Favorite Books of April 2020

Spring is in full explosion here in the South, and I love it! The green is so vibrant it’s almost painful to look at. The winding roads are back to mysterious glory. And the fear of snow has long past (the South cannot handle even tiny bits of snow….it’s very entertaining).

But there’s always time for books! Here are some of my favorites from the past month of quarantine.

 

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A Farewell to Arms

I confess, this was my first time reading anything of Ernest Hemingway’s. Not sure how that happened, but I’m making up for it now. His tale of an American in the Italian army during World War I and the nurse who opened his eyes to love was poignant and intriguing. Hemingway’s cut-and-dry fashion of writing keeps you awake to the realities of war, devoid of the dramatic tones of cinema to which we are so accustomed. I didn’t expect such writing to capture me, but it did. The end gripped me, and I won’t soon forget it.

 

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Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Pericles was a well renowned Greek statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the Peloponnesian War. If you have never read his famous funeral oration, I highly recommend it. Beautifully patriotic, you can almost hear the strength in his voice as you read it. I’ll leave you with this tiny bit: “For where the rewards of virtue are greatest, there live the worthiest men.”

 

 

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The Words Between Us

Robin Windsor just wants to be left alone. She had assumed that owning a quaint little bookstore would allow her not only the chance to build a life, but to escape her family’s past. Isn’t that what books are for? To escape your own reality? Then a book arrives in the mail from someone from that past, drawing her away from her precious obscurity, and closer to answers.

This was my first book of Erin Bartels’, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Her touches of poetry carefully placed throughout the plot caught my attention, and held it there until the final page. If you’re looking for a newer novel that doesn’t include sex and language (sometimes that’s hard to find, right?), this is a great summer read for you.

 

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Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything By Redefining Everything

All it takes is a moment. In the blink of an eye, everything in your life can change. And for Katherine and Jay Wolf, everything did. After Katherine miraculously survived a near-fatal brain stem stroke at age 26, life for them changed forever. From the first page to the last, this book is filled with the good life, even though it was not the life either of them thought they would have. With humor and humility, they recount how their own faith in God and their marriage to each other had to grow, even in the midst of suffering and questions.

 

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The Hobbit

I loved this book ten years ago, and both my husband and I were so excited when our seven year old asked to read it. Then I remembered the length, and the sheer number of letters and words. Our daughter may be an advanced reader, but she’s still seven. And I knew that our seven year would struggle with the size of this book, not the story itself. Then I found this copy! It’s unabridged, yet is filled with beautiful illustrations, breaking up the ocean of words. And she loves it. It was a perfect edition to challenge her reading ability, yet still help her little self get lost in the Tolkien’s timeless story of a hobbit and his adventure.

 

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Let’s Study Ephesians

I grew up listening to Sinclair Ferguson (love a Scottish accent), so when I was looking for a study on the book of Ephesians, I grabbed his immediately. Broken down into short chapters, it was easy to maintain consistency throughout the month, without feeling overwhelmed by the information. Each day, he opened Scripture wider for me, shining a light on passages I had not noticed before, and renewed a love for the ones I thought I knew well. Whether you have read Ephesians many times before, or never even opened its pages, this is a fantastic study with solid theological teaching.

 

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The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions

I’m not sure I can tell you how much I loved this book. Whether you’re an expert at making decisions, or are wearied by the thought of another one, this book will aid and encourage you. Emily Freeman breaks each chapter down into feasible mind chunks (is that a thing? I’m making it a thing). Not once did I come away from it thinking, “Oh no. I have so much work to do.” Instead, I shouted, “I can do this! Why have I been making this process so hard for myself all along?” She weaves faith and simplicity into each point, and I am so grateful for the wise clarity she has shared.

 

Stay tuned for more favorites next month (and be sure to share some of yours!)

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