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

 

 

 

Who am I?? – Reader

I. Love. Books!

Not that any of you want to know more about my childhood or anything, but I wasn’t a reader as a child.  I didn’t like to read as a pre-teen (we were NOT called Tweens back then!), and I certainly didn’t read as a teenager!!

Ready for a confession (I hope none of my teachers from high school are reading this)?? I NEVER read a single book in Jr High or High School that was assigned to me.  The reason this might be a surprise is because I graduated high school nearly with a 4.0.  I only had 2-3 B’s from 9th-12th grade.  I was good at research, even back then, and I probably spent as much time reading ABOUT the assigned book than I would’ve spent reading the actual book.  It was like a matter of principle that I wasn’t going to read the book.  I wasn’t a rebel at all as a teenager, and I still follow rules like crazy, but for some reason, I just didn’t want to read books.  Not any books… My best friend read Gone With the Wind and those types of things in school… and she definitely read everything we were assigned in class.  She DID graduate with a 4.0, so maybe that would’ve made a difference for me! 🙂

I went on to college and after a disastrous freshman year that had to be repeated by a little less disastrous SECOND freshman year, I coasted through to my Senior year… met a boy and got married.  I had one semester left after we got married before graduation.  I was a senior in college with a decent GPA, an ENGLISH major, and I had STILL never read an entire book that was assigned to me by a professor.  This is pure craziness, I know!  I had one semester left and decided to take it easy.  I took The American Story, or something like that.  It was about american literature.  I had plans to just coast on through with some highly effective research and a lot of BS on essay and anything else I had to write.  However, I found myself wanting to be home with my new husband instead of researching at the library, and I just kept staring at the assigned book.  He was studying (he was getting ready to go to seminary), and I didn’t have anything else to do, so I picked it up.  I couldn’t stop reading it, and 16 years later, it’s still on my bookshelf.  I read all the rest of the assigned books for that class, made a pretty easy A, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English degree! 🙂

I spent a few more years not really reading much, and then my mother said something.  She has a learning disability.  This makes it hard for her to read things and write things, and because of this she just didn’t read books.  I’m not sure when this changed for her, but one day, about 9 or 10 years ago, she and I were walking in Walmart and as we were checking out we saw a book on an end cap.  The cover of the book looked kind of like your typical romance novel, but the man on the cover looked like someone to me.  I was obsessed with a TV show about vampires (Called Moonlight, and THIS was the main character).  The main character looked a lot like the guy on the cover of this book… AND the book was about a vampire.  So we each bought a copy of it.  I didn’t live near her anymore, so we talked about the book (after we both read it very quickly) and realized there were more books in this series, and we had read them out of order.  (This is a huge pet peeve with me, but this time it worked out fine!)

Thus began the time in my life when I “learned to read”.  I started reading everything I could get my hands on.  This vampire series led me to other vampire writers and even other fantasy writers and soon I was reading all manor of paranormal romance as the genre is called.  I was reading 2-3 books a week and couldn’t go anywhere without having my book.  Something wonderful happened then… a device called a “kindle” was released about this time and I saved up my money for months to order one that was then back-ordered because so many people wanted one.  And then the obsession really escalated.  I eventually realized that emersing myself in these types of things started to effect my outlook on life.  I started thinking of things around me in terms of how one character would see this or think about this.  I might have gotten a little lost in my own paranormal world.

So, I backed off a little and added in some nonfiction reading to help me maintain balance, and to grow in different ways.  I still read 2-3 books a week, and should probably keep track of it a little better than I do, and I also constantly read more than one book at a time, and go back and re-read books I’ve read more than one time.  I will try to read almost anything, and because of that, there have been plenty of times where I’ve started a book and not been able to finish it because it was just too much… something… whether it’s too much suspense, too much violence, too much sex, too much stupidity by some of these female characters, I just haven’t finished them.  But… I will give every book a chance (if it’s first person point of view, I’ll gripe about it a lot, but I’ll still give it a chance).

So… What I’m currently reading…

  • Fiction(4-6 grade): The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy
    • This is on the kids’ book shelf (I try to read all of the books that they are going to read this year)
  • Fiction(for me): Danger & Desire (an anthology of Romantic Suspense Novels)
    • This is a good way to find different authors…
  • Nonfiction (for me): Growing Great Kids
    • This is about partnering with God to raise kids to follow their calling and use their gifts to change the world!
  • Audio: Good Manners for Nice People who Sometimes say F%&k
    • I don’t say F%&k, and I don’t really like this book.  It’s supposed to be telling us how to be nice with all of this technology around us.  More like, manners for the 21st Century.  The woman just seems kind of rude, and definitely a busy-body.  She takes pictures of people who do things she doesn’t like and posts them online to “publicly embarrass them because she thinks that’s better than having a direct conversation with them because she thinks they’ll only listen when they’ve been embarrassed.  Anyway, I’m finishing it because I can’t quit a book in the middle, but I’m not happy with it.
    • My audible bookshelf probably looks like it belongs to 10 different people.  A ton of different genres represented.

That’s all for now… I just try to read a little bit of everything… and I have a huge list of “to-read” books.  I’m constantly adding to them as I listen to podcasts and read more books.  I’m always open to suggestions, so let me know your favorite book or author and I’ll add it to my list…

Also… if you’re curious about the book I FINALLY read for my college class… here it is… straight from my shelf!  And I’ll link the first “vampire” book I read also… be warned… it’s not for everyone!! 😉

IMG_3179[1]

Vampire Book!! on Goodreads

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

Amanda

 

Who Am I??

An Intro to me! #1

Who am I?

This question could be answered in a lot of different ways, but I’ll try to keep the list short for now.  Since this is a commonly used phrase in our world today, I’ll say these are the things I “identify as”:

That’s probably enough for now.  I’ll spend the next few posts sharing what each of these roles or “hats” means to me, and how these roles are changing somewhat in my life.

Once I learn how all of this works, I’ll figure out how to link each of these words to the post about them.  Until then… you and I both will just have to be lost!  *The ones that are linked won’t come up until those posts are done, but I learned how to link and was pretty excited about it! 🙂

Also, we will discuss my aversions to taking pictures of myself or having my picture taken, but until then, enjoy the latest pics I have of myself.  This was the day after Christmas 2015 before and after my haircut!

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

Amanda