After the fun beach and car reading of June, I was ready for some nourishing fare this month, and that was just what I got. I have rarely had such an encouraging and refreshing month of reading, in terms of the books themselves, as I had this month. I started about three or four books that I just couldn’t get into until I went to the library one day…
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
This book was so lovely. It was just the change of pace I needed after a month of youth fantasy fiction. I think I will have to buy it so that I can re-read it. An incredibly moving fictional account of a woman looking back on the joys and trials in her rural farm life surrounding WW2 and into the new millennium. This book will have you yearning for and finding beauty in the simple things of life. I’m looking forward to reading more of Berry’s Port William books. (It’s Port William, Kentucky, by the way, if you read it and are wondering what part of the country you’re supposed to imagine these people in.)
The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
Another winner; another book that seeks beauty. If Hannah Coulter made me want to move to the country, this book made me want to move to a tiny European town and serve beautiful pastries and tea to my friends. (Aside: After reading this, I really got to thinking how our modern obsession with elimination diets/lifestyles can risk taking the beauty from food and eating. We try to be healthy in our home, but this made me stop and remember that food is not just utilitarian, nor should it be. And beauty can come in the form of vegetables, but it can also be having a pot of tea and a lovely cake to share with friends. But, this book really wasn’t about food at all, so…) The fictional Miss Prim is hired as a personal librarian, but through her employer and the townspeople–who have gathered to form a community around truth, goodness, and beauty–she learns the meaning of life (and love). Also a great commentary (through the narrative) on classical education versus the modern educational system.
Don’t Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman Hubbard
This is a re-read for me, but I was greatly encouraged and challenged all over again. Moms of young-ish children should read this book every year or two. My biggest take away, which was just one little section of a book with so much to offer (and I’m paraphrasing): Joyful parenting is not being perfectly happy all the time. Joyful parenting is not having perfectly behaved children. Joyful parenting is viewing all of their sinful behaviors as precious opportunities to point our children to their need for Jesus and to train them in His Word.
Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic
Another re-read, and another encouraging book with some great ideas for moms of young ones. Even though my kids aren’t toddlers anymore, this book still applies. I’m looking forward to reading Rachel’s Fit to Burst in the near future.
10 Gifts of Wisdom: What Every Child Must Know Before They Leave Home by Sally Clarkson
After the last two books on parenting, I was ready for more! I couldn’t decide what to go with next, and this ended up being a wonderful choice! I highly recommend it. After reading it, we bought Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson (she talks about their family ways in this book) and are excited to go through that as a family.
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
Of course, I had to read this in July. (Yes, I’m one of the ones that pre-ordered it.) It wasn’t a stellar way to end the month, but I really tried to keep in mind as I read that this was a first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird, not a sequel. Harper Lee can write, no matter what, but her rewrite (Mockingbird) was certainly a vast improvement. I enjoyed the first 99 pages or so and all the flashback scenes throughout (which were different scenes from Scout’s childhood than appear in Mockingbird, so that was fun). But in the last 178 pages the adult Scout spent a little too much time in long angry rants for my literary taste.