2017 Reading Challenge | a book about a topic you already love

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My selection for the 2017 Reading Challenge, reading for fun category: a book about a topic you already love

51eYqSeYwdLIsaac's Storm by Erik Larson. As a meteorologist I was intrigued by the early understandings of meteorology, and even, what people considered, hoped for, of meteorologists. The meteorology, how Larson approached discussing in layman's terms, the raw meteorological side of the hurricane was superb. Interestingly, meteorologists determined accurately that storm surge was the most damaging and deadliest aspect of a hurricane. While there were some slow points of the historical account, I was most impressed by the compilation of the use of thousand's of sources into an avid, visual representation of the events before and after the 1900 Galveston hurricane that rocked the country.

If anything, this book made me, as a meteorologist, appreciate the advancements made withing the field of weather forecasting and prediction. But, and this is a hearty but, there is nothing compared to the the hardened skills, educated science, the personal application that comes from the person - the meteorologist. All the computer models, all the advancements of technology cannot replace what the meteorologist sees with the naked eye. A computer, not piece of equipment cannot tell you those early signs of advancing weather. Only the meteorologist can, who sees it for himself.

Very good book. 

 


7 books every couple should read

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I'm no expert. These are just a few books that my husband and I, at various seasons of our marriage, found to be helpful, or challenged our status quo for our marriage, or upped our 'game'. This is not-even-close to an exhaustive list of great books on marriage. But, these 7 - are GOOD!

51rV-3xwEJLThe Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. If only to understand what love languages are, what your own love languages are, and what your spouses love languages are, and what to do when you have that information, this is definitely a great book to read as a couple, either individually [together], or out loud together. But, definitely share your love language with each other and make a commitment to meet your spouses love language right where they are. 

 

 

 

51kYqKy+hvLFor Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. My husband and I read this one on the road, literally. While we were traveling, I was reading this book aloud to Jeff. If I read aloud my comprehension is better and if I read aloud Jeff's comprehension is better. Go figure! While the title says it's for women only, and it is in a way, it's okay to read this together because your man can say, Yes, that's me. Do you understand me now? This is a very enlightening book. 

 

 

 

41RQbQiGbiLFor Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. And the companion book, For Men Only helps the men get women. This is another book that is great read aloud while traveling. Again, for the same reason. I was able to clarify, enlighten, expound, or share my take on what we were reading - as the woman.

 

 

 

 

7176OMzUwhLSacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. This is not for the faint at heart. This is not for you if you are only hoping for a happier marriage. It is for you if you want a marriage that is holier. Holier, not happier (although, if a marriage is holier it WILL be happier - guaranteed). This one is on my bookshelf. Reading it soon.

 

 

 

 

 

81xOLrq1aYLHis Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley. This is some serious business. The book identifies a man and a woman's vital needs and then tells you how to meet your spouses needs. It's not about how your spouse is or isn't meeting your needs but how to meet your spouses needs. Folks, a holy marriage will always place your spouses needs above your own needs. My husband and I read this during a challenging time. It is a challenging book, too. Not for the faint at heart. Choose this day whom you will serve. Hopefully, it is your spouse.

 

 

712cLhVd7nLCommunication: Key to Your Marriage by H Norman Wright. This isn't as well known of a book as some of the others; it's quite a bit older, but still some really good stuff. Early in our marriage, and even before we were married we read this book, or at least pieces of it recommended to us by our counselor.

 

 

 

 

91H0vstAh+LNight Light: a devotional for couples by Dr. James and Shirley Dobson. What better way to ensure, you as a couple, are digging in the word than a devotional together. An older selection yet still a penetrating devotional.

 

 

 

 

 

In no way is this even close to an exhaustive selection of books for soon-to-be and married couples. If you think your marriage is okay and doesn't need a check-up then your marriage probably need to look harder, look more intently at your spouse, because it probably isn't okay because every marriage can be re-charged, re-vitalized, serviced, reminded how we can serve our spouses and communicate better because we all get complacent. 


2017 Reading Challenge | a book you were excited to buy but haven't read yet

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I believe I'm off to great beginnings on this 2017 Reading Challenge. I have only read a couple other books outside of the challenge. Realizing this, though, means I will need to get my reading butt in gear if I want to read 100 New Books in 2017along with completing this challenge.

41DNuJfahyLMy selection for the Reading For Fun category a book you were excited to buy but haven't read yet: The Martian by Andy Wier. I guess in a way this could have been many of the titles on my bookshelf as I'm usually very excited when I put a book in my Amazon cart and then receive it. Inevitably, it is within a stack of books purchased and if they all get me excited I just have to pick one, right?

But, having recently watched the movie...

I know, right? I watched the movie first. Highly taboo! A disgrace. Watching the movie before reading the movie.

But, you guys, the movie was really good.

I'd heard, through blog reviews of The Martian that many people actually enjoyed the book way more once they watched the movie. After flying through the book in a day and a half, because of the visuals the movie afforded me, I can totally see how they came to that conclusion. I loved this book!  I'm not sure I would have liked it half as much if I'd read the book first. The science, the chemistry, I think, would have become overwhelming and instead of plowing through the science I might have put the book down. But, the movie! The movie made the science so much more interesting - exciting even!

And the humor - I laughed out loud on a number of occasions. Worth it! As a Star Trek fan (the newer Star Trek's) a favorite line when Mark writes in his SOL journal, "Damn it Jim, I'm a botanist, not a chemist!" Laughed. Out. Loud! 

While I understand this was completely fiction, it made me wonder that if this were to happen in real life, an astronaut getting stranded on the moon and needing to survive, what type of person would they need to be - to survive. I mean, this guy Mark had a sense of humor. I'm curious if that would be helpful, a certain outlook on life. Just wondering.

Anyways, if you're wondering about the book. Read it. And, if you're wondering about the movie - fabulous, too.

Again, this is where I stand with the 2017 Reading Challenge:

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Moving right along in this challenge. I have several books in my bag for work, on my nightstand, in my purse: Zero Day by David Baldacci, Veronica Mars, The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas, A Million Little Ways by Emily P Freeman, Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson, and More to Your Story by Max Lucado.

 


2017 Reading Challenge | a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner

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Following Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge my selection for the reading for growth category (and my 5th selection of the 24-book challenge): a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner is

510mwjJ6sELThe Penderwicks, a Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy.

I loved the magical ambiance of this heartwarming and charming modern children's classic of a summer vacation filled with adventure - and mayhem. I adore the children's brilliant and gentle widower father who is absentminded yet attentive, and aware of his daughters' ramblings and trampling's at the same time. He understands his children something awesome.

Although this might be considered a children's book it's appeal will reach all ages and gender. And, I kept thinking while I was reading, "I think Ella would love this book!" But, I also thought, my boys (my 19 year old sons) would love me to read this aloud. I definitely want to get the next books in the series.

The four sisters are delightful and endearing. The boy - I just wanted to reach in and pull him close, with his preening peacock mother Mrs. Tifton to contend with. Thank God for the precious and understanding housekeeper and the hardworking teenager and father-trained gardener.

I used to shy away from children's books believing they were beneath me, although beneath me is not really what I mean, maybe not literary enough. But, not any longer!

This is 6  |  100 New Books in 2017

P.S. I created a new 12 x 12 template for the remainder of this reading challenge. I will use it for updates to the challenge, as well.

And lastly, where I stand with the reading challenge:

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what I've been reading lately | january edition

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Crafting a page every month of what I've read for our family scrapbook album. Besides reading...and swimming... scrapbooking is my other love and keeping a record of everything I've been reading is inspiring me to read more.

Slim readings this month...only six books read...but almost all of them were winners. I would never have reckoned my heart around some of these titles if not for the countless other readers willing to share their reviews - well, and my desire to read new books.

81jQzNuvy4LA Man Called Ove by Fredrick Brackman. A beautiful book full of laughter and tears, love and friendship, and connections(ing). And leaving a legacy. This was my first book of the new year and a 2017 Reading Challenge selection reading for growth: a book in translation. You can see my thoughts on A Man Called Ove here.

 

 

 

 

51Q+CphZ7rLBread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. Shauna's collection of essays are intimately personal and inspiring. In the least, I can't wait to make some of the recipes she's shared. At the most I am looking forward to how my One Little Word for 2017, NOURISH, will work itself out in my life with Shauna's book as part of the backdrop of the story. I have no doubt this will be tucked into a favorite's list for the year and one I will revisit again - soon. This book is for my 2017 Reading Challenge also: a book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection.

 

 

 

71MT0ceUanLThe Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Um, not so much...I could probably count on both hands paragraphs - yes, paragraphs - I liked and the remainder of the book - um, not so much. This book, however, fulfilled a reading challenge (insert smiley face): a Newberry Award Winner or Honor Book for my 2017 Reading Challenge. We were talking at church, a couple of us ladies who serve together, all pretty heavy readers, plus homeschooling moms, when we had some downtown and I mentioned The Westing Game. Had anyone read it? Did they like it? When I shared my experience one mom said emphatically, "listen to the audio!!" I'm going to do just that and see how I like The Westing Game after listening to it read aloud.

 

51PTExXeL7LEndurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. Un-put-down-able! From the first page to the last this brilliant account of Sir Ernest Shackleton's incredible voyage to Antarctica where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent and how his plans failed and yet, Shackleton and his crew endured the unstoppable elements of nature to return home. This will surely be at the top of my list of favorite books in 2017. Beyond amazing!

 

 

 

81ghwLdY9LLThe Defector by Daniel Silva. I have enjoyed Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series immensely. This one is definitely not my favorite but the parts that held my attention (most attentively), far outweighed those that were ho-hum. As this is book 9 in the series of 16 I've come too far to allow minor ho-hum to stop my forward momentum. The main protagonist(s) have certainly evolved, with increasing depth and character through the series' progression.

 

 

 

 

 

510mwjJ6sELThe Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. Superb! And I'm planning on buying a second copy to send to my granddaughter Ella who is in the 4th grade. I think she'll adore this book, too! This is also a 2017 Reading Challenge selection: a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award Winner and book 6  |  100 New Books in 2017.


2017 Reading Challenge | a book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able

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51PTExXeL7LFor Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge my selection for the reading for fun category: a book with a reputation for being un-put-down-able is Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing and is book 4 | 100 New Books in 2017.

Hitting my list hard this is my fourth selection of the 24 book challenge and it was fabulous! I genuinely attest to Endurance as an un-put-down-able book! Amazon perfectly describes this gripping testament, "In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men.
 
For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed between two ice floes. With no options left, Shackleton and a skeleton crew attempted a near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic's heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization. Their survival, and the survival of the men they left behind, depended on their small lifeboat successfully finding the island of South Georgia—a tiny dot of land in a vast and hostile ocean.
 
In Endurance, the definitive account of Ernest Shackleton's fateful trip, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing and miraculous voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age."

I derived great pleasure and appreciated every cleverly crafted narration Alfred Lansing wrote, leaving no stone unturned, leaving nothing for the imagination except what we must imagine Shackleton and his crew endured.

This is a novel I know my husband would enjoy...if he had time to read. The plethora of information Lansing affords his reader, in his brilliant prose and nail-biting scenes and sequences - this is a great adventure!


2017 Reading Challenge | a Newberry Award winner or Honor book

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For Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge my selection for the reading for growth category: a Newberry Award winner or Honor book I read The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

Sadly, I would say, "It's not going to win any awards!" But, The Westing Game is a highly- proclaimed award winning novel for over 30 years. Here is another one of those sought-after, avid-reader, acclaimed mysteries that 'just-everyone-should read' books and unfortunately it fell flat to me. I stuck with it until the end, though.  But, once I was finished I'd wished I hadn't.

It was confusing.

It was boring.

There were so many characters with little depth. I was quite frustrated.

And, the mystery. What mystery?

For me this book served two purposes. Check off a new book read in 2017 and my 2017 Reading Challenge - and that is it. Reading should not be just about quantity, but quality. 


2017 Reading Challenge | a book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection

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For Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge my selection for the reading for growth category: a book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection, I read Bread & Wine, a love letter to life around the table with recipes by Shauna Niequist.

Exquisite collection of essays about connections with God, family, friendships, and food. It is about ways God nourishes us and teaches us how to nourish others with ourselves and with food.

It's a beautiful book and my copy has many dog-earred pages I will be referring back to often. My prayer is that Shauna's words will nourish my heart throughout this year. Such an affirming word - nourish. Is it any wonder why NOURISH is my One Little Word for the year and God is already working out my word in my life through this book?

Shauna's words are deeply moving. She shares intensely personal truths and even more extraordinary connections. Her book left me with thought-provoking heart and soul desires; if that even makes sense to anyone but me.

I love her responses to food. It offered me a whole new meaning to nourishing my body and my family and my friendships with food.

Just a beautiful book.


2017 Reading Challenge | a book in translation

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From Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge Reading for Growth: a book in translation

I hope to hit these lists hard, early on, because I have 100 books to read this year. The first book for the new year is A Man Called Ove by Frederick Brackman.

"Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations" - Amazon

I adore this book.

Written by Swedish author (a book in translation) Frederick Brackman, A Man Called Ove, is a charming, witty, and delightful book that made me look at life, relationships, community, friendships, and legacy differently. How does a fiction novel impact someone so much to want to do life - better?  

I cried.

I laughed often.

Which, by the way, is my favorite thing to do.

I rooted for Ove.

I rooted for his neighbors.

I rooted for love.

I love how Ove gave of himself and he didn't even realize he was doing it.

A feel-good book.

A wonderful first book to read for the new year.


Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge | where I stand

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I'm completely satisfied with how much I have read this year. It has been an enjoyable endeavor to read. Challenging myself to read new books (new-to-me-books) has opened an entire new world and I am loving every minute of it. I am so thankful I have a job that affords break times for which I've used the opportunity to READ.

Besides my personal challenge of reading 52 New Books in 2016 which I surpassed in September and went on to read more than 75 new books in 2016, I also participated in Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2016 Reading Challenge coming late to the game in August 2016. Her challenge is read one book a month in each category. Because I came in late for the party I had to seriously increase my reading time. Unfortunately, I fell short two books in the challenge. 

Here is how the challenge hammered out:

a book published this year. Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb

a book you can finish in a day. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

a book you've been meaning to read. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

a book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller. I did not read this book in the challenge

a book you should have read in school. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

a book chosen for you by your spouse, sibling, child, or BFF. Night Probe by Clive Cussler

a book published before you were born. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

a book that was banned at some point. The Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

a book you previously abandoned. I did not read this book in the challenge (I know! I checkmarked it above but this just didn't happen!)

a book you own but have never read. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

a book that intimidates you. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

a book you have already read at least once. Thankless in Death by J. D. Robb

I'm satisfied with my accomplishments and am ready to join Modern Mrs. Darcy for her 2017 Reading Challenge.