What’s On Your Bookshelf? Part One


I’m wary of statistics when I can’t verify their validity, but if this graphic is only partially true, it’s downright sad.  Is reading becoming passé in the United States?

Some of my fondest childhood activities was borrowing books from our local library bookmobile. Checking out books in a bus was an adventure! I also loved the “bookish” smell of our public library, the gleaming hardwood floors, tall windows, and cubbyhole nooks to hide in with a good book. Great childhood memories!

Jim and I passed along our love for reading to our children and they continue to be “readers.” Of course, cuddling up with grandchildren and a good book is priceless.

I’m thankful that being “sixty-something” means more time for reading. I insert the word more, because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book around waiting for me to get lost in. But this season offers a definite increase of space in my day for one of my favorite pleasures.

I would love to hear from you and what is keeping your nose buried in a book!

Recent Reads. . .

Day After Night by Anita Diamant

Diamant’s first novel, The Red Tent, is one of my favorite works of historical fiction. This month I caught up with two of her most recent novels, Day After Night and The Boston Girl. (I tried out The Last Days of Dogtown, but lost interest about one-fourth through. Maybe I should have stuck with it?)  In Day After Night, the author offers an in-depth look at the plight of Jewish women in a post-WW Israeli detainment camp. A shared traumatized history of Nazi abuse births a loyalty in friendships unmatched by many women today. Historical narrative is Diamant’s fiction niche and Day after Night delivers a powerful story.  Her careful attention to research integrated with an unnerving account of survival compelled me to read this book in just two sittings.

Equally engaging is Diamant’s latest offering,  The Boston Girl. Once again, the protagonist is a Jewish woman, but this time the era is the turbulent 1900’s and the setting is Boston. As always, Diamant’s historical detail provides a rich texture to the storyline. The leading lady breaks through her “old world” family traditions and culture to embrace the identity of the modern American woman.

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

Although I’m a pretty utilitarian cook, I resonate with Niequist’s philosophy of table fellowship when gathering with friends and family for dinner. What can I say? I get excited over dinnerware, love to pull together tables capes, and enjoy conversation over a leisurely meal. What Niequist brings is a spiritual and relational point of view to the dinner hour. A friend of mine loved Niequist’s Bread and Wine so much that she bought several copies and gave them to friends. (Hooray that I’m her friend.) I am definitely a fan and faithful reader of Shauna Niequist.

All Things New by Lynn Austin

Austin depicts the struggles of daughter, mother, and freed slave during the Reconstruction era with an engaging account of post-war survival. Although Austin’s writing is simplistic at times, I found the multiple issues that these women faced to be enlightening and their strategies to overcome great loss admirable. I’ve picked up other Austin works of historical fiction when looking for a quick read that about an important period in time.

Called   My Journey to C.S. Lewis’s House and Back Again by Ryan J. Pemberton 

Called is a true account of a young man who became a passionate Christ follower through the writings of C.S. Lewis. A marketing and public relations executive by day and seeker of theological understanding at night, Pemberton senses a call to Oxford, England to become an official university student. His dream was to literally follow in Lewis’ footsteps; to reside in the community where Lewis studied and taught. Pemberton is accepted into prestigious Oxford University and ends up renting space in the very home where Lewis lived. Pemberton’s autobiography is a mixture of professional disappointments and personal delights as he searches for a true meaning of calling. What he found is not what he was looking for.

Waiting for Me on My Bookshelf . . .

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Our church office administrator introduced me to Hannah’s writing a few years ago. When I want to veg with a book, I turn to one of hers.  The development of characters reminds me a bit of Jodi Picoult’s style, although Hannah’s sometimes predictable plots are remiss of Picoult’s more creative arc. The Nightingale follows a young woman’s passion and pain during German occupied France in the late 1930’s. This book appears to tell a more complicated story than other Hannah works I’ve read. We’ll see!

Restless by Jennie Allen

A must read according to our children’s ministry pastor at my church. Allen has caught the attention of many women at our church with her IF:Gatherings; quick to the point Bible studies and discussion starters. Restless is an interesting companion to Calling. Allen focuses on pursuing our passions, living our dreams.

Savor   Living Abundantly Where You Are As You Are by Shauna Niequist

Savor is counterpoint to Restless. While Allen inspires to move out of your “comfort zone,” Niequist lobbies for savoring life right where you are in the moment. I’m looking forward to discovering how Savor differs from Bread and Wine.

And a few more to purchase  or borrow from the library . . .





Do you take time to read? If so, what’s on your bookshelf?


4 thoughts on “What’s On Your Bookshelf? Part One

  1. As a recovering workaholic, fiction has been an acquired taste. Used to be I would only read something “useful”. But part of recovery for me was learning to take time for fiction, which is now a daily practice. A friend recommended British author Susan Howatch. She has a series of historical fiction which takes you through the lives of Anglican clergy. The characters are intertwined throughout the novels. The first one begins in World War I days and the fourth, which I am about to start, ends in the 1960’s. Yeah, I know, doesn’t sound like much of a thriller. But if you are into inner healing, how past trauma can affect sexual issues and have some taste for the development of theology, you just might get hooked. The first book is Glittering Images.


  2. I still love to read books–like actual books with pages. I like the smell of them and the feel in my hand. I have yet to buy a Kindle, although I fear I may have to soon as paperbacks seem to be phasing out a bit. I just read Nella Last’s War and really enjoyed it. My friend from the UK recommended it to me. Her great-grandmother is Nella Last, the author of the book. The English government solicited people’s journals for a mass observation project during WWII. Nella’s is one of the most complete and compelling of these journals. Even though we come from different time periods, I could relate to her frugal cooking and her fears as a mother. It helped me to feel closer to my friend as well as I could see shadows her in her great-grandmother’s journal. Blessings.


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