I'm officially on vacation. When people ask what big plans I have for my time off, it sounds nerdy to admit what excites me most: having time to sit on my deck, reading. Last January I started keeping track of the books I read, lest my aging brain forgets and I waste precious time starting on one I’ve already read. I average a book per week, hardly enough given the gazillions of volumes waiting to be ingested. Makes me wish I’d paid more attention in those high school speed-reading sessions. At the time, I thought it made me sound sophisticated to say I didn’t want to read fast because I wanted to “savor” every word. Horse feathers.
I picked a few from my reading list from the first half of 2014 to share with you. None are brand new and all are available at our local library. (God bless whoever invented the public library!) If you’re blessed with an e-reader, you can download them as well.
Left Neglected by Lisa Genova is a fictional account of an actual neuropsychological condition called Hemispatial Neglect, made especially fascinating because it’s told from the victim’s viewpoint. A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of Sarah Nickerson’s world, and for once, Sarah relinquishes control to those around her. Without the ability to even floss her own teeth, she struggles to find answers about her past and her uncertain future. I couldn’t put it down.
I became a fan of Christian author Deborah Raney after meeting her at a writers’ conference last year. Face of the Earth presents a dilemma for its main character, Mitch Brannon, when his beloved wife Jill doesn’t return from her conference. He enlists the help of Jill’s best friend, Shelley, in the search. Months go by, with no inkling of what happened to Jill. As Mitch and Shelley’s friendship grows closer, Mitch must decide how he will honor his vows to a woman who may never return—or who may walk through the front door tomorrow. Deb’s other books are equally intriguing.
For this category, I chose one local and one formerly local writer. Rusty Rutherford’s autobiography, A Steep Climb, recounts his years growing up as a British war orphan sent to boarding school and then foster homes in Canada and follows through to the present day, including his earning of the Queen’s Jubilee medal. Whether you know Rusty or not, you’ll find his story truly interesting.
I Am Hutterite by Mary Ann Kirkby opened my eyes to much I didn’t know about our Hutterian neighbours. I’d heard it said that Hutterites never have a childhood because they’re made to work hard from the time they’re small and never play. While it’s true they learn to work, Kirkby’s experience points to an idyllic childhood rich in community, security, and fun. Only upon leaving the colony did life grow difficult, as she struggled to belong in a strange new world at an age when fitting in means everything.
The Good Book
With my morning granola, I read a chapter of the Bible. To be honest, many days the words on the page seem to make little difference. But frankly, that’s true for the granola as well. I must simply trust that little by little, both are nourishing me in ways I cannot see, making me stronger, wiser, healthier. And frequently enough, mornings come when I read exactly what I need for the day. Or God sends a little joke my way, like these words from Ecclesiastes 12: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”
Enjoy your summer reading!