Tag Archives: books

Books books books….

So, over at HeartThoughts there is a little “mini-Quest”-carnivally-thingy going on– all of us reading fanatics have the opportunity to post photos of 1) our stack of “current reads” and 2) our stack of “to reads”.  Is this as hard for everyone else as for me?  Actually, gathering up the books I’ve been reading and/or have started and abandoned in stray dark corners, has been a good exercise.  I now have my stack of books neatly together, demanding the attention they deserve.  Therefore, I give you:

Villette, Charlotte Bronte (Half Price Books find!); The Road from Coorain, Jill Kerr Conway (where did I get this?…); The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein (reading with my brother as a school assignment); Onions in the Stew, Betty MacDonald (gift from a bookish friend); and Future Grace, John Piper (yes, still.).

As far as books To Read.  Well, there are dozens of unread ones spread around my room, some promising and some not-so.  However, I conveniently came home from the bookstore today with several titles that do seem promising, so! 

The Wings of the Dove, Henry James (never read any Henry James… yet); Agnes Grey, Anne Bronte (why not?); Ruth, Elizabeth Gaskell (who doesn’t love Gaskell?); Endurance, Alfred Lansing (I’ve long wanted to learn about this famous story); and Andy Catlett, Wendell Berry (this has been waiting around for a month or so… I’ve been wanting to read Berry for a long time… and finally came across it.)

And there you have it!  Now, if I can just find the time to get some reading in….


Rainbow’s End

This is the title of the book I started yesterday.  And finished yesterday.  All 259 pages… which is a lot for me in one 24-hour period.  I just couldn’t stop.

I was hurriedly browsing through the shelf of new biographies at the library yesterday morning, knowing I was on the verge of being late for work already.  I added a book about three Iranian women to my already-grabbed Trollope novel, and then glanced at the brown cover of one subtitled, “A memoir of childhood, war, and an American Farm.”  I stuck it in my pile and headed for the counter.

Later I pulled it out again and realized, there beside the little crouching cowgirl with hat, gun, and dog in hand, the subtitle didn’t read “…American Farm,” but “African”.  Hmm.  I opened it up and began to read.

Now, let me disclaim here.  The preface is an account of the guerilla massacre of a Rhodesian family in the 1970’s.  It is a violent way to begin.  The attack occured in the home where the book’s author, Lauren St John, would later move in and grow up: the game reserve called Rainbow’s End.  Even though she was not there that night, the event had a great affect on the direction of Lauren’s family and her own life.  There are also a few scattered references to things better skipped over, and some language, although it’s not very liberaly sprinkled.  This lady did not grow up in a Christian home, and actually, the story is the story of her family slowly falling apart, and a young girl having to figure things out mostly on her own.  So be forewarned.

But.  It is also the story of the Rhodesian Bush War of the 1960’s-early 1980’s, from the perspective of a descendant of four generations of “European” Rhodesians.  It is living history, history of a place and time I knew very little about.  It is a compelling snapshot of the life of a child growing into an adult in an extraordinary, frightening, time and in a world that seems so strangely unlike what I thought Africa, or Zibabwe, is or ever was.  Yes, I know, I am showing my ignorance.

As the story comes to a close, Ms. St John speaks of the changing of names, beginning with the very name of the country, from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe.  The city where she attended school even gained a new name: Harare.  And I thought, I know that name!  That is one of the cities that our congregation sends Bible correspondence courses to.  I’ve graded many myself.  In fact, I have a letter, given to me by another “teacher”, from a 20-year-old student who is seeking a pen-pal.  I’ve had it for months, and somehow I just haven’t known what to say.  I went and dug it out of my desk today, and looked at the address, just to make sure: yes, Beaulah is from Zimbabwe.  In fact, she lives in the very town about which Lauren St John writes.  I’ve been reading about her own home, albeit 25-30 years ago, but what a nice surprise.  Maybe now I can find something to say!


A review, from someone obviously more practiced than I at writing them, is here.

Have you seen this… book?

One of the perks of housecleaning for someone else on a weekly basis is getting to peruse another family’s bookshelves.  The family I clean for are constantly adding to their collection, and although they are rather short on my favorite genres, they often have some really neat nonfiction/informational books which are nice for a quick glance while waiting for the floor to dry.

I once found, on a bookshelf in their laundry room, no less(!), an anthology of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s pre-Little House on the Prairie writings, articles she wrote about her life as a farmer’s wife.  I loved it.  L. I. W. is one of my absolute favorite writers of all time; perhaps I am prejudiced by the memory of my early love for “Laura, the prairie girl”, but after reading this books, I was struck anew with the poetic way Laura saw the world and expressed her thoughts on paper.

I only had to dig through three pages of results on Amazon to find it:


The Rediscovered Writings (Laura Ingalls Wilder Family Series)


You ought to read it.  Hey, now that I’ve found it on Amazon, maybe I’ll buy my own copy, since I’ve looked in vain through the laundry room shelves again and it is gone.  🙂

I Surely Enjoyed

…the book, Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale, by Gillian Gill.  Just ask Miss B.  😉

It was long, detailed, and in-depth.  I didn’t know much about Florence Nightingale at all, but her life truly is a fascinating study.  From her various family connections, to her famous friends and acquaintances, and her own personal quirks and brilliance; it’s quite a read.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Gill’s style, and the fact that for a modern biographer, she seemed to have a pretty ballanced approach.  I would be interested in reading more of her work.  Have any of you?

I did ENJOY this book. Hmm…

You’re To Kill a Mockingbird!
by Harper Lee
Perceived as a revolutionary and groundbreaking person, you have
changed the minds of many people. While questioning the authority around you, you’ve
also taken a significant amount of flack. But you’ve had the admirable guts to
persevere. There’s a weird guy in the neighborhood using dubious means to protect you,
but you’re pretty sure it’s worth it in the end. In the end, it remains unclear to you
whether finches and mockingbirds get along in real life.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

What I am Reading

The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ,  by Lee Strobel

I’ve never read any of Lee Strobel’s books, although I’ve heard many good things about his work.  When a friend recommended this one and offered to lend me his copy, I eagerly accepted, and have been rewarded with a lot of food for thought.  I appreciate the way Strobel tackles the tough questions, and fearlessly goes in search of answers, bringing forth the opinions of historical and textual experts who really know their stuff.  I’m only about halfway through, but even so far it has been a fascinating read.