Great Books [#1]

BooksILove

 

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About ten years ago I was browsing in a book store and stumbled upon this book, which thrilled me completely because I had Gladys Hunt’s book Honey for a Child’s Heart and loved it and used it all the time.  I especially love the cover of this book because that woman without a face lounging on the sofa could be you or me or anyone.

Hunt loves great stories and is very well read and shares her own recommendations (along with a short description) as well as recommendations by trusted friends.  The book is organized into sections which makes it easy to browse through or zero in on certain topics of interest.

The topics include: For the Love of Books, What Makes a Good Story?, The Brightest and the Best: Literature and the Classics, Something for Everyone: Genre Fiction, The World and People Around Us: Nonfiction, Piping Down the Valleys Wild: Poetry, Honey from the Rock: Reading the Bible, Growing Up on the Inside: Spiritual Growth Books, and The Company of Others: Sharing Books.

In my copy of the book, I’ve highlighted books/authors that interest me and then after I read them I write a short little note to remind me whether I liked it or not.  While I haven’t enjoyed every book Hunt has recommended, I’ve discovered plenty that I would probably never know about if it wasn’t for this book.

In addition to this being a fun book just to read through, I love having a trusted source for book recommendations.

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Dave Ramsey is one of my heroes.  Several years ago my husband got me hooked on listening to his radio program and I just loved how kind and compassionate he was to his callers, no matter what their financial circumstances were.  I especially loved listening on Friday when different people that had followed his financial freedom plan would call in to tell their personal story of getting out of debt and then giving the famous, “I’M DEBT-FREE!!!” shout.  I loved it.  Then one day at Costco I saw this book and purchased it.  Just like with the radio program, I really loved reading the personal stories that are in the book.

It’s funny though, because even though I love Dave Ramsey and this book we didn’t really ever follow his plan ~ until a little over two years ago.  My husband is very good with money and numbers and has a GREAT mind for keeping track of money matters in his brain, and has us on a great plan for retirement.  Me ~ not so much. The whole thing causes my brain to fog and my eyes to glaze over.    Although we’ve never really used credit cards or been in serious debt we weren’t always in total control of our money; we’ve always lived within our income but have never lived on a budget.  My husband had always “been in charge of our money and paying our bills” and I would use my debit card (or write checks back in the day) and expect him to tell me if I needed to stop spending our money.

But in October of 2011 I felt like I needed to be involved ~ that we needed to plan a budget ~ that we needed to make money envelopes for our monthly expenses ~ that I needed to stop using my debit card.  And the only thing I can say is that it has changed my life and I wish we had been living like this all of our married life. I love how it has empowered and educated me, and helped me to learn how to handle money as a responsible adult woman and not as a little girl.

I love Dave’s plan.  It makes so much sense.  He explains his program in everyday language and gives plenty of examples that are so easy to understand, he provides helpful worksheets, and he has broken it all down into clear steps that are completely doable.

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In His Steps is one of those “life-changing” books for me.

In this novel, Dr. Henry Maxwell, a respected pastor, had an experience that “awakened concern as to whether Christians actually experience and practice Christian faith and love in day-to-day relationships with other persons.”  Because of this experience he vowed to approach every situation in his life with the question, “What would Jesus do in this situation if He were me?”  The following Sunday he challenged his congregation to join him, and one hundred people agreed to try it for one year.  They pledged to live earnestly and honestly for an entire year, and to not do anything without first asking the question, “What would Jesus do?”  After asking that question, each would follow Jesus as exactly as he knew how, regardless of the immediate results.

This book tells the stories of Dr. Maxwell and his congregation.  It really helped me in my relationships with others, especially in circumstances that were less than pleasant for me.

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This book was truly a delight to read.  American Bee chronicles the passion and dedication of young spellers from around the country as they prepare themselves to compete in local spelling bees in hopes of earning a trip to the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.  I loved this book and found myself cheering on each of spellers.

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After watching The Sound of Music, have you ever wondered what happened to the von Trapp family after they left Austria?  I always did.  This book, written by Maria von Trapp, begins with her leaving the convent to go serve as governess to Captain von Trapp’s children.  She shares her experiences as governess, her marriage to Georg, their need to flee to America, and their life as new immigrants.

Except for the fact that Maria was living at the convent to become a nun, I didn’t really ever think the movie portrayed her as being religious.  I was so pleasantly surprised and deeply pleased to read her accounts of her deep faith in God which influenced every aspect of her life.  She and her family were diligent in their worship and regularly prayed to God to know His will for them and once they knew it they moved forward in faith and never looked back.

Their early years in America were often hard and challenging, yet abundant and joyful.   Their story is so endearing that I completely fell in love with Maria and her whole family as did most of the people that met them in real life.

This book is so uplifting and wholesome, and if you’ve seen the movie and loved it, please read the book.  Your life will be much richer for having done so.

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2 Responses to Great Books [#1]

  1. Maureen January 7, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    Great recommendations Lori! I have The Total Money Makeover and found it a great read. Some of his advice was a bit out there for me, but overall good common sense advice!
    Will be looking into “In His Steps”! That looks like a great read. Hope I can get it on Kobo here in Canada!

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