And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. (Acts 15:31 ESV)
Before we left for our vacation, I wandered around my house to pick some books to read. I call them the “stowaways.” The stack looks very ambitious, but my intention wasn’t to read them all. I just like their company, and the options.
Before I share more of my reading adventures, I want to share this great opportunity to win a copy of my book, plus a whole bundle of books about journaling!
My friend, Dawn, is hosting a great giveaway of books from the Random Journal Day reunion. Most of the books in the giveaway have been a direct result of each author keeping a journal or blogging. Several are self-published, and I am honored to be one of the contributors to the bundle. So go over and put your name in the hat to win some great books!
Also am giving away a second copy of my book, here today, as promised a couple weeks ago. And the winner is…Susie Klein! (Susie, send me an email at email@example.com, and I’ll send you a signed copy.)
On vacation, I read three books and one play. And I thumbed through the Field Guide to birds, checked out some definitions in the dictionary, and read the daily devotions in Every Day A New Beginning. I read the intro to Dawn’s book, Journaling for Discovery and Delight, in preparation of going through her prompts this spring in my journal.
I leave you with a short review of each book and the play, which I did finish while cruising the Tomten waterway:
Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon
I picked this book up around Christmas time, because I often find solace in the Mitford series. The stories of Father Tim often parallel my own spiritual journey. This book was about the upcoming wedding of Father Tim’s adopted son, Dooley to Lace Harper. The story was a fun way to catch up with the characters. The threat of rain on their wedding day, and their attitude of pressing on either way, helped me keep a positive outlook on our trip, when rain threatened to dampen our mood. (Thankfully, even when it did rain on this trip, we were tucked into a covered slip at a marina.) One rainy day, I read most of a play recommended by our younger son.
Mr. Burns by Anne Washburn
In this futuristic, post-apocalyptic play, the characters reminisce and frame life through the lens of The Simpsons episodes. It is a three act play that covers a time period of about 75 years. The first act finds the characters, living outdoors, surviving the recent nuclear reactor fallout. Around the campfire, they reconstruct an episode of The Simpsons from their collective memories. (My cultural experience of The Simpsons was limited to watching over the shoulders of my two teen-aged sons, so I can’t say I remember the episode they refer to in the play, however a houseboat plays into the scene, and I thought that was interesting, as we were traveling on our boat. And it ties into the next book, that I read.) But before, I review the next book, let me just say, that the play Mr. Burns is a well-crafted homage to the show, but even more so, a brilliant and sinister contemplation of fighting for life, even in the imminent shadow of death.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
This book was recommended to me by a friend, just before we left on our trip. Little did I know that part of the story was set in Memphis along the Mississippi river. The children in the story grow up in a shanty-boat on the river. Based on a true story, of children taken from their families to be adopted out to wealthy families, this book was one I could not put down. One scene, where two of the children escape to find their birth parents, and the peril of their shanty-boat on the river during a storm, could have been lifted out of the Mr. Burns play. The peril of the children does end happily over time, but the motives and conditions of those who worked at the children home were disturbing, yet tastefully handled by the author.
I find it fascinating when a theme emerges or connections can be made when reading several different genres and stories. The last book that I read on vacation was a memoir.
Girl Meets God by Lauren F. Winner
This book starts out in Memphis, Tennessee but then travels between New York city and North Carolina. Lauren shares the story of her origins, her father Jewish and her mother Baptist. The memoir chronicles her journey from converting from reformed Jew to Orthodox Jew to eventually embracing Christianity. She has a very frank, yet humorous, self-deprecating way of telling her story. A fascinating connection between her story and my reading list is that the Mitford series plays in to her conversion to Christianity. I love her voice and style, and how she weaves her Jewish religious experience with the Christian liturgical calendar, which enlarged my view of how these two faiths intersect.
What have you’ve been reading lately? How does reading impact your life?