Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pulling back the pages: 2011 Summer Reading List

One of my earliest memories is of sitting in my Mother's lap listening to stories from a series called, "The Value of..."  The stories taught characteristics such as determination and perseverance using historical figures like Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Keller.  I now read that same set to my own children. 

Have been the proverbial "Bookworm Nerd" since discovering Laura Ingalls Wilder in 4th grade.  This fascination continuued on through adolescence where my most memorable Christmas present was a large, brown cardboard box filled to the brim with books of different genres and caliber.  I packed the love off to college with me, applying it to my education in the form of a Minor in English.

Unfortunately, like most, have little account of what I've read during the course of my life, other than what my memory will recall and what I've managed to hang onto through moves, marriage, children and sweeps for Yard Sale fodder.
I know, it's a tragedy.
But now that I'm keenly aware of the gross oversight, am responsible for reparation.
Therefore, have decided to throw myself in front of the buck and stop this atrocity here-and-now!
Below are the 5 books I’ve selected for my summer reading, along with either the information from the back of the book, a review from, or both.
You'll probably notice the wide variety the list contains.  Some are for pleasure, some for educational purposes.  No matter the intent, am looking forward to a summer of reading fun!   

Running With Joy: My Daily Journey to the Marathon
Ryan Hall
Harvest House Publishers/ February 2011

"From the fastest American-born marathoner of all time, here is an intimate, day-by-day account of what it takes—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—to be one of the best in the world. This journal chronicles Ryan Hall’s 14-week preparation for the 2010 Boston Marathon, providing practical insights into the daily regimen of someone training at the absolute peak of human performance. It also reveals the spiritual journey of an elite athlete who is a follower of Jesus Christ.

Discover how Ryan deals with nagging injuries and illness, bad weather, disappointing workouts, and a slavish focus on results that can take the fun out of running. Ryan runs 140 miles a week, often at altitude and a blistering pace. Yet millions of everyday runners will identify with and appreciate his intentional return to running with joy and his lifelong goal of glorifying Christ on and off the racecourse."

The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck
Penguin Classics/ March 28, 2006
(First published in USA by The Viking Press Inc. 1939)

"Set during the Great Depression, it traces the migration of an Oklahoma Dust Bowl family to California and their subsequent hardships as migrant farm workers. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 1940. The work did much to publicize the injustices of migrant labor. The narrative, interrupted by prose-poem interludes, chronicles the struggles of the Joad family's life on a failing Oklahoma farm, their difficult journey to California, and their disillusionment once they arrive there and fall prey to a parasitic economic system. The insularity of the Joads--Ma's obsession with family togetherness, son Tom's self-centeredness, and daughter Rose of Sharon's materialism--ultimately gives way to a sense of universal community." -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
Lee Strobel
Zondervan/ September 1, 1998

"The Case for Christ records Lee Strobel's attempt to "determine if there's credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God." The book consists primarily of interviews between Strobel (a former legal editor at the Chicago Tribune) and biblical scholars such as Bruce Metzger. Each interview is based on a simple question, concerning historical evidence (for example, "Can the Biographies of Jesus Be Trusted?"), scientific evidence, ("Does Archaeology Confirm or Contradict Jesus' Biographies?"), and "psychiatric evidence" ("Was Jesus Crazy When He Claimed to Be the Son of God?"). Together, these interviews compose a case brief defending Jesus' divinity, and urging readers to reach a verdict of their own."

The Screwtape Letters
C. S. Lewis
Harper Collins Edition./ 2001
(First published 1942)

"Who among us has never wondered if there might not really be a tempter sitting on our shoulders or dogging our steps? C.S. Lewis dispels all doubts. In The Screwtape Letters, one of his bestselling works, we are made privy to the instructional correspondence between a senior demon, Screwtape, and his wannabe diabolical nephew Wormwood. As mentor, Screwtape coaches Wormwood in the finer points, tempting his "patient" away from God.

Each letter is a masterpiece of reverse theology, giving the reader an inside look at the thinking and means of temptation. Tempters, according to Lewis, have two motives: the first is fear of punishment, the second a hunger to consume or dominate other beings. On the other hand, the goal of the Creator is to woo us unto himself or to transform us through his love from "tools into servants and servants into sons." It is the dichotomy between being consumed and subsumed completely into another's identity or being liberated to be utterly ourselves that Lewis explores with his razor-sharp insight and wit.

The most brilliant feature of The Screwtape Letters may be likening hell to a bureaucracy in which "everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment." We all understand bureaucracies, be it the Department of Motor Vehicles, the IRS, or one of our own making. So we each understand the temptations that slowly lure us into hell. If you've never read Lewis, The Screwtape Letters is a great place to start. And if you know Lewis, but haven't read this, you've missed one of his core writings." --Patricia Klein ( reviewer)

To Train Up A Child
Michael & Debi Pearl
No Greater Joy Ministries Inc./ August 1994
(Read this book about 5 years ago, in dire need of a refresher.)

"Three thousand years ago, a wise man said, "Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." Good training is not crisis management; it is what you do before the need of discipline arises.
Most parenting is accidental rather than deliberate. Imagine building a house that way. We don't need to reinvent training. There are child training principles and methods that have worked from antiquity. To neglect deliberate training is to shove your child into a sea of choices and passions without a boat of compass.

This book is not about discipline, nor problem children. The emphasis is on the training of a child before the need to discipline arises. It is apparent that, though they expect obedience, most parents never attempt to train their child to obey. They wait until the behavior becomes unbearable and then explode. With proper training, discipline can be reduced to 5% of what many now practice. As you come to understand the difference between training and discipline, you will have a renewed vision for your family, no more raised voices, no contention, no bad attitudes, fewer spankings, a cheerful atmosphere in the home, and total obedience from your children."


  1. Did you have the one about Louis Pasteur and how he came to invent the vaccine for rabies?? That one was my absolute FAVORITE when I was 4 years old!! I can still see the cover and the illustrations in my mind...=) Thanks for the trip down memory lane!! =D

  2. Some of these look great for us. We have read the Screw Tape Letters and have the book if you want to borrow it. I know you'll enjoy reading them all. By they way: you may need to get busy because as soon as you start homeschooling you may not have time for reading anything that does not have to do with 2nd grade. Just sayn' :)

    Great Post!



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"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21
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