Back in January, I wrote about my goals for 2011 and included a reading list. I should have known I was too ambitious...or rather under-ambitious? I can NEVER stick to a structured book list. I just get too interested in random stuff. When I was in high school, I would get really interested in a particular subject, go to the library and come home with a stack of books on the subject. I would page through some of them, read some of them and then abruptly lose interest. I remember piles of books on law (during the OJ Simpson trial I was CONVINCED I wanted to be a lawyer), Queen Elizabeth II (my namesake, hello!), the Revolutionary War, the French Revolution (foreshadowing of my future career?), fashion through history, and sooo many more.
In any case, out of the 12 books I made it my goal to read, I have only read three. However, in the past 3 months, I have actually read 14 total books. I survived Created to Be His Helpmeet and trudged through The Unhealthy Truth. The only classic I've been motivated to read is The Great Gatsby. I'm just not ready to spend a month (or more) reading Charles Dickens. You just have to be *prepared* for Dickens.
I've had a bad book month. I spent about a month starting and stopping various books. I started John Steinbeck's East of Eden but surrendered after a mere 3 chapters. Should I have persisted? I feel like I should like it just because it's a classic. Bernard Cornwell's The Archer's Tale was totally a man's book, describing weapons and battles and horses and armor and oh my, I'm bored to tears just describing it. I couldn't even press on through the last 50 pages. Jeffrey Stepakoff's Fireworks Over Toccoa was an advanced reader's copy from a friend and it was just...eh. It was sort of like a copycat Nicholas Sparks novel. The typical "I'm married, but wait! Maybe I married the wrong man and I need to find myself while having an affair with a random handsome stranger who will drag me off to broken down cabins in a thunderstorm to make perfect passionate love" book, which totally annoy me. Forgive me, but infidelity is never romantic.
That's not to say I haven't read some good books. I re-read a series I haven't read since high school - Brock and Bodie Thoene's Shiloh Legacy series - one of the few Christian authors who I think has talent. Reading about the influenza epidemic that killed millions of people and a child dying of polio made me thankful for modern day medical achievements such as antibiotics and vaccines. The description of how families survived the Great Depression was a good lesson in perseverence. I read Ken Follett's World Without End which made me really interested in life in the 14th century...and also very glad I live in the 21st century (the Plague?!) My church has a learning center class on Gary Thomas' Sacred Marriage, and even though Dave and I aren't taking the class, I decided to read it anyway so I'm on the same page as my friends who are taking it. Great marriage book....great. Lou Priolo's The Heart of Anger gave me some perspective on how parents provoke children to anger and how to help kids evaluate the source of their anger as well as how to transform the anger into godly behavior. By far, the weirdest book from this month was also the one I enjoyed the most. Gregory Maguire's Wicked was strange, but captivating. I haven't read The Wizard of Oz (but have it now thanks to my Borders going out of business), but I loved the re-telling of the flip side of the Wicked Witch of the West. Now I really want to see the musical. I downloaded the soundtrack on iTunes and it's awesome. I haven't enjoyed listening to a musical since Les Miserables.
So, that's it on the book front. I'm not even going to make predictions anymore about what I want to read. I'm just going to read.
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