random thoughts

~ I finally arranged the books on my living room shelves by color. I like it.

books-by-color

~ Dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Oh my.

~ Things I don’t care about:

  1. DC or Marvel comics or the movies inspired by them.
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. the NFL

~ Am I the only one who hates to find that the “article” you clicked on is really a video? That annoys me to no end — especially when it’s autoplay.

~ I should not have chips in my house. Ever.

Random thoughts, random photos:

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That’s it, y’all. Care to share any of your random thoughts?

listening

podcastsI’ve mentioned some of these before, but there are a few new ones in my rotation:

Up and Vanished – A sad, crazy story that happened just up the road in Ocilla, Georgia. It’s still developing, too.

Sworn – This one started out with a bang, but it does not seem to have any kind of regular release schedule.

What Should I Read Next – Every week Anne (Modern Mrs. Darcy) interviews someone and picks three books for them. My to-be-read list grows ever longer.

From the Front Porch – A podcast from a nearby independent bookstore. And the to-be-read list grows even more.

The West Wing Weekly – The hosts are going through the series one episode at a time, interviewing key players. I’m revisiting the show on Netflix, too.

GLoP culture – This one comes out every couple of weeks, and I laugh out loud every time. If you see me laughing in my car, this is why. Don’t judge.

Very Pink Knits – I learn something new with every episode.

What Have You – Two sisters in Idaho sit in a car and chat about whatever — crafts, remodeling, cooking, living out the Gospel, raising children, and a thousand more random topics. They talk over each other a lot, but I still come away encouraged with every listen.

Commentary Magazine – Current events.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin – I’ve just added this one recently and have only listened to a couple of episodes, but it has already made me think.

You Must Remember This – I’m not sure how I found this one, but I landed on episodes about Charles Manson and his connection to the Beach Boys. Some interesting, dark stuff.

When do I listen? In the car, while cleaning, when I’m getting ready in the morning, whenever I’m on a treadmill…

Have any suggestions for me?

re-reading

island-nightstandWhen I was younger, I read my favorite books over and over. Some of my favorite re-reads were Anne of Green Gables (and others in that series) and Stepping Heavenward. But at some point I decided that with so many books out there to read, I didn’t have the time to revisit those old favorites. I’ve changed my mind about that, and I’m returning to my favorite novel. (If you’ve never read Island of the World by Michael D. O’Brien, I urge you to put it on your TBR list this year. It’s a commitment at over 800 pages, but it is well worth the time.)

I began reading this one in 2010 while living in Rome, finishing it up early in 2011. I think of this time as my “previous” life, before my first marriage ended and before I had any clue it was heading that way. I expect I’ll read of Josip’s adventures and suffering with a different perspective this time.

I’m still early in the novel — while he is a happy naïve boy getting his first glimpse of the sea and falling in love with a sweet little girl. I’m reading this part with a sense of dread, knowing what’s ahead for him. But I’m glad for him — that he has this time before his world is shattered.

Do you re-read? What are some of your favorites to visit again and again?

Happy reading!

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of all the novels I’ve read…

[Once upon a time when I lived in Europe, I kept a blog that has since gone private. That’s where I shared my thoughts on my favorite novel. I’m re-reading it now, so I’m bringing that post over here. If you’ve never read Island of the World by Michael D. O’Brien, I urge you to put it on your TBR list. ]

…this one is my favorite.

The first day of 2011 was utterly wonderful, especially because I had the luxury of spending hours finishing and savoring Michael D. O’Brien’s Island of the World.  I’ll be thinking about this book for a long time, and I plan to read it again at some point.  I agree with J at Seasonal Soundings that this is a book that changes you.  It has changed me.

“A man is himself and no other,” Josip says.  “He is an island in the sea of being.  And each island is as no other.  The islands are connected because they have come forth from the sea, and the sea flows between them.  It separates them yet unites them,  if they learn to swim.”

As much pain and sadness and horror as Josip experiences (and he goes through a disturbing amount of it), the book joyously illustrates the beauty of the image of God in man.  Sarah’s review says it better than I can:

The gift of this story lies in its unblinking portrayal of human brutality as it is juxtaposed with the light, the poetry, the Love that still bubbles up in the heart of a wounded boy and calls him relentlessly home.

Yes, it does.

I had the bonus of being a reader who has recently been in some of the places that serve as settings in this story — Sarajevo, Rome, and New York City.  However, even with being able to picture some of the places Josip travels, I feel woefully ignorant of the history and geography of Bosnia-Herzegovina,  Croatia and Yugoslavia and the brutalities its people have experienced.  How could I not have known about the millions of people imprisoned, tortured, and slaughtered there?  How do we happily live on the same planet as such evils?

I regret not marking up my copy as I read, so I will have to do that next time.  There are so many lines and passages that are sheer beauty.  Most I don’t want to share here, though, because I don’t want to spoil the story for you.  Here are a few:

He will leave in a moment, after just one more cuplet of coffee.  Europeans know how to make it right! This is the best in the world, better than the specialty brands he experimented with in the delicatessens on Fifth Avenue.  Europeans understand that flavor is not about sensory stimulation, it is about evocation.  It is art and memory.  It is reunion with exalted moments, and such moments are never solitary ones. In short, life without coffee is not really life. The waiter brings it to him and tells him it’s on the house! A smile from the lad and a bow of his head.  What elicited this gift?  Perhaps it is house policy: three paid, get one free! Maybe it is simple human kindness.  Yes, kindness prevails in the world, gratuitous and unsolicited.  This bodes well for the future of mankind.

Josip’s observations on Roman traffic and drivers had me nodding my head:

Of that day’s context, he will remember dust and stone, blindingly-white marble, and noise such as he has never before experienced.  Streets are crammed with automobiles that speed and screech and honk and brake and lurch from stable positions at traffic lights into a blur of motion–all with the manic pace and the demonic roars of dangerous, unreliable slaves.  The drivers’ faces are the worst aspect.  They are as intense as any he has seen in his life, even the guards on the island, certain interrogators, or various prisoners who would bot from their chains in a hopeless run toward the sea.

More Josip:

Isn’t it a basic truth that we are brought to prayer only by passing through suffering?  In this respect, war was a blessing because it taught this generation how to pray, and it taught us the power of prayer.  We learned that it was prayer that preserved us against impossible odds and only prayer that brought us independence.  Dare I write these words — O God, how dare I write them? — yet I cannot be silent.  The war was a catastrophe, but in Christ the worst catastrophe can be transformed into a blessing.  The war renewed awareness of our centuries-old Christian identity and prepared us to be steadfast in these times which, with every passing day, are resembling more and more the end times.  Our horrible war taught us “in the flesh” about the Great War that will last until the end of time.

And just one more:

I am a man who possesses only fragments, a beggar who wanders into a feast of materialism, offering to the guests a basket of broken bread.

I could go on and on, but, really, please just read the book. You won’t be sorry. And I’d love to hear what you think about it after you do.

2017 knitting goals

If you know me, you already know that knitting is my favorite hobby these days. Here’s how that happened: A little over two years ago, a fabulous yarn shop opened up in Thomasville, and some of us at work did a team-building exercise of learning to knit there. I’ve always tended to be busy with my hands — cross-stitch, a brief foray into macramé back in the day, needlepoint (I’ve got dining room chair cushions and a William Morris framed series to show for that), sewing (for home, for me, for my daughter), and cake-decorating. I’d tried to knit here or there through the years, but it never “took” — mainly because I had no one close by to help me when I hit snags. This time, the utterly inviting and inspiring atmosphere at Fuzzy Goat, the ever-available help and encouragement from Cadence, and a common bond with work peeps combined to make me fall in love with creating with yarn.  I’ve slowly progressed, but I feel that I really learned some new skills in 2016, and I am more confident now that I can tackle harder projects.

So this year, I want to:

  • make a sweater for myself (I’ve made two baby sweaters, but a larger one that really needs to fit will be a challenge.)
  • learn to cable
  • start my Christmas gifts early
  • make a few fun decorative items for our home (maybe a wreath or a seasonal garland for our mantel)
  • visit yarn shops as we travel and pick up souvenir yarn

I recently updated the knitting tab up above, and I’ll try to add to it as I go. I’ve been spending a good bit of time these days on ravelry searching for projects and inspiration. You can find me there as ge0rgianne (the o is a zero).

Here’s my current work-in-progress. It’s a gauzy wrap made with very fine yarn that is causing me to go blind, but I love the color (the gorgeous blue-green does not photograph well) and the softness:

etherial-scarf

Are you a knitter? If so, let me know so I can follow you on ravelry. And if you’re not a knitter or have no clue what I’m talking about, please be patient with these posts. There are other topics here at floridianne, I promise. 🙂

I’ve got lots to do today around here — cleaning, finally undecorating the Christmas tree, grocery shopping, laundry — but I’m already looking forward to this evening when I can settle into my chair beside Paul and pick up my knitting. That’s when I will relax, feel so at home in our home, and be productive and creative all at the same time! Perfection!

Happy Saturday friends!

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2016 reading wrap-up

As I’ve mentioned, I made my 2016 reading goals via the  Challies 2016 Reading Challenge. I didn’t quite make it, but I’m okay with that because I feel like my reading life was reinvigorated this year, even as my work life was super busy . I didn’t stick to the categories in the reading challenge, but this rule-follower is actually okay with that, too. Here’s what I read this year, followed by my five favorites of the year:

bestillA book about Christian living:  Be Still, My Soul (25 Classic and Contemporary Readings on the Problem of Pain). I started this one last year and finished it on New Year’s Day.

I recommend this collection of essays from noted theologians like J.I. Packer, Joni Eareckson Tada, Martin Luther, and John Piper. My favorite essay was from D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

fierceA biography: Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More, Poet, Abolitionist, Reformer by Karen Swallows Prior

This is a fascinating read that I will be thinking about long after today. I hope to share more soon.

energyA self-improvement book: The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon

We’re going through this book at work. It’s a quick read, so I finished it in just a few days.

A classic novel: Lord of the Flies by William Golding flies

How in the world did I miss this book all these years? It was a page-turner, and I loved its depths. I’ll be thinking about it for a long time. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t wait!

domoreA book about productivity: Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity by Tim Challies

This was another good read. I’m planning to set aside some time this coming weekend to set up the system he recommends. I appreciated how he reminds the reader why we should strive to be productive.

wowA book about theology: Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin

This is a really good resource for women who want to know God’s Word better. It is both practical and encouraging, and I’ll be referring to it again, I’m sure.

happinessA book about joy or happiness: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I didn’t love this one. Part of the problem may have been the format; I listened to the book on my commute via Audible, and I don’t think it’s a book that works that way. The author read it, and I found her voice distracting. Also, she would periodically read excerpts from emails or blog comments, and I had trouble distinguishing when she was referring to herself or reading something someone else wrote. I suspect I would have taken more away from the book if I’d actually read it. There are a few ideas that have stuck with me, however. One was an idea she repeated: being heavy is easy, but being light-hearted is hard. It takes effort.  Also, she talked about the idea of enthusiasm as a form of social courage. I’ve thought about that one a good bit, too. If you’re looking for a book on happiness, I think Happiness Is a Serious Problem by Dennis Prager is a better choice.

bonhoefferA book that won a ECPA Christian Book award: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

I’ve owned this one on Kindle for a long time, and countless people have recommended it to me but for some reason I’ve only just now gotten to it. It’s very good. I really appreciate good biographies as a way to learn more history, and although I’d heard and read a bit about Bonhoeffer through the years, I’d never known the full story in the context of Nazi Germany. I wish I’d been able to read this before I visited Berlin a few years ago. Anyway, if you haven’t read it yet, I recommend it.

feed

A book with a one-word title: Feed by M.T. Anderson

Yuck. I really, really didn’t like this book, but I have this compulsion to see a book all the way through, hoping that surely it gets better. It didn’t.

gossipgospelA book with the word “gospel” in the title or subtitle: Gossip and the Gospel: Understanding the Harmful Effects of Gossip in the Church – Timothy Williams

I was disappointed in this one. There’s some good stuff here – some painful conviction and some guidance on handling gossip, slander, etc. But there are also verses out of context and some condemnation that lacks the Gospel.

santini

A memoir:  The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son by Pat Conroy

I’ve wanted to read this one for a while now, but it moved up in the queue upon the author’s recent passing. Pat Conroy was a master of the English language, and as a southerner I especially appreciate his love of the south. Even though he made peace with his father, his story is still a very sad one. “In families, there are no crimes beyond forgiveness.”

guiltA mystery or detective novel: The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

I enjoy Connelly’s stories, but this one wasn’t my favorite. It got better about 3/4 of the way in, but just wasn’t a stand out.

severeA book you own but have never read:  A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

This one has been on my shelf for years, and many folks have recommended it. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations after all of the rave reviews.

signatureofA book by a female author: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I really cannot recommend this one at all. I really enjoyed the first part, but then it took a strange, slow, ultimately boring turn. I didn’t like any of the characters, either. Very disappointing.

cellistA novel set in a country that is not your own: The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

This one is good. I visited Sarajevo a few years ago, so I could picture the scenes as I read. I’ve put more of his books on my to-read list.

bloodA book with an ugly cover: Blood Defense (Samantha Brinkmann Book 1) by Marcia Clark

This one was free on Kindle recently, so I gave it a try. It was a decent thriller, and I read the whole thing hearing Maria Clark’s voice as the narrator.

I can’t find a proper category for this one, so I’ve made up my own — A science fiction book that Anne didn’t hate:  The Martian by Andy Weir martian

Although too science-y at times, this story moved along. The main character is hilarious. Now, I can finally watch the movie.

parisbookA book about a country or city:   Paris by Edward Rutherford

I love Rutherford’s novels. He weaves stories with history and makes a place come alive in a most compelling way. This one was no exception. Now I really want to return to Paris.

A book about relationships or friendship: The Friendship Factor by Alan Loy friendshipMcGinnis

I wish I could remember where I saw this book recommended so I could give proper credit, but alas, I cannot. It was a fairly quick read with some helpful encouragement. Kindle isn’t the best format for reading books like this, however. It would be nice to have a paper copy to flip back through.

prayingA book about prayer: Praying Backwards: Transform Your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name by Bryan Chapell

It took me a ridiculously long time to finish this book, and I think I would have liked it more if I’d read it more diligently. He makes some good points, but if you’re looking for a good book on prayer, I’d recommend Paul Miller’s A Praying Life.

A book with 100 pages or fewer: Found: God’s Peace — Experience True Freedom from Anxiety in Everything by John MacArthur anxiety

This is a quick read, and honestly I found it too simplistic. If you’re truly struggling with anxiety, get thee to the Psalms (which, to be fair, MacArthur does recommend). Books like this frustrate me because they make a complicated problem sound so easy to solve.

hammerA Christian novel: The Hammer of God by Bo Giertz

I was inspired to read this one by this article, which called this “the best Christian novel you’ve never heard of.”  That is probably overstating it, but I enjoyed it and will be thinking about some of the story lines for a while. I marked several beautiful lines and passages.

A book published in 2016: Everything We Keep: A Novel by Kerry Lonsdale everythingwekeep

I got this one for free via Amazon’s Kindle First deal. It was compelling enough to draw me in, but it had some weaknesses. There were some just plain unbelievable events and some things didn’t add up. It was a good beach read, even though I didn’t read it at the beach.

mightierI’m making up another category — A book that’s part of a series that I feel compelled to see through: Mightier Than the Sword: A Novel (Clifton Chronicles Book 5) by Jeffrey Archer

I couldn’t pass this one up when the Kindle version was marked down several months ago. I usually enjoy Archer’s fiction, but this series has too many coincidences. Each book ends with a cliffhanger, however, that necessitates purchasing the next book.

A book with at least 400 pages: Everyone Brave Is Forgiven by Chris Cleave brave

This one is just lovely — beautifully written, at once sorrowful and hopeful. Set in London in World War II, the story isn’t fast-paced, but the characters and prose are compelling.

swansA book based on a true story: The Swans of Fifth Avenue: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin

This one is one of the most fun books I’ve read this year. Based on the story of how Truman Capote betrayed his “swans” — high society ladies who lunch — by writing about the stories they’d confided in him, it’s tragic but well written.

A memoir: A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas threedog

This one came with high praise — it’s Stephen King’s favorite memoir. I can’t say that I “enjoyed” it because it’s sad, but she is a good writer.

fikryA book about adoption:  The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This book was recommended for ISTJs by Modern Mrs. Darcy, so I just had to read it. And I really enjoyed this one, y’all! Sweet, sad, hopeful, and full of book quotes and references. I jotted down lots of quotes.

A book with a great cover: The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro  perfume

I really wanted to like this one, but it was just meh to me.

A book about science:

habitThe Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

This one was interesting and worth the read.

Fiction:

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalenwishweretrue

This one was free on Kindle, and I saw it recommended somewhere else. It was another one in the “meh” category.

Non-fiction/Business:

teamplayerThe Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues by Patrick M. Lencioni

We read this one in our office book club. Much of the book is a parable, and then the author explains the three virtues for the remainder. Good stuff to think about.

Fiction:

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams infintesea

This one was another mediocre one for me. It had potential, but didn’t land for me.

breath

A book on the current New York Times list of best sellers:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

This one lived up to the hype, and I’m so glad because I’ve had a run of disappointing books going. I cried at the conclusion, and I never cry when reading. (Movies and tv are a different story.)

Fiction:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah  nightingale

This one was really good, and it restored my hope that there is some good modern fiction out there.

Fiction:

courseofloveThe Course of Love: A Novel by Alain de Botton

Modern Mrs. Darcy recommended this one, and it is a very unusual book. But I found myself copying down passages (it was a library copy, so I couldn’t mark it up). Lots to think about in this one.

Fiction:

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney  nest

And now back to mediocre fiction. People seem to either love or hate this one, but I found myself thinking “meh.”

hillbilly

A book written by an author with initials in his/her name:

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

This one lived up to the hype. He’s a great story-teller, and he draws some conclusions that shouldn’t be ignored.

Fiction:

Good as Gone: A Novel of Suspense by Amy Gentry goodasgone

And we’re still in the mediocre fiction rut. This one was a Book of the Month Club selection. It’s a decent beach read, but honestly I’ll never give it another thought.

Fiction:

stilllifeStill Life by Louise Penny

Everyone and her mother seems to be recommending this series, and this is the first I’ve read. I’m not sure that I’ll pick up another. To be fair, it took me too long to read it, so I couldn’t keep the threads of the story straight.

Fiction:

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani  yonahlossee

I really liked this one for about the first half, and after that I just forced myself to finish it. Too much ickiness for my tastes.

Non-fiction:

driveDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

Interesting read. Lots of suggestions and exercises at the back of the book, too.

 

A book written by a Puritan:

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyangrace-abounding

A classic. I strung it out too long and lost the flow, but I still found some nuggets.

Non-fiction:

blog-incBlog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community by Joy Deangdeelert Cho

This one was really cheap on Kinde, and I’d hoped for some tips to reinvigorate the old blog. There was nothing new here, though. Bet you wish there were! 😉

 

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So that’s it. I read 44 books this year. Here’s my top five, in no particular order:

1. Paris by Edward Rutherford

2. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

3. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

4. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

5. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

I’ve got a plan for my 2017 reading. Stay tuned & Happy Reading!

**Full disclosure: When you click on any of the book links here at georgianne and then make a purchase, Amazon tosses a few pennies my way. Thanks for supporting my book habit!

lately

Things have been busy but good around here. Most notably, Paul and I traveled to Tennessee last weekend to have Christmas with my children and their families, along with their father and his wife. It was a wonderful time of celebrating together, and all of us were grateful for the healing and grace that allowed us to gather. My daughter and her husband hosted us for a delicious meal, and my sweet granddaughter was passed around and cuddled. She’s a gift!

 

I knitted some gifts this year. Below are a scarf for Anna, and a cardigan for Kenna. I forgot to take a photo of the scarf I made for Caroline:

(I couldn’t resist getting Kenna some skinny jeans! Jersey-lined, with an elastic waistband!)

We continued our tradition of visiting McKay’s, and I finally stopped by Genuine Purl and picked up a skein of yarn I can’t get locally. We also had some Mojo Burrito.

Outside of Genuine Purl, these leaves took my breath away:

ginko

Caroline cut my hair, too! I got the luxury salon treatment and a new do! (Photo by Caroline – @haircrash on instagram):

hair

We gave the kids record players! (totally Paul’s idea!). We celebrated to the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin:

record

Paul washed dishes, and I snuggled sweet baby girl:

I’ll leave you with this one (photo by Will). It cracks me up every time I see it!

amazed

Gotta run — super busy Saturday!

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saturday

Today has been a perfectly lovely day:

~ Paul’s brother and his wife are in town and stopped by for a visit. I can’t believe I didn’t think to get a photo of the brothers!

~ Paul and headed up to Thomasville for lunch and a couple of errands:

beemer

gear

George & Louie’s for lunch:

gandl

~ A stop at my favorite yarn shop. I just love this place! I love that when I walk in Cadence calls out, “Hi, Anne!”

lys

~ A stop for an Icee on the way home (I know, I know… it’s not Whole30. But I felt like we were on a little vacation, so I indulged. It’ll be okay.)

iceestop

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drive

I hope you’re having a good Saturday, too!

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5 favorites

Here are a few of my favorite things these days:

okra1~ Roasted okra — I can’t get enough of this. I wash the pods, snip off the caps, and make sure they’re thoroughly dry. Then I toss them in coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. I roast them around 400 degrees until they’re nice and brown, tossing them around occasionally as they cook. So yummy and perfect for whole30 (I’m back on the wagon this month.)

~ My magnifying mirror — My mom gave me this years ago, but it’s only in this past year of aging eyes that I’ve come to rely on it every single day. I didn’t realize how dependent I’d become until I traveled to Chattanooga for a week recently and didn’t think to bring it along. Big mistake. I had a hard time seeing to put on eyeliner or make sure my eyebrows were tidy. When I finally got home, I had to do some serious deforestation there. I think this one is like mine, but it’s marked as currently unavailable.

~ Savannah Bee Company Earl Grey Lip Balm — I use this every night before bed, and I can’t go to sleep without it.

~ What Should I Read Next? podcastI’ve mentioned this one recently, but it is my favorite podcast these days. I’m listening my way through the archives  on my commute. My wishlist continues to grow…

~ Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherford — my favorite fiction so far this year.

Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?

life-changing books

Last night I tossed out a question on Twitter & Facebook:

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 5.06.49 PM

I’ve received some responses and added some books to my Amazon wishlist, and there has even been some related discussion among Facebook friends. I’ve been laid up with another nasty headache today (the third one in a couple of weeks), so instead of reading, I’ve been thinking about books that have stuck with me, challenged my thinking, and shaped my beliefs.

I fell in love with books as a young girl, and the likes of the Nancy Drew series, Charlotte’s Web, The Boxcar Children, and Anne of Green Gables were some of my first loves. I constantly had a book in my hand, on the bathroom vanity propped open with a brush while I blow-dried my hair, or on the floor beside my bed underneath my nightlight, with me peering down at it, reading late into the night. So I’d credit those titles with changing my life.

Kim mentioned The Well-Trained Mind, and I definitely agree with that. It challenged me, changing and shaping my philosophy of education while giving me tools to put that philosophy into practice. I’d put Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning in that category, too.

The Pleasures of God, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, Spiritual Depression, and Peacemaking Women are some of the books that I consider influential on my faith. They’re marked up and I revisit them from time to time.

Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions explains so much about why there is polarization in politics. It’s not an easy read, but I think about it often. He’s brilliant.

Island of the World is the best novel I’ve ever read, and it’s a story that will never leave me.

On a lighter note, the Southern Living Cookbook has been a go-to reference in my home, and several of the dishes are family favorites.

So what books have changed your life?

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