Jul 28, 2017

What We're Reading (July Issue)

I have two really, really good books to recommend (and other SDMW writers have titles to share as well). What about you? Anything we should add to our book lists?

Anna Mussmann

I just read W. R. Gingell's Masque. It's a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that's also a murder mystery set in a fantasy world full of witty banter and fabulous fashion. It's not just for girls, either--my husband couldn't put it down. So. Much. Fun. I've blogged a bit more about it here.

Recently I also finished The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby. It's an incredibly helpful look at the fundamental building blocks of all good stories, and has taught me more about story construction than any other book I've read (including, ahem, why some of my former novels were dead-ends).

Leah Sherman

This summer, while vacationing and gardening, I have been listening to audiobooks. Charles Dicken’s Bleak House was first on my list, totaling over thirty-five hours of listening time.  It was worth every minute to hear Sean Barrett and Teresa Gallagher read this novel.  Dickens is one my favorite authors, partly because of his mastery of language and partly because of his ability to wrap the stories of so many characters up into one neat package and deliver to the reader to savor.  Bleak House is such a pretty package. Esther Summerson, one of the main characters, is such a delightful picture of womanhood. She is a model of humility, honesty, and compassion-the very qualities of a woman that make her beautiful- and she dutifully serves those around her with deepest love and affection.  She is a character every young lady ought to meet.

Sundays are my family’s evening for read-aloud.  Recently, we’ve been reading Half-Magic by Edward Eager.  It is a delightful little read, and more humorous than I imagined it would be. Four children find a magic charm that grants them their wishes, but it grants them in halves. Their task is to find a way to use the charm to make their summer more exciting.  Their adventures involve a half-talking cat, an Arabic desert, Merlin and Lancelot, and many more. In the end, the charm brings them more than they could have wished for themselves.  This book is accessible for all ages as a read-aloud.  We read it with our son, age 8, and two nieces, ages 4 and 10.

Rachel Kovaciny

This spring, I had the great pleasure of judging the mystery/thriller category of the INSPY Awards for excellence in Christian fiction.  My fellow judges and I unanimously picked If I Run by Terri Blackstock as the winner.

Casey Cox's good friend has just been murdered, and she's being framed for it.  Doesn't help that she's the one who discovered the body, and her DNA is all over the crime scene.  She runs, convinced that she'll either go to jail for a murder she didn't commit or else get killed herself.

Dylan Roberts is a recently discharged soldier battling PTSD from his days in the Middle East.  He's also a childhood friend of the dead man, and he gets hired by the grieving parents to find Casey and bring her to justice.

Then there's Laura Daly, a girl who disappeared two years ago, when she was only fourteen.  Casey stumbles on evidence that could lead to Laura's discovery and rescue, but only if Casey risks being found herself.

This book literally had my heart pounding during the last few chapters.  It's been a long time since I read a book that did that.  If you're into suspenseful mysteries that don't wrap up entirely neatly by the end, but lead to future books, definitely read this!  Book two, If I'm Found, is out now, and the third book is due in March.

Alison Andreasen

My daughter is reading One Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes and I made a quick read of it myself. It follows a few girls at school, including two native-born American girls and one from another country. She speaks funny, has a long, strange name, and is made fun of because she claims to have one hundred dresses at home, even though she wears the same one to school everyday. This great read for little girls illustrates the concepts of empathy and treating others as you would want to be treated. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t fight to keep a few tears from falling toward the end of this book. I will definitely be looking to get more books by Eleanor Estes into our family’s library.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery is a classic young adult novel that I should have read as a young woman but never did!  A good friend encouraged me to pick it up in order to understand why she called me Anne all the time, so I borrowed it and then couldn’t put it down. The writing is charming, the plot quaint but surprising, and the characters unforgettable.  There are many quotes I wish I could keep on the tip of my tongue for forever, as they encapsulate the truth of a situation so beautifully. There are many allusions to the Christian life, although I am sad to say that they are more about church-going life than they are actual Christ-centered faith. If you haven’t read this series, you should!

The Declaration of Independence and Other Great Documents of American History ed. By John Grafton is the third book I have been working my way through. I had ever read the Declaration of Independence myself before this. Yes, I have been an American for over thirty years and yet, I had never read this historic piece! The way the ideas are clearly communicated is beautiful! This book also contains Patrick Henry’s speech which includes the famous words, “Give me liberty or give me death,”  The Constitution, and several presidents’ inaugural addresses. I am not a very politically minded person and some of the ideas go over my head, but I can still appreciate the tact, beauty, and character presented by these great Americans.

1 comment:

  1. Estes is one of our favorites! The Moffats (four in the series) have a lot of the same sensitivity Cleary shows in her books to how children feel and think, but better, I think. Plus, all 3 younger Moffats get a turn. Very memorable characters everyone (ages 5-10, boys and girls) love


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