Fall Into Reading Wrap-Up and Reviews

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Katrina at Callapidder Days has hosted a Fall Into Reading challenge which ends today, Dec 21. She asks us a few questions, which I’ll answer, and then I’ll post just a short comment or review about the books I have read for this challenge.

The best book you read this Fall:

Without a doubt, In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham. I wrote about my impressions here.

The book you could have lived without:

The Bachelor’s Bargain by Catherine Palmer. I have enjoyed most of her books. I don’t really like romance-just-for-romance books, but I like good stories that have a romance in them. This seemed more like the former with way too much time spent with “will-they-or-won’t-they” consummate their marriage of convenience. It was “ok” — and the characters did learn good things along the way. But I could have lived without it.

Whether or not you read more than you would have without the challenge:

That’s hard to say, because I do read often, but I think I did read more. There were evenings I was going to turn on the TV to wind down and instead got out a book on my list. I know I did read things I would not have if I hadn’t put them on my list.

The best thing about joining in the challenge:

Finally getting to some those those books I have always wanted to get to “some day.”

If you discovered (and enjoyed) a new book or author after reading someone else’s list:

I did notice several unfamiliar author’s names cropping up on other people’s lists, but I failed to make a note of them when this started (maybe because I already had my list made). But when I read everyone else’s wrap-up posts, I am going to make a list as I go!!

Any other insights, enjoyments, thoughts, or impressions!

I think I will add those as I go with the reviews.

The books on my original list:

General fiction:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I am so glad I finally read this, and want to put other Austen books on my list.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I had known there were several books in the series, but not that there were thirteen!! They go pretty quickly though, and are fun reading. I only read the first one but want to finish the series.

Christian fiction:

Before I Wake by Dee Henderson. Dee does know how to write can’t-put-’em-down page-turners!

The Brethren by Beverly Lewis. This is the conclusion to the “Annie’s People” series, and, as always with Beverly’s books, very good.

Family by Karen Kingsbury. Family is the fourth in the “Firstborn” series, which is a spinoff of the “Redemption” series. Karen Kingsbury is probably not the best writer in the technical sense, and I think she overplays sometimes the emotional aspects of a story, but she does know how to write a good story and likeable characters and draw you in to the story.

Winter Birds by Jamie Langston Turner. Mrs. Turner is in some ways the opposite of Karen Kingbury in the sense that she is a great writer in a technical, literary sense, but the story doesn’t really just grab me and draw me in. I do like where the characters end up and what they learn. Her books are more subtle and have more depth (I probably shouldn’t compare the two authors, but I did read these right after each other). I’d love to discuss these impressions with someone else who has read her books.

Bible study:

That I May Know Him by June Kimmel. This was a good Bible study: I enjoyed it.

A Look Within by Faith Alvis Taylor. This was great: I greatly benefited from it and want to suggest it for our ladies’ Bible study.

Non-fiction:

For Women Only, What You Need To Know About The Inner Lives Of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn. I really had ambivalent feelings about this one. I told my son I was reading this book, and he said, “What does a woman know about the secret lives of men?” Well, she did a survey to research a character for a book, and was so intrigued that that led to a more detailed survey. Most of the information wasn’t new to me. I kept getting frustrated, though, and had to remind myself that it wasn’t meant to be a balance between men’s and women’s needs (there is another separate book about women). The author seemed to lay a man’s well-being and spiritual success on his wife, but I don’t think she really meant to. If I can turn this around, one of a woman’s needs (at least that you read in the books) is security, and a wise husband takes that into account. But a wife has to realize that her ultimate security is in the Lord, and when the circumstances seem most insecure –unstable job situations, etc. — rest on Him and not fall apart, blame her husband, etc. The same is true of a man’s needs. No one person can ever meet all of our needs: only the Lord can do that. And I think the author would agree though she did seem to place great weight on a wife’s meeting her husband’s needs. I haven’t read the companion book about women, but as I skimmed over the contents, I thought, yes, it would be helpful if men understood these things about women. So if I took this book the same way and kept it in perspective that it was just an explanation of how men think and what is important to them, then it was ok.

Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. This is the only book I didn’t finish, I regret to say. I should have and could have if I had read it before adding on the others: I just tend to gravitate toward fiction. πŸ™‚ But I am determined to finish it now. I was actually kind of bored with the first few chapters, because I felt like I already knew what he was explaining, until I remembered Lewis’s background: he was an atheist before becoming a Christian, and he starts off by the logical evidences and conclusions for believing in God. We know “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17) rather than logic, but sometimes these types of discussions and apologetics can help remove some of the weeds that would choke off the seed of the Word (Matthew 13:1-23). I am only a few chapters into the book.

In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham, mentioned above, reviewed more fully here.

Added to my original list:

A Spouse in the House by Richard Armour. I had discovered one of his poems in another book and was so taken I searched for others, and found a great wealth of them on a variety of topics at amazon.com. Most, if not all, are out of print and can be bought used for under $5. I commented on this one here.

Leaves of Hope by Catherine Palmer. A young woman named Beth with an adventurous spirit is daughter to a very safe, predictable mother who doesn’t like change. Then Beth unexpectedly finds out she is adopted. I’ll let you discover the rest of the plot. πŸ™‚ Overall a good book: I enjoyed it. I did disagree with some of Beth’s ideas that one had to be more like her personality to be Christlike — God had many servants who “stay by the stuff.”

The Bachelor’s Bargain by Catherine Palmer, mentioned above.

A Woman’s Place by Lynn Austen. I liked the historical aspects of this story of four women working in the same ship factory during WWII, and I am sure many of the types of discussions in the book about “a woman’s place” really did take place (and still do!) But I felt that the author overall painted “housewives” in a very demeaning light, so that was a big disappointment. I wrote more about that here.

A Victorian Christmas Tea by Catherine Palmer and others. Just finished this one. It wasn’t what you usually find in novels with “Victorian” in the title. It contains four novellas of different people in different circumstances. I enjoyed it.

Katrina has said that she probably won’t sponsor a winter challenge but might do one for spring. I think, after the holidays, I will make a winter reading list for myself. Those cold winter nights are some of the best for reading. πŸ™‚ I want to continue on in Jane Austen’s books, the Lemony Snicket series, whatever my favorite authors come up with in the next few months, and any interesting books I see on other people’s lists.

9 thoughts on “Fall Into Reading Wrap-Up and Reviews

  1. I love how you gave your thoughts and impressions of each book! It helps me figure out which ones I need to add to my own list. πŸ™‚ And I’ve been curious about the Lemony Snicket books – they look great and I’m sure my son will want to read them eventually so I need to “preview” them. I’m glad to know you enjoyed the first one! Thanks again for joining in the Challenge – it’s been great!

  2. Wow, you read a lot of wonderful books! I want to read some of Austen in the new year, and might either add Pride & Prejudice or Persuasion to my list. I watched the movie of P&P the other day and it got me thinking I need to read more of that type of classic.

    I just started the Abram’s Daughters series by Beverly Lewis and I love them! I have the first two (finished the first and half way through the second one) and I have asked for the last 3 on my Christmas list. I also have The Preacher’s Daughter and have asked for the rest of the Annie’s Peoples ones as well. We’ll see what I get and what I have to buy or borrow in 2007! I love her and am looking forward to reading most of her books.

    I gave one of our nieces the first 4 Lemony Snickets books and I just might have to borrow those, as well, in the new year. She said they were good!

    I love Karen Kingsbury also and adored the Redemption series. I’ve been holding out on starting the Firstborn series. I thought I’d better catch up on some of the other books I have on my list and let her finish that series before I start it too!

    I’m going to check out some other books on your list, thanks for all the reviews and comments. Good stuff here!

    Merry Christmas!!!!

  3. What a great list of books you accomplished! So glad to read a review of each book you read.
    I also became a big Jane Austen fan during this reading challenge. I read Persuasion and loved it!
    Blessings to you!

  4. I really like Kingsbury’s books. I’ve read the Redemption series and have the first 2 books in the Firstborn series. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. thanks for stopping by on my blog! yeah, I didn’t feel Before I Wake was Dee’s best book. Like I said in my review, if there’s a sequel coming I’ll read it but I prefer her O’Malley series the best.

    i have Winter Birds next on my TBR list. I’ve read all of Jamie’s books and I’m really looking forward to this one.

    Those Lemony Snickets are quick reads. I’m currently listening to the Last one on CD.

    I’ll be having a couple book giveaways on my blog soon, so stop by and enter to win!

  6. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the Shauti Feldhahn book, it is a book I have always noticed but never really heard that much about it, so thanks!

  7. Pingback: Interview with Lynn Walker and book give-away « Stray Thoughts

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