Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Keen Satisfaction of Keeping a Reading Journal + 3 Book Recommendations

A little blue and red striped reading journal has been my steady companion since 1992, holding court on the top left hand corner of the oak bookcase.  The worn cover features a little teddy holding a red balloon in his right paw, from back in the day when cute-sie bears {or geese} adorned anything and everything.

Remember when?





Anyway, the title, author, and completion date of every book I've read during the past 24 years is scrawled in pen on its lined pages.  Flipping through the pages is like a nostalgic jaunt down memory lane.  The most bountiful years yielded 43 entrees ... in 2011 and again in 2014.  The leanest season was 1995 with a measly total of 11 books.

That was the year the 40 year old mom of 2 teenagers grabbed her brand new bookbag and headed off to school again.

For the record, a quick count yields exactly 660 entrees spanning a wide variety of genres.  {Gee, that sounds so fancy, doesn't it?}

A glance at the 2016 page informs me that I've read a grand total of 14 books so far this year.  Scanning the list reminds me that I've been fortunate enough to have had some fine companions through the endless gray mistiness of icy winter days and rainy spring thaws.

Since January's 4 Most Meaningful Mid-Winter Memoirs post {say that fast 3 times!}, here's the volumes I'm most eager to recommend to you.

As always, be sure to bring your personal faith in Christ to the books you page through ...

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A rarity ... a grief storybook for all ages that is calming yet impactful, simple yet profound.  You can cuddle up and read this to your grandkids {I have}.  Give to your mother and your daughter {I did}.  Recommend to your friends and clients {I am}.

Soothing in its affirmation of grief's roller coaster of emotions, this little story book is subtly educational.  The most gorgeous illustrations are intricately delightful.  And, thank heavens, no pat answers or easy 1-2-3's line its pages.  Absolutely must reading for anyone who's traveling the pathway of grief ... or walks alongside someone who is.


If you read Marie's first book, this is even better!  Filled with little pen and ink illustrations, lots of organizing step-by-step tips, and personal stories, this easy reader can jumpstart you into a life changing evaluation of what you own and why.

And this little seminar-in-a-book gives a needed nudge to tend to your valued possessions with renewed appreciation.
This Episcopal priest / professor is known for her beautiful word weavings as she finds the presence of God in all of life's offerings - our pain, the sabbath, nature's bounty, community, vocation, and the dailyness of our life's routine tasks.  

Barbara is gifted with keen insight and a profound pen ... you'll want to put this book down often and pause to consider the multitude of ways God displays His sacred presence in your life.  A truly thought-provoking, faith stirring reflection.


Do you keep track of your reading?

What books have kept you company in this morphing of the seasons?


<  In Which I Give My Husband the Last Word

Dear Church ~ Heartfelt Notes from 8 Single Women  >

*

talking books with
 Anne  &  Lyli & Ellen

46 comments:

  1. I don't keep track, but I should!! Gosh, it would be nice to have a record of what I've read, quotes, and comments about what spoke to me and why. I do keep a journal. I have done this the last 5 years, and so much has happened. One or two should probably be burned :). But one day I hope to sit down and flip the pages and thank God for how far I've come...my family has come.

    Spark Joy is on my list to read this year!

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    1. I hear you about the joys and benefits of journaling, Alecia! It can be a wonderful tool, a sweet solace, for sure.

      Thanks for kicking off this discussion. Conversations about books are like going to a great book club!

      ;-}

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  2. Sometimes I wish I was more like my friend, Doug, or you. He has every sermon he has ever preached. I suspect he may have a record of every funeral or wedding he has done. The latter two I wish I had done. I don't keep a record of what I have read. You make me feel really out of the loop Linda. :)

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    1. Everyone has their own loop that works just fine for them, Bill! I bet there are many pastors out there that wish they could blog like you do ...

      We each have our own style of connecting as well as keeping track of what's mattered along the way. Just keep on doing what works for you ... and don't be afraid to try something else on for size to see if it works ... yes, even in this season of life!

      We all just keep learning from each other ... iron sharpens iron, doesn't it ...

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  3. 660 books read so far? That's amazing. I remember some of the books I had to read for my studies but not as many as yours. I have not even read the books I have written.

    Happy reading and God bless you.

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    1. hahaha

      That must be an author joke, huh?

      Congrats on what you've published, friend. The blog is as far as I'll ever go, unless lightening strikes or God sends an enormous sign from above!

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    2. I didn't realise you have not written a book. Perhaps you should, based on your marriage series.

      Contact me if you need to discuss or advice on book publishing.

      God bless.

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    3. I couldn't begin to grapple with all the logistics of pulling a book together. I do believe that any creative flow I do have would be stopped up like water behind a dam.

      But I do appreciate your generous words, Victor.

      ;-}

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  4. Always love to see what you are reading. And, Linda, could be a tad bit OCD--and, yes, it takes one to know one. I read--read--read usually 2-4 books at a time--different genres. Currently I finish at least 2 sometimes 4 books a week--I should get a life!!
    Blessings, Friend!

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    1. Wow! 2-4 books at a time? Incredible focus, Lulu! I plug along at 1 at a time. Too hard for me to keep focused. I zip through good fiction or biography at a rapid pace, but non-fiction tends to be more reflective reading for me.

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    2. I will have a light heart fiction going or maybe two and then add a couple of thought provoking books and maybe a devotional. I read a chapter at a time and skip between books depending upon my current move. Remember--it's only me and I do not watch much television at all. I would much rather have someone to have a good conversation with--but that is not an option--so I read. NOT that focused---have to go back and sometimes re-read a chapter when my mind has gone off to LaLa Land!

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    3. I admire you! You're so much better choosing a good book than another lame hour of TV. I should do the same ... but laziness beckons in the evening!

      ;-{

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  5. Oh, if only I would have made a list of all the hundreds of books I've read over the years! On the other hand, many of them are still on my bookshelf for me to revisit!

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    1. That's a cool way to look at books, Elizabeth, as friends to revisit whenever the spirit moves! Just seeing my most favorite volumes lined up or neatly stacked brings a sense of peace and gratitude ...

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  6. Barbara Brown Taylor is on my list of "people to read." Now you're making me think I should get a move on! Yes, I keep a list, and for years it was my goal to read a book a week. Some years it worked . . . some not! I love that you've had the same journal for all these years and can look back over all your past reads. What a treasure!

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    1. Looking at your blog, all I can say is that you're a voracious reader! I've always wondered how you find time in your busy schedule to read and review so many new books.

      Just incredible you are!

      ;-}

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  7. What a beautiful way to keep up with the books you've read, Linda! I keep a digital list on my computer, but it's not nearly as pretty as your journal. :) I've also been enjoying keeping up with books on Goodreads.

    I'm glad you enjoyed Spark Joy as much as I did. And An Altar in the World--fabulous book! One of my faves. Granted, I've enjoyed anything I've read from Barbara Brown Taylor so far.

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    1. Thanks for mentioning Goodreads, Lisa. I've had several people mention that they love it. With it being online, it's always available ... no need to go rummaging around for a book and a pen!

      Yes, we do seem to read a number of the same volumes, friend ... I find that you enlarge my borders, and for that I am grateful!

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  8. I've never kept a reading journal; I don't know why.

    The most meaningful book I read recently is David Bellavia's "House to House", a memoir of the second battle of Fallujah in November, 2004.

    Profanely Christian, yet ultimately heartwrenching, it's helped me remember who I was, and is letting that person help me in what I face today.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/04/no-ticket-to-world-story-of-viet-nam.html

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    1. Well, when we find a book that serves as a mirror, it can be a gamechanging experience. Grateful that you're finding resources that speak to what's deepest in you, Andrew ...

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  9. I love the idea of a book journal! I wish I had done that years ago. A number of years ago I did write inside the front cover the month and year I read the book, but your idea would have been so much better. I am forever going through books since retirement looking at which ones I can let go of and pass on as I add new ones to the shelf. It is a delight to see Tear Soup on the list. A former client gave the book to me years ago when we were working through some of her own grief at the loss of a friend to cancer. The client was a second grade teacher and had used the book with her students to help them understand more about grief. After receiving the copy from her, I often used it with others who came to see me. It is definitely not one I will be giving away or passing on! Thanks, Linda!

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    1. Tear Soup just amazes me, Pam. To find that kind of unique resource that speaks to young and old in one fell swoop is such a grand gift. I read a review somewhere that encouraged people to just leave a copy on their coffee table for whoever to just pick up and browse through.

      I can't help but think that everyone is grieving the loss of something ... and this books speaks to the truth of the individual pathways we each must walk.

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  10. Hi Linda! I like the idea of the book An Altar in the World. I checked it out on Amazon, and one of the quotes from the book really resonates with me. The fact that our lives are such great teachers (I am paraphrasing of course!). I agree 1,000 percent with that.

    The amount of books you have read is just staggering to me. I read here and there, but not with the purpose that you do. They say great writers are great readers, and I think that's true in your case. I'll write this title down. Right now, I'm reading The Radical Pursuit of Rest, that was recommended by our blog friend Pam. It's really great so far!

    Thank you for sharing your good-reads!
    Ceil

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    1. great writers = great readers

      Love that, Ceil! You are profound, girl. And yes, that Pam is a keeper, isn't she? I'm a fan ...

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  11. I used to just keep a list on my computer, but stopped a few years ago. I actually just downloaded a free book journal from Modern Mrs. Darcy, so it's funny you should post this, Linda! Thanks for the recommendations! Have a blessed day!

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    1. I just linked up to Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly 'what we've been reading' post! Anne sure has the best book resources and insights, doesn't she?

      I'm a fan!

      ;-}

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  12. Wow. I love that you have kept all your reads in one journal over the last 24 years! I could see how you could look back too, and see where you were, how you were just by the books you were reading at that time. I've got a few on the go. My main read currently is Never Go Back by Dr. Henry Cloud. Just finished a stint of fiction too. I post my reads on Goodreads which I consider my journal, and recently also started posting my want to reads on Pinterest. An Altar in the World sounds wonderful. I am going to check to see if I can get as an audio book at my library. Be wonderful to listen to on walks I believe!

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    1. Thanks for letting us know about Cloud's new book, Lynn! He's just about one of my favorite Christian psychologist and his books have all been keepers.

      Good stuff! I appreciate this heads up, friend!

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  13. That journal brings back memories of the 90s! What a lovely what to keep track of your books. I'm impressed that you've kept up with it over the years!

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    1. It's fun to see where I've been ... and how what I page through has morphed over time! I highly recommend!

      And I'm glad you stopped in today, Ellen. I'll be over to visit real soon ...

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  14. Wow! That's a lot of books, Linda. I don't keep track of what I read. Over the years I would start it along with something I especially loved about the book, but it always fell by the wayside. I did just sign up for the Modern Mrs. Darcy newsletter you and June talk about. I was looking up these book recommendations on Amazon, and the Tear Soup one really impresses me. Thank you. Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Oh, I'm glad something was worth looking up, Trudy! I always love hearing what resonates with others.

      Thanks for taking time out to chat today. It was fun to hear from you!

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  15. What great inspiration I just found here. It is never to late to start! I was a vorcious reader growing up (wininng an award on graduating for reading the most books in the library, lol) but since those years, with children and homemaking, I have had less time to read. Yet, it would be nice to start a journal of what I have read. Thanks for the inspiration Linda... always a joy to visit with you here!

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    1. You're so right! It's never too late to start shaking things up just a bit, stepping out on a limb, going just a bit past the comfort zone!

      ;-}

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  16. So cool!! I thought I was the only one who kept a list like this :-) I have a page in my organizer each year where I keep the list and then at the end of the year when I clean out the pages, that one is transferred to another notebook of saved pages from my organizer. Not sure how far back my list goes, but at least as long. Love that we have this in common!

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    1. Hi Dar ... I love the concept of keeping a running list in a well-used organizer along with all the other lists and info that's so important to us. Sure beats yet one more book to keep track of!

      Cool idea!

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  17. Yes. Now though, I keep my thoughts on my notes on my phone. It's more convenient than bringing along my journal with me. Or maybe I'm just too lazy now to pick up a pen and write. Argh.

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    1. I like this, Lux, because you've got it right with you and don't have to scrounge around looking for a scrap of paper and a pen {like I often still do!}

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  18. What a great idea! I'm keeping a list by the door of my classroom in hopes to inspire my students to read more - never thought of keeping a list over the years. So great!

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    1. I love to hear how a teacher is encouraging her students to rejoice in their reading accomplishments!

      Cool!

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  19. Linda,
    I am so impressed you keep a list and that you've been so prolific :-) Thanks for sharing your recent finds. My daughter out reads me by a long mile and she keeps a to read list, too. I don't keep any kind of list...right now I'm reading and working on a paper on Strength to Love by MLK Jr....I'm behind as last week was her spring break....blessings to you in all ways, my friend :-)

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    1. Writing those papers can be all-encompassing, can't they, Dolly. I hope today finds you feeling all kinds of creative and energetic as you forge ahead!

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  20. You truly are the consummate reader, Linda! And I'm so grateful for it because you've given me a lot of "heads up" about some great reads out there. Thanks so much for your tireless pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. It is demonstrated in all that you are here in this space, my friend!

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    1. You've poured grace into me somewhere deep this morning, Beth. I'm forever grateful you're in my life ... and I hope your week is going splendidly!

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  21. I so remember those cute-sie journals - have a few lurking around somewhere. But, I never thought to keep track of all the books I've read. I must start doing this now. The book recommendations all sound wonderful, need to add them to my wish list.

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    1. How fun to begin a reading journal in 2016, Teresa! It's never too late!

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda