11 Books Worth Reading (Summer Reading Recap)

“Reading more” was one of my goals for this summer. When life gets busy, reading is usually one of the first things I drop. But there are just too many wonderful books out there to not devote a few minutes each day to reading.

Though I’ll likely never zoom through four books a week like some amazing folks do, I did make it through eleven books this summer that were worth the effort.

Books Worth Reading

  1. I’m No Angel: Winsome and humble. That’s the spirit of this beautiful autobiographic tale of a young Christian wife who made it to one of the most coveted runways ever as a Victoria Secret Angel model… and gave it all up to be a Proverbs 31 wife.
  2. The Five Love LanguagesI don’t like books that put people in boxes or encourage us to make excuses for sinful behavior. The Five Love Languages did neither. If we don’t speak the love language of our spouse (or child, sibling, friend, etc) it is easy to think that we’re obeying the command to “love one another”, but not demonstrating it in ways that are as meaningful as we think.
  3. Little Princes: This is the gripping autobiography of a young man who decided he was going to spend his life savings on a trip round the world. In order to ease his conscience (and stop his friends from shaking their heads in disapproval) he started his trek with a short stint at an orphanage in Nepal. Little did he know he would come to care about these children and battle greedy child-traffickers, overwhelmed officials, war-ravaged cities, and a dangerous trip along goat paths for their sakes.
  4. Lessons at Blackberry Inn: With the clear goal of inspiring readers to imitation, Karen Andreola paints a beautiful image of a homeschool family. It’s set in the country during the Great Depression. At times it was overly sentimental, but laid a compelling case for the art of gentle learning. (Plus, I love books that honor happy marriages!)
  5. Mara: Daughter of the Nile & The Golden Goblet*: This year, we’re studying Creation to the Fall of the Roman Empire. I thought these novels might be fun read-alouds to highlight life in ancient Egypt, but were too complex. I sure loved them though! Nothing like getting your history lesson in the form of a fast-paced novel!
  6. Toward a Truly Free Market: Joshua read this book with some guys from church, and highly recommended it. I was a bit leery about beginning a dense book on economics, but found it totally worth the effort. The author offers a fresh and compelling view of economic theory. If you’re worried about the direction our economy is headed, I highly recommend Toward a Truly Free Market.
  7. Fresh Eggs Daily: A fun and simple read, this beautifully illustrated book is a great guide to caring for chickens naturally. It’s filled with great facts like “planting mint near the coop helps repel mice” and what weeds and table scraps are good for chickens.
  8. The Art of War: One of those classics I had never got around to reading. Which is silly since it’s super short and so universally loved (and Librivox has a great free audio recording of it.)
  9. Fat Chance: Beathing the Odds against Suger, Processed Foods, Obsity, and Disease: Obesity is an ever growing problem in the modern world and we must stop saying it’s just a self-discipline issue, because it isn’t. This book is an excellent look at how our bodies deal with extra fat, the biochemical causes of obesity, why diets rarely work, and how to increase our (and our children’s) chances for healthy lifestyles.
  10. Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: ‘m blessed with a very happy marriage, but there’s always room to make it even better, right? This book is filled with simple “secrets” that highly happy couple practice, and all marriages can incorporate.
  11. The Eagle of the Ninth*: Another historically-based novel that was a bit too mature for the kids, but was a fascinating tale about life in Roman Britain. It’s amazing how a story gives feeling and life to the dry facts of ancient times.

On the Bookshelf this Fall

What’s on your bookshelf? 

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[Full disclosure: Links to products in this post are my referral links.]

(Another reason I didn’t think these were appropriate for my children is that I want to wait to introduce false gods to them till they are mature enough to appreciate the wonderful truth that these false gods were conquered by Christ.)

 photo credit

Weekend Wanderings

I keep wanting to blog, but laptop troubles and lack of sleep keep getting in my way.

My poor laptop is having a hard time deciding whether it wants to charge or not. I thought it was the battery, but a new battery didn’t help. Now I’m wondering if it’s the adapter. Thursday it simply refused to turn on, at all. After Josh took apart the adapter and cleaned it, it runs as long as the adapter is plugged in. If it gets knocked out or tapped or bumped even slightly, the computer jumps into standby mode immediately.

Clumsy me plus three little ones means that it shuts off often. If you have any ideas of possible fixes, please let me know. I’d prefer not to have to get a new adapter, but that would definitely beat buying a new computer!

Photo by Jakub Krechowicz

Baby Daisy has also decided to start getting up in the night all of a sudden and the last couple of nights I’ve been so tired I went to bed very early (like 8 o’clock Thursday night!) instead of staying up to blog.

Since it’s shaping up to be a fun but busy weekend, rather than actually blogging about anything, here are a few articles from around the blogosphere that encouraged me this week:

Women, Stop Submitting to Men Men as heads of their homes have been given a bad rap. Images of domineering men cowing women perhaps come to mind. But a twisted, perverted sort of patriarchy flourishes in our modern culture. A “patriarchy” that demands instant gratification without wanting to pay the price of commitment.

In the traditional Church calendar, December 25th is simply the first day of the season of Christmas, which lasts for 12 days ending with Epiphany. Passionate Homemaking shares wonderful ideas for blessing your husband with 12 Days of Christmas. The author starts on December 13th and works up to Christmas Day. You could also start on Christmas Day and celebrate the traditional 12 Day of Christmas.

I have learned so much from Blogging with Amy (in both blogging and life.) She’s so authentic and helpful. Her post this week What Are You Avoiding? And How? was inspiring. For me, I know I’m avoiding a task if I start hunting for chocolate.

Amy’s Finer Things (another lovely blog from an Amy!) linked to this great post: Breastfeeding Bullies. What a wonderful reminder! Even though something (whether it be nursing or a certain school or food or gifts) may be best for my family, doesn’t mean it’s best for yours. God has given us principles that we should all follow, like “love your children,”  but the methods can vary widely!

Have a wonderful weekend and blessed Sunday!

College while Cleaning: or learning on the go

If there were one household duty I would gladly resign, it would be ironing. Since entrusting a three year old with a hot iron probably isn’t such a brilliant idea, I think I’m stuck with the job [except on those mornings when my already over-worked husband wakes up to find not a single ironed shirt in his closet.]

That’s one of the reasons I love modern technology. While steadily conquering that pile of shirts, there are so many wonderful free things to listen to.

Librivox.org– Volunteers from around the world have combined forces to provide free audio versions of numerous works in the public domain. Recordings range from poetry and fiction to politics and science. Since done completely on a volunteer basis there is a wide range of recording quality, but many are simply outstanding. Wile away the hours with Homer’s Iliad, Psmith in the City by P.G. Wodehouse, Austen’s Emma or Chesterton’s Ballad of the White horse.

Plus, if you have a microphone (even the one on the computer will work) you can add to the collection…

Lectures– There is just so much wonderful information on the web! Peter Kreeft’s lectures are fascinating, even if I disagree with much of them. Nearly any area of possible interest has down-loadable lectures.

Teaching Company Lectures– This company has made some of the finest professors from the most distinguished schools available to all of us. The topics range from literature to calculus to the history of the Supreme Court.

In fact, Joshua and I both did much of our studying for college via these recorded lectures then testing out of the class. Nothing like listening to college courses while washing dishes!

My absolute favorite are by Timothy Taylor on Economics. Yeah, I know, supposedly a rather dry topic; but he made it so interesting that even my 8 and 11 year old siblings were begging to dry dishes so they could finish the lecture…that’s pretty impressive! (These are incredibly expensive but many local libraries have a huge collection.)

Pandora.com– This site is amazing: customizable radio at your fingertips. Create an account and pick the genre of music you want played. As you listen rate the songs with a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” and voila! it generates personalized selections.

Sermons– There are several databases of compiled sermons like sermonindex and sermonaudio. Many churches have their own websites as well that allow you to download the weekly message.

And, of course, there are Podcasts on just about every imaginable topic from grammar tips to “all things baby“.

What do you do to make ironing (or other household duties) more enjoyable?

part of Frugal Friday at Life as Mom

photo by Allan Sorensen

February Book It

February reading listphoto credit

Tutoring is a fun way to earn a bit of extra income from the home while investing in the lives of students. I currently teach literature and writing and love it.

Not only is the switch from Suess to Shakespeare refreshing for me, my toddler Rosalind loves getting to serve “the guys” cookies and jabbers about them constantly. They are dedicated students and keeping abreast of all the reading and writing required provides a stimulating challenge.

But, taking Fish Mama’s challenge, one of my goals for this year is to delve into the written treasures that fall beyond the pale of literature.

From February’s bookshelf:

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan:

The book is as intriguing as the title. Why on earth does food need to be defended? Pollan answers that so much of our Western diet is highly processed food substitutes. Not food.

We need to return to the simpler real cooking of our grandmothers or great-grandmothers. To a time before our food was transformed into a genetically modified highly processed industrial affair.

The illustration that resonated with me was margarine. It’s an industrial substitute for butter. They can change the components depending on the latest fads and make it low cholestral or trans fat free. Consumer whims determine the ingredients.

The overall mantra is: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

The second point is one that I’ve been trying to incorporate. When you go to fancy restaurants, the servings are small and you’re supposed to eat your food slowly. Savor it. That’s what we should do on a daily basis. Savor the blessing of food, not gorge on it.

All Things Considered by G.K. Chesterton:

If you’ve never read Chesterton, add him to your book list. He was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century and created masterpieces of detective fiction and epic poetry, biographies and persuasive treatises. Even when you disagree with him, his wit forces you to think and his jubilance spills from the page.

With essays ranging from “Woman” to “British Street Names”, this collection showcases Chesterton’s ability to take trivial subjects and spin them in a way that leaves you laughing and amazed. Laughing at the wild bigness of Creation and our futile attempts to make it small and amazed at the universal truths gleaned from trifling matters.

He takes political secrecy to task in one essay and claims that there are three legitimate reasons for secrecy: first, you keep something secret to make the revelation more exciting (like hide and seek). Second, secrets are acceptable in areas that everyone knows about but that are sacred and private (like love). The last area really isn’t for secrets, it’s for those things that we do without giving the action a second thought (like why you decided to turn left on your walk, not right). Then he applied political secrets (and bribery) to each of these categories. What if all political secrets were secrets simply to make it more exciting when revealed to the public? or if the inner workings were done without a second thought?

Sadly, political secrets form a different category: secrets that shouldn’t be secrets.

On March’s bookshelf: Notes from a Tilt-a-Whirl and Second Mile People

[Full Disclosure: links to products in this post are my referral links.]