January Reading

I have many hobbies..drawing, sewing, gardening, and  of course, writing.

However, the most long-term hobby that I’ve had has been reading. I love digging into a good book. The nice thing about reading is that it’s portable (unlike gardening), it doesn’t make a mess (like art and sewing), and I can squeeze it into almost every day. Ever since I was small, I’ve loved curling up with an interesting book.

I’m going to attempt to record most of my books on the blog this year. Of course, I do make a habit of reading my Bible every day, but I also enjoy reading other books for enjoyment, not just spiritual growth.

In January, I can think of several books that I’ve enjoyed. Winter gives me plenty of time for reading. With the long evenings and sunset coming early, along with less farm work, reading provides a great way to fill my time.

Mr Owita’s Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall

I found this book in the gardening section of the library. It surprised me, turning out to be memoir of the author, describing her friendship with Mr. Owita and how he came to transmit his passion for growing things to a woman who absolutely hated the idea of dirt, flowers, and plants. It also talks about how the author handled her breast cancer diagnosis. I do recommend this book. It’s a great, quick read, even for those who aren’t avid gardeners. However, you do need to keep the Kleenex handy as you read it.

Fields and Pastures New and  A Friend of the Flock, both by John McCormack

I’ve read both of these books before, but my daughter bought me Fields and
Pastures New for Christmas. Reading that one whetted my appetite for the other one that I already owned, so I re-read it too. If you like James Herriot’s books, you will love these books by John McCormack. McCormack was a veterinarian in rural Alabama. His recollections of his work really amuse me, both as a farm and pet owner, and also as one who has lived in the South all my life. He really understands and describes rural people. They are funny, heartwarming, and entertaining. They also would be great read-alouds for the whole family.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

My brother bought this book for my husband for Christmas, and true to form, I stole it and read it before he could get to it. I really enjoyed this book, but it’s not for the faint of heart. It details the life of Loius Zamperini. He was an aspiring Olympian who ended up as a pilot in World War II. His plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Along with one of his flight-mates, he survived almost a month on a raft in the ocean. However, once they reached land, things got even worse. They spent the rest of the war in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. The things that they endured were horrific, but even after the war was over Zamperini’s ordeal was not over.

The mental and emotional scars left Zamperini in terrible shape; the only way he could cope was by turning to alcohol. Of course, this just about ruined his marriage. Until Zamperini attended a Billy Graham meeting and met Jesus, his life was a mess. I really didn’t see this coming at the end of the book, but it was incredibly moving.

There are some very graphic depictions of the prison camps in this book, beyond just starvation and beatings, so be warned.

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala

Currently, I am reading Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. This book describes the establishment of the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. This book has urged me to re-examine my prayer life, and has inspired me to be a more faithful prayer warrior.  I am ashamed to say that my prayer life has been woefully lacking. I wouldn’t outwardly say, “I don’t believe prayer changes things.” But my lack of prayer tells me that I don’t really believe in the power of prayer.

Looking for Anne of Green Gables  by Irene Gammel

Yesterday, we went to the library. I asked the librarian if they had Pioneer Girl, the recently released biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ms. Wilder was one of my favorite authors of childhood. I’ve probably read the Little House books dozens of times. I’ve also gotten her other essay collections, where she wrote about farm life for local papers. Unfortunately, the library doesn’t have a copy, but the lady wrote down the title, and I hope they will eventually order it. Barnes and Nobles is out of stock. I guess I’ll have to wait.

Instead, I picked up a biography of Lucy Maud Montomery, entitled, Looking for Anne of Green Gables by Irene Gammel. I’ve gotten through the prologue and the first couple of chapters, and so far I like it. I’ve done plenty of writing about all kinds of topics, but I’ve never attempted fiction. If I could write fiction, I’d love to write stories like L. M. Montgomery’s. I didn’t discover the Anne books until adulthood, but they still capture my imagination every time I read them.

This book confuses me a bit because it’s not quite a biography, working through the subject’s life chronologically. Instead, the author discusses factors that influenced Montgomery’s writing and what would have been occurring in her personal life as she wrote the Anne books. It was okay. The author spent quite a bit of time speculating on whether or not Montgomery was a lesbian, something that irritated me.

So that was my January reading list.

What have you read this month? Any must-reads you want to recommend?

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