December 2020 – Reading Update

It’s That Time of Year

Christmas time is almost upon us yet again…and I’m celebrating six months of my blog!  One of my resolutions is to be more faithful with my blog (going completely silent for three months at a time is not the way to go!)  But I’m also resolved to read more books in 2021.  Honestly, reading more books is always a goal of mine…

This past year I finished college.  I graduated in August; however, I took Creative Writing this fall as a final farewell to my life as a college student.  Let me tell you…if you wondered where I was from August to December, I was buried six-feet under!  For the first time in my college career, I had lectures three days a week, and assignments nearly every day.  It was enjoyable, but it was hard work.  Needless to say, I survived, finished, and passed the class.

I am officially an adult (I turned 21 yesterday) and am free of all responsibility to school!  Let the reading begin. 🙂

What I’ve Just Finished

  • Vienna Prelude by Bodie and Brock Thoene

I honestly have had little time to read through an entire book this semester.  I’ve spent a lot of time reading snippets and single chapters for research, but not much time just enjoying a good book.  However, when I finished class last Monday, I immediately ran over to the library and got a book.  Vienna Prelude by Bodie Thoene is the first book in the Zion Covenant series.  It’s a class Christian historical fiction series that I absolutely love!  I haven’t read the series in awhile so I thought I’d read book one as my re-introduction to the reading culture.  Per my usual, I stayed up to an unholy hour to finish it on Friday night.  But…you can say my nights were balanced because the two nights before that I had fallen asleep at 8:30 before ever opening the book! As for the book itself, it never disappoints.  It’s set in pre-war Austria and Germany.  It’s a depressing and frightening place, but the story needs to be told.  And the story itself is beautiful!  It’s well crafted and inspiring.

Before I turn this into a full-scale review, let’s move on!

  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Before starting my final writing class, I took about 5 days to read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins.  My initial thought was to not read the prequel to the Hunger Games series at all, so as not to ruin all my preconceived notions about everything in the Hunger Games world.  However, a friend of my sister’s highly recommended that we read the book, so I caved and promptly bought it when it was on sale on Amazon.  While I can’t say I was disappointed with the story, it was definitely not what I expected.  I can confidently say it answers some questions about the origins of traditions and characters from the series quite cleverly.  However, the brutality is on par with the original series, if not worse because of the almost barbaric treatment of humans.  At the time of the 10th Hunger Games, which is the first third-ish of the story-line, the tributes were treated as disposables, unneeded and unwanted animals.  Its very sad to see the state of Panem at that point, but as always with Ms. Collins writing, there is a purpose and a point.  To say here whether or not you should read it is a question too big to digest and answer here.  So you’ll have to read my full review of the book HERE!

Currently On My Bed-side Table

  • 50 People Every Christian Should Know by Warren Wiersbe

Last Christmas, one of the ladies I work with in the Sparks Awana club gave me a book by Warren Wiersbe.  It’s called 50 People Every Christian Should Know.  At first glance, I thought it looked like a rather unremarkable book.  I assumed it was just 50 mini-biographies about people I would quickly forget.  Not so!  It is 50 mini-biographies, but it’s also much more than that.  I have discovered that I really enjoy Warren Wiersbe’s style of writing (more about that in a future blog!), but I also have learned a lot about these amazing believers!  There are so many noteworthy Christians that I don’t know about, but who are absolutely inspiring and even convicting in their example of a godly walk.  The neat thing with this book is that Wiersbe presents a biography along with a small overview of their most important and influential writings.  Most of the Christians presented were pastors and preachers, with a smattering of missionaries and writers mixed in.  Because of the sheer amount of information I knew would be presented in this book, I decided to read 1 chapter every Monday night.  I’ve been consistent with it for the most part, and have really enjoyed setting Monday nights aside to read this book.  I plan to finish this book by the end of December!  Keep an eye out for a full review in the near future!

  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

Are there any LOTR fans out there??  For those of you who aren’t die-hard fans, LOTR stands for Lord of the Rings.  My mom read The Hobbit out loud to me in 7th grade, I read the original books in high school, and I’ve watched the movies at least once a year since I was 13 (that’s minimum 8x, if you don’t count the other times throughout the year when I was LOTR hungry and watched them just for the heck of it.)  In all that time, I have looked at the Silmarillion maybe once a year, and shied away from it every time.  For some reason, the Silmarillion seemed like a daunting and potentially very boring read.  Granted, I loved the elven lore in the council of Elrond, while everyone else in my family skipped over that section entirely.  All that to say…I finally grabbed the Silmarillion (on suggestion from a reading friend) and started in on it.  I’m approximately 120 pages in and I am thoroughly enjoying it so far!  The history behind Middle Earth (and other places), the Valar, the making of Morgoth and Ungoliant (creeeepy, but also very cool), and the creation of Elves, Dwarves, and Men is fascinating.  I understand LOTR so much better now that I’m going to have to re-read the books. 🙂

In the Line-Up

Next up I have several choices waiting to be my next read.  I actually gave my sister a list of five books to put in order of what I should start first and start last.  She has until I finish the Silmarillion to put them in order.  The following are what I shared with her:

  1. Louisa May Alcott Collection (this includes Little Women, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys; I have read Little Women before, but not the other two)
  2. Mansfield Park (a must-read, according to my sister; I should be ashamed to not have read it before since I’m a hard core Jane Austen fan)
  3. The Allies (a fabulous WWII piece of non-fiction written by Winston Groom that I have read half of but never finished, lazy me)
  4. The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boom’s classic retelling of her encounter with the horrors of the Nazi regime; the plush cat that hangs from my rear-view mirror is named Maher-shalal-hash-baz after the Ten Boom family cat who is named after the son of Isaiah the prophet)
  5. Victory in the Pacific (a classic WWII non-fiction book written by the prolific author, Albert Marrin)

 

I can’t decide what order to read these in!  It’s not a life-altering decision, but you’d think it is from the amount of time I’m spending thinking about it.  Let me know in the comments below what order you think I should read them in. 😉

Your Turn!

What are you reading?  Have you found any new good books I should know about?  Comment below!

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