February (and March) Books

What I read in February…

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My goodreads account has lots of info on books I’m reading, have read, and will read in the future… Check it out… Since I haven’t updated in a couple of months, this will include books from February and March!!

Audacious – Beth Moore –
I could hear her voice throughout this whole book! If you have heard her speak before, this will really take you back to some of her lessons. I devoured this book!  The audio book is read by her, so if you love to hear her speak, get the audio version.  I like to listen to her southern accent (she was raised in Arkansas)… it kind of makes me homesick for Arkansas!

Poetics – Aristotle
This book was written so long ago, it is available online for free.  I thought this book was kind of weird.  It is all about poetry.  But they called almost all kinds of writing poetry, and he focuses on plays in general.  Dramas, comedies, and tragedies.  He talks about character development and even breaks down the parts of a play (story) like this…
“A beginning is that which is not itself necessarily after anything else, and which               has naturally something else after it; an end is that which is naturally after                         something itself, either as its necessary or usual consequent, and with nothing                   else after it; and a middle, that which is by nature after one thing and has also                     another after it.”
This seems absurd to me that he is literally defining beginning, middle, and end.  I can only assume that he is the first person who recognized that these three parts make up a good story.  If this was a well-known thing (like it is today), then this whole paragraph gets a big “duh!”… But maybe he was the first person to break it down and write about it in minute detail… that’s what the whole book seems to me… everything about writing and poetry written down in a very detailed way!! The whole book is available because the original had degraded so badly that it can’t be read anymore.  I read the translated version of course (Spoiler Alert: Aristotle didn’t speak English!!) 😉

A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy
I knew my boys (ages 12 & 9) would want to read this series, so I bought them and started first. I loved it more than I expected to. I thought it wouldn’t really be possible for me to learn more about this story than I already knew from the numerous times I’ve watched this movie. It came out the year I was born, so I’ve always felt a special connection to it. I was pleasantly surprised by how new the story felt in this book. She changes nothing and even uses exact lines from the movie. I felt like I was right there, watching the movie from inside their heads. The characters became much more well-rounded and I learned all over again why I fell in love with them and this story the first time I saw it. Very well done!!!

Emma
This one started off slow for me because it took me some time to get used to the language. I can’t believe I didn’t read this in school when I am sure everyone else was reading it. I love books that tie everything up with a bow, and I was rooting for Emma to grow up and see what was right in front of her face the whole time. Now I’m excited to see the different movies based on this book. Really good book.

You’re The Best: A Celebration of Friendship
I read this book one “chapter” at a time with my best friend. We live on different continents, but we are definitely Satellite Sisters… This book is just wonderful! I’ve listened to their podcasts for years and I laugh out loud nearly ever time I listen… They really are The Best!!!

Frankenstein
I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but this was definitely not it.  It wasn’t that the book was bad, exactly, but it wasn’t great either, and it was nothing like any of the movies.  It didn’t even have an Igor character at all.  I felt like it was something that could’ve been written by a 19 year old girl.  It was hard to get sucked in like I do with most books, and I really had to force myself to even finish reading it.

Annihilation: A Novel
I really liked this book and stayed up way too late reading it. It made me feel like I did when I watched the first few seasons of Lost. I don’t want to give away spoilers, so I won’t say too much. What I can say is that this book takes place in the future, and there is a mysterious place that groups of scientists are sent to explore this area and report back what they find. We are told the story from the biologist’s point of view, and she soon learns that things are exactly as they seem… including her motives for being on the expedition. It was a really good book. I’ve added the next one to my to-read list.

The Fall of Five
This series just keeps getting more interesting to me. I started reading these because my 12 year old son was reading them and I wanted to be able to discuss them with him. But now I find myself wanting to read them just because I like them. In this book, all of the aliens have joined together and are planning to start training to be able to fight the other aliens. However… there might be a traitor among them… It’s really good… Definitely read this series, but please start with the first book, I am Number Four… They are all great!

Being a Listener

I love Podcasts…

I love podcasts… anyone who knows me knows that I’m obsessed with podcasts.  I am never without something downloaded on my phone to listen to.  I have TONS of podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis.  I’ll post only the ones I listened to in January (I get really far behind on some of them because I have so many that I listen to)… Anyway… In no particular order… here they are… (Edit:  I’m trying to figure out how to link them to their podcast or at least the podcast page so you can listen to them if you want)

  • Satellite Sisters (I laugh out loud with EVERY show… this one is just great fun!)
  • Stuff to Blow Your Mind (random things that are cool to know about)
  • The Unschooling Life (this one is new for me and I’ve only listened to about 10 of them)
  • Stuff you Should Know (The hosts are like good friends to me because I’ve listened to this one for so long… Josh and Chuck are great together!! – Lots of different topics, and they are all great!)
  • Life of Caesar (This one is rated E (explicit) because they use curse words sometimes.  Still a great podcast that has as much goofy humor as actual history, but I love how great the guys feed off of each other… really good! – I just found this one, so I’m having to do lots of catching up to where they are now)
  • How to Do Everything (This is a podcast from NPR, and just for fun… They are usually pretty short and always revolve around some goofy topic or another)
  • Your Move with Andy Stanley (This is usually his different book and bible studies that are recorded in front of his church, and now I think they are on television after SNL maybe… anyway… he’s ALWAYS great!!  Always!!)
  • Inspired to Action  (This one is just to encourage mothers.  That’s her whole purpose because the podcasts… she interviews people – women mostly – who are living their lives and raising their kids while trying to remain Christ-focused.  She ends every podcast by saying “you’re kind of a big deal – now go be awesome” and I love every time she says it… 🙂 )
  • The Civil War Podcast (Husband and wife team, he from Pennsylvania… her from Arkansas… they do such a great job with this topic and it goes very indepth.  They are 3 years in and it’s great!!)
  • Genealogy Guys (This is just lots of news about new releases about anything in the genealogy world… great resource!!)
  • Homemakers By Choice (Donna Otto does this weekly podcast and it’s great.  She encourages women and does small bible studies)
  • The New Yorker Fiction Podcast (Someone – a writer usually – interviews a writer about one of their works coming out soon… I just discovered this podcast, and I’ve gone back to the beginning and am catching up.  I’ve gotten some great book recommendations from this podcast.)
  • The Greenlight Bookstore Radio Hour (this one works the same as the  New Yorker Fiction podcast and I’ve gotten some great recommendations from this one too)
  • Serial  (This one is handsdown my favorite podcast of January!!! It takes a story and tells it week-by-week, one episode at a time.  I just love the way the story comes together.  Oh, and they are non-fiction… The podcast is on it’s second story… the first story is about a man who’s been in prison for 15 years (since he was 18) and has continued to proclaim his innocence… the second story is about someone in the military who walked away from his post, ended up a POW, or maybe was a traitor the whole time… we have to listen to find out!!! 🙂

Let me know what podcasts you listen to or if you tried any of these!!  I listen to a LOT more, but the post was going to be way too long… I’ll review more podcasts each month until my list has been covered!!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

January Books

Everything I read in January

  1. Night Embrace – Sherrilyn Kenyon
    1. I’ve read this wonderful series over and over again.  This time I’m listening to the books on Audible)… I love her characters… even the vampire-ish ones! 🙂  Just a great, not-using-a-lot-of-brain-cells books!
  2.  Good Manners for Nice People – Amy Alcon
    1. This book started out promising, and finished on a positive note, but I was left with feeling like this woman was a busy-body who spent a LOT of her time spying on other people, reporting online about people, and taking it upon herself to point out which “rules” people are breaking.  Some of what she says is spot-on and pretty funny, but some of it is borderline obsessive and at one point she says she enforces a “no cell phone rule” in her favorite coffee shop.  It’s important to say that she’s not employed by this shop, but she takes it as her duty to tell people not to use their cell phones saying she really wanted to “tackle them to the ground” for using their cell phones.  I would think she’d go to the coffee shop to maybe have coffee or maybe write (since she’s an author and a columnist), but I wonder how much she can be enjoying her coffee and time in the shop if all she is doing is watching everyone who walks in the door to see if they are using their cell phone.  I want to tell her to get a life and do something she enjoys.  Then she tells a story of her organizing her friends to set up rotational visits to a single friend of hers who was dying of cancer.  Something completely selfless in the midst of a book filled with things she does that makes me wonder if she does anything other than spy on other people breaking “social rules”.  Anyway… I did finish the book, although twice in the middle I wanted to stop… I finished it and will probably give it 3 out of 5 stars!
  3. The Power of Six – Pittacus Lore
    1. This is a wonderful series!! It’s a YA (young adult) series about 9 teenager aliens.  Okay… that just turned off a bunch of people, but it’s amazing how sucked in I get into this drama… This is the second book in the series, and you need to start from the beginning to know what’s going on.  So, I am Number Four is first… get it and then move on to this one… I can’t wait to read the next one.
    2. Price, my 11 year old boy, LOVES these books… he’s on the 5th one now and about to start the 6th book.  He was really mad about the 4th book because “they said the F word two times… can’t they write without putting that in there?”  So that’s really the only complaint we have… I promised to find him an action/adventure novel with no cussing.
  4. The Tale of Despereaux – Kate D
    1. We read this one as a family.  I really liked it, especially the narrator part.  I love that they talk to us “dear reader” throughout the whole book.  It teaches new vocabulary words as we go along… like empathy and things like that.  We then watched the movie and decided we didn’t like how different it was from the book.  We think the book was better than the movie.  Wesley (9 year old boy) thought that the movie was better because “no one dies”.  The rest of us liked the book better!
  5. For the Love – Jen Hatmaker
    1. Y’all… I cannot express how much I loved this book.  I laughed out loud and read parts of it to anyone who happened to be near me!  I am definitely putting this one back in the rotation to re-read.  If you are married, or have children, or hope to be married or have children then this book is for you.  If you are nearing 40, or over 40, or under 40 then this book is for you.  I immediately put her other books on my wish list and will continue to talk about the things in this book for years… I just know she and I would be great friends!!  So, I’ve also added “Meet Jen Hatmaker and make her feel very uncomfortable (since she’s an introvert) by gushing over how good friends we already are because of the conversations I’ve had with her in my head”.  This book is for you… for the love!
  6. St Thomas Aquinas – G.K. Chesterton
    1. This book was so far over my head that I probably only understood about 1/4 of it.  It was like reading C.S. Lewis to me.  His books take me forever to read because I have to go back and re-read the sentences over and over to understand what he’s saying.  Chesterton was the same, or maybe it was just Thomas Aquinas who was so hard to understand.  My favorite thing I did get from it though was the idea that philosophers weren’t always the way I think of philosophers.  Aquinas was definitely a philosopher who was also a Christian and had no problem working those two things together.  It dawned on me that most Christian theologians are, at their essence, philosophers.  They are all putting their own interpretation of scriptures, and spreading their ideas about it.  When a lot of them agree on one interpretation, it becomes a denomination and it becomes the basis of their belief system.  Aquinas was alive when science was just beginning… it was the beginning of science the way we view it.  With an idea, a hypothesis, experiments, and conclusions… aka the Scientific Method.  Aquinas believed that the bible was so vast and that humans were really able to understand everything it says and everything it means.  Because of this, we take the scriptures and “guess” at what it means… Interpret it in the way we feel is best.  Not to further our cause, or to prove that we are right, but just interpret what it says in the BEST way we can.  THEN, if science is used to prove there is another meaning for something in the bible, something that might go against the way we have interpreted it, we change the interpretation.  With this theory in place, he was able to use science in conjunction with his faith instead of opposed to his faith.  He took the “heretics” of his age and really tried to understand where they were coming from, so he could show them where they went wrong in their beliefs.  I would LOVE to see how he would act and what he would think if he were alive now.  He was a great thinker, and apparently it’s important to note that he was a really big man.  🙂  I love the way Chesterton speaks in his writing, and I am adding more of his books to my list.  Now off for something MUCH lighter than this!! 🙂

I try to read books from different genres and about a variety of subjects.  I feel like it keeps me from getting bored and constantly generates questions that lead me to research and learn even more things.  Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, or if you have any books that you think I REALLY need to read.

**Also… check out my new goodreads profile (and be my friend!) to see what I’m reading now and what’s on my to-read list!!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda