Books I’ve Read Recently*

*which is also interpreted as “the last six months”

I was a little shocked when I counted up all of these books and realized I had read 14 books in the last 6 months (three were read in the last three days, now that I’ve started vacation). I was extremely busy last semester and felt like I hadn’t read much, but an average of 2 books a month is still pretty good. I read a lot of light fiction because I couldn’t focus much on too difficult of reading, and even though I only read a few Christian Living type books all the way through within this time frame, I have read parts of many books that I still need to finish!

Non-fiction

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert

I read this book two or three times. It’s a great, short explanation of the gospel. I highly recommend this book.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne: a good minister of Jesus Christ by J.C. Smith

This is a very unusual biography because it doesn’t follow the normal, chronological order of a biography. Also, the author quoted seemingly randomly from sermons and letters from people who know M’Cheyne without giving context to the quotes. Frankly, I had a hard time following the book. I respect M’Cheyne’s ministry and have read some good quotes by him, but I didn’t have the mental focus to read all the way through the book, so after the first couple of chapters, I ended up skimming and just reading a few portions.

unPlanned by Abby Johnson

I thought this was a great book. This is the story of a Planned Parenthood director who made a dramatic turnaround to work for the Coalition for Life. I wrote about it extensively here.

Young Adult Fiction

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

This was a good story and I recommend it. I was a little afraid the kid lawyer would be in the courthouse defending a case (unbelievable), but instead he had to rely upon the justice system and his lawyer parents to help him see the case through (much more believable).

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

I had heard my friend Jenni talk about this book for six years, because she taught it in her 7th grade English class, but I’d never read the book until now. It’s a great historical fiction story about an African-American farming family in the South during the Depression. This story deals with racism, lynching, and the benefits of owning your land. The main characters, the Logans, own their farm, but most of the other farmers around them are sharecroppers. The characters, dialogue, and story are all interesting, and I agree that this is a good book for junior highers. The only drawback to this story is that it ends abruptly without resolving the main conflict at the end of the story.

Let the Circle be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor

This is the sequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and the first couple of chapters wrap up TJ’s story from the previous book. This book dealt more with property ownership, the difficulties of starting a union for the farmers, and the challenges of a young girl who has a black father and a white mother, and the hardships Stacey faced when he was tricked back into slavery in the sugar cane fields. I enjoyed learning more about the characters and seeing them grow up, but I thought the story lagged through the middle and it picked up again right at the end of the book. Fortunately, the story resolved in the last chapter, because I was afraid the book would end without finding out what happened to Stacey.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

I really enjoyed this story about a young Korean orphan who learns how to make pottery from a master potter. The boy, Tree-ear has to face many challenges to deliver the potter’s special vase to the king’s palace. Set in twelfth-century Korea, the story teaches about the culture and about perseverance. This is another great novel for junior highers, and Jenni also taught this one in 7th grade English.

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson

I greatly enjoyed this long-awaited sequel to Chains, which I reviewed here. As you can gather from the title and cover art, the story is set during the Continental Army’s occupation of Valley Forge. The historical details are accurate and the story is very interesting, though it is sometimes graphic about the difficulties the soldiers faced.

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Based on the yellow fever epidemic that swept through Philadelphia in the summer of 1793, this story follows Mattie Cook as she flees the city after her mother contracts the fever, as she fights for survival, and as she reestablishes her life at the coffeehouse her mother and grandfather had owned. I highly recommend this book.

Adult Fiction

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

I read this book for the book club I started a few months ago. You can read all the posts here.

The God Hater by Bill Myers

I really enjoyed reading this allegory of salvation. A group of computer programmers create an alternate world and test out various systems of running the world, such as Evolution, Existentialism, and law-giving. The only model that works, as the atheist professor is chagrined to find out, is the law-giving and grace-saving one that parallels the Gospel.

Nick of Time by Tim Downs

I was very excited this book came out before I had to take a long plane trip from Guam to the States, as it helped pass the time on my Guam-Narita flight. As always, Tim Downs created a fast-paced story with snappy dialogue and unusual characters. This story seemed a little different to me from other Tim Downs novels, but I can’t quite put my finger on what’s different; I don’t think there was a much science in this one and that is something I like about the books. I still greatly enjoyed this book, though, and highly recommend it.

Although most of the Bug Man novels can be read in any order, you’ll understand this one best if you read Ends of the Earth first. In Ends of the Earth, Nick has to choose between cadaver dog trainer Alena and the plucky farmer Kathryn. Readers were able to read two alternate endings online and choose for Nick, so this novel follows Nick and Alena in the last week before their wedding. The mysterious death of a friend leads Nick to the Poconos to solve the crime, Alena follows, and after Nick rescues Alena from a would-be murderer, they return to North Carolina for their wedding. And we’re left with another cliff-hanger, so hopefully the next book will end with Nick and Alena’s marriage.

Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson

While this was a cute story about a childhood imaginary friend who becomes real when the little girl grows up, it was very light reading and not very impressive. It was good airplane reading, but I probably won’t be picking up another Patterson novel any time soon.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

This is the second choice for my little book club and I’ll post discussion questions soon. It wasn’t my favorite book ever, that’s for sure. I liked Tuesdays with Morrie much better.

During the Easter season, I read portions of Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross edited by Nancy Guthrie; Finally Alive by John Piper; and Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper.

I re-read these books for 11th Honors English: The Red Badge of Courage, Huck Finn, The Call of the Wild.

I am currently reading: Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick, and The Art of Divine Contentment by Thomas Watson.

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2 thoughts on “Books I’ve Read Recently*

  1. I first heard “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” (which should be in italics, but I don’t know how to do that in a comment because I am VERY technologically challenged!) as a radio drama done over several weeks on a public radio station program called The Spider’s Web. There was haunting music in the background, sound effects, and different actors reading the different characters with a very convincing girl reading the part of the narrator.

    The book captured my attention in a unique way. I had been very sheltered by my protective parents and shielded from a lot of unpleasantness in life. Cassie Logan’s world was such an eye-opener to me, a little girl growing up in a small New England town, far in both time and distance from Cassie’s home town. I gasped in indignation when she was shoved off the sidewalk and trembled in terror when the night riders passed by on the road.

    Now as an adult, I’ve tried to locate that production but haven’t had any success. I wish I could listen to it again – and let my children hear it as well the way I did. But they don’t need to, because the voices and the sound effects were just extra. The real power is in the story itself – the gripping, exciting, and totally absorbing adventures of a family I never knew but learned to care about. I was sad when the dad told Stacey he couldn’t be friends with the white boy next door because I knew, being white, that they wouldn’t have been friends with me either, and I liked them.

    The rest of the books and the novelettes about the Logan family are great – adding more nuances and details to the original story. Sometimes we’re taken forward in time as the kids grow up; sometimes we go back in time and learn how the Logans first got the land. One of the short novels that sticks with me is “The Bridge” which is sad and powerful and ironic.

    I’ve had the privilege of teaching this book in English class, but I’ve also always wished I could teach a history class highlighted and accentuated with works of fiction that bring particular eras of time to life.

    This is one of my all-time favorite books ever.

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