Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rush Toward the Reading Challenge

One of my goals for 2011 is to read 24 books and I track my books on Goodreads along with others who participate in self-defined goals for the reading year.  While this may not seem like a lot of books to read, one can quickly fall behind in the goal unless plans are made and time is set aside to read throughout the week.  I've actually done a fair bit of reading since the Fall but some of them were rather lengthy.  A few of them were about 1000 pages (Pillars of the Earth and Anna Karenina) each and that also impacted on my goal of reading two books per month.

I've decided I must make real progress on the number of books read before the summer is out.  The sooner I do that, the sooner I can also give my books to someone else to enjoy.  That will help me in another goal for 2011; to fully declutter the condo.

This week, I'd like to share some of my recently read books with you. I don't go in for writing extensive reviews of the content of books and highlighting especially interesting or meaningful passages. I prefer to enjoy reading my books and give short summaries or impressions of what I've read. 

French Fried
Written by an American in Paris. It is charmingly written with anecdotes about the author's life in Paris and her forays into learning how to cook as well as learning the art and beauty of the French approach to eating and living. I've always been fascinated by France and French living. I enjoyed the book because of insights into the culture as contrasted with American culture.

Teacher Man
Written by Irish American author Frank McCourt of Angele's Ashes fame. I found this book very interesting because I too have a background in teaching.  I enjoyed Mr. McCourt's recounting of his early teaching days and what he had to say about his fears, hopes and experiences during his teaching career in New York.

Joshua's Bible
Written by  Shelly Leanne this thrift store find turned out to be a very pleasant and interesting read. Set in the mid-1930s, it is a book about a Black American preacher sent to South Africa by his "white" missions group to "civilize and christianize" the Africans. Movingly written it takes us through the joys and sorrows of the young preacher, Reverend Clay, and his experiences with the tribal peoples of South Africa. Over his period of two years he opens his eyes to the truth of the African experience and history and their hopes for emancipation and equality.  Despite what sounds like a heavy book, I found this to be a pleasant read with a nice rhythm to it.

Leaning Into God, When Life is Pushing You Away
I won this book through a giveaway and I will need to write a proper review of it as my "payment" for receiving the book for free.  Written by Reverend Robert Anthony Schuller, this book explores the various ways in which individuals lose or experience interference with their connection to God.  The author explains how emotions such as shame, regret, fear, and disappointment can stand in the way of our intimacy with God.  Reverend Schuller leads the reader through ways to reconnect with God and after each chapter asks incisive questions for us to consider and to help draw out our understanding of what causes our disconnect/connections with God.

Autism's Hidden Blessings: Discovering god's Promises for autistic Children & Their Families
This is another book I received in a giveaway and for which I need to draft a proper review. The book was written by Kelly Langston, a mother of an autistic son. This book was somewhat different than I anticipated. I had thought it would be more of memoir of a mother dealing with an autistic son. Instead it turned out to be a good bible study on turning to God as a source of help in dealing with an autistic child.  The book is also sprinkled with good discussion points, summary points and anecdotes about the Langston family experiences in raising an autistic child.  I was highly interested in reading this book because my family raised an autistic child in the days before there was little available as helps for families and next to nothing known about autism.

I'm currently reading, The Shackled Continent:  African's Past, Present and Future by Robert Guest and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

I purchased this book at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. It's a great read so far in terms of helping my understanding of Africa.

After this week, I will still be 3 books shy of my goal of 14 books for the first 7 months of this year. But  I am feeling well on my way to reaching my goal if I can keep up the momentum.

What about you? Are you reading a lot this year? Do you have any reading goals for yourself or any great books to recommend?

Click here to leave your thoughts about reading biographies.


Fred Alton said...

Reading is something I love to do - but after blogging and trying to read my e-mails and now face-book posts, it's hard to fit in more. Of course I start my day off with the Bible. I set as my goal to read it through 4 times a year. That takes 12 chapters per day and 20 chapters each Sunday. Sundays are made easier when I break it into two sessions - 10 chapters for the morning and 10 chapters for the evening. If you have never done this but have the desire, I recommend the "Living Bible" the first year. I'm doing the KJV this year, but it's more difficult because of the language.

Aurora said...

As a child the idea of having to set a reading goal would seem ridiculous - I used to devour a book a day practically - and read the back of any packet, leaflet or menu that found its way under my nose too. Unfortunately I think English Lit classes eroded my love of the written word somewhat. I have managed three fiction books this year - an improvement on last year! Next year perhaps, I will aim for a book a month. Enjoy your books!

Joyful said...

Fred, I am not on facebook and I still have problems to keep up with the email and the blogging which is perhaps why I have a problem to read 2 books a month! I don't have a goal to read through the Bible several times a year either but a goal to read so much per day. I do indeed read the KJV so that makes it a little more challenging. It is difficult for me to read another version but if I do, I will certainly check out the "Living Bible". I hope you enjoyed your birthday cake!

Joyful said...

Aurora, thank you for your visit. It is interesting that you devoured books as a child because I only started reading actively when I no longer had to do it in university though I didn't study English Lit. I studied Canadian Lit and my teacher was so good that he developed in me a desire to read more. However, like you I always read anything under my nose (other than books), like the back of cereal boxes, etc., lol. I wish you well in setting your goals for next year.

Lonicera said...

I love to lose myself in other worlds, which is what reading does for me. I used to read voraciously, but now I'm less tolerant of certain types of story, and I've learned to avoid them - and that's "quests" - someone going on a long journey during which they discover more about themselves. Or perhaps it's an antipathy towards the Lord of the Ring series, and the books by Coelho.

But I don't need to be negative, because there's so much I do like, and in fact I have to admit that I often have several on the go the same time in different parts of the house. At the moment, the Count of Montecristo is lying on my bedside table, waiting to be tackled. It's a Spanish version - I try to alternate reading a book in English and a book in Spanish, to help me keep fluent.

Joyful said...

Hi Caroline, there are so many kinds of books and authors that it is really impossible for us to like every book we pick up. I always read the first few paragraphs of the book's opening before I decide to read a book. I also have to "force" myself to finish others. I did enjoy the Lord of the Rings series in movies but have never read the books. I've also enjoyed two books by Paul Coelho but am not sure I would enjoy them all.

It's great you can read in Spanish and that you are doing what you can to keep fluent. If you enjoy reading the Count of Monte Cristo, you may want to investigate the trilogy of books (The Josephine B. trilogy) by Sandra Gulland). I thoroughly enjoyed them. Let me know if you do investigate and you can't find them. I can help ;-)

Rhonda said...

I've been doing most of my reading on a Kindle that was a Christmas gift. Amazon adds new free books most everyday and I have about 600 books on my Kindle and only paid for about 6-8 of them.

I just read Face the Winter Naked about a family with many struggles during the great depression.

Joyful said...

Thanks for your visit, Rhonda! How wonderful that you've been gifted with a Kindle. I'd like one too but will have to wait for some time before I decide I can splurge ;-)

City Gardens, Weather & Cooking

Hello dear friends and fellow bloggers, Time passed too quickly this month and before you know it May will be here.  With it's return th...