Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What's Beside My Comfy Chair at the Moment...

In my cozy nook, on my front porch, I have a pile of books I'm currently reading. One is for review for NavPress, Becoming a Woman Who Loves by Cynthia Heald. Another is a book I just received from PaperBackSwap, The Way Home:  Beyond Feminism, Back to Reality by Mary Pride. A third is for a bi-weekly Bible/book study meeting this summer at my church, Conflict Free Living by Joyce Meyer (also a PaperBackSwap find). I also plan to read a book by a local author and add a review here this summer. Plus, I have another book study that meets once a month, although I'm not sure what we'll be reading as our fearless leader just recently gave birth to her 11th blessing and we haven't really nailed down exactly what we'd be studying next.

How am I going to keep myself from getting too confused....and thinking I'm reading The Way Home: Becoming a  Loving Woman Who Lives Conflict Free? Well, that really wouldn't be all that bad...I could live with a little less conflict in my life!

I love having a cup of coffee in the morning with a good book, out there in my cozy nook. Or reading bedtime stories to my daughter (lately, those "stories" have been ancient copies of Calvin and Hobbes collections, discovered in some boxes of books from years past).  It's so nice to have a relaxing spot of my own in which to read the books I enjoy.

How about you? Where is your favorite place to read? How many books do you read at once? What's on your summer reading list?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kindle? Nice, But I'll Keep My Books Thank You Very Much!

The Kindle...an amazing gadget really. You can store an insane amount of reading material on one. You can take your library with you wherever you go, and except for a power emergency and a dead battery, always have your favorite novels, manuals or whatever at your fingertips.

But there's one thing a Kindle doesn't have...the sensory qualities that a book has. A new book has a delightfully intoxicating smell...a bouquet of paper and ink and sometimes the heady aroma of leather. An old book can have that nostalgic scent...of dust and time and untold fingers roaming through the pages. The cover can be made of many different materials...supple leathers, soft linens, coated papers...each with their own unique feel. Even the weight of a book can be comforting...there's just something about the feel and scent of a real, actual book in my hands that I just love.

I wouldn't give that up for a small plastic device! Nor would I be opposed to owning one, it definitely has its practical side. But to completely replace a book with that...no way! Sometimes, there's nothing more relaxing than snuggling up in your favorite space with a nice, thick book that not only captures your mental attention, but engages your sense of smell, and touch as well.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Review: The Map, by David R. Murrow

Author David Murrow has discovered an ancient map, hidden within the Gospel of Matthew, that guides a man along his journey of following Christ and being a man...if he can find, read, and follow it of course. This book explains where to find The Map and how to use it to truly become a disciple of Jesus Christ. It also sheds insight on why men often feel out of place or disconnected in the church today.

The book starts out as a page-turner - I couldn't hardly put it down because I wanted to find out what happened next! Murrow describes how he stumbled upon The Map in Matthew and it is suspenseful and full of intrigue and surprises.

The next section goes into detail about The Map and the journeys a man may take during his life and compares this to the Jesus of the Holy Bible, whom as disciples we should emulate. Murrow also talks about the 'feminization' of church, which tends to alienate many men. I had a more difficult time getting through this section, partly because of life getting in the way and partly because Murrow seemed to repeat some of his ideas unnecessarily.

I think this book is very good, but I did have some questions about some of his theories/theology. There were a few things he talked about that just 'didn't feel right' to me, but that only encourages me to investigate further in The Word and seek the advice of my pastor. It could be that, as a woman, I just don't totally understand where he's coming from. However, it did help me to reconcile the apparent contradictions in the words and actions of Jesus...such as he's a gentle lamb, yet He's in the Temple turning over tables and chasing the money changers out.

Murrow does a great job sucking the reader into the story from the beginning, and offering solutions to the problems men face while trying to be a man and a follower of Christ in the world. It gave me a better understanding of the struggles my man faces, too. I definitely recommend this book to any man looking for 'more' at church and in his spiritual walk.

I received this book free of charge as a part of BookSneeze's blogger review program, in exchange for a review. The opinions in this review are mine and receiving the book was not contingent upon a positive review.

A Review: I Am Hutterite, by Mary-Ann Kirkby

I Am Hutterite, by Mary-Ann Kirkby
The Fascinating True Story of a Young Woman's Journey to reclaim Her Heritage

Imagine growing up within a community so close, it's more like a huge extended family...where the pressures and distractions of the outside world don't exist...beautiful gardens, sandy paths, simplicity. Then imagine being taken from the security of structured order and routine, family, friends, all that you'd ever known and being thrust into a world that is cold, judgmental, strange and confusing. Where people laugh at your strange way of speaking, make fun of your social ignorance, and send you a Valentine's Day card (when you'd been home sick for weeks) that says "I hope you never come back." Imagine discovering yourself amongst the jumble of pieces found in two realities...this is Mary-Ann Kirkby's true tale.

I had never heard of the Hutterites before, but found the brief history provided in the book to be absolutely intriguing. Kirkby's talent for story-telling, which she must have inherited from her Uncle, kept me riveted to each page and hungry for more. It was almost as if she were right there, telling the tale herself. Perhaps growing up in an area heavily populated with Amish made this book more appealing to me, but I think anyone who has ever felt rejected, alone, and out of place will find this true tale of a young Hutterite girl (and the intrigues of Hutterite colony life and family...which at times were every bit as interesting as a television soap opera or sitcom) fascinating and encouraging.

Mary-Ann Kirkby learned many important lessons from her heritage and from her family's exodus from colony life. Her artful and humorous descriptions of life on the colony, full of hard work, simple living, and faith in God give us a glimpse into this reclusive sect. And chronicling the smoldering resentment and bitterness between her brother and her husband teaches an important lesson in forgiveness.

I highly recommend this book! In fact, I'm reading it again...this time around I am reading it aloud to my 9 year old daughter at bedtime and she is finding it just as fascinating as I did. My only disappointment is that the book is not longer! I wanted to know more about her life and her heritage...and so, we plan to research the Hutterites this summer. I'm also suggesting that our local library add this delightful tome to their shelves. Many thanks to Mary-Ann Kirkby for sharing this wonderful, and at times, heartbreaking, story of her life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”