what i've been reading

Thanks for the freedom to start off my back-to-blogging resolution with an easy-peasy, low-vulnerability post like this one. And thanks for heaping on the encouragement yesterday. Y’all are champs.

I purposely didn’t take a single book to Cambodia (besides my Bible), because I know myself and my tendency to lose my head in books and wanted to be fully present while we were there. It was a good thing.

And then we came back. And it was (is) a hard transition. And I’ve been reading a lot. A LOT. In no particular order…

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared (Alice Ozma)

Loved this memoir. Nine-year-old Alice and her school librarian father (a single dad) make a pact to read out loud together for 100 consecutive nights. They end up continuing their streak for eight whole years. It wasn’t all giraffes and daffodils, but their reading promise made for some pretty special bonding moments. I couldn’t help but think of my own nine-year-old. We’ve read soooo many books together this school year (our one shining moment of homeschooling), and it’s been so good for our relationship. She’s even going to start a blog soon where she shares about the books she’s read. Gabe always teases me that I’ll only watch a movie if it’s about books (somewhat true), and a book about books is even better.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (Jen Hatmaker)

Best book in the universe. Needs its own post. Sorry.

Meeting of the Waters: 7 Global Currents that Will Propel the Future Church (Fritz Kling)

My friend Becki told me about this book while we were in Cambodia (funny–anytime we visited a Westerner’s home, I ran straight to their bookshelves and touched all the books). It talks about missions in the past and missions in the future. The author compares and contrasts the two by using the terms “Mission Marm” and “Apple Guy.” My great-aunt Leona, a single missionary to Ethiopia over 50 years totally fits the Mission Marm caricature, and I know all kinds of “Apple Guys.” Some parts of the book didn’t interest me, but other parts I devoured. And since I accidentally bought it on my Kindle (darn touch pad on Gabe’s Mac Book Air), I’m glad it’s one I’ll be able to reference again.

Girl in Translation (Jean Kwok)

A novel based loosely on the author’s own immigrant experience, this book will break your heart. Human trafficking, fight for survival, poverty, racism, hope. So many emotions and told so powerfully by Ms. Kwok. I fell in love with the main character. I don’t read a lot of fiction, partly because I’m afraid I won’t like it enough, and I will have wasted my time. At least with non-fiction, I figure I learned something. But this book is gooooood.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer)

This is my 3rd time reading Guernsey. See, I told you I’m afraid to read fiction in case I don’t like it. I’d rather stick with what I know is good. Yes, this is another book about books. So sue me. And then read the book if you haven’t. Love it.

Slave Hunter: One Man’s Global Quest to Free Victims of Human Trafficking (Aaron Cohen)

I flew through the first two chapters of the book because they were written in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was craziness to be able to totally and completely picture almost every single thing the author was describing. I admire Cohen for wanting to free slaves around the globe, but so much of the book just rang empty for me. So much horror and despair and so little hope–because without Christ, there is no true hope for slaves even after they’re freed.

The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

I’ve been meaning to read this one for 10 years, and somehow, it never happened. And I’m only 124 pages in (out of 543), but I love it so far. It doesn’t hurt that it takes place in Africa, but it makes me sad that the missionary father is so culturally-insensitive and spiritually abusive. The story is so intriguing though, and I love reading from all the different characters’ perspectives. If you’ve already read it, please don’t ruin it for me.

That’s not an exhaustive post-Cambodia reading list, but I think it’s good for now.

Any suggestions to add to my pile?

33 thoughts on “what i've been reading

  1. Rachael

    🙂 Love this list!

    For inspiration from a wise, questioning soul try “The Genesee Diary” Henri Nouwen’s reflections in life during his time at a Trappist Monestary.

    Currently reading “The Girls From Ames” a nonfiction book of 11 friends who have been friends for a lifetime. The writing is a little choppy but the stories are fascinating.

    Just wrapped up the Steve Jobs Biography. Heavy and left me with a sad heart, proceed with caution.

  2. Tracie

    Bonhoeffer and Amazing Grace both by Eric Metaxas. Two of the most inspiring books I’ve read.
    I was going to suggest A Place at the Table too, see someone else did.
    When Helping Hurts, Alleviating Poverty w/o Hurting the Poor
    I’m in the middle of that now.
    Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton
    Have you ever read The Great Divorce by CS Lewis? one of my all time faves.
    And of course Hunger Games series: I didn’t think I could read based on premise of games, but when my college daughter started telling me about the life meaning, and statements on oppression….well I had to read. Amazing and intelligent writing. You’ll have to read at least the first one before movie comes out in March but you’re right, it will be hard to stop once you start

  3. Ellen R.

    I’m currently reading book 2 of Hunger Games, a career development book (supposedly), and The Crazy Ladies of Pearl Street (I’ve been running and listening to that one as an audio book from the library), and God’s Politics.

    I always get myself in trouble reading too many books at the same time. 🙂

    1. Marla Taviano

      I started God’s Politics and was loving it, but then it was due back at the library and I couldn’t renew it because someone else placed a hold on it. Need to check it out again!

  4. Ellen R.

    I love taking sneak peaks at what other people are reading – especially other book lovers like me. 🙂 I really enjoyed Poisonwood Bible and 7. I’ll add the others on your list to MY list!

  5. Nancy

    I had a revelation recently…I realized I like to read ABOUT books. I love reading reviews online. I love hanging out in the library or book store and reading the descriptions on the back or inside cover of books that sound interesting. And I often bring said books home from the library. But actually reading them…cover to cover….that’s a challenge for me. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read part of. But from all the reviews I’ve read and people I’ve heard from, I feel like I’ve actually read many more. I used to go to a book club and I’d give my opinion of a book…that I’d only read half of. And “half” could be first half, last half, middle half, or first quarter plus half quarter! I normally have 3-5 books around my house with bookmarks in them. It’s a sickness! Needless to say, I loved this post. More books to add to my imaginary list.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Ha! I like the idea of books too. I used to finish every book I started as a matter of principle, but now I start way more than I finish. Life’s too short (and there are too many books) to waste on reading something that’s not awesome.

  6. brooke

    my non-fiction of choice right now is Place at the Table, A: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor by Chris Seay

    have you considered hosting a 7 read along? I’ve got it on my bookshelf up next.

  7. Jennifer Ekstrand

    I always love hearing what other people are reading.

    Seeing this made me add Reading Promise to my to-read list. I hope to read 7 soon; I’m first in line for library requests, just waiting for it to arrive. I’ll be reading Guernsey for book club in a few months, so I’m glad to hear that others have enjoyed it.

  8. Wendy Paine Miller

    Loved The Poisonwood Bible and agree with your thoughts about the dad. I think I’d like to read Slave Hunter as well. I just recently found the site Not for Sale and I’m so appreciative about how they go about the cause.
    ~ Wendy

    1. Marla Taviano

      I’m not really that scared of you. You’re, what, 39.5 weeks pregnant, and 2 days away from an incision in your stomach? Bring it.

      p.s. Praying for you!! When’s the soonest I can come meet your baby???

  9. kendal

    Absolutely going to read the ones you have listed about humnan trafficking. my students and i are working on a project to raise awareness and money for it. poisonwood bible is aswesome. have you read Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza? She survived the Rwandan genocide in 1994 by hiding in a bathroom for 91 days. it’s the best book i have ever read. two journeys – physical and spiritual.

  10. Elizabeth

    Seriously? You’re not reading The Hunger Games? They’re awesome-I loved them. And you know I have good taste in books:) I’ve read Guernsey 2-3 times and it’s on my Top Ten list.

    I bought 7 tonight, read the first two chapters, and I’m blown away. I knew’d I’d love it, and I do.

    I think we’ve all given up on my blog:(

    1. Marla Taviano

      I WILL read The Hunger Games!! I just know that I won’t be able to put them down from the start of book 1 to the end of book 3, and I’m FORCING myself to get our house/life back in order (at least somewhat) before I read them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *