Summer can be a great time to catch up on some reading, whether by killing time on an airplane or getting some rays of sun poolside. Though my time is a bit more limited now with a little one, I have several books on my “to read” list that I’m slowly making my way through. I know there are a lot of options for entertainment that compete for our attention, but in my opinion reading is the most educational and enjoyable; there’s just nothing like getting lost in a good book.
Just a warning: I lean more towards deep and moving stories that are often heartbreaking and not exactly light-hearted, easy reads. I also enjoy suspense and mysteries quite a bit. If you think my recommendations are a bit dark and depressing don’t hold it against me!
Here are some of my recommendations.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is one of my all-time favorite books; it is truly a work of art, and I’m not sure how I can effectively describe it. It is about a mute boy living on a farm that breeds a special type of dog, but when unforeseen tragedy strikes Edgar is forced out of his comfortable existence physically, mentally, and emotionally. This book is not the happy boy-and-his-dog story that I was expecting. There is a great deal of suspense and emotion that Wroblewski artistically tells through his (ironically) mute narrator Edgar. I have not encountered such powerful descriptions of emotions in a book, not to mention the amazing details of scenery and personalities of the incredible dogs.
Though I would recommend anything by Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None is my favorite book of hers and is known for being one of the best mysteries ever written. This “whodunit” is impossible to put down once it gets going. A group of strangers are gathered on an island for a getaway and when individuals are mysteriously found to be murdered the guests try to find the guilty party. As the body count rises, it becomes more and more difficult to figure out both the murderer and the motive. Agatha Christie is excellent at crafting mysteries in such a way that a solution seems impossible until the very last pages.
Little Women is of course a classic, and rightfully so. This book will make you laugh out loud and it is the only book that has made me cry (I’m not really a crier) as you experience the adventures of Jo and her sisters. If you saw the movie it doesn’t count, you should still read it!
I am currently reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and, as a result, making drastic changes in the way I view food and how I eat. You’re probably thinking, “I’m not ready to spend more money on food!” as I was at first. However, Michael Pollan is a brilliant writer as he creatively explains the issues of industrial farming in ways that are both enlightening and entertaining. For an educational and almost scientific type of book it is remarkably hard to put down. It is true though, you will want to change the way you eat, but I think everyone should know what is going into the food we choose to sustain us and our children day to day. One issue with this book is that I do not believe in evolution as the explanation of how the earth and life came to be, and this books speaks often of the way that humans, cows, plants, etc. evolved to survive in certain ways. I know that, for example, God designed cows specifically to graze on grass (the complexity of their digestive systems is evidence of an omniscient Being) rather than eat corn mixed with “protein” made from other cows. Anytime a reference to evolution is made, I personally just substitute it with “God created _______ to be…”
Meaning at the Movies: Becoming a Discerning Viewer is one that Christians should read as they consider their world views on entertainment and especially movies. Dr. Grant Horner, who teaches at The Master’s College where I went to school and worked for four years, does an amazing job at appreciating and analyzing a very secular form of art that people spend countless hours of their lives watching. I am a big movie fan, and I will admit that it is hard (if not nearly impossible) to find movies that are universally acceptable to many Christians. This book just helped me think through my own convictions for what I should and should not watch (which still does include the Twilight series, sorry haters :) ).
HGTV Magazine…because not even I want to read a murder-mystery or a tear jerker all the time! This magazine is brand-new, and a must for all of you decor and DIY fanatics out there. It has the best of everything offered on the Home and Garden channel, from the famous designers to where to purchase great stuff. And am I the only one who can find only “House Hunters International” every time I turn on HGTV? In the June/July issue I found a ton of inspiration for the upcoming kitchen remodel and got lots of tips from maintaining a grill to weekend furniture projects.
I can definitely recommend Food Network Magazine to any foodies out there. In June’s issue I marked and even bought ingredients for 6 different new recipes to try (this one also looks like a winner). It’s great for the daily needed “what’s for dinner?” inspiration, always offering new ideas for in-season produce and outside-the-box ingredients. There is also a lot of interesting food facts and advice from the famous Food Network stars.
Gone are the days of lounging in a pool chair with a book or magazine (though being in the pool with a little swimmer is more fun anyways), but I have the following on my reading list for this summer:
- The Help
- Everyday Talk
- (Rereading) Shepherding a Child’s Heart
- and if I’m not too busy (wink), Life Management for Busy Women
Have you read any of the above books (or magazines)? If so I’d love to hear your thoughts. I would also enjoy seeing anything you recommend.