Archive for September, 2009

My New Library

Isn't it pretty?

Isn't it pretty?

Leaving the library in San Diego and moving to a smaller, yet still large, city I was hoped wouldn’t decrease the availability of books. There have been a few pros and cons of the Louisville Free Public Library. There’s 18 or 19 libraries in the county, which is good for transferring books and if I don’t want to wait for a hold to be delivered most of the libraries are within a 20 minutes.

The downside of their hold system is that you can only have 3 items on hold at a time per month. So far I’ve had 4ish items on hold this month, but only 3 at a time…so I’m wondering if this is steadfast rule. At the library in San Diego there was a 25 hold limit, which was really good if you were waiting for a new book or movie.

That’s another thing…their movie collection here is slim pickings. Back in SD, the movie collection for the city libraries was like Blockbuster! If there was a movie coming out on dvd, once the release date was published I’d put it on hold. Most of the movies here are educational or documentaries.

The library I visit has a great little children’s nook. It’s a castle turret with a small stage built on the inside and painted murals from fairy tales. I’ll have to take a picture of it sometime. It’s quite adorable.

Oh, and another good thing about being back east is the architecture. California’s great, but has boring building after boring building. There’s another library about a mile from our house and the one we go to is the same distance, but I picked it because of it’s look. It’s a gorgeous building!


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This month I finished reading:

I’m still reading:

  • Emma, by Jane Austen (I’ve finally made it over half way! Yeah for me! It is picking up…thanks for all the encouragement to stick with it. I’m enjoying Emma more and more. I watched the Kate Beckinsale version last week and it’s hard to believe there’s still so much book left knowing what part I’m at in the movie.)
  • The Montessori Method, by Maria Montessori (I don’t think I’ve even picked this one up since last month! I have been reading on the prepared environment in a few other Montessori books.)
  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, by Don Whitney (for my Discipleship class with the Seminary Wives Institute at my husband’s school. The author is also a professor at  the school and my husband is taking his class, however Dr. Whitney’s on sabbatical so Joe doesn’t actually have him for a professor. But Dr. Whitney did come and speak to our class, but I was so tired that evening I was having a hard time staying awake! )

Next month I plan to read:

  • When the Morning Comes, by Cindy Woodsmall
  • Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born, by Tina Cassidy (I’m super excited for this one! I first heard about it in my prenatal  Bradley class when we were getting ready for Joey’s birth. I thought I’d have to knock it off my list, because PaperBack Swap nor my old library had it! Good thing I thought to check if the new library had it…I’m picking it up tomorrow from the holds!)
  • Sacred Chaos: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life You Have, by Tricia McCary Rhodes (This is by my pastors wife. I love her! She’s a great writer and has such a heart for the truth. I have definitely been blessed by her teaching and guidance over the last few years.  Her passion is encouraging others to have an intimate relationship with Christ specifically through prayer and contemplation. I actually read half this book when it was first published, but life got busy and I didn’t finish it.)

I wanted to add the The Time Traveler’s Wife (and still do), but I’m having a hard time getting ahold of a copy. Both PaperBack Swap and the library have a long wait list and I’m pretty hestitant to buy a book if I’m not sure I’ll read it more than once.

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on_mondaysI’ve found a new reading carnival that’s not really new, I’ve seen it before, but just never joined in. J. Kaye’s hosts What are you reading? on Mondays.

This week my goal is to make some more progress on Emma. I feel like I’ve been reading it forever…but I’m over the halfway point.

I’m also picking up Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born by Tina Cassidy and When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall this week from the library.

Last week I finished When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall and Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.

So…what are you reading today?

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It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for Amish fiction. As you can tell, from time to time, I step off the beaten path (aka, my book list 5105oZ3P8ULfor the year) and devour a few Amish fiction novels. For awhile I’ve had When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall on my PaperBack Swap wish list, but decided to see if the library had it instead. I knew it’d be a quick read and it isn’t likely I’ll read it again, and who wants to waste a good PBS credit on a book you can easily get from the library?

Of course, they had it. It’s a good thing they have the whole series, because I read it in one day. It’s one of those quick, refreshing reads you need (or at least I do) between heavier reading. It fits the bill for me.

(I just have to say that my son has been sitting for at least 10 minutes now flipping the pages of his little board books back and forth, over and over again. He’s so quiet that I keep going to check on him thinking he’s getting into something he shouldn’t, but he’s being a good little boy.)

On to the review…

Here’s the synopsis:

Hannah Lapp was born and raised in an Old Order Amish home, without electricity, a telephone, or the right to follow her heart. Without her parents’ knowledge, she’s been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for years. When he asks her to marry him, she accepts, even though to do so will cause her family to avoid her for the rest of her life.

Before Hannah and Paul reveal their relationship, tragedy strikes. In one unwelcome encounter, all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed and she faces losing everything: her family, her fiancé, and even her faith in God. (from CindyWoodsmall.com)

I enjoyed the book, but what I was surprised at was that the synopsis happens all in the first chapter with a tragedy that progresses throughout the novel.  It’s hard to review the book without being a spoiler. It keeps you hanging on as one bad thing after another is added on to the initial tragedy, which Hannah has to deal with in near secret. As she tries to leave the past and move on in her future life with Paul there is a hindrance at every corner that puts her against her family, community, and faith.

The writing is well-crafted, better than the Sisters of Holmes County series, and the plot keeps you hooked sympathizing with Hannah and her pain as she’s posted closer and closer to being unofficially shunned. I even cried a bit.

What story does is highlight the how living under the law of the Old Order isn’t always the right thing. It’s amazing to see how such a community that is so tight-knit and willing to help others in their time of need is also the same one that with turn and shun a person if they don’t follow the Ordnung or if there is even a hint of suspicion, even their families. They’ll  stick closer to the Ordnung than to family.

It was interesting to see how Woodsmall pitted the letter of the Ordnung against the spirit of Ordnung throughout the novel. In this community of faith little forgiveness is freely given and compassion is replaced with abandonment.

I’m looking forward to reading the next installment of the series, When the Morning Comes.

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Amy from The House of the Seven Tails won Mercury in Retrograde by Paula Froelich!


Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope you enjoyed BBAW as much as I did! Can’t wait for next year…now back to some reading!

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Right now, I like that my blog is a way to record what I’ve been reading without feeling the pressure of having to post a review for a deadline.

A year from now, I’d like to see my reviews be more concise. I want to be able to tell my reader why I loved (or didn’t love) a book and what made it read-worthy. Maybe come up with a review system. Maybe.

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FeminineAppealCarolynMaha5989_f In Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney, Girl Talk blogger and wife of pastor/author CJ Mahaney, tackles the famous and often debated Titus 2 passage  toward women focusing on the seven virtues as a godly wife and mother.

Titus 2:4-5 – “…and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure,working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

Over all I enjoyed this book and found it helpful, not so much in changing my own views and opinions as they are already much in line with out Mahaney lays out. I found the book encouraging and helpful in that I feel I can better explain and talk about those more controversial aspects of the passage. Particularly the phrase that woman are to be “working at home,” which in the Greek literally means to work at home.

I’ve known many women to struggle with this, myself included, and I have to say that Mahaney’s interpretation is probably the best I’ve heard. Simply put, a woman’s greatest sphere of influence is the home and other endeavors may take her outside of the home (work or volunteer, etc), but her main focus is to be on serving her family and managing her home. If she can make commitments outside of the home as long as it isn’t to the detriment of her family. As Mahaney puts it, “Working at home must always remain a constant and ongoing priority in our lives” (104).

One thing that didn’t sit so well with me was how in some passages she described the managing of the home as the woman’s sole responsibility. Portions of the chapter came across that a woman should, essentially, take care of everything home-related to free up her husband to fulfill his tasks. While I’m not opposed to being the one “in charge” of managing the home it could come across that a man should not have to have any duties around the home. He should be completely served. I’m sure this is not what Mahaney is saying, but it definitely could be construed that way.

Toward the end of the book transitions seemed weak and connections between ideas lacking at times. It almost felt like there was a rush, but I also tried to keep in mind that this book originated in a series of talks Mahaney gave. Overall, I enjoyed, found the book helpful, and would recommend it.

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