Being a 2019 Bookworm

If you’d ask my family they would agree that I’m rather passionate about books. If you asked my co-workers they’d probably say the same thing. Goodness, I guess that anyone who follows me anywhere online would come to the same conclusion.

As it turns out, I like talking about books a lot.

When I was a kid my aunt would joke that I was an audiobook and when I got into a story I’d tell the details so completely that she’d have to push pause if she wanted to say something.

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I consider myself to be very blessed to have grown up in a family and community where people let me talk about books a lot – both the reading and writing aspect of them. It’s one of my top subjects no matter who I’m talking to, and readers and non-readers alike have graciously listened and asked questions as I wax eloquent (or jabber on like a fangirl).

When I think of books I don’t just think of reading them, I also remember telling others about them. One of the biggest memories that sticks out in my mind is of when my brother and I randomly found ourselves in our kitchen late one evening. We’d both come down for a snack and I ended up launching into the story of a book I’d read a while back. It was a relatively short book but an hour later I was still explaining with detail each plot point. Instead of hurrying me along my brother sat there, guessing about what was going to happen next and guessing about the plot twist. It was delightful and filled my love tank completely.

Nowadays I still talk about books. A lot. And that’s one thing I like about social media – specifically my Instagram Stories. It’s so much fun to be able to talk about books and know that people can watch/read if they want, but it’s always easy for them to skip through or click out of the story if they’re not interested.

This morning I stepped into my personal library and perused the books, trying to find which one I wanted to photograph for this morning’s post. It wasn’t long before I’d grabbed the Matched trilogy off the shelves and was searching my prop shelf for a prop that would correctly represent the book. It was so much fun knowing I was going to get to share about one of my first ever (and pretty much only) dystopian read with the world.

Being a bookworm in 2019 is so much more fun than being a bookworm in 2009 was, and I’m thrilled that I get to share that part of my world with all y’all.

And now I’m off to leave for work early so I can return my late library books… Because, ya know, sometimes library fines are just a part of being a (sometimes) absent-minded bookworm. 😉

Currently
Setting: Walking a mile and a half on the treadmill
Listening to: The Greatest Showman soundtrack (Seriously)

Question of the Day: Do you go to more than one library? And if so, do you ever forget when you got certain books out and therefore miss the return date? 

Bookish Stats from 2018

So. Books for this year. My Goodreads shelves got a little messed up, so the stats aren’t incredibly accurate. 😉 I’m fairly certain that the “99 books read” is correct, and I just somehow didn’t add the books to the correct shelves to make them show up everywhere else the right way. Aka, don’t add all the rest of the stats together because they don’t match up correctly. 🙂

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Books Read: 99
Audiobooks Listened To: 26
Pages Read: 29,149 (which is approximately 80 a day)

Fiction: 79
Non-fiction: 16

Five Star Books: 5
Four Star Books: 30
Three Star Books: 45
Two Star Books: 16
One Star Books: 1

Favorite New Series: Shadows Over England by Roseanna M. White
Favorite Audiobook: Before We Were Yours By Lisa Wingate

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This year I didn’t add my audiobooks in anywhere or review them, but I’m thinking I might start doing that in 2019.

I’m excited about how many 4 star books I read this year – I found a lot of new favorites. ❤ I also explored a lot of new genres which was fun and eye-opening for me.

Books I bought this year: 30
Books I received for Review this year: 21
Books I received as Gifts this year: 24

Vlogs I filmed about books/reading this year: 50

The Gift of a New World

Folding laundry. Matching socks. Cutting up strawberries. Bedtime. Rainy days. Nap time. Special Occasions. Early morning. School time. After the house is cleaned. While outside. While inside. In the car. While on trips. Over the holidays. At the grandparents. If we got hurt. Birthdays. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn…

These are just a few of the times I had books read to me as a child.

As in, I was basically being read to constantly as a wee tot, and for that, I’m forever thankful. A deep fondness and respect for written words was fostered in me long before I could read them myself, and those feelings only grew once I could devour stories on my own.

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Looking back my childhood memories are punctuated time and time again with idyllic settings including books. I’m one of the younger ones out of ten children, so life was obviously busy for my parents and older siblings yet I don’t have any memories of a book being refused to be read. I’m sure there were occasions, but they were few and far between compared to the host of times books were read to me and my siblings. (Sometimes a task had to be completed before a book was read, but that wasn’t a “no” or “not now” that was “let’s hurry up and finish this then I will” type of deal.)

Nowadays I’m one of the “grown-ups” who can read to little children. Our house abounds with books, thousands of them in hallway-lined bookshelves, offices, and baskets for kids. Quite often my little niece asks me to read to her and that makes my writerly heart jump for joy.

I want to be one of those “yes” people – an adult who shows through example that books are important, special, and a treasure to be delighted over.

Next time you’re around little children, why not make it a point to read to them? And, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift, why not choose a book? It could be the gift of a whole new world that could change their life for forever. How neat is that?

When Reading Has No Chill

As it turns out, my reading is up and down and all over the place almost to an extreme. I’ve given up on reading predictions, reading goals, TBR stacks, and bookish challenges.

When it comes to reading, I go with the ebb and flow of life, cravings, and (sometimes) deadlines. Mostly though, I just pick up a book and read it without a lot of pre-meditation or over-analyzing. Tracking the books I read and trying to at least note when it was that I read them has proved to be most amusing to me.

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For instance, between May 21st and November of this year, I read a grand total of one nonfiction book – and that one was a beta project for me. Considering the fact that I read a nonfiction book basically every week last year I was rather horrified with myself when I realized the track record I was producing for 2018.

I decided to read a couple of nonfiction books in November and was just pretty surprised when I looked at Goodreads and saw I read five of them last month. Yeah, that’s right. After over five months of no nonfiction reading (except for the Bible), I polished off five of them without really even trying.

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I sit at my computer today – over a third of the way through the month and have to shrug my shoulders at my reading for December. How many books have I finished, you may ask? Zero. In fact, I’ve only read probably a 150 pages altogether during the last two weeks.

Last month I read around 2,362 pages, which equals nearly 79 a day. That sounds way impressive when compared to the average of 15 pages a day I’ve read this month, but when I compare it to my record, which was 1,200 pages in one day….Well? Then it sounds minuscule.

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Do you know what my point with all these random stats is? Reading is a tool. A vacation. A joy. And yes, part of my job as a writer. But reading is something I control, not something that controls me. I’m not going to let it stress me out when I don’t get reading in, and I’m not going to feel like a super-human when I catch up with books. Books, reading, words… They’re all wonderful things, but they don’t define me.

This week I’m fine with being chill. And who knows? Maybe next week I’ll swallow books whole. With me you never really know. 😉

***
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Unimaginable

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FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on: Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 240
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Title: Unimaginable: What Our World Would Be Like Without Christianity
Author: Jeremiah J. Johnston
Nonfiction

BACK COVER BLURB:

A Stirring Account of Christianity’s Power for Good

In a day when Christians are often attacked for their beliefs, professor and speaker Jeremiah Johnston offers an inspiring look at the positive influence of Christianity, both historically and today. In Unimaginable, you’ll discover the far-reaching ways that Christianity is good for the world–and has been since the first century AD–including:
· How the plights of women and children in society were forever changed by Jesus
· Why democracy and our education and legal systems owe much to Christianity
· How early believers demonstrated the inherent value of human life by caring for the sick, handicapped, and dying
· How Christians today are extending God’s kingdom through charities, social justice efforts, and other profound ways

Like It’s a Wonderful Life, the classic film that showed George Bailey how different Bedford Falls would be without his presence, Unimaginable guides readers through the halls of history to see how Jesus’ teachings dramatically changed the world and continue to be the most powerful force for good today. This provocative and enlightening book is sure to encourage believers and challenge doubters.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK:

The concept of the book really grasped my attention. Other than that, I don’t quite remember why I chose this book because I got it a while ago. I didn’t read it for about a year because I thought it was going to be really heavy and I wasn’t in the mood for that type of book. But then I read it and…

WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS BOOK:

Folks! I could barely put this book down. It was so good and grabbed my interest from the first page. Most of the time I skim read books – at least to a point – but I had to read every word of this book to get the full story. I read it over the period of two and a half days and want to read more by the same author.

The book was divided into three parts, so I’ll give a brief overview of each of the parts:

The World Before Christianity
This is probably the segment that I found most interesting. It talked a lot about what the world looked like before Jesus’ time, and how we often see the world back then through the eyes of how our world is today. Mr. Johnston then spent several chapters breaking it down subject by subject and showing the worldview was quite different back then. I really like history, so this part of the book was right up my alley.

The World Without Christianity
This section discussed some of the big influencers of philosophical thoughts from the nineteenth century – men like Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. There were several other men named also, and we got a brief overview of each of their lives, as well as what they thought/taught and what impact their teachings then had on the world.

This part was also highly interesting to me and made me want to read more books like it. I had to keep my phone next to me so I could look up what was being said from time to time because there were a lot of concepts I wasn’t familiar with.

The main point of this segment was pointing out what happens when men try to take God out of the picture, and what a disaster that turns into. (Examples: WW2 and Communism.)

The World With Christianity
The last section opens with a bunch of stats and that was really intriguing to me. (In fact, I promptly found a few people who I could share some of them with because it’s so interesting.) Overall though, the last few chapters of the book found my attention lagging a bit. I’m not sure if it’s because it covered more information that I knew already, or if I was simply ready to move on, but it was the last few chapters that brought the book from a five star read to a four star read for me. I still learned a lot from the last segment though.

Conclusion:

There were several things I didn’t agree with, plus a few things that left me confused. For instance: Mr. Johnston clearly sees how Darwin’s teachings negatively affected the world, and yet Mr. Johnston seems to believe that evolution is true instead of a literal interpretation of Genesis.
At times there were also concluding statements that were made that sounded reasonable, but I’m not sure if they were entirely accurate.
One warning: This book does deal with some harsh realities of the world, as well as talking about some pretty bad beliefs some people hold, so I don’t recommend it to anyone under the age of 15.

RATING:

This book was just a millimeter away from five stars. So Good! And yet, in the end, I’m giving it four out of five stars. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for reviewing it on my blog and I’m so thankful for the opportunity!

Book Recommendations (Historical Fiction Edition)

It’s always fun to find a list of books to read, right? So, today I’m posting a list of Historical Fiction books (my favorite genre!) I recommend, along with a link to my review of them on Goodreads which makes it nice and simple for you to get a more in-depth view of the book. Enjoy!

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Goodreads Link 

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Goodreads Link 

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Goodreads Link 

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Goodreads Link

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Goodreads Link 

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Goodreads Link

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Goodreads Link

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them?

Keep Calm and Read On (8 Benefits​ of Reading)

As it turns out, reading can boast a host of benefits. As it also turns out, I read a lot so I stand here before you today (actually, I’m sitting on the couch, but that’s beside the point), to share some of said benefits with you. 😉

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  1. Reading Makes You Smarter 
    Okay, so maybe it doesn’t literally raise your IQ (but then again, it might), but reading does add to your bank of information that you then have stored in your brain. That means that in the future you’ll be able to pull from that information (on purpose and also automatically), so therefore reading does help you have more knowledge.
  2. Reading Helps You Empathize with More People 
    There have been many times when I can relate to an emotion someone is experiencing, not from my own life, but because I’ve seen the same emotion through the eyes of a character. Add thousands of these experiences together and it can give a helpful framework for how someone may want to be treated.
  3. Reading Is A Great Escape 
    It’s not always a good idea to “escape” a problem, but sometimes stepping back and getting some relief in a stressful or trying situation can do a world of good. Grabbing a light-hearted contemporary generally does the trick for me.
  4. Reading Can Make You More Well-Rounded 
    It was an eye-opening day for me when a friend of mine mentioned how a book that took place in Egypt helped her to imagine the Bible times better. I hadn’t realized until then that not everyone had the backdrop to a thousand different time periods, cultures, and settings painted into their mind through the pages of books.
  5. Reading Expands Your Vocabulary
    It’s hard to describe something when you don’t have words with which to work. Reading helps more words enter your brain, and by either using the clues of context or by looking them up, you can add them to your repertoire of words to use in the future.
  6. Reading Is A Great Way To Learn New Skills 
    There are so many how-to books out there. It’s actually rather glorious what all we can learn from reading. And, in addition to all the books, there are millions of articles. Isn’t it crazy to think of the fact that we will never run out of things to read?
  7. Reading Opens Up A Whole World Of Friendships 
    I’m not talking about friendships with characters, although that’s pretty epic, too. I’m speaking more about when you get to talk about reading with other people – it can be instant connectivity.
  8. Reading Is A Delightful, Inexpensive Form of Entertainment  
    Sure, you can spend a lot of money on books, but there are also great alternatives – like the library and book sales. So go, have fun, and learn a lot!
What is one of your favorite benefits to reading?

P.S. Stay tuned for a list of bookish recommendations coming soon!