Sunday, August 3, 2014

What's On My Bookshelf?!!!

I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath for the next installment of the thrilling saga of Friz Manor: Who Slept Last Night, but I thought we'd take a break from our regularly scheduled programming for a brief game of What's On My Bookshelf?!!!

Prizes will be allotted to readers who 1) have read any of the books I am about to reference, 2) guessed any of the titles currently on The Shelf, and 3) care to provide further reading suggestions to keep me entertained during the long watches of the night when Friz Manor: Who Slept Last Night is singing the same song, second verse, a little bit louder, a little bit worse.

{Prizes include but are not limited to, of course, my undying affection and a brief but priceless moment of internet celebrity.}

Now, let the games begin!

The first category is Books In Progress. I currently have rather a lot of books rolling at this point, possibly because I keep forgetting which books I'm reading and possibly because my attention span is incredible short.

So, at the top of the list is Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman. The Man brought this one home for me in May (he has this wonderful habit of bringing books home for no reason at all), and I've been dipping in and out of it since then. I only have thirty pages left at this point, and I'm kind of sad that it's almost over. It is the best presentation of how to live out the gospel in the mundane moments of motherhood that I have ever read, and I need these reminders. I need that perspective.

Coming up in second place, also brought home by the Man, is a set of short stories by the inimitable Dorothy L. Sayers (man, I love her). Let's be honest: this is a bathtub book. It's a "I just want to curl up and read something enjoyable at the end of the day" book. It's a just before bed book. Which is probably why I haven't made it through more than a handful of the forty-four stories (did I say Complete set of short stories? because it is Complete) since things like baths and bedtimes and leisure are hard to come by these days.

Next up is Tsh Oxenreider's Organized Simplicity, which makes me want to purge all of our belongings. Enough said. No, not enough said, I am also planning a date night (hahahahahahaha…sorry) when I will annoyingly ply the Man with question after question regarding our family's purpose statement and other things along those lines. He will respond with characteristic grace and eye rolls.

The second category is Books Completed. I've been knocking a few out, left and right, you know, in all my spare time. Naturally, I did a quick foray through Moby Dick and then polished off Great Expectations and a light read through some commentaries on Revelation. Kidding! Au contraire, mon frere, the lighter, the better these days, because I am reading (in general) with my eyes crossed and my brain half asleep.

Last night, in the haze, I read the great classic of literature Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde (please tell me that's not really her name). While I won't pretend it's the best book I've ever read, there were a few amusing parts, and it kept me mildly entertained. Every now and then everyone should enjoy a princess book. Especially when said princess gets turned into a Chinese-speaking frog and accidentally kidnapped. I'd give it a 4 out of 10.

The day before yesterday I reread Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I vaguely remember reading it at some point some where, but I really couldn't tell you when or where, so I thought it was worth a reread. With the exception of an "adult" (really? can we just say unnecessary?) scene, the plot held together well, the premise was intriguing, and the characters relatively believable. 6 out of 10. And now I want to know what my "grace" would be. But really, I just want to be "graced" with the ability to make people (who shall remain nameless) fall asleep at my command.

Last week I read Shauna Niequist's Cold Tangerines. Thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking. It was encouraging, funny, intellectually stimulating. I've been on a bit of a memoir kick lately, and her writing was fabulous. So, spoiler alert, her next book, Bittersweet, is in my Books I'm Planning To Read category. Anyway, 9 out of 10.

{Ugh, I'm at the end of my can of mixed nuts and there are only peanuts left. What kind of a bad joke is this??!! I'm leaving the peanuts for the Man.}

As I was reading Cold Tangerines, I was also dipping in and out of Stephen King's book On Writing. Which entertained me a great deal mostly because when the Man asked me what I was reading and I told him, I could tell that he thought I was reading Stephen King's book on writing, which I was, but it was also Stephen King's book On Writing. No one else would find this entertaining but me. Anyway. Stephen King's book On Writing (I can't stop myself) was a great read but, unfortunately, annoyingly inspirational for someone who currently can't even manage a shower every day much less half an hour of writing time. But if you're a writer, go read it. It's now up there with Steven Pressfield's The War of Art and Strunk and White's Elements of Style (which King references plentifully). 9 out of 10.

Finally, I (finally) read Kisses from Katie by Katie J. Davis. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to say about this book. Because it's the kind of book that makes you want to change your life dramatically and go save the world. And I think that's a good thing. But I also know sometimes that's more possible than other times. And sometimes it's more about changing the way we live the lives we have now and by doing so, saving the world. I'm not sure. I will say this though, of all my book choices over the last couple of weeks, this was probably the worst choice, because it was hard to fall back asleep after reading it because I was praying so hard that God would show me how He wants me to live my life. And then I'm reminded that the "least of these" that Jesus and Katie Davis are talking about includes my teething, tossing, and turning (loudly) twins. And 9 out of 10.

{I keep sifting through the peanuts hoping to find any lone pistachios hiding in there. I got lucky once.}

Moving on, let's close out this episode of What's On My Bookshelf?!!! with Books I'm Planning To Read! (I really should've come up with catchier category titles.)

The Man and I took the kids to the bookstore this weekend to pick up some new books for the road trip. Naturally and unfortunately, they chose a horrendous amount of Thomas books. They can make us buy them but they can't make us read them. Just kidding. They really can. Anyway, the Man and I were going to pick out some books for ourselves but book shopping with four kids under the age of four (and a stroller that barely maneuvers through the aisles) is not the most relaxing thing ever. So we opted to plan our purchases and make good use of

Incidentally, and as a side note, most of the books I've been reading lately have been courtesy of an app called Oyster. I like reading on my phone at night because then I don't have to turn on a light while I nurse.

Anyway, I plan to purchase an actual book with pages that can be turned and smelled and enjoyed for myself in honor of the move, and I think I'm going to get Myquillin Smith's The Nesting Place, because is there a better time to read a book about your home than when you're getting ready to set up your home all over again? I think not. So I'm really looking forward to that.

I'm also, as previously mentioned, planning to read Shauna Niequist's Bittersweet (and I'd love to read Bread & Wine but they don't have it on Oyster), Clay Clarkson's Heartfelt Discipline, and Bill Bryson's  The World As Stage (because can anyone have too much Shakespeare in their life?).

And now, as a sincere apology for writing an obscenely long book post that probably only half a dozen people cared to read, I offer up to you this picture of my terribly cute children enjoying an unseasonably cool rainy day.


  1. Bummer! I just posted a wonderful comment but it didn't post!!!! But your dad pointed out that you might be sleep-deprived but you still put together coherent and wise thoughts about all the books you are reading. And of course I love the photos of those adorable children. From these 4 photos, I must admit that the most adorable one happens to be the Screamer. And although you might think I mean Alex, who is outdoing himself in his crazy photo, we know who the real Screamer is!!! Love them all and love you too!

  2. Yes. I needed a good book review while I have internet in Sudan. Explain the app to me, though I doubt that I can download it here since iTunes is blocked here. Don't get all snooty about your Android program either because that's blocked too. But I'll find a way around restrictions if your books are free. And great photos. :)