Booking It: June 2014

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Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus by Joyce Magnin – I enjoy Joyce Magnin’s quirky version of Christian fiction. Her character development is perfect; she writes about the normal kind of people you might meet any day. Harriet Beamer is a widowed woman in her 70s, who decides to travel across the country when she loses a bet and has to move to her son’s house in California. A fun and easy read.

The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron – I wrote a little bit about my encounter with this book at Giving Up on Perfect back in February. Which tells you how long it took me to actually finish reading it! That is a reflection of me – I will always abandon nonfiction for a good fiction book. This is a REALLY helpful book, though, if you feel like your child overreacts to a lot of things. And it certainly helped me understand myself and my own childhood a little more.

Cottage by the Sea by Robin Jones Gunn – Knowing that Gunn’s new Christy Miller book was releasing in June, I have been on a RJG binge lately. It was obvious that Robin poured a lot of her heart from dealing with her own father’s stroke into this great fiction work. Robin tells the story of Erin (the mother-in-law of Sierra Jensen), who travels to her dad’s cottage in remote Oregon when he has a stroke. Through his sickness, she learns about herself and God. I think this is some of Robin Jones Gunn’s best, really touching into the heart of forgiveness, friendship, and family relations.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I started out unsure if I liked Rowell’s writing. But now that I’m done, I totally want to read Carry On, Simon and be Cath’s best friend. Even though she’s 18. And fictional. It really brought back my Hanson fanfic days, and I loved it! This is actually my first of Rowell’s novels, and I plan on reading Eleanor & Park and Attachments as soon as I can get my hands on them from the library.  

All Over But the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg – I’ve fallen in love with Bragg’s last page column in Southern Living, so I felt the next step was to read one of his books. In beautiful imagery and striking portraits, Bragg tells his story of growing up dirt-poor in Alabama, with an alcoholic father and a hard-working, phenomenal mother. He writes through his journalism career, up until 1996 when the book was published. The stories of hurting people in Haiti, New York, and all over are written full of facts and feelings. While it’s a little difficult to read – like a VERY long-form newspaper article – that doesn’t detract from the beauty of Bragg’s language and obvious adoration for his family and the South.

Forever with You by Robin Jones Gunn – This is the aforementioned newest Christy Miller book by Robin Jones Gunn. While it wasn’t my favorite of hers, it was fun to revisit Christy, Todd, and all of their old pals (Tracy, Doug, Katie, and Rick all make appearances). A few years into their marriage, Todd and Christy have hit some hard times and aren’t sure where to turn. This novel is a realistic picture of a young couple forced to rely solely on God and trust His adventure for their life together will be greater than their own plans. As always, looking forward to seeing what comes next!

Perfectly Dateless by Kristin Billerbeck – I used to read a lot of the popular Christian chicklit series, and Kristin Billerbeck’s were my favorites. I’ve mostly grown away from that genre, but I got this for free on my Kindle a while ago. And while we were at the beach, I got a migraine and got sick and wanted to read something absolutely mindless for a little bit. This YA book was it. Perfectionist Daisy faces her senior year of high school with one goal in mind: go to the prom with a date! Sure, her parents are the strictest around – and also the weirdest. But it could happen … right? With the help of her best friend Claire, Daisy attempts to live her senior year with a bang. This is a cute book with fun, quirky characters, but I think Billerbeck piled a little too much on her plate with the issues she tried to touch on.

The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore – This is one of the most purely enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time, despite some of the serious subject matters. Edward Kelsey Moore says he based this book off years of eavesdropping on his female relatives. His novel follows three women, best friends dubbed The Supremes, in the present-day as well as the 60s. With a fortune-telling looney, some crazy relatives, a slew of ghosts including an intoxicated Eleanor Roosevelt, and a dash of civil rights, Moore’s first book is fun and funny, touching and wonderful.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – There are very few books that I can devour all in one day, but this is one of them! Diffenbaugh’s Language of Flowers is absolutely heart-wrenching as we follow Victoria’s journey from neglected and hurt foster child to young woman so pained by her past that she can’t move on to the future. Her only real love is flowers and their meanings.

I had read and read how people loved this book, but I was still skeptical whether I would like it or not. (Divergent, anyone?) I was not led astray. This is really a wonderful, wonderful work of fiction that will stick with me for a long time.

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Every month I try to be less wordy … and it doesn’t work. But if you want to know more about any of these books, or just chat books, or get a recommendation – send me an email (vanderbiltwife@gmail.com) or leave a comment! OK?

What’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Added to Booking It at Life as MOM and Twitterature at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

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11 thoughts on “Booking It: June 2014

  1. I want to hear more about Language of Flowers! It left me feeling uncomfortable. It’s been a while- I thought the author did a tremendous job of capturing how difficult and overwhelming parenting can be, especially parenting a newborn. I think that I felt like the character didn’t deserve the ending that she got. (Trying not to give too much away…) That sounds horribly judgmental of me but that was how I felt. Thoughts?

  2. I don’t read books like I used to. Makes me sad. I did buy and in the middle of Jen Hatmaker’s book 7. The idea behind it has given me a lot to think about. I don’t care as much about ‘stuff’ anymore, but I haven’t gotten rid of anything. Soooo, I’m looking forward to finishing it and seeing where it takes me.

    • Oh, I love 7. I read the book and then did the Bible study with some friends. I still have a LOT of cleaning out to do … maybe if I didn’t have three kids to look after I could get it all done. I’m sure you sympathize!

      I admit I let other stuff go to read. Like watching TV and cleaning.

  3. I always love to hear someone else admit that there is a place in their life for the occasional mindless fiction. When I’m completely overwhelmed emotionally there are few things that help more than a “Twinkie book”!

    • Oh, totally. I read MUCH less mindless fiction than I used to, but sometimes a little comfort or brainless reading can go a long way in my opinion. I am in no way a book snob. 🙂 What’s your favorite “Twinkie”?

  4. The highly sensitive child looks like one I should pick up as my daughter reacts quite emotionally to things and I’m often at a loss for how to respond. Did you find the book had lots of practical tips or is it more theory or both?

  5. Oh, I forgot that RJG had a new Christy book out. She was such a good friend during my teenage years. I’ll have to find it at our church library for old times sake. Thanks for the happy reminder 🙂

    • Yes! I actually read it for free on my laptop with a free trail from Scribd. If you have a smartphone or other smart device (I don’t) you should grab it up and read it!

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