Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On My Bookshelf

I have been reading up a storm recently. The craziness of engagement and wedding plans slowed down my usual frantic pace with which I read through books. But, since the wedding I have gotten back to my usual book reading fetish. In fact, my husband is becoming quite the reader himself, and we’ve enjoyed reading some of the same books and talking about them. Isn’t he a dream come true?!?! Okay, I digress…

This post is meant to catch you up on what I’ve books I’ve made it through recently as well as give you a list of what is awaiting my reading pleasure in the future!

Harry Potter Books 1-7 by J.K. Rowling

It is no secret to many how much I love the Harry Potter books. Before my recent adventure back into the land of Hogwarts, I had read books 1-5 two or three times each. When six and seven came out I downed them each once, and promised that after a little time passed I would start back at the beginning and absorb Rowling’s amazing story from start to finish. I started back in February at the beginning and worked my way all the way through without stopping to read something else. I finished a couple weeks ago, and once again, Rowling has wowed me. She is a masterful storyteller. I had forgotten so much of what happened at the end of the saga that it was like reading it for the first time. Her good vs. evil story line is phenomenal, and I love the morals she emphasizes throughout the course of the series. Most importantly, her story stresses the power of choice over an individual’s fate. That we can chose good or evil, and it is not put on us simply as a result of our background or life circumstances. There are so many spiritual allegories that can be drawn from that idea. Aside from the serious portion of the story, it is just plain funny too. Rowling has imagination and creativity unlike anything I’ve ever read. She is funny and has an amazing knack for character development. If you have never ventured into the life of Harry Potter, I encourage you to do so. If it’s been awhile since you lost yourself in this world, I suggest you do so again—it’s very worth your while!

The Tales of Beetle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

This is in many ways the sequel to the Harry Potter series. In Book 7, the character of Hermione is bequeathed this book from Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts. Basically it is a collection of wizarding fairy tales and fables much like Aesop’s fables are to Muggle (non-magic) children. After the publication of Book 7, Rowling wrote this book because of the extreme interest in the collection that is mentioned numerous times in Book 7. Beetle the Bard is a cute book, but definitely not my favorite of Rowling’s. She still fascinates me with her depth of insight into the wizarding world that she created in her own mind. My favorite part of this book was the commentary after each fable “by” Album Dumbledore. I always like the way Rowling wrote Dumbledore’s sense of humor, and his commentaries are full of funny thoughts.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

After reading something I adore and getting extremely lost in it is often hard for me to fall in love with the book immediately following. So, I jumped into The Thirteenth Tale thinking there is no way it would blow me away because I had just come off of my months-long journey in wizard world. However, I was completely wrong. This is a story that is intriguing, disturbing, and wonderful all rolled into one. I do not want to give too much away, so let me just say this. Margaret Lea is a biographer who gets called away from the antique book shop she operates in order to write a biography for a dying novelist named Vida Winter. Miss Winter has fabricated her life history many times to many biographers in the past, but as her days on earth draw to a close she decides it is time to tell the truth. The truth is disturbing full of tales of unrequited love, broken families, fascinating twin behavior, and devastating disasters. It has so many twists and turns that when you close the final page you have to sit with it for a few minutes while you brain wraps around all you just read. It has a touch of science fiction mixed in with the mystery. I highly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t like a predictable plot. Also, if you are a book lover, this is a great one for you because the narrator (Margaret Lea) describes so beautifully over and over in the story what it is like for a reader when he/she is completely involved in a story. It is fascinating.

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

I have always enjoyed Nicholas Sparks. His stories are usually extremely romantic and also sad. I’ve been known to cry profusely in the movies that have been made of his books. The Choice is probably the least favorite of the Sparks’ books I’ve read. I don’t want to describe this too much either for fear that I would give too much away. The basically gist is that a man is nearing the end of his married life and takes a very detailed trip down memory lane to when he met and fell in love with his wife. While not my favorite, it is still a very sweet story of love fought for, lost, and rekindled.

So, that is what I have mentally digested over the last few months. On my bookshelf to read in the coming weeks is:

-Sunrise by Karen Kingsbury (Book 1 of the 3rd series involving the Baxter family)

-Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

-Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella

-The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve

Another good one I just recently picked up for Taylor is I Love You, Ronnie by Nancy Reagan. This autobiography of sorts tells the love story of Nancy and Ronald Reagan through all the letters that President Reagan wrote to his wife from their days courting all the way through until his health would not allow him too. Nancy fills in the pieces of their life between the letters. You get some history of his career as it related to their personal life, but it is really a story of their amazing, loving relationship. It’s a must-read!!!

I hope you find something on my list that you might enjoy yourself. Now, a question for all of you fellow readers: I am participating in a program on our church’s website where I can read a book and write up a review for others to look at when deciding what next to read. While I can write about anything, I would love a new Christianity-focused book to read and post about. Does anyone have any suggestions? (The Shack has already been done! J ) Happy Reading!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Singing' Sweetie

Taylor loves to sing. He, his brothers, and his best friend began a quartet 2 1/2 years ago that he dearly loved. Recently, the quartet has had to disband due to the many different directions often takes people. A couple weeks ago, Taylor was contacted by a group out of Tyler, TX who is searching for a tenor. After many discussions with the group, we decided that this will be a great opportunity for him right now. So, we are headed to Tyler today to meet the group and give Taylor a chance to sing with them. We are hopeful for this opportunity, and I am excited to my sweetheart to have a chance to be singing again-he misses it!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


This weekend has been hard. A friend of my sister's, a girl that I went to Harding with was killed by her husband on Thursday night. I know few details and they don't matter anyway. It's heart-wrenching. The Harding and Searcy communities are aching. Friends and family of the girl are shocked and mourning. It's left me feeling very out of it all weekend. I don't understand how something like this happens. I'm quickly figuring out there's no way to understand it, and therefore I'm gonna quit trying. But, it's scary and it hurts.

Dear Lord, cover all of us affected by this tragedy with compassion, comfort, and extra measures of love...especially the family!