day 30: best ending

I sort of remember Life of Pi as ending like the movie The Usual Suspects...it made me want to flip right back to the beginning and read it all over again, this time with the encryption key I needed to understand it completely. The best thing was, just like with The Usual Suspects, getting the decoder ring at the end didn't make the time spent with it the first time through any less enjoyable at all. It made it more wonderful.

How wonderful will this be to SEE on the big screen in November? I can't wait.


day 29: book I plan to read next

Actually, it's now the book I am reading next. When I finished Catch-22, as I always do after reading a book on my "must read" list, I looked for something lighter to read. Physik is just what the recently-bogged-down-in-a-black-comedy-set-in-a-war ordered. Physik is Book 3 in Angie Sage's Septimus Heap series, which is a series that should appeal to any child or adult who loved Harry Potter or Percy Jackson. Magic. Action. Thrills. Odd characters. Good vs. evil. All the great stuff, in other words. Start with Magyk. I'll loan it to you. Just give today's YA fiction a try. It's worth it.


day 28: longest book I've read

I was surprised to find, after looking at the books I've logged as "read" on GoodReads, that Gone with the Wind was the longest book I've read. At over 1,000 pages in some editions, I guess that is right. Although, I don't remember it feeling as long as, oh, say, Vanity Fair did a few months ago when I tackled it. Of course, when I read it way back in high school, my eyes were much better and I read a lot more often than just right before bed. It probably went considerably faster than lots of books I read now do, all that considered.


day 27: character who is most like you

What do an ex-con, a former drug addict, a real estate broker, a college student, and a married mother of two have in common?
That's what the teaser for The Yada Yada Prayer Group says. In the story, Jodi, the married mother of two (and the character who is most like me), becomes part of a multiculture, very diverse prayer group after participating in a women's conference. Until very near the end of this book, she really thinks she has her life together and her involvement in the group just makes her think that even more so. After all, she has always been a Christian. She doesn't have some big story to tell about conversion. She doesn't have any big sins in her past...and most certainly doesn't have any in her present.

Oh, yeah, Jodi?


Oh, Lord, the blinders we put on! How easily we pass judgement on others! How easily we fail to see that we are all in need of Your grace!

Forgive us, Lord. We all need it.


day 26: book that you can quote

You are pretty likely to catch me quoting a TV show or movie once a day, but highly unlikely to catch me quoting a book. Well, unless it is during Bible study and then you might find me mangling a verse I sort-of-kind-of remember well enough to try to quote. So, this particular part of the challenge had me stumped until I remembered that this movie was also a wonderful book. And, yes, before you ask like my husband did, I did read it. In fact, if you love the movie, I highly recommend the book. Written by William Goldman, who wrote the screenplay for the movie, the book goes even deeper into the back stories of the fabulous characters. Fun, fun, fun. Not at all inconceivable.


day 25: book about your home area

Anne George was an poetess and author who lived in Birmingham, Alabama. She wrote a series of eight books about sixty-something sisters Mary Alice and Patricia Ann, who could get into pickles about as crazy as Lucy and Ethel. Except their predicaments involve dead bodies. The two very different sisters lived in the shadow of Vulcan's bare behind, something that she mentioned in every Southern Sisters novel. Murder Boogies with Elvis was her last novel, published after her death in 2001.


day 24: book you could live in

The Mitford Series by Jan Karon are heartwarming books about Father Tim Cavanagh, an Espiscopal priest who serves in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In my favorite of the books (the last book of the series), Light from Heaven, Father Tim is actually retired but is asked to try to revive a mountain church that has been closed for years. It is a story about a calling that reaches beyond "retirement" and about serving a community in a place that had power and meaning for it years before.

I could live that. I hope to live that.


day 23: read over and over

I really very rarely reread anything. I mean, there are so many wonderful things to read, why go back and read something again? But, I have reread Twilight and each subsequent book in the series as the movies have come out over the last several years. 

I read the books before the movies were made and was taken in by this story about being the new girl in a small town. Of being an outsider who already felt different from everyone else. Of being the girl with clumsy feet and with looks that were not thought of as "pretty". That is where Meyers hooked me. The romance and supernatural thrills that raced through three more books kept me reading.



His compassions never fail. They are new every morning.-Lamentations 3:22b-23a

day 22: made into a movie

The Kite Runner is a beautifully written story which teaches its readers about Afghanistan and its resiliant people. I think reading stories like these (or seeing them, as in the wonderful adaption of the book made in 2007) make us better world citizens.



Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
-Henry David Thoreau

day 21: best book title ever

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana is a memoir about, obviously, a girl nicknamed Zippy who grew up in a small community in Indiana. This book is sidesplittingly funny. Like the time a neighbor exclaimed that it was impossible for Jesus...THAT Jesus...to have died on Easter because Easter comes before his birthday, Christmas.


day 20: children's book

The best children's books grab the attention of young minds with attention to detail and descriptions of fantastical places. Roald Dahl certainly delivered for me as a child. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, he describes an amazing candy factory that makes the reader salivate...and the outlandish owner of said factory, Willie Wonka. Marvelous fun...as is the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. I also remember a great tale about a boy and a big peach being a lot of fun, also.


day 19: old! (before 1900)

I've already shared a few books that would qualify for this category...but here's one more. In fact, here's a whole collection of old books that you really can't go wrong with: Jane Austen: Seven Novels. Stories like these just do not get...well...old. They age beautifully as the cultures change, but the complexitites of human relationships within them do not.



Usually when I sit here I can clearly see the reflection of trees in this stream. This morning, after a good bit of rain overnight, the water is muddy and fast moving and the reflection can't be seen.
Is that how we are: moving too fast to see God all around us, reflected in the world and the people around us?
Are we moving too fast for Him to be reflected in us?

day 18: favorite short story/collection

Short stories are another genre I don't read much of, but a good friend gave me Crash Diet many years ago. He inscribed in the front of the book, "to my friend who deserves a chapter of her own". This book contains eleven stories about Southern women, beautifully written by Jill McCorkle. Recently, one of her novels popped up on my book-a-day calendar and I purchased it. I look forward to reacquainting myself with her writing soon.


day 17: book that made me cry

The Time Traveler's Wife is an interesting book that combines science fiction with romance. I'm at a loss for words about this book because the tale is so very unusual. A girl meets the man she will marry when she is six and he, travelling uncontrollably through time, appears before her in the meadow at her parents' home...stark naked and in his forties. In less capable hands, this story would just be...well...creepy. In Niffenegger's, it is not. It is a beautiful story about love and fate, sacrifice and separation.

P.S. The movie will make you cry, too.


day 16: book that made me laugh

Steve loves the Disc World books by Terry Pratchett. I read book one of the series and thought he was absolutely crazy for it. But, earlier this year, I read book two, Mort, because it was on my BBC list. NOW I get it. Pratchett is a comic genius.


day 15: thriller/crime

It is still puzzling to me how this series of books, which starts with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and of which book two, The Girl Who Played with Fire, was my favorite, became so popular. The story in book one is slow getting set up and the two main characters don't meet until deep into the story. The characters' names aren't always easy to pronounce (and I know, you're just reading but it is hard to keep characters straight when you can't even figure out in your mind how to say their names). The action is brutal and chilling. But it is captivating. It would have been amazing to see where Stieg Larsson planned to take Lisbeth and Mikael next, but we will never know where the other four books he had in mind would have gone since he died suddenly after writing just these three.


day 14: science fiction/fantasy

When I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I was transported, not only to Hogwart's, but also to my own childhood when most of my reading was about places I had never seen or imagined and contained descriptive details that made me feel like I could smell, taste and touch my surroundings. J.K. Rowling has given the world a gift with this magical series of books, filled with marvelous characters, fantastic adventure, and a good old fashioned battle of good vs. evil. (I pictured The Prisoner of Azkaban rather than The Sorceror's Stone because I always just gravitate to that story out of them all.)


day 13: romantic

That line shown above is one I read and reread. Such loving, devoted words about a happy marriage...a beautiful line near the end of a wonderful classic. And, you know what is so amazing about classics like these? They practically give them away at bookstores and they DO give them away on the Kindle.


day 12: horror/ghost story

I don't do horror stories. I seldom watch scary movies. But, after a lot of thought, I realized that there was one ghost story that I had read recently: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud. A wonderfully touching supernatural story about guilt, love, loyalty and, ultimately, forgiveness of self. Don't be turned away (if it would be the sort of thing that would turn you away) by the recent movie adaptation starring a young Hollywood heartthrob. The story is haunting (see what I did there?) and worth reading. And, hey, that movie is pretty darn good, too. 


day 11: favorite villain

Screwtape, a senior temptor, writes a series of letters to his nephew instructing him of ways to gather a soul up for Satan in The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape is not a good guy, folks. And, he is very, very smart. Case in point: the quote above.

As instructive as any of the modern day "how to be a good Christian" books and far more entertaining than almost all of those. Read it slowly, one letter at a time. Let it soak in. Become unmoderated.


day 10: prize winning book

Pulitzer Prize winning and set in Alabama, To Kill a Mockingbird is perhaps most amazing to me because Harper Lee never wrote another book. It's as if these words were living inside of her and had to get out. Once the book was given its own life, she was able to go on with the rest of her life, separate and apart from writing.


day 9: favorite hero/heroine

I adore Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, who was introduced in One for the Money. Stephanie finds herself out of work and, so in a desperate move to keep a roof over her and her hamster's heads, she starts working for her cousin Vinnie, a bail bondsman, as a bond recovery agent. Over more than 18 books now, Stephanie and her crazy family, friends and love interests, Joe (my choice) and Ranger, have had me rolling. The situations are absurd, the cars are always exploding and the dialogue is witty. Like the above. That is Joe, in One for the Money, after Stephanie said that running him over years before had been an accident. Can't wait for more of Stephanie, coming in November.

And, by the way, how about the wonderfulness of a series that is numbered right in the title so it's easy to keep up with which book to read next? There are some "between the numbers" books, but those tend to skip off of the thinly laid storyline of the main series anyway, so it really doesn't matter when those are read.


day 8: book that changed my life

Easy call. And, since my pastor pointed out that The Bible is a series of books, not one book, I'll specifically say that the book of John, which contains the most known verse of the whole Bible, is the book that changed my life.


day 7: history/non-fiction

I read very little, if any, non-fiction, but I did read The Glass Castle: A Memoir and was glad to have done so. This memoir of a girl who grew up with two selfish, practically worthless (literally and figuratively) parents is so touching because, while being perfectly honest about the absurd way she and her sister were raised, Walls also clearly conveys that she loved her parents very much. It is that childlike honesty that makes this book so compelling.


day 6: graphic/illustrated novel

I didn't read Watchmen until after I had seen the movie. (The movie I will forever refer to as, "the movie that is rated "R" for every possible reason a movie can be rated "R" for but yet I still liked it".) I'm not even sure I read the whole graphic novel, now that I think about it. I mean, reading a book before or after seeing a movie it's based on isn't usually pointless. But with a graphic novel, it seemed pretty close to it.


day 5: first adult book read

I don't remember much about Forever . . ., but I do remember that it was the first book I read where teenagers did more than hold hands, kiss chastely and exchange class rings.


day 4: series/trilogy

I love young adult literature and one of the best of the best is the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. This is dystopian literature, but not as dystopian as the Hunger Games series that is all the rage right now. (I simply can not stomach that plot.) This series is cautionary without being completely inhumane. I like how each book finds the main character in a distinctly different place in her culture's civilization. This allows the story to maintain continuity but also gives each book its own voice. It never, in short, felt like any book in the series was just a precursor to the next.


day 3: favorite author

Joshilyn Jackson is amazing. I'm in awe of how she turns a phrase and she had me from the first line of her first novel, Gods in Alabama (shared (almost completely) above).

Her other books are just as gripping, with my favorite so far being Backseat Saints, which starts with this intriguing line: "It was an airport gypsy who told me that I had to kill my husband."

Buckle up when you pick up her books, but please do pick up her books!


day 2: currently reading

Catch-22 is the book I'm currently reading and it's straight off of my Book List. I'm enjoying its wit but I am struggling a bit with each chapter introducing new characters (most of whom are military men so it's hard to conjure up distinct mental pictures of each to keep them straight). After reading this book, I'm sure I will be glad to have done so, though.

I'd like to see the movie when I'm finished. I discovered that this movie and M*A*S*H were both released in the same year and I can see some similarities in them (beyond just being set in a war). It makes me think that movie companies have been putting out competing films with similar themes for a long time now. You know, like having two Snow White movies this summer. A slew of penguin movies a few years ago. And, don't even get me started on all of the superhero movies.


day 1: favorite book

There is a book challenge going on on Instagram and I had to participate because I love sharing and hearing about books. I'm really squeezed for time right now, though, so, unlike when I participated in the movie and song challenges, I am not going to be able to photograph things to represent these books. I decided that I would share the books and some great quotes from each instead. 

First day is a favorite book: A Confederacy of Dunces. I need to reread this one sometime, but there are just so many books I've never read before, I rarely reread anything. What I do know is that Ignatius J. Reilly is one of the greatest characters (heavy emphasis on CHARACTER) ever written. And, as any good book set in New Orleans should, the wonderful city is a character all her own.