Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I'm Reading

Absolutely TOO HOT to be outside for very long right about now. Reading inside in the A/C it is, then!

Last year I started attending Book Club at Church and I also found a good reading buddy who is letting me borrow stacks of books from her collection. So I've been reading a lot more actual books than I have in years (I've been hooked on blogs for so long I forgot how fun it is to read fiction!)... I've been to the library and browsed books for fun and I don't even remember how long it's been since I've done that. As part of my effort to de-stress and kick back and relax more often, I am reading up a storm!

Also, I want Kal to be a reader and I want him to see me reading. We read together at night, but I wanna catch him reading by himself. I know he's only 3, but he's got most of the books we read memorized. He'll quote them throughout the day and if I say half of a sentence he can finish it easily. I'm proud of him, but I wanna do better... both with my own reading and encouraging him to read. :)

My reading buddy even made me a huge spreadsheet of books I should read in different genres to decide what kinds of books I like... I told her I didn't know what I liked and wanted to try lots of different genres. (P.S. - I giggle when I meet people who make spreadsheets as much as me.) Every time someone recommends a book, I put it on my Goodreads list. Befriend me on Goodreads HERE and share your faves with me so I can add to my ever-growing to-read list! (Right now I've got 548 books on my to-read list... lol.. this is gonna take a lifetime at my slow pace!)

I was a bookworm when I was a kid, but high school distracted me socially and I didn't spend as much time reading (cuz I was making googly eyes at Zay... ha ha). In college I specifically took literature classes when I could so I could be exposed to different kinds of books and be forced to read for class. I fell in love with philosophy and philosophical books. Now I'm trying to branch out and read lots of different kinds of books. Book Club and my generous friends who let me raid their collections are getting me off on the right foot.

This is what I've learned so far:

  • I love LDS books, general Christian books, and religious books in general (some of my favorite books have been about Islamic, Jewish, or Hindu religions). This goes back to my love of philosophy. I seriously enjoy learning about people and their relationship with God, no matter what it looks like. It's all interesting and uplifting for me. I can learn about a certain religion, understand it and where the followers are coming from, decide whether or not I think certain aspects are actually true, and be uplifted no matter what. Truth can be found everywhere. For my Mormon (and non-Mormon) friends, have you seen the article "I don't think God is a Mormon"? It's a great perspective on what being a "Mormon" really means. At the heart of our religion, we believe in personal revelation. And that the light of Christ is found in people from all walks of life. And that He loves each of us the same, both black and white, bond and free, male and female, Jew and Gentile... and speaks to each of us personally if we seek Him. Revelation did not end with Biblical times.
  • I love historical fiction.... for example, stories that took place during the Civil War (The River Between Us ) or on the Titanic (The Dressmaker )... things like that. I think it's because I love history - but history itself is hard to tell as a story, because different people reported different perspectives when they recorded history. But with historical fiction, the author can take artistic liberties and tell a story that encompasses the feel of the historical time and may represent bits and pieces of real people's stories, but it's not bound to the hard facts about what actually happened. It can take you on a journey to see a historical event from a different angle. That's fun!
  • Similar to religious books and historical fiction, I love love love Biblical fiction as long as it doesn't stray too far from Biblical principles. There are tons of stories in the Bible that are not fleshed out well and are a lot of times hard to even understand what's going on at all. To read different fiction interpretations of what happened helps me to understand how I can interpret Scripture better and imagine a whole scene and what might have happened given the context of the story rather than being limited by a few stilted Bible chapters or verses. (Check out Orson Scott Card's The Women of Genesis series... so good.)
  • I don't like love stories that border on porn (50 Shades of Grey) and/or stalking/abuse/unhealthy relationships (Twilight). I don't like love stories where I can't figure out how the people actually fell in love... they're just desperately in love all of a sudden and I'm like, "How? What happened???" I'm also sick of love triangles/adultery as a common theme. Especially when it's two guys fighting to the death over a girl who has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
  • I do like more of the innocent, young love, first love type stories. Those are love stories I can get into. (Think: just about any Taylor Swift song, but in book form.) And I can handle a love triangle if there's a point to it and some substance to the story.
  • I like twists on fairy tales (Think: the show Once Upon a Time, but in book form). I liked the book Enchantment for that reason, although it wasn't really a twist but it's own story. They liken it to Sleeping Beauty, though.
  • I like stories that involve time travel, if it's done well. Enchantment's got that as well and I loved it. :)
  • I love books that take place in the South (Think: the movie The Man in the Moon, but in book form).
  • I refuse to read Harry Potter. I just can't do it. Too nerdy for me (sorry, friends!)... :) On that same line, I can't do Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. Not yet, anyway. That's too much out of my comfort zone. I do like nerdy science-fictiony humor, though. Like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is hilarious, I think.
And that's what I'm learning about myself lately as I soak in books and catch up on classics that I should've read in high school like everybody else, ha ha.

I still read my blogs, though. When I was first researching fertility and adoption I found tons of people going through the same thing and I've followed their individual stories for years through their blogs. Seeing someone finally welcome their child home??? Best story ever.

Like THIS ONE from Blessings and Raindrops. This brought huge tears to my eyes!!! Watch their homecoming video HERE. And read their love in this dedicatory post for their daughter's foster mom who took care of her thousands of miles away in the Democratic Republic of the Congo until the country finally issued her exit visa. This is the country I wanted to adopt from, but 1) I don't have the money and 2) they're having issues with international adoption right now and put a pause on most of them. But watching this story unfold has been AMAZING. I'm a sucker for a great adoption story.

AND when people finally, finally get pregnant after years of trying. Like THIS ONE. Her answer to the question, "How did this happen?" is "I never, ever, EVER stopped trying." Love it.

I read tons of blogs. Way too many. But one blog that particularly caught my attention and I got hooked on is called The Moments We Stand. This woman literally found out in the same night that her husband was cheating on her AND that he was murdered by the husband of the lady he was cheating with. Since then she's been working out her anger and grief over the loss of her love, her partner, and the father of her 5 children... yeah. FIVE CHILDREN. She's documenting all she went through to find love again and get through a murder trial and live in the same general area as the woman her husband cheated with. Intense. But she tries to find meaning in every little experience. She's not a master of words, but I get her points and I feel her pain. And I fight that much harder to protect my marriage from outside intrusions after realizing how hard Satan is working to destroy families and how easily people can be fooled. It's been a good experience to read this blog and learn from someone else's struggles. It's always better to learn from other people's examples and be prepared than to learn the hard way, right?

So... yeah. That's a little tiny bit of what I've been reading. What have you been reading lately???

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