As part of my strategy to regain some peace in my life I have made a conscious decision to spend less time online (shocking, I know) and more time reading (even more scandalous). Realizing that I’m also teaching over the summer I’ve kept my summer reading goals modest this year. I haven’t purchased stacks and stacks of books but instead picked only a couple that I felt I could get through pretty quick. I wanted to LOVE what I was reading and not feel like I was back in school with a self-imposed assignment. So, here is what I’ve got on my nightstand:
“The Bottoms” by Joe Lansdale
This was a recommendation from a fellow professor and I have to say I LOVED this book. It was a complete page turner and I blew through it in three days. Set in East Texas during the 1930’s it tells the story of a young boy who stumbles across the murdered body of a black woman. The family and city turmoil that ensues is reminiscent of “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Lansdale does a great job of capturing the feel of East Texas and the naked atrocities of racism during the 30’s. I will be using this book in my class this summer and I cannot wait to lead class discussion – so many rich themes, so many great characters. I highly recommend it.
“Eat, Pray, Love” by Michelle Gilbert
Okay, I admit I’m late on this one. I know this book has been around for years and is now being made into a motion picture starring Julia Roberts. However, I think books come to you when you need them most and right now I needed a book that reminded me of the importance of doing things that I love and relying on faith. I’ve just started reading it and so far it has struck a real chord with me. I’m eager to devour it.
“It Starts At Home” by Kurt Brooner and Steve Stroope
Finally, not a novel but a book to make me a better parent and wife. David and I made the decision to pull Lucy out of private school and put her into public. We have a great public school here in Texas and I can’t really say I’m necessarily concerned about the quality of her education. However, I don’t want her to lose the faith-based foundation she was building in private school. As a result, I picked this book up to help give us some ideas and direction on how to incorporate our faith into our daily lives.
“Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller
This was a recommendation from David’s cousin Emily (thanks Em!). This was also a rather fast read. I read the entire book in about a week. Written in a free-flowing journal style Miller recounts his personal journey of faith touching on both his doubts and his sources for inspiration. It is a rather different look at Christian faith since Miller is both a proud Democrat and liberal and summarily rejects the traditional “Christian Conservative” movement.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
This is my heavy hitter for the summer. I’ve tried reading this before and failed miserably. However, my sister-in-law has also taken up the mantle and so I’m feeling empowered to get through it with a reading partner by my side. I’ll let you know if we succeed.
I have a second stack of books if I somehow complete all these and still have time. That second stack includes “A Good Earth”, and another Lansdale novel.
I’m open to suggestions though and if you have something sitting on your nightstand that you think I would enjoy please leave me a note. (Please do not recommend ANY book in the Twilight series. Unless you are interested in hearing my well rehearsed lecture regarding the quality of Stephanie Meyer’s writing)