Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Off the Shelf

Here are a few of the books found on our couch or by our bed recently.

(This post contains affiliate links which means if you click through to Amazon from these links and make any purchase, I will get a tiny referral fee at no extra cost to you.)

Family Read Alouds

Storm Warriors by Elisa Carbone

Nathan dreams of becoming a surfman, rescuing sailors from storms on Outer Banks, NC. I picked up this book because we visited the Pea Island Life-Saving station on vacation several years ago. A historical fiction about the only life-saving station with black staff in the late 1800's, this was a story that all our children enjoyed. 

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Next we traveled to an island on the other side of the US. Island of the Blue Dolphins is based on the true story of Karana who lived alone on a Pacific island off the California shore for eighteen years. Celebrates the beauty of the ocean and island.

And the Word Came With Power: How God Met and Changed a People Forever by Joanne Shetler

It didn't realize until typing this that this book's setting is on an island as well. And the Word Came With Power is my top favorite missionary story and I have been looking forward to sharing this story from the Philippines with my children. It did not disappoint. We were all enthralled by the story of a dedicated young woman, a mountain people enslaved to the spirits, and how the Word of God transformed them both.

Gina's Reads

Open Heart, Open Home by Karen Burton Mains

I was both encouraged and convicted as Karen shares a vision of reaching out to others with love to build the church of Christ through hospitality.  Open Heart, Open Home is an older book that has stood the test of time but I think it is even more needed in our Pinterest world where we so quickly become discouraged because of the inadequacies of our home compared to others. Every homemaker should read this one.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
Several years ago I read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I loved learning more about habits and how they affect our lives. In Better Than Before, Gretchen takes the topic of habits a step farther. She examines why some habits are easy to build and others not, why we can do something for a long time and abruptly stop, and why some habits are easier for some people than others. I love her insight on personalities; it helped me understand why some things work for some people and not for me. This book does not have a Christian perspective and I don't agree with everything. But though I borrowed Better Than Before from the library I'm considering purchasing my own copy - which, for a tightwad like me, is the highest honor a book can receive.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

This is the story of the nine young men that won the rowing race in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It was the perfect book to take along on our vacation. This is my favorite kind of non-fiction. The story itself is exciting enough that I couldn't put it down. The characters are inspiring, pulling themselves up from poverty and heart-breaking abandonment to succeed against almost impossible odds. I learned about the Great Depression, Seattle, competitive rowing, the Olympics, and Nazi propaganda - while having fun!

At the library I accidently picked up a version of The Boys in the Boat that was adapted for younger readers. I hate abridged books so I returned to the library for the full version but I offered the children's version to my oldest two. They often complain that true stories are boring but I heard no complaints about this one. Plus it was fun to be able to discuss the story with them since we were both reading our own copies of the same story.

What is on your summer read list?


  1. I love your book reviews, Gina. And The Word Came With Power sounds like one I would like to check out, and The Boys in the Boat, and...On my summer reading list: Literature - An Introduction to Reading and Writing. It's fat! My sister gave me her old text book from nursing school, and I can't wait to hone my basic knowledge of good literature in all those interesting old stories and poems.

  2. I'm amazed! My pitifully small local library has The Boys in the Boat! Thank you for the recommendation; I look forward to reading it. We, too, enjoyed Island of the Blue Dolphins and And the Word Came with Power.

  3. I have nothing against abridged books as they serve a purpose. I carry, for example, versions of PILGRIM'S PROGRESS, the Bible and books on missionaries and Biblical characters at all reading levels ...board book, picture book, Easy Readers, chapter reader, Teen and Adult. So too I stock the classics in a variety of levels. We have all the Great Illustrated Classics series and the Classic Starts series. Then we have many of the same books in the original adult version. (We are a combination Church library and school--I'm the librarian).

    For example, we have HEIDI in 3 levels and ROBINSON CRUSOE in 3 too, PILGRIM'S PROGRESS in 4. One of the most read book in our Teen section is the abridged version of LES MISERABLE....I'm thinking Reimann is the adaptive writer...I'm at home so going from memory.

  4. Hi Gina! I found your blog recently and it has truly been a blessing! I really enjoy your posts and you have wonderful insight on so many things. Can I ask you what Bible you use? I'm looking to purchase a new one and I'm just not sure what to get. Thanks so much!

    1. Are you wondering what version I use? I personally prefer King James for most reading though I occasionally look at another version.

  5. I am thinking of ordering the missionary book. Thanks for the suggestions.


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