Well, you’re about to know what I read this summer. It’s been a book reading season friends. I go through the spurts (that I love) when I hurl myself into story after story, devouring pages, reading until my eyelids are heavier than lead, allowing myself to feel it all as each each beloved character becomes my beloved friend. I give my heart to these pages only to have them all too quickly reach the end, leaving me in a book hangover with my mouth gaping open and nobody to talk to about it!
Reading books is such a rich thing for me. It means I’ve slowed down a bit and made some time to curl up in my favorite chair and let the hustle of the day melt off of me. It stimulates my mind, stirs up my heart and relaxes both all at once. I read some doozies this year. I want to share them with you. Then, I want to split a french press of coffee and talk through every heart thumping page with you! Since, that probably won’t happen, can you just read and then comment about all your feelings?
I like different kinds of books, as you’ll see. The novels are coming, but business first. This summer, in preparation for Lila’s first year of homeschool, I was reading through a couple books from the library. They were both so good, I shouldn’t have checked them out at the same time because I couldn’t finish them. I had to return them and plan on using them a lot in my homeschool mom journey. The first was about homeschool in general, The Homeschooling Handbook. The practical stuff, costs, laws, and plans as well as the social and emotional issues that come with making this decision. It was written in a really approachable and unassuming. Just what I needed.
The other one was more focused specifically for teaching a child how to read. It’s actually called,The Between the Lions (R) Book for Parents: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Learn to Read. Remember the PBS show, Between the Lions? It was a fun kids show about a family of lions that own and run a library. This is the book for parents that compiles all of those methods into a system and process geared to help us teach our kids to read. It’s fun and practical. It’s broken up by stages of reading/age, so I’ll be revisiting that book too.
My rekindled fiction book fever was brought on by my father in law, Dale. We share a common favorite book of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird. So, naturally, he surprised me and bought me Go Set a Watchman and gave it to me within a week of it’s release.
I was giddy. It was the day Jordan left for his first soccer trip of the year and I was about to have some time on my hands. This book. Not at ALL what I expected. Honestly, I have to read it again to draw my final conclusion on what I think Harper Lee was trying to say. At some points I thought, “Um, there is a REASON she didn’t get this published! We shouldn’t have pushed it!” There were some real life heartbreaking moments that caught me off guard. This book stirred the pot for sure.
Next, a regular at the coffee shop, Pat, left a book for us to take turns reading. I have never read a mystery/tragedy/comedy before. I couldn’t put it down. There’s a woman who rides the same train everyday and gazes out the window, what she sees one day hurls her right into the lives she used to just pass by. Let’s just say the laundry sat clean in baskets for the duration of this book. If you need a book to make you fall in love with reading again, The Girl on the Train is a great one. It’s thought provoking, and heart wrenching, and scary, and thrilling all at once. Go get it.
So, I’m telling my friend Alyssa about how crazy The Girl on The Train was and she was all, “Oh, have you read The Nightingale?” And I was all, “No, do you think I’d like it?” So, she brings in this huge book for me to read and then I find out it’s about WWII. Look, I know my heart okay? I can’t read holocausty things ok? I’m too sensitive. So, I read about 60 pages before I see Alyssa again.
Alyssa, “How do you like it so far?”
Darla, “Well, so far, I love all the characters….they’re all going to die, aren’t they?”
I continued to read, and read, and read. Eventually I had about 200 pages to go and I just couldn’t live in this book for another day, so I finished it that night. The next morning was September 11. It was a somber day for me. I just walked around with gratitude for my freedom and my family and my faith, safety and even coffee. This wasn’t just a book about the holocaust. It’s from a perspective I’ve never considered: the women’s war. How could women help fight for a free France and a free world? They aren’t soldiers….That’s the exact thought process that made them get by under the radar. I still haven’t forgotten the characters in this book. I’m carrying them with me still. You should meet them, they just might move your heart.
SPEAKING OF HEART: ouch. This book and the real talk. I’ve only started it and it’s already speaking to me in the season of life I’m in. It’s like sitting down with your friend who holds you by the shoulder, looks you in the eyes, and tells you what’s what and brings you back to life, all the while, tucking the tag in on the back of your shirt because fashion. Jen Hatmaker kills it in this one. The tone is firm and so dang loving. I’ve never felt an author’s true care for me (besides the Bible, duh) before. It’s moving enough to make you want to change how you’re living, and encouraging enough to give you permission and practical enough to help you along the way. Get this one and read it with me! I have a feeling there will be more blog posts about this one, so you may want to read it to stay with me.
Are you a reader? I think so. I think we all are. We just have to find the voice that speaks to us. What did you read this summer that you loved? What’s on your nightstand right now? What are you hoping to read this fall? Any suggestions?
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