Monday, September 5, 2022

Sisters' Summer Reading Challenge

Since Charity's wedding was this summer, we purposely kept the challenges this summer light and fun. And we both enjoyed our reading very much! 

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 1. Reread a classic you enjoyed as a teen. 

Charity- Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery

Anne and Gilbert's first year or two of marriage are described in this beautiful novel. I listened to it the month after my husband and I got married and loved the sweetness of their story while enjoying the sweetness of our own start of life together. Montgomery combines the usual lively fun and laughter with a hint of sadness and also an unexpected plot twist.

Gina - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Though I read this book as a teen, I had forgotten most of the plot. I enjoyed the story, but was so annoyed at the manipulative male characters that I nearly threw the book across the room. I find it fascinating that a book with such strong religious content was hugely popular when it was published in the 1800s. But the gothic-style of the Bronte writers just isn't my favorite; I'll return to Jane Austin.

2. Read a portion of a book of essays or poetry.

Charity - The Works of G.K. Chesteron

This was a perfect excuse to dabble in Chesterton's poetry. Though I didn't read the entire book, I enjoyed various poems and his longer poem "The Balland of the White Horse." Chesterton was a lover of old England and in this poem I enjoyed his delight in a past time.

Gina - A Passion for Books edited by Harold Rabinowitz

I picked this book up at a used book store while on vacation last year. This collection of essays, quotes, and lists is the perfect bedside companion for a book lover. The collection spans many years and includes a variety of authors and topics but all focus on a love of books.

3. Read a book with a beautiful cover. 

Charity - Pilgrims Progress Part 1 by John Bunyan

I love old copies of books. It might be almost an obsession. My beautiful book has a dusty blue cover with gold flowers and leaves on the spine with an intricate gold title. Doesn't it sound breathtaking! I wasn't able to read the entire book, but part one was wonderful. I grew up knowing the story from a children's abridged edition, but I had never read the unabridged version. Hopefully I can soon read part two.

Gina - This Beautiful Truth by Sarah Clarkson

I don't usually choose a book by the cover, but this book had a lovely cover, beautiful writing, and "beautiful" in the title. I didn't agree with all the author's theology, but her account of struggling through severe mental illness and the people who walked with her, inspired me to be the hands of Jesus to the hurting people around me.

4. Read a book by an author you've enjoyed.

Charity- Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot

I consider Elliot to be one of the most influential authors in my life. One reason is because she greatfly influenced two of my older sisters who I admire very much. This particular book is a collection of letters that Elliot wrote to her daughter before her marriage. The month before my own wedding found me gleaning her wisdom, but this book is for woman at any stage of life who want to grasp what being a woman of God means.

Gina - Lila by Marilynne Robinson

I have this crazy problem of saving books. Lila has been on my shelf for a while, saving for - I'm not sure what. Robinson's writing always blows me away, though her style probably isn't for everyone. Lila, the main character, has grown up as a drifter, but when she walks into a small town and steps into a church to get out of the rain, she meets an elderly pastor who changes her life. This is the third book in the Gilead series, but is set a few years before the first two books and could be read in any order. Since each book in the series is narrated by a different character, the reader sees the town and its inhabitants in a new way with each book.

5. Read a book about someone on a journey.

Charity - A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

This light novel is the story of the journey of Emily Price from a whirwind romance to living in Italy. It is also a journey of growth as Emily learns that some things she can't fix. Though a little more sappy than I generally read, I loved that the book was a clean, fun easy read.

Gina - The Greater Journey by David McCullough

I started this book months ago and worked through its many pages slowly. I wrote recently about the author's skill as a historian and author. In this book I followed Americans in the 1800s as they traveled across the Atlantic to Paris. Some were searching for medical training, others for inspiration in the great art museums, still others were representing the US government. Each one met people and saw things that changed their lives. Though the information didn't feel relevant or useful to my life, it was fun and mind-stretching to journey with this book.

6. Read a love story.

Charity - Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon

I am a huge Mitford fan. This book was an easy reread as I waded through the last wedding planning and furniture buying! Karon writes about the biggest wedding in the Mitford series being planned and all the normal stress with a few surprises for everyone. As usual, Karon makes you fall in love with her quirky and hilarious characters.

Gina - Yours Cheerfully by A. J. Pearce

I've looked forward to a sequel to Dear Mrs. Bird ever since I read it and fell in love with Emmy. This was the perfect audio to listen to as I ran errands in the days before Charity's wedding. The story set in World War 2 London was SOOO much fun, though the plot was a bit predictable. I learned about wartime weddings and female workers in British munition factories, but the author's historical research didn't slow down the story. 

7. Choose a Psalm and read it every day for a month (or as often as possible.) 

Charity - Psalm 63

Psalm 63 is a beautiful psalm of praise, longing, and satisfaction. I loved reading the same words every morning, until now, a month later, I can almost quote it. I hope I can say with David, "God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you."

Gina - Psalm 121

I printed off this psalm and hung it on the kitchen wall. Every morning for a week, we read the first verse at breakfast. The next week we added verse two. Each week we added another verse until last week we were reading (or quoting) the whole psalm. Not only was it a way to teach my children Scripture, but it was good for me to remember where my help is found.

8. Take a photo of a book you are reading.

Charity- That gorgeous book I told you about earlier, well, of course I took a picture of it! Books, flowers, and my own little kitchen table have been some of my joys of the past two months.

Gina - I realized that I take a lot of photos of books. When a friend asks for a book recommendation or I'm excited to share the book I'm reading - I snap a photo. I looked through the photos on my phone and had to laugh at how many book photos I found. Two books I read this summer, and took photos of to share, were Beyond the Darkness by Clarissa Moll and Why Bad Things Happen by Michael S. Martin. Both addressed grief in ways that were powerful and life-giving to me, and I'm guessing I'll be buying copies of both to share.

How was your reading life this summer? Does your summer schedule mean that you read less or more?  Do you change the type of book you read in the summer?


  1. I feel like I finally found my group of readers! Over half of the books mentioned are ones I love or want to read. I found your blog after reading your article in the magazine put out by Christian Light Publications. I am so excited to read your future blog posts! I feel like I've finally found women that are like me and believe the same things I do. In this culture, it is so easy to feel alone, but I am so thankful God is reminding me that there are others out there who are still His faithful followers in their corner of the country.

    1. Hi Hannah,
      I'm so glad you stopped by! It is SO fun to find people with similiar reading interests! Please share your favorite books so we can find new favorites too!

    2. Hannah, I can relate. I feel very alone and its good to find ladies who are likeminded.

  2. Well I hope to do better with the fall reading challenge than I did with summer. I did manage to finish Flourish by Forces Showalter for a book with a lovely cover. For book about someone on a journey I read Payton Finds His Purpose by Chip Conyers. Its about a penquin who gets lost and goes in search of his owner. Its a cute faith based book. Anyway, I'm planning, Lord willing to complete all the fall challenges.

  3. I am so glad to find your blog again. My thoughts have been with you and your family over the loss of your husband. I am going to look at some of the books on your summer challenge and look at your fall challenge. It will hopefully get me out of my rut of murder mysteries.


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