Category: books

I read, and if you read, then you’ll understand why I like to talk about what I read.

Book Review: A Column of Fire

In 2007, I was the young mother of a one and four-year-old. I wrote a column for our city paper, and I had just started running long distances to eventually run a half marathon. I was 29 years old, and I relied on Oprah’s Book Club recommendations in between the release of Harry Potter books and films. It was in… Read more →

Book review: The Child Finder

Private investigator Naomi is in a specialized field: she finds lost children. Sometimes they are still alive, and occasionally they are not. What makes her an ideal woman for the job is not loads of professional training she received or sparks of good luck. Rather, she was abducted as a child, and though her memory of that time is minimal,… Read more →

Book review: Ready Player One

The year isn’t close to being over, but I already know Ready Player One will be on my Top Five Favorite Books I read in 2017. Correction: I listened to it. But still. It’s 2045 and an energy crisis led to the depletion of fossil fuels, which means the Earth is a big fat mess. Because real life is so… Read more →

Book Review: All the Missing Girls

When Nicolette (Nic) returns to the small North Carolina town where she was raised to help manage the sale of her family’s home, she does not expect for all the mess from her past to resurface. She hoped to get in and get out and return to Philadelphia as quickly as possible. After all, she left her former life behind… Read more →

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte

I’m not generally a fan of Young Adult fiction, which is why I barely made it through the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy. Too much teen angst and I’m out. Yet, when I saw this cleverly titled YA book recommended to me, I embraced my love of Sherlock Holmes and decided to give it a try. Spoiler alert:… Read more →

Book Review: The Black Banners

I finished this book in late May and completely forgot to review it here. I know most of you who read my reviews are primarily interested in fiction – and most of the time, I am too. However, after reading I am Malala this spring I wanted to continue learning more about Al Qaeda and the Taliban from other points of… Read more →

Book Review: Hillbilly Elegy

Though released in June 2016, it wasn’t until after President Trump was elected in November that I started hearing about Hillbilly Elegy and saw J.D. Vance on a few panels of “experts” ready to lend an explanation as to why the reality TV show host just won the highest seat in the nation. Big thinkers and retired politicians and angry, biased… Read more →

Book Review: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Reading this book was an act of magnetism because I’ve been drawn to the Lost Generation writers and their work since I went to Key West in tenth grade to study Ernest Hemingway. The tragedy and drama surrounding these American writers is as addictive to me as the Tudor Dynasty and Elizabethan Era, which I have also studied for years. The… Read more →

Book Review: No Wonder They Call Him the Savior

I unearthed Max Lucado’s 1986 book to read during Lent because I’ve been craving the story of the cross. In recent years I researched contemplative prayer and doctrinal differences between denominations. I read a lot about how social/cultural matters intersect with faith and action. I was on the up-and-up, trying to discern where I stood. But this season, I craved the… Read more →

Book Review: The Great Divorce

After the cluster that was my Searching for Sunday reading experience, I craved a literary touchstone so spiritually challenging that I’d be knocked right off my high horse. I went straight to an old standby, C.S. Lewis. The Great Divorce has been on my shelf for more than a year, and after readjusting my expectations to encompass allegory, I dove into the narrative and… Read more →

Book Review: Searching for Sunday

If this reads like a break-up letter, that’s because it is. Rachel won’t receive it, and that’s fine. Her pool of fans is large enough, so she won’t notice me quietly slipping out the back door. My first experience with Rachel Held Evans was with her first book, Evolving in Monkey Town, and it was a breath of fresh air.… Read more →

Book Review: Hidden Bodies

First, an English lesson: Deus ex Machina (“god from the machine”) is a literary device often used when the writer has “painted herself into a corner.” In other words, when there is no way out, a sudden and very convenient way out materializes. It’s frustrating for the reader who enjoys a well-devised plot. Now onto Hidden Bodies. This is at follow-up… Read more →

Signs of Life Day Ten

I’m currently working on class descriptions for next year, which means I’m knee-deep in book selections for middle schoolers. Such freedom! Such creativity! This is truly a joyful task and one of the best perks of the job. In my effort to find a free copy of a certain book, I re-stumbled up Project Gutenberg, an online resource for free books.… Read more →

Book Review: Birdman

After reading The Devil of Nanking last year, I sought out Mo Hayder’s entire collection because I knew she was a writer whose works I wanted to consume. I learned that she had an entire detective series to devour, so I found Birdman at Book Depository and ordered it right away. Just as I’d hoped, it was as gruesome and edgy… Read more →

Book Review: The Good Girl

Instead of reading a paper book, I listened to this one (for free) in audiobook format. It’s not my favorite way to “read,” but it’s nice when I have busywork (folding laundry, cleaning out closets, cooking dinner) and I’m not in the mood for podcasts. Something enjoyable streams in my ears while I work. The Good Girl toggles back and forth… Read more →

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2016

In 2015, I read 53 books, verifying to myself that I could, indeed, read 50 books in a year. For 2016, I gave myself a break and set a goal of 40. If all pans out by New Year’s Eve, I will have finished 46 books (45 on paper, one audio). Of those, I chose ten favorites with ease. Numbering them… Read more →

Book Review: The Snow Child

I’m working on a post about the favorite books I read this year, and I was about 30 pages into The Snow Child when I knew it would make the list. Jack and Mabel moved from Pennsylvania to the Alaskan frontier in the 1920s to become homesteaders. They are older, childless, and daring. The childless part was not intentional. They dreamed of… Read more →

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