Friday, July 18, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Seven Books You Might Like

Summer has enabled me to keep working my way through the endless stack of books that I am always meaning to read.  On my trip to Colorado, I had a bag dedicated just for books.  My brother-in-law teased me about my daily book consumption, and my sister says that I should get a Kindle so that there is more room in the car next time.  I was just glad to get to read to my heart’s content. I also have been working on a few books that are more study related, but here are seven of the “lighter” books that I have enjoyed recently.  Starting at the bottom of the stack in the picture above:

If you are fan of The Pioneer Woman, you are familiar with her story of going from a jet-setting city girl to the wife of a rancher.  This memoir tells of her courtship and marriage in typical honest, funny, and intriguing Pioneer Woman style.  If you are looking for a light romantic read, I highly recommend it.

I do love Austen’s books, and I don’t mind an adaptation here and there either.  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was an interesting and successful social media experiment that modernized the story of Pride & Prejudice.  This book is a companion for the video series and can be read independently or alongside the YouTube videos.  This is by far the best thought out modernization of any of Austen’s books that I have read.  The creators really thought through what life would be like for the Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcys in 2014.  It was creative and well done, and also very fun.

You’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard about this one or the movie adaptation that came out earlier this summer.  I was persuaded by my youth group girls to read it, and I didn’t mind.  I think that it is what A Walk to Remember was to my generation.  My favorite part?  The Fr. Robert Barron commentary I read about it and the connection to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Again, another Austen spinoff.  This one was a $0.50 thrift store find, and it was worth the gamble.  A modern day Jane Austen expert “finds herself” after a bit of a midlife crisis.  She explores the landmarks of Austen throughout England while traversing on a scavenger hunt of sorts.  Plausible? No.  Enjoyable? Yes.

I was asked to review this book after visiting another youth group in my area.  That church had been offered to host a concert and event, during which this book would be passed out to any youth in attendance “of dating age.”  I read it and I don’t think I quite agree with "dating age," but I suppose that varies from person to person.  I would recommend it for older high schoolers and college students.  Sex, drugs, and rock & roll have a strong presence, but so do forgiveness, sacrifice, redemption, and truth.  This book reminded me of other Catholic fiction like Pierced by a Sword, but for a teen audience.

I have already mentioned this book here, but I am loving it more and more as time goes on.  I am already rereading it with a group of my college students from youth group, and the quality of the content and the awesome writing style are quickly making this one of my favorite books.  This book gives an intimate look into the life of St. John Paul II through the eyes of people that knew him well, as well as a summary of five of his most important devotions/teachings.  It is not comprehensive, but it sure is mighty, and I think that it would be a great book for people at any part of their spiritual walk.  If you are not already a JP2 fan, you will be by the time you finish this book.

Biblical fiction can sometimes make me cringe.  Reading the real story straight from the Bible is always better, and sometimes the fictionalizations just stray too far into the imagination for me to be comfortable.  This book caught my attention though, and I am glad that I gave it a chance.  Telling the story of Ruth, starting before her marriage to Naomi’s son and ending after the birth of her and Boaz’s son, it exhibits beautiful story telling.  It was easy to enter in and get lost in the world of Ruth, to contemplate her decisions, and to see God’s hand in her life.  Just a few hours after finishing it, I passed it off to my sister, and I don’t think she looked up again until she was almost halfway through it.  I loved it and will be looking for more of Tessa Afshar’s books. 

So what have you been reading this summer?  Got any recommendations for me? :)

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  1. Death Comes to Pemberly. I love it!

    1. Love that one! I will have to reread it before school starts.