Because Talking About Books Is Much More Fun Than Writing A Term Paper

It is Sunday afternoon, a mere day away from my slightly self-imposed (ok, mostly,the teacher’s) deadline to complete my term paper for my summer school English course.

Of course, Sunday’s around our household are usually Sabbath-rest days, but given that yesterday’s activities definitely counted as rest, and summer school finals are upon me, today is my nose-to-the-grindstone-get-er-homework-done day.

I  have decided to write my said paper on that-oh-so-not-controversial (please, READ. SARCASM. HERE) topic of homosexuality and the Bible, with a little talk of gay marriage thrown in for flavor.  It is not a topic that often comes to my lips, as I am a heterosexual married lady, but I have recently been reading a fantastic book,  Love As An Orientation this summer, along with a ginormous pile of fantastic summer reads, that has been messing me up in the best sort of ways.

I am no where near done with the book, but I have read enough of it to know that this topic is a good one for a hot topic/argument research paper.  I absolutely adore creative writing/journaling/blogging, but I am NOT a fan of technical/research writing; which, of course, is the format for all of my summer English paper writing.  I figured the only way to stay focused on my paper was to write something that got my thoughts and beliefs engaged.

Of course, while this is a worthy topic,  I simply have not been able to bring myself to focus on the task at hand. My pile of research texts seem to be gathering dust.  I’ve entered full-on writer’s block mode.

Because of said writer’s block, I’ve now commenced with devouring book list blog posts, which I’ve recently realized is one of my favorite things to read in the blogisphere.

Since the beginning of summer, I have been consumed with books!!
If I’m not reading my rather sizeable stack of reads on my nightstand/reading nook table, I’m reading other blog’s delightful posts about their favorite reads.  (For starters, Sarah Bessey’s delicious and captivating series 10 Books A Day for a Week.  Trust me, read one day, and you won’t stop ’till you’ve read them all 🙂

Because I have been itching all week to share my own ‘Must Reads’ post, I present to you my current stack of reading pleasure:

Made To Crave Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst

This book is an extension of Lysa’s original book, Made To Crave, packed into 60 days of short devotionals.  If you have read the original MTC, there is indeed plenty of new material here, as well as some of the best parts of the original book.

TerKeurst has a captivating voice, as she shares with those of us struggling in the midst of the weight loss journey. She provides encouragement and Scripture and practical advice to ‘crave God, not food’.

While that may sound like a trite statement to those who have not read her books, I can assure you it’s not.  She brings out Biblical truths related to food and eating, and encourages her readers to seek God above all things.  Her tone is not judgmental, and feels like an encouraging big sister or good friend walking along side you as you journey through the sometimes rocky and precarious road of weight loss.

It’s also helpful to have it in short easy-to-eat bites of wisdom, if your reading, oh…say another 7 or more other books…like me.

Confession time: I’ve actually owned this book for a year.  I bought it and started it with much vigor, but of course, life got crazy busy, and I put the book back on the shelf for another rainy day.
Mind you, this was not because the book wasn’t wonderful.  I think rather, we can chalk it up to my adult ADD.
I seem to be in a habit lately of reading memoirs that chronicle various yearlong adventures and or experiments.  I have more on my bookshelves, and in this particular reading pile, there’s 2 books of this type.  This one’s fantastic!  If I’m in a slump, or feeling frenzied, I read a chapter or two of this book, and am inspired by Rubin’s self-dubbed  ‘happiness project’.
Gretchen decided to spend a year dedicating each month to infusing ‘happiness’ into various aspects of her life.  Her writing voice is quite conversational, and always engaging.  She throws in various factual studies and fascinating tidbits on each subject she tackles.  I have underlined this book quite heavily, and I’m only halfway through.
I’m loving this book, and I’m excited to pick up her next book upon release this September, where she uses this tried and true format to bring more warmth and joy to her home.
This is yet another book that has lived in my bookshelves for quite.some.time. (I’m probably not supposed to admit that more than once in a post like this, right?)   I purchased it years ago when living in the Amish countryside of Pennsylvania, to be read on breaks from my then-theatre-job of performing musical  Biblical dramas.
While I did read some of the book at the time and enjoyed Card’s writing immensely, it too ended up in a pile to be finished on that nebulous eighth day of the week we all call someday.
I picked it up again in 2008 when I was performing a musical in China, and was once again fed some more of it’s creative morsels.
When our show closed early, it was shipped home in a box, along with other books that I just didn’t have time to get read. ( I spent my free days before our shows roaming the streets and countryside in mainland China.  Many of those adventures were the beginnings of this blog.   I’m a zealous bookworm, but, ahem… I have priorities.)
Now that I’m a returning college geek in musical theatre, this book has called my name once again, and I intend to follow it through to the beautiful end.  The acclaimed Christian artist/musician/writer Michael Card penned this book to give other believing artists inspiration from Scripture, as well as his own experiences and wisdom.
One of the things I love about the book is the chapter “Letters to Christian Artists”where various and fascinating people from Makimoto Fujimura to Harold Best penned letters full of advice and personal experience about their own artistic journeys.  (A few of those letters were among the first pages I went after with my trusty highlighter).  A delightful read for creative believers!
When I was in high school and college, I didn’t dream of being on Broadway, which considering I was a musical theatre major/nerd/performer, was a little silly.   I just dreamed of singing in Europe.
While I never had the chance to sing in Europe proper, I was fortunate to travel to other exotic locales such as Great Britian (hardly exotic, actually-just felt like home), South America & Asia.  But the dream of Europe persisted.
Enter 2012.  After a grueling semester back to school, the hubs and I fulfilled a huge dream and  took two delectable weeks to galavant around Europe like nobody’s business.
One of my favorite places we went was belissimo Toscana….Tuscany.  I didn’t expect to fall in love with this place as much as I did.  The rolling hills filled with cypress and olive trees, the warm and earthy hearts of the people we met, and the food, the food, the food…oh sweet mercy!
I had always thought author Frances Mayes sounded a little…how shall I say… high and mighty in her writing about the ‘perfection’ that is Tuscany, but after feasting on it’s beauty, I now appreciate every word she writes in this book.  It’s classic travel memoir writing for a reason–pick.up.this.book, I tell ya.  It will take you on a blissful journey that will have you saving for your own plane ticket.
 I’m pretty new to this delightful book, though I’ve seen it inviting me to explore it’s pages many times on bookstore shelves.  A classic writing text recommended by various writing compadres, this book’s title appealed to my inner artist.  The titles of the chapters are enough to begin to spark inspiration:    Chpt. 1: “Everybody Is Talented, Original, and Has Something to Say.  Chpt. 7: “Be Careless, Reckless! Be a Lion, Be a Pirate When You Write.  Chpt. 14: “Keep A Slovenly, Headlong, Impulsive, Honest Diary. (<== That title alone had me at hello).    I love the boldness and chuzpah this author exhibits as she coaxs you out of your writers shell.  (Which this extrovert surprisingly needs when it comes to the written word).  I’m looking forward to what this book has to teach me, and I think you will too.
Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor by Jana Reiss   Number 2 in the stack when it comes to yearlong-life-experiment-memoirs, and I’m loving it!  Reiss is funny and witty in a charming, self-deprecating way that makes me want to meet her and chat over coffee.  Though she set out to write a book about implementing the spiritual disciplines in her life, her little experiment didn’t quite go as planned.  Her brilliant editor had the ingenious idea to write about exactly that – and the result is a delightful read.  The book is peppered with fantastic quotes from her own favorite texts as each month she tackles a new disciplines a month.  (Her musings on fasting had me laughing out loud).  Reiss reminds me that striving for perfection usually gets us nowhere, and God loves and revels in our lives right where we are.  Spiritual memoir fans will adore this book.
Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber:  Oh, how I adore this book!  I’m over half way through, and would have finished days ago, if not for the whole ‘read piles of books, then write a paper on it’ requirement of summer school English.  I found this book first on Ann Voskamp’s blog in one of her delicious ‘what she’s reading’ posts.  Ann’s photographs of the books (and just about everything else) she loves  are simply dreamy — I think this book was pictured in the lush green grass at her farm, which made it all the more beautiful.  I then read about it again on Sarah Bessey’s 10 Books In A Day series, and decided time was a-wastin, I needed to just pick it up.  This book is a true personal memoir, but it reads like a captivating novel to me.  Carolyn Weber had a rough childhood, and was ‘saved’ at first by her excelling academics, which granted her a full scholarship to Oxford University in England for graduate school studies.  What she didn’t plan on, however, was what her Oxford experience brought her, as she began to question her agnostic views.  Through the people she met, (including one of my favorite characters, TDH) experiences with both students and teachers, and of course, divine leading and inspiration, Weber experienced what author C.S. Lewis described in his novel “Surprised By Joy”.  (I love her nod to Lewis in her own title).  My words simply don’t do justice to describing the breath of her writing voice, or her extraordinary experience.  If you love spiritual memoir like me, you simply need to read this book.  (You can find Carolyn in the blogging world at Pressing Save.)
You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth:  I usually don’t pick up books of this nature, I must readily admit.  Though of course, I need a healthy dose of courage and confidence for my mostly-healed-but-sometimes-still-insecure self, for the most part, I don’t pick up books with this type of pep talk title.  But if your sometimes cynical and jaded like moi, please don’t let the title prevent you from snatching this one up!  I’m only a few chapters in, and already this book is so useful and practical!   Holley (whom I can’t wait to meet at the upcoming Blessings Unlimited conference this weekend – I’ll be blogging about it no doubt) is full of compassionate, Biblically based wisdom for women.  She is so good at reminding us to not forget we don’t have to be perfect, and are fully loved by God just  as we are.  What I also really love about this book are the tools she gives to help us understand more about ourselves.  There are practical quizzes abounding through this text to help the reader understand their spiritual gifts, their calling, and so much more.  I will definitely be focusing on this book this week going into the conference, and I hope I get to talk with other women this weekend  about why they should read this book!
WHEW! This may be my longest post ever! (And it surely is a big one for the new blog)  I am truly passionate about books, and love sharing my favorites with anyone who will listen.  If you’ve read this far, I can’t thank you enough really…I think we should grab coffee and be friends.
    I should now no doubt get back to writing the term paper.  This little break was more than fun.  It has shown me that I must write about my favorite books more often!  I can’t wait to hear about what you are reading…I’m always needing new books for the stack!

 

What’s on your stack of reading pleasure this summer??

5 comments on “Because Talking About Books Is Much More Fun Than Writing A Term Paper

  1. I’ve only heard of one of those books! I will have to check a few out!

    We’d love to have you join us over at the WIP Wednesday linkup!
    Mary Beth
    newlifesteward.com

    PS: the design is lovely!!!

  2. Thanks so much Mary Beth! And thanks for coming by to visit the blog! (And for reading my ridiculously long post 🙂 I’m going to visit newlifesteward right now!

  3. Great new look to your blog, Sarah. And great thoughts, as well.

    You have GOT. TO. read N.D. Wilson’s “Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World” (here is the amazon.com link: http://goo.gl/pXfpY). That book is for sure a life-changer.

  4. OK Sarah. First of all your blog is amazing, beautiful and undoubtely inspiring! Remember when we first met at Oliver! rehersals and we both pulled out the The Happiness Project? Its kinda strange, but I just pulled the book out again about a month ago as well…Good luck with school, I will be thinking about you!! oxoxo

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