What I read in January


The semester is in full swing, and I’ve found myself buried in reading—mostly for school and reviewing purposes.

So, during the month of January, I only finished two books:

  • Dangerous by Shannon Hale (but it was begun in December, so I’m not including it for my reading challenges.)
  • Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

So what else have I been reading? Well, here’s the full list…

  • City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
  • Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card and others
  • In the Land of Armadillos by Helen Maryles Shankman
  • Ten Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur
  • Kindling Vol. II

I’m in the middle of seven books. It’s overwhelming. And it’s not exactly conducive to finishing any one book either.

I’ve also been heartily enjoying Table Talk for my daily devotions. I’ll post some on that soon.

Happy reading!


Top Ten Tuesday: 10 books I resolve to finish this year

2016-01-05 22.38.24I’ve already written about my literary resolutions, but then I saw that the Top Ten Tuesday meme (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) for this week was all about resolutions. At first, I was disappointed, and then I realized I didn’t make a resolution about specific books I am hoping to read/finish this year. So here they are:

  1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (I’ve read much of this and loved it, but didn’t finish it, and then didn’t want to go back to it because I’ll have to start it in the beginning.)
  2. Home by Toni Morrison
  3. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Working through it right now!)
  4. Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  5. Characters and Viewpoints by Orson Scott Card
  6. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (I know, I feel ashamed that I haven’t read this, especially since I just completed a college Shakespeare class.)
  7. 1984 by George Orwell
  8. The Casual Vacancy (I’ve heard it wasn’t very good, but the author of Harry Potter wrote it, so I feel as if I should read it anyway…and I already own it, so why not!)
  9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  10. On Writing by Stephen King


Reading challenges: To do, or not to do

Mid-2015 I stumbled upon a 2015 reading challenge, and I wanted to participate but felt it was too late. Then, just last week, I saw Book Riot’s reading challenge, which immediately reminded me to scope out the various challenges and see if there was one I wanted to participate in.

And now  I feel so overwhelmed.

There are so many to choose from. Book Riot, Popsugar, Challies, BYOB, 12 Classics, Anne of Green Gables, etc, etc.

During my search, I even found an article that said why not to participate in a reading challenge.

So, where am I at now? Well, I’m still deciding.

I really like Popsugar’s just because it’ll help me cover a diverse number of recently-published fiction and nonfiction.

I also like Challies’ because it’ll ensure that I’m also reading Christian books–theology, commentaries, Christian-living, fiction, etc.

I also like the BYOB challenge because it’ll remind me to read the books I own but haven’t read.

And lastly, I like the 12 Months of Classics challenge and the Back to the Classics challenge because they’ll ensure that I’m reading classics, too.

But there’s no chance I could do all of these–and although I could overlap, I don’t want to be so confused, trying to conquer all of them.

So, which one or two will I pick?

I haven’t decided yet, although I might stick with Popsugar’s reading challenge, and then maybe also try to just do the “Light” section of Challies’ challenge. And then maybe I’ll tack on the BYOB challenge, simply because I need to be reading the books I already own.

It still seems a lot to me, but I’ll think on it a bit more and let you all know what I decide once the new year is here!


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I wouldn’t mind Santa leaving under my tree this year

This topic comes from The Broke and the Bookish‘s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday. Here goes:

  1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

    After finishing—and loving—Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, I really want to read Crime and Punishment. It’s also my professor’s favorite book, so I have to read it!
  2. Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Ed.

    Adding this to the list is so nerdy. But the editor in me really does want this book, or at least the online subscription.
  3. Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts

    I read The Hardest Peace by Tippetts earlier this year, and it was so amazing and convicting and saddening. Though I haven’t read this book yet, I’m sure it will be phenomenal.
  4. Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul

    This isn’t a new book, but I stumbled upon the description recently, and it seems very compelling and helpful. Also, I think it would help kick-start my devotions for the coming new year.
  5. Openness Unhindered by Rosaria Butterfield

    This book is truly a gem. I’ve already skimmed through much of this book, but it was a library copy, and I know I’ll want my own copy. Butterfield’s writing is clear and beautiful, and her topic is of utmost relevance.
  6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

    I have only read the first chapter of this book, but I could tell immediately that the writing is top-notch. The novel has been on the New York Times bestseller list for some time, and it won the fiction Pulitzer Prize. I want to read this book, so why not stick it under the tree!
  7. 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories 

    Because why not!? Also, having wrote primarily short stories over the past six months, it would be extremely helpful, and of course pleasurable, to read the best.
  8. Tartuffe by Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Moliere

    This play of Moliere’s has been a favorite of mine for some time, but, alas, I sold my anthology textbook back and lost this wonderful, humorous play. The translation by Wilbur is essential.
  9. On Writing by Stephen King

    Because King is a brilliant writer, and books about writing are fun. Is there really any other reason needed?
  10. Characters and Viewpoints by Orson Scott Card

    Again, books about writing and fictional elements are great. This book has been recommended to me by several different writers. Also, Card’s Ender’s Game was great—the book, not the movie.

We Were Liars–it’s all in the title


This post includes spoilers, so if YA and tragedy is your thing, read the book before finishing this post.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart has the great trope of the unreliable narrator. Even with the hint of the title, even with the repetition of the word “lies” and “liar,” I looked and looked for the twist, for the lie, but I never suspected the truth.

Continue reading “We Were Liars–it’s all in the title”

Summer 2015 Reads

Wondering what I’ve been reading all summer?

Well, here’s a quick recap…

Brothers Karamazov

Most people who know me personally or have seen my tweets know I’ve been slogging through The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

I confess I am only reading this classic of Russian literature because I’m trying to get ahead of the fall school semester. The edition I have is 770 pages of family drama, the depravity of man, and dialogue on the philosophy of life. I’ve recently hit the 400-page mark. My goal is to have it finished before the semester begins…which is only two weeks away. I’m not particularly excited about taking a whole class in the fall just on this one book (and a companion book about the life of Dostoevsky), but I know my friends and professor will undoubtedly make it interesting.

A book I actually completed this summer is The Strange Library by Haruki Marukami. Like the title, it is quite a strange book—not just the plot but even the layout and design! I’ll be posting a more indepth review of it shortly. It was quite interesting, and a short book that I was able to read quickly. Unfortunately, from a bit of quick research I did, it seems that it may not have been the best book of Haruki Marukami’s to start with. Nevertheless, it was an interesting book that I’m happy to have read. I look forward to reading more of his work soon (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and Kafka on the Shore are both on my future reads list.)

Confession: I did read Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen, a Christian regency romance. It’s not my favorite work of Klassen’s, but I do give it points for a twist right in the beginning that I didn’t see coming! I don’t want to give it away, but if you do pick up this book, make sure you read past the first few chapters. Also, there’s a flair of Jane Eyre in it, and although Jane Eyre was never one of my favorites, this novel still gets points for reflecting on some classic literature.

I’m in the middle of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I allowed myself a break from Brothers Karamazov for some fun YA literature. I just started it a couple nights ago, and so far I’m hooked. Look forward to a future review post on this YA novel! For now, I’ll just say that I was intrigued right from the beginning page that had a map of all the family homes on Beechwood Island, along with the intriguing title that keeps me wondering if the first-person narrator is telling the truth.

I also read the first few chapters of The Fold by Peter Clines, a book I received from Blogging for Books. The first chapter actually had me frightened, which books don’t often do to me, so that alone has me excited to read more. Sadly, I haven’t finished it yet due to The Brothers Karamazov, but once I do, I’ll post a review.

Early on this summer, I did finish the fun scrapbook-style book Go Ahead and Like it by Jacqueline Suskin. It’s a short, fun book that helped me remember to appreciate life. Read my full review about it here.

I have also picked up Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon. I haven’t read much of it at all, but so far this biography has been engaging. I read both Wollstonecraft and Shelley in a lit class a few years back, and it’s been interesting to remember their literature in light of the life story.

For my daily devotions, I have been working through Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom. It’s in a workbook format, which is great because it forces me to take extra time with my devotions and actually meditate upon God’s Word. If your devotions or your walk has gone dry, perhaps consider getting this book. It walks you through various aspects of your walk with God, helping you saw the truth in Scripture and apply it personally to your own life and relationship with God. I’m still working through it, but it’s been great so far.

I have also been reading—no, skimming—Lies Women Believe (and the Truth that Sets Them Free) also by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s a book the ladies in my church have been going through. I typically forget to read it before the study, so I end up doing a mad skim—often on the way to the study if I’m not the one driving! It’s a great book with a great apply/review section in each chapter. DeMoss depends on Scripture throughout the book, which is just how it should be.

I also picked up The Cross-Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney. I’ve started this book before but hadn’t finished it. I still haven’t finished it, but I did enjoy reading a chapter of it during a Sunday afternoon. It has short, easy chapters, and easily communicates Biblical truths. Mahaney calls Christians to remember and rely upon that which is foundational to their conversion and their faith.

I always have great endeavors to read, although I often don’t actually get around to it … here’s one of the book piles currently in my bedroom:


Published: The Bestiary of People We Know and Love and Hate

Well guys, it finally happened.

The Bestiary of People We Know and Love and Hate is published, available on Amazon.

I’ve been posting about the book that my Publishing class has been writing, and it’s finally finished and published.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

A bestiary, by definition, is a catalogue of creatures. In our catalogue the creatures come from memory. They are the people we know and knew, the people we love and hate. This book is an experiment, a rag-tag collection of undergraduate student writers who, whether they like it or not, have been gathered here snugly into one place. Find out the alarming truths they discovered in this short volume.

It’s a compilation of creative nonfiction, featuring diverse experiences, settings, and authors.

My fellow classmates and I wrote the stories, and our professor, Dr. Dan Williams, edited and illustrated the work.

I wrote the chapter titled “Charlie,” presenting the life legacy of my grandfather, a legendary coupon-shopper.

Now, enough of my blog – go buy the book and read the stories!