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book 5

i know i’m about two years late on actually finishing this series, but i finally did it! i’m not exactly sure why i lost interest in the series, considering its popularity, but i just had no motivation to wrap it up.

have i held you in suspense long enough or have you guess already? book 5 was “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins. yes, it took me about a year after reading the first two books to finally finish the series. no, i don’t know why.

“Mockingjay” wraps up The Hunger Games trilogy and tells the final piece of the story of katniss everdeen, the nation of panem, and the ultimate question of will she end up with gale or peeta (don’t worry, I won’t spoil the ending with my review).

review: Mockingjay was honestly a lot harder to get through than the first two books; the story didn’t grip me near as much nor did it keep my attention. it also seemed that the first two books were almost written in a different style, which at times made it harder to follow. i think the story wrapped up nicely though-katniss clearly longs for a better system in her nation, a safe/healthy/productive place for her family, and a romantic interest; the book ends with each of these things on the verge of being realized.

if you are looking for something fun to read with little thinking involved, i.e. a book to read after 10p, then i would recommend the Hunger Games, and i would add don’t wait so long to finish the trilogy. my rating is three stars out of five.

book 4

“The Heavenly Man” by Brother Yun was my fourth book read this year.

a friend of my husband’s had it on his bookshelf when we visited over christmas and he thought it was an interesting story. i had skimmed a view pages when we were there and decided to add it to my ‘to read’ list. if anything, i was curious about the story.

The Heavenly Man tells of the conversion, trials, successes, and story of Brother Yun, a Chinese Christian during the late 1970s into the 1990s. the book details imprisonment, family life, and the faith of Brother Yun as he goes through unimaginable trials and obstacles in his endeavor to win his nation to Christ.

my take on this book is that is seems sensationalized. i’m not a skeptic of Christianity or the power of God and all that He can do, but i am a skeptic of stories that seem hyped. i felt that the author was looking for a reaction and he lacked genuine humility. lastly, i questioned whether this was a truly accurate representation of Christians/Christianity during this time—would this book be the representation of all Chinese Christians?

in short, I wrestled with the authenticity of the account. i recognize that i probably have no place in doing so, but this is also a blog post where i don’t demand that you agree with me.

my suggestion would be read it if you are interested in the story, but also consider taking in multiple accounts of Christian autobiographies and Chinese Christians. i give it two out of five stars.

goodreads

have you heard of Goodreads? i’m not quite familiar with how old it is, but it is a wonderful resource if you are an avid reader.

Goodreads is a social networking site based on books: what you’ve read, what you’re currently reading, what you want to read, etc.! i first found out about it when i was searching for some book recommendations online and became hooked!

each user creates virtual bookshelves listing what books you’ve read, along with your rating and/or review of the book, and what you’re interested in reading. the site generates book recommendations based on previous books read and your rating. for example, say you give “The Great Gatsby” 5 stars, Goodreads will recommend four other books that are very similar for you to consider adding to your “to-read” list.

there are also online book discussions and book club groups based on genre, author, or whatever you might be looking for. you can interact with other users by posting on the book discussion forums, sending your “friends” a book recommendation or writing a review.

if you’re so inspired, feel free to check out my ratings and other books i’ve read along with my “current reads” and my “to-read” sections. you can also download the app-great to use if you’re in the library and on the hunt for your next read!

book 3

quick recap-two books down, and 28 to go to reach my goal!

book three was one that i had been intending to read for about a year! we actually received it for christmas last year (2012) from my parents, so it was a long time coming! here are my thoughts:

“Generous Justice” by Tim Keller. what a fantastic take on how a Christian might respond biblically to injustices in our community and world. Keller provides biblical reasoning and practical ideas while considering why we should respond to justice, our attitude toward the poor, and how justice could be carried out. he is relevant and thoughtful in his approach regarding how an individual or church might respond to injustice and repeatedly affirms that God’s heart is for the poor and oppressed.

the idea of justice has been on my mind a lot recently, probably for the last five-ish years i’ve heard the word tossed around more and more in the Christian community. with that in mind, i was really hoping to find a biblical approach with practical application to be able to round out my understanding and concept of the word. this book did that and more—i “studied” the book, taking notes and really mulling over concepts to really consider what justice might look like in my sphere of influence.

if you are interested in justice issues, this book is a great “toe in the water” to get an overview of the many ways you might influence justice around you. my rating is four out of five and i would recommend this book to anyone interested in gaining a broad but practical understanding of justice.

book 2

in keeping with the idea of sharing my book list from 2014, i’m moving on to book two.

i read this almost as part of a joke. i saw the title, raised my eyebrows, and my boss suggested i give it a try in hopes that “i might learn something”.

well, i wouldn’t say i learned a lot, especially since this book is directed more towards husbands, but it was still a quick read and that i mostly agree with the content.

the title: “How to Get Your Wife To Shut Up” by Grant Stenzel. tell me you didn’t also raise your eyebrows! but, you quickly read the subtitle “A Biblical and Psychological View on How to Love Your Wife and Enjoy a Satisfying, Content Relationship” and the somewhat foggy/confused face starts to comprehend what this book might actually be about.

this book is a practical how-to for husbands, encouraging them ultimately to empathize, listen, and openly communicate with their wives so that they might “Shut Up”. the author writes two to three page chapters about a number of topics, he is honest about his mistakes as a husband often using them as examples of what not to do, and he provides easily memorable tips and ideas to improve communication with your spouse.

i’m not a husband, but i did enjoy this quick read on relationships, plus who doesn’t want to improve in their communication? My score: three out of five.

the hobbit

at the suggestion of my husband, i’m blogging and trying to make some use of the time i currently have.

it helps when you have slow days at work to really dedicate time to even think about writing.

so, what to write about? i’m going to keep you updated with my goals, especially the one of reading books. while i don’t really have a “structure” or plan in mind for how or what to even write, i’m going to try!

book 1 for 2014 “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien, finished 1.12.14

this book is an absolute classic, and one i’ve read before. but, it had been years. with my recent seeing of the first two “The Hobbit” movies, it felt time to revisit the story and spoil the ending/third movie for myself.

let me first put it out there that i started this book in late 2013, however about 75% of the book was read in 2014, which is why it counts on the list.

first of all, what an imaginative story; i’m always astounded by the imaginative and creative things that people come up with. my mind seems so simple in comparison! also, let me tell you, the story is so involved i had a hard time even finding a simple paragraph to sum it up!

let me try though: The Hobbit tells a story from a chapter in the life of Bilbo Baggins. Led by the wizard Gandalf, Bilbo and thirteen dwarves set out to recover a lost treasure of the Lonely Mountain guarded by a dragon. Bilbo, Gandalf, and their companions run into many obstacles and challenges on their quest: trolls, goblins, Gollum (where Bilbo is given a ring with special powers), giant spiders, imprisonment, and the dreaded dragon Smaug. As new travels of Smaug’s death, various armies attempt to recover the treasure known to be hiding in the Lonely Mountain. After the fighting, Bilbo recovers from an attempt on his life, and is led by Gandalf back to his home.

i know! if you’ve read this book before, you’ll know that i left out a lot of parts, but what do you do when you’re trying to be succinct? i recalled the major highlights to the best of my ability, so we’re going with that.

reflecting on this book, i’m so glad I re-read it. my guess is that it had been about 10 years since i last read it—and college/grad school was in there, so, my memory of the book was close to nothing. i was glad to revisit the story when i felt like i could read it for appreciation and not to fulfill a school requirement. overall, i’m giving it four stars out of five.

surprise

sometimes the Lord surprises me in completely new ways.

this week has been challenging for me. i worry. and fret. and generally get anxious about almost everything. it is sometimes an hourly surrender of giving my worries and concerns to the Lord.

so, imagine my surprise when i’m fretting about how expensive march is going to be and then boom(!) the Lord blesses us with matt receiving a bonus. it was a perfectly timed blessing to calm my heart, remind me of the necessity of depending on the Lord for all things, and speaking about His perfect provision for every need.

praise the Lord for all He does-every time i begin to worry about anything-He comes through. and while He doesn’t come through in ways i expect, the Lord is working in our lives to surprise us .

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