Sorry to post these musings on June’s books almost halfway through July … the beginning of the month was just way too busy! But I am pleased to report that I read five books last month – though I had to squeeze that last one in by reading fast and furiously!
June’s books were such a delight. I adored them all – and came away with many, many good quotes and thought-provoking ideas.
1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett [A book made into a movie]
This. This was one of the best books I’ve read all year. I saw the movie several years ago when it came out, but this was the first time I’d read the book. I was mesmerized. It was the kind of book you can’t put down – and you look forward to reading every chance you can get. Part of me thrilled to the themes of social justice and standing up for what you believe in even when it’s hard [and simultaneously flinched with conviction] – and part of me thrilled to the fact that what we write truly matters. I was so inspired by Skeeter’s desire to write something that mattered – and she did – and changed so many lives because of it. That’s what I want to do with my writing. There was a quote towards the end of the book that talked about what life would have been like if she hadn’t written the book. Life would have been fine and routine, but there would always be a part of her that felt empty because she hadn’t done it. Proof that it’s worth it to take risks, even if we face challenging consequences.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book [but do beware, there’s a bit of language in it].
2. Boys Against Girls by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor [A funny book]
This was from a series that I read with my brother, Daniel, when he was 9 or 10 – and I read this book with my class as a read-aloud. They loved it – kept them very captivated with the tales of the Hatford brothers and the Malloy sisters. I loved it as a fond reminder of the type of childhood I had [the boys were always against the girls at Grace Baptist when I was a kid!].
3. The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst [By an author you’ve never read before]
[Sidenote: I have actually read some of Lysa TerKeurst’s writings on Ann Voskamp’s blog, but I’ve never read a book by her … and I needed to make my categories work out, so I had to fudge a little bit!]
Such a good book for me to read as I’m the one who tends to say yes to everything and then feel burnt out by it all. This book was about learning to say no to some things so that we could say “the best yes” to things that we really want to invest our lives in. Some beautiful quotes from this book:
“The one who obeys God’s instruction for today will develop a keen awareness of His direction for tomorrow.”
“Whatever attitude we bring into a situation will be multiplied.”
“My imperfections will never override God’s promises. God’s promises are not dependent on my ability to choose well, but rather on His ability to use well.”
“Conversational threads are what make up the fabric of relationships. We must take time – make time – to talk.”
“Just as our bodies need oxygen, our souls need truth flowing steadily in and out.”
[My favorite] “Let this unexpected happening point to your strength, not your weakness. Maybe you’ve been entrusted with this. Not cursed with it.”
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee [A Pulitzer-Prize winning book]
Yep. I finally read the book that everyone else on the planet seems to have already read. But I discovered the reason that they make everyone read it in high school – because it is beautiful in epic proportions. Once again, I was challenged by the themes in this book – of the stories that showed just what it meant to walk in someone else’s shoes and truly have compassion for them. The ending scene was the most beautiful – talk about writing an effective ending!
Also, Atticus Finch became one of my new favorite literary figures. I want to marry someone like him someday. I loved the way he would tell his children, “It’s not time to worry yet.” What a soothing way to calm a child’s fears. And this – this was one of my favorite quotes from him:
“-I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
This is a book we should all read every few years or so.
5. Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie [A mystery or thriller]
Here’s another surprising one I hadn’t read – I’d never read a book by Agatha Christie, famed mystery novelist. I think I’ve read a part of one of her mysteries before, but not a whole one. I finished this one within a few days, and it was a little slow at first, but then I got into it at the end. And yes, she sufficiently wove the ending to be one I was not expecting!
So there was June’s literary adventures for you in a nutshell. Right now, I’m trucking through some pretty long books, so I’ll need to end July with shorter ones to make my quota. But it is so lovely to be able to read for such long stretches of time! It’s like being a kid again [although when I was a kid, I read 50 books in one summer, not the year, so I guess I’m going backwards … ]
Hope your summer is filled with just as many great books as mine is!