Sunday, May 08, 2011

Books, Books, Books!

Books, Books, Books
I love to write. I’m sure that’s pretty obvious since I pen this column every week. But more than that, I love to read. Call me a nerd or a bookworm, or whatever other “bookish” nickname you can think of, it won’t bother me. I have always enjoyed reading, and am proud to say so.

As young children my cousin, Alayna, and I used to spend Sunday afternoons at Granny’s house playing “library” with Little Golden Books and the droves of other picture books and chapter books in the playroom. (See I told you I was a bit of a nerd!)

When I was in grade school, I enjoyed reading novels by Judy Blume, especially the “Ramona” series and “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.” I remember laughing hysterically at the trouble those characters caused. Then, “Encyclopedia Brown” mysteries captured my attention. I used to read and re-read trying to find all the clues to solve the cases. Some of them I figured out, some of them were a bit trickier, but thankfully the author included the solution along with the clues that should lead the reader to the culprit.

Then I became enamored with the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” series. (Did you know there was more than one Charlie book? Yep!) Later, I read each and every “Sweet Valley High” paperback. As a teenager, I read Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place” and it remains to this day one of my all-time favorites as does “God’s Smuggler” by Brother Andrew.

Many times growing up, books were my world. What better way to live in the realm of princesses and dragons, or travel through space, or be knee-deep in a murder-mystery or ride with Charlie and Willy Wonka in a glass elevator that goes up to the sky?
I remember one summer that my brother and I had to move up north with my dad for a construction job. I didn’t know anyone and it was a very lonely summer…until I found the library! All of the sudden, it didn’t matter so much that I was hours away from everyone I knew and the rest of my family. I had books to keep me company. (My books and my Strawberry Shortcake dolls, who stayed close by while I was reading.)

I have never lost that love for books, and I still consider them my friends. When I am feeling stressed I can get lost in the pages of a novel and forget (for a while) my troubles. Other times, when I just want to relax, I pull out a book and spend some time lost in the storyline. Books are a part of my bedtime routine, as almost every night, I read in bed before turning out the light.

There isn’t any one particular genre that I enjoy reading more than others. Sometimes I like to read mysteries, other times chic lit, drama, sci-fi, or historical fiction. I even enjoy non-fiction. (Another of my hobbies is learning new things and soaking up information – so I will occasionally pick up a book to do just that.) I love to read anything by Beth Moore. She has a way of conveying simple truths in ways that no other can. Love her!

In the past few years, I have read a great many Karen Kingsbury novels. I began with her “Redemption” series, and then moved on to the spin-off series that told the rest of the story of the Baxter family. I highly recommend Kingsbury’s books. I can honestly say I grew as a person from reading them. Just be sure to read them in order so that the plot lines aren’t ruined. (Some people have no problem reading books out of order, but not me. I must begin at the beginning!)
Another great series that I would recommend is the “Mark of the Lion” series by Francine Rivers. The first one is “A Voice in the “Wind.” It had me hooked almost from page one. This is one of those series that I could not put down. The story is that of Hadassah, who was taken prisoner and sold into slavery in Rome. It is a story of unending love and betrayal and redemption. I could not put them down. This is quite possibly the best series I have ever read. (And I have read a lot!) This series is powerful in so many ways, and the message is timeless. If you pick up the first book, have the second one at the ready, because you will not want to wait to continue the story.

Another book that changed my entire perspective was “Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn. I will never look at tiny Christmas lights the same way again. It tells the story of persecuted Christians in China. If the un-put-down-ableness were the only thing going for this book, that alone would earn it top billing on my must-share-with-others list. However, it stirred up a passion within me that compels me to urge you to read it.
On the comedy side, I have read all of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels. Beginning with “One For the Money,” Evanovich kept me in stitches with Plum’s bounty hunting hijinks and the antics of her laughably insane relatives all the way through “Sizzling Sixteen.” Number seventeen is coming out the end of this month, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
I believe I have written before about my love for the “Hunger Games” series. They are categorized as youth fiction, but the story line is diverse enough for readers of any age. Set in post-apocolyptic America, the series tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a teen doomed to compete for her life in the games for the amusement of the evil dictators who now run the country.

I just finished the “Bride Quartet” series from Nora Roberts after putting it off for a long time. It had been recommended to me by a friend, but I’d assumed it was a steamy romance sort and I can do without those. I’m glad I finally caved in and read them, because they were very enjoyable. (And not too terribly steamy after all.)
Although it might be a difficult task to recommend something that I haven’t already read, I would like to ask readers to do just that.

Meanwhile, I am currently reading an oldie by Nora Roberts titled “Montana Sky.” I have just begun to read it and am only on chapter 10, so it will keep me busy for a few days. I look forward to hearing about some of your favorite books!
Until next time, take care and God bless!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Wow! I have fallen in love with the clock revamps on the Attempting Aloha blog.
This one is my favorite, but it is no longer available.

However, she has other designs for which she offers free downloads

Want a copy for yourself? Click here.
She has the generic (no personalization) version available as a free download for you! Simply click on the downward pointing arrow, and your PDF will display. Print both of them at full size (don't reduce to fit margins, etc. if your printer asks). Please live Aloha and become a follower if you use one of her free downloads. ;)

Details available on the Aloha blog for free personalization.