my room with old sheets and blankets, throw a pillow on the floor, and read all day (once my chores were done, at least). 

One of the things I have been so thankful for over the past 14 months has been the amount of reading I've been able to do.  Beginning the week before our wedding, I have been keeping track of the books I've read.  So far, in 15 months (minus a few days), I've read 94 books. 

Some of my favorites have been:

Joni Eareckson Tada, A Lifetime of Wisdom: Embracing the Way God Heals You
* I first read Joni's autobiography when I was a kid.  She broke her neck diving in the Chesapeake Bay at age 17, and since has become one of the foremost Christian speakers, advocate for people with disabilities and other challenges, and overall in trusting God's sovereignty. This book is a recollection of what she has learned about God's grace, mercy, and sovereignty in the 45 years since her accident.  Reading this book encouraged me to go back and re-read her autobiography.  Joni has survived much, including breast cancer over the past few years.  She is a living testament to how much God really loves us.

Susanna Foth Aughtmon, My Bangs Look Good & Other Lies I Tell Myself: The Tired Supergirl's Search for Truth
* I'd never heard of the "Tired Supergirl" before; I bought her book on a whim.  Susanna is a wife, mother, and - even more pressure-filled - a pastor's wife at that.  She is brutally honest about the things that she struggles with, but speaks the Truth of God's Word.  If you feel inadequate as a woman or as a child of God, this book will speak to your heart.  And make you laugh - she has a wicked sense of humor. :-)

James Kalikos, The Physics of Superheroes, Spectacular Second Edition
* I know.  I'm a nerd.  A big one.  As someone with degrees in Spanish and History, I'm not supposed to like math and science.  But I have a secret love affair with physics.  I don't know why, but I love physics.  Over the past few years, I've read a number of books on physics.  This one is all about superheroes.  You get to learn things like why Spiderman couldn't have saved Mary Jane unless he first matched her velocity, then caught her, and then slowed down.  Or how many calories the Flash would have to consume to keep up his phenomenal speeds.  It is enjoyable, funny, and teaches you a lot of fascinating physics.  It's not as hilarious as Chad Orzel's How to Teach Physics to Your Dog, but a great read nonetheless.

Madeleine Albright, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948
* I have this odd fascination with Czechoslovakia and Budapest.  Albright - the former Secretary of State - was born in Prague just before WWII broke out.  Only as an adult, in her 60s, when she was being vetted for the Secretary position, did she learn that most of her family had died in the Holocaust.  This book is not just a personal family history about Albright's parents and grandparents.  It is also a well-documented, intricately woven political, social, and cultural history of the complex web that was Czechoslovakia in the years before, during, and after the war.  It kept me interested from page one, and I would seriously consider assigning it for my students to read in the future. 

Elizabeth M. Bonker and Virginia G. Breen, I am In Here
* This was one of a number of books I read by parents about their children who live with Autism.  I have a special place in my heart for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder, having worked with them for three years until the program I worked with ended due to budget cuts.  The amazing thing about this short book is that the daughter in question is entirely non-verbal.  But through an innovative and somewhat speculative therapy, this mother suddenly learned that her daughter understood everything.  A great amount of the book contains the young girl's poetry that she writes.  She reveals herself to be aware of everything around her, and filled with a deep love of her family and her God.

Emily Colson, Dancing With Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free
* This was another of the books I read about children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Emily Colson is the daughter of the late Charles Colson - yes, of Watergate fame and the founder of Prison Ministries and a number of other international ministries.  Emily Colson tells the honest story of her marriage falling apart, her struggle to get her son the therapies he needed (and keep him out of institutions when public schools and state therapists expressed no desire to help her son), and her complicated relationship with her father and God.  This was especially poignant for me because only two months after I read this book, Charles Colson passed away. 

Kim Meeder, Hope Rising and A Bridge Called Hope
* These two books are by a woman who, along with her husband, run a ranch for rescued horses and minister to kids and adults with all sorts of needs.  Meeder writes about the founding of the ranch, the rescuing of horses from all kinds of horrific situations, and the many ways that those horses bring healing to people with emotional, spiritual, and physical struggles.  I was so encouraged and so touched by the stories she related in these two books.  God has truly blessed their ministry, and the books are a breeze to read (I read them in only a few nights each). 

So there you have it, world.  A few of my favorites of the 94 books I've read since June 2011. Hope you enjoyed it!

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