Category Archives: books
books i’ve, read, re-read, skimmed, and those i wanna read…and how literature has influenced my life
as you might’ve guessed from the sneak peek at his wall of books, i wanted to build on the theme of reading and children’s literature.
a friend painted a personalized mural of the giving tree for us and i ordered custom knobs from etsy with images of favorite storybook characters. my crafty sister made a book mobile (that still needs to be hung ) just by looking a examples online.
this is my new favorite place to be – reading a book to graham in our fluffy orange glider.
i’ve completed about a tenth of the projects i’ve pinned to my “i am so doing this” pinterest board, but this is one i knew i would make happen.
for years – decades, really – i’ve been collecting children’s books and YA literature, mostly because i love kid lit.
as time has passed and family-growing hit my “someday soon-ish” radar, i knew that i would want these books displayed prominently and overwhelmingly in my eventual baby‘s room. I started collecting a few stuffed characters to correspond with my faves (winnie the pooh, curious george, courdoroy, madeline, olivia, knuffle bunny, and more…) but my vision for a smattering of floating shelves around the room was too small for my excessive collection of books.
when i saw this pin of an elizabeth sullivan design, i knew it would become a reality in my baby’s nursery. i loved the way the books were displayed with the cover facing out, just as i had envisioned, and the narrow ledges were more ideal for this than a traditional shelf. the total effect was dramatic and fun – just what i was going for!
i found step by step instructions for copying the concept from kara’s korner and enlisted a little help from our handy friend, jarred. in no time, 6 eight-foot ledges were hanging on baby graham’s wall!
i could hardly wait for the paint to dry before loading them with colorful books and characters! this is just a fraction of the books i will rotate onto the shelves.
i hope to cultivate a love of reading in my child(ren), and it seems my firstborn may not have a choice in the matter.
thanks, pinterest, this project turned out better than i could have imagined with my own inspiration.
if you don’t already know megan, you may remember her from when i guest-posted at her blog, sorta crunchy. well, her wisdom and talent are finally available in a published book! today’s bookworm review is of a title i am so happy to promote and am looking forward to applying to my life in the future: Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year by Megan Tietz & Laura Oyer (5 of 5 stars).
i don’t really feel qualified to offer a bona fide review of this book, because i have no personal experiences in parenting to reflect from. but i can speak to the quality of the writing, the wonderful conversational ease of the style, and the soundness of the scriptural foundation.
megan and laura have shared openly their own struggles as first-time moms, and the road that led them into joyful and enriching motherhood. they have created a parenting book that is the opposite of a detailed how-to manual. rather than listing every do and don’t, the authors outline the attitudes of raising a child as you seek God’s guidance in every step.
this book gives me hope for the time when i walk through the first year of mommyhood, and i already feel the release of the subconscious apprehension i’ve always felt when thinking about getting motherhood right. the principles and lessons they share have already begun to work on the maturity of my character and the stubbornly self-centered parts of my spirit.
speaking from my own place in life, i highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever thought of becoming a parent and been paralyzed by the overwhelming feeling of wanting to do everything “the right way.”
usually i like to read the book before i see the movie it inspired, but in the case of scorsese’s epic film Hugo, i didn’t know i was dying to read the book until i was captivated by the story through the magic of 3D and other cinematic technical feats. this week’s bookworm review will inevitably be more of a comparison of the written and filmed versions than a true book review since i’ve seen the movie, but there is no doubt that the story is a gem: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (4 of 5 stars).
reading the book was a sort of deja-vu of watching it on screen, because the script stuck so closely to the novel. the biggest delight was drinking in the author’s drawings, or “mini-movies,” throughout the pages. it’s obvious that these illustrated scenes are not used just to supplement the story, but to actually drive the action forward without words. and the super-detailed hand-drawn pictures had a clear influence (gladly) on the movie adaptation.
i thought reading the book might give me more of the story that could not fit into the film, but what i got instead was a deeper look into hugo’s world. the book is focused more on hugo’s journey and point-of-view, with all the other characters playing a supporting role. the movie placed several characters in the spotlight, investing the viewer more in the feelings and struggles of isabelle and papa georges as well.
selznick’s drawings truly enhanced the book for me. they gave the extra-thick volume an enchanting effect that made me want to read the book lying on the floor on my stomach with my legs kicking up behind me like a kid engrossed in a treasure map. sitting in a chair or in bed with a side lamp seemed to grown-up.
do you like to read books that have inspired movies before or after you’ve seen the film? do you enjoy it when authors include illustrations in novels, or does it distract you?
a biography makes it’s way into our bookworm review lineup this week. i was eager to read the final written work of an author i’ve always admired: All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir by Brennan Manning (3.5 of 5 stars).
manning has never been afraid to expose himself as a ragamuffin soul, tattered and flawed, but wholly accepted by God’s grace and love. his autobiography is no exception.
the author takes his readers on a meandering tour of his life, offering a brutally honest recount without a trace of sugar coating. his story might feel depressing and hopeless if it weren’t coming from a man whose central theme throughout his career has always been “Abba Father is enamored with you, warts and all.”
leave it to manning to not only indirectly inspire hope with his own story, but to explicitly challenge his readers to develop a trusting heart and openly accept the overwhelming love, grace, and forgiveness of a God who is enough.
have you read any of brennan manning’s books? do you think a non-fiction author can share a message more or less effectively through his or her own story?
i have plenty of newly-released books on my to-read list, but when i overheard my brother-in-law recommending this book to my husband, i remembered that the sci-fi “classic” has been on my i-should-read list for quite some time. so this week’s bookworm review is of an oldie that is still going strong: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (4 of 5 stars).
set in earth’s future, the novel presents humankind in conflict with an alien species called “buggers” by the humans. in preparation for an anticipated third invasion of the buggers, an international fleet has a school to train future commanders…among very young children. the world’s most talented children, including andrew “ender” wiggin, are taken as early as age six to a battle school where teachers train them in the arts of war through increasingly difficult games in zero gravity.
card’s takes a potential contrived plot and creates something extraordinary with skillful development of his main character’s genius, brutality, and vulnerability, and clever pacing in revealing the complexity of the tactical games.
some of the major underlying themes at play here are the same as another wildly popular story about a game — violence among children and the government taking children from their families. the moral dilemmas presented in ender’s game are the source of much criticism toward the book.
i truly enjoyed the story, and then i listened to an interview with the author (regarding this novel) that gave me an even deeper appreciation for ender and his game. i want to read more books in ender’s saga and also the ender’s shadow series, and am now really looking forward to the movie due out next year.
how do you feel when reading dystopian books like ender’s game and the hunger games that address political and moral issues so directly? why do you think these types of books become so popular?