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!


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!


Senior year studies


I always forget how busy the school semester is — until I’m fighting to swim upstream through the downhill current of readings and writing assignments, and the occasional exam.

For this specific semester, I’m juggling Brothers Karamazov with Stephen King short stories, Shakespeare plays—comedies, histories, and tragedies—along with analyzing rhetorical tools and literary devices while writing arguments and fictional pieces.

It’s busy, but I know that when the semester ends, I’ll miss this time and the homework, stressful though it may be. I like to be pushed to study classical literature and pushed to write, even when I don’t feel like it.

When I’m busy working, I sometimes forget to read, to study, to learn. College is a special time, set aside to learn and grow.

Hopefully I’ll try to remember that as I read through the endless pages and write through the endless assignments.

It’s senior year! Eight more months!

(and that’s only a few of the books I have this semester…it’s many more!)

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: