Friday, July 14, 2017

Bookfest : : A Splendid Hodgepodge

I handed my card to the librarian, with a cheerful 'Good Morning!' and a bit of a smile.  

'Oh, so you're Linda Stoll!'  

'Uh, yeah,' I replied, a bit surprised as I wondered what she was getting at.

'I see your name here all the time to pick up reserved books,' she chirped.  


I smiled. 'Yep, I love reading.'

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The library's been a welcoming haven, a site tinged with pleasant anticipation, a bit of a treasure trove as far back as I can remember.

The scent of many books gathered under one roof is like no other.  Scientist Matija Strlic attempts to describe it as, 'a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.'  

And in a test of unlabeled and concealed smells, a vast majority of 79 participants identified old books as smelling kind of like chocolate and coffee.

No wonder an armload of books is sheer delight! 

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The year's half over, with 27 books read.  About half and half, fiction and non.  

Most of the fiction would be classified as historical fiction =  love of biographies + love of a good novel.  And yes, most of what I read is from the 36 CLAMS member libraries on the Cape and Islands.

Six Reviews ...
Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age  ~ Bob Cutillo, M.D.
'Despite all the care available to us, our society is more concerned about health than ever.  Increased technology and access to health care give us the illusion of control but can never deliver us from the limitations of our bodies.'  

This book has nothing to do with political posturing and maneuvering and everything to do with 'a bigger view of health care and a hope that is more secure than our physical wellness—hope with the power to transform our communities.'  

Dr. Bob writes from a strong faith worldview mixed with a lifetime of serving vulnerable communities here and abroad. This is a wise, gentle, intellectual offering for all Christian health care professionals as well as those with a heart for justice, the pursuit of health care for all. 

{Bonus ... Bob's wife Heather is a dear childhood friend of mine!}

Monticello : A Daughter and Her Father; A Novel ~ Sally Cabot Gunning  
I loved this novel ... complex and beautiful, detailed and mesmerizing.  You won't put it down.  Promise.

The author says, 'I can't tell you how excited I am about this novel.  When I discovered a letter Martha Jefferson wrote to her father when she was fourteen, "I wish with all my heart all the poor Negroes were freed . . . " I knew I had to read more about her.  I poured through her letters to her father and his to her and realized that she and I had embarked on a similar mission: to figure out her father. This now meant, of course, that my new mission was to figure out Martha. The relationships between father and daughter, between daughter and husband, between daughter and children, complicated by the reappearance of an old love who haunts her conscience kept me happily awake over many long nights.' 

Camino Island: A Novel ~ John Grisham
I'm a huge Grisham fan ... but this latest novel was a bit disappointing.  It's a good read, but the riveting trademark Grisham twists and turns that we've grown to love and expect were few and far between.  However, if you're fascinated with authoring and publishing, funky bookstores and mysterious rare books, the storyline will do more than hold your attention. 

The story's locale?  A seaside island.  And that makes this an ideal book to toss in your beach bag. 

Fuel Your Faith: A Practical Guide to Fueling Your Spirituality ~ Jean Wise  
This is a lovely little guidebook, not a heavy theological tome, but a source of encouragement for those who desire to cultivate a deeper, healthy spiritual life.  The author leads us to ...

•  Discover a potpourri of spiritual practices to move you from stuck to unstuck. 
•  Gather ideas applicable right away to your life to awaken your spirit.
•  Learn ways to pray, study, connect, and celebrate God’s presence.
•  Find inspiration, encouragement, and courage to explore your faith.


I appreciated Jean's thoughts on topics that are near to my heart - journaling, community, and gratitude.  And that she's offering a FREE Kindle version is an incredible grace.  She talks about her book here.  What a meaningful addition to your devotional library. 

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel ~ Barbara Kingsolver
This is my second read of this 1998 classic novel, 'a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.  They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil.  What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.'

Powerful, beautifully written, disturbing, compelling.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End ~ Atul Gawande
'In the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit.  Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs.  Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot.  Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.'

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families.  He puts four simple yet profound, clarifying questions on the table that will assist those struggling with endless options, helping shed light and sanity to huge personal choices that can enable us to live well right to the end of our days.

A second read for me, I see this as a solid, vital resource for those facing life-altering medical choices ... and a must-read for every health care professional out there.

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Upcoming books by two of my favorite authors ...
Adam McHugh ~
Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Introverted Culture {Revised and Expanded} - August 1
The author chats with Psychology Today about listening and introversion here.  A great interview!
Sarah Bessey ~
Everyday Resurrection: Living Out the Biggest Story Ever Told - March 2018

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What books are keeping the midnight oil burning around your house?




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talking books with

34 comments:

  1. Being Mortal is one of those books that I'm glad exists and I know I'll get to one day, but I think I have to be in the right frame of mind for it. I love thrillers and scary books, but books about mortality are the real scary books to me!

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    1. Reality's a whole different story than fiction, isn't it!

      Thanks for dropping in this morning, Tina ...

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  2. I've had the same interaction at the library circulation desk! The staff all know me by name because of my excessive holds :)

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    1. We've only lived here 2 years, so that friendly greeting assured me that this is now my home town!

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  3. How fun that the librarian was excited to find out who you are. I too love the power of a good book! I enjoyed reading your reviews. Sounds like your beach bag is full of good things :)

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    1. I love a good library ... and friendly librarians, too!

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  4. I've been thinking about picking up Camino Island and Poisonwood Bible... Thanks for the reviews! I totally agree that an armful of books is sheer delight!

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  5. The Poisonwood Bible was the first book our book club read many years ago. It was a stretch at times, since I was used to quick, short books of no substance! But it led me to get out of my comfort zone and THINK while I read! Have loved reading "better books" ever since!

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    1. Don't you just love losing yourself in a massive pageturner?

      ;-}

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  6. Wow, such great recommendations here, Linda! Don't you just love Jean's latest? I read it way too fast in order to place my review on Amazon, so am looking forward to a slow, gentle re-read, putting many of her great suggestions into practice.
    Montecello and The Poisonwood Bible also intrigued me. Guess I'll be headed to the library myself unless I can find these for cheap on Kindle.
    Blessings!

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    1. I seldom if ever use my e-reader, but I like having Jean's little companion tucked into my phone for those times when I'm away from home and am craving a bit of devotional encouragement.

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  7. Looking forward to Sarah Bessey's book.
    And how come there's not a scented candle called "library smell"?

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    1. You're a genius!!

      You could make a million with your library scented candle! Should you contact Yankee Candle or should I?

      ;-}

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  8. I didn't know McHugh is coming out with an updated version of his book, Introverts in the Church! I loved that book! I have seen The Poisonwood Bible around a lot lately and have wanted to read it. Does it speak poorly of Christianity/missionaries?

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    1. Introverts in the Church is one of my all time favorites, too, Elle!!! It named so many things I was experiencing ... and assured me I was very much normal and not alone.

      I liked that!

      Sadly, yes, I'd say that The Poisonwood Bible does not feature missions or pastors in a positive light. But as you get to know the missionary, you'll see why.

      God have mercy on us as we go out into the world ...

      I still highly recommend the book.

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  9. I am looking forward to downloading Jean Wise's book after I comment here! I've been reading an author I used to read, as well as re-reading a trilogy I read back in the '90's, and re-doing a writing course. I think it is a reviewing summer somehow!

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    1. You're right, Lynn ... there's something kind of comforting in picking up an already loved book ... kinda like visiting with a dear old friend!

      ;-}

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  10. I've been spending more time at the library this summer, too, friend. Dee Henderson is topping my favorites list this summer. A good, solid, Christian fiction writer. I'm catching up on her latest works. Monticello sounds like a good read. One to add to my list! Happy Reading!

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    1. I'll check her out, June. Maybe literally! I've been happily surprised to find a number of Christian authors in our library system.

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  11. So happy to see some of my favorites here. And I'm reading Jean's book right now; enjoying it! The Poisonwood Bible is on my list; must get to it soon. And yay for libraries that let us reserve books! They should know my name by now too. :)

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    1. I bet they do, Lisa. You, my friend, are unforgettable!

      ;-}

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  12. Nice! Thanks for sharing what you're reading. I love it. You might like this:https://www.crossway.org/bibles/esv-readers-bible-six-volume-set-cob/

    I bought it and now it sits ready for me to curl up in a chair as the storm passes by and this page turner is like none other.

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    1. 'This page turner is like none other.'

      No truer words were spoken, Chris ...

      May we never neglect this most vital of Books.

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  13. Oh so many books! Thank you for sharing more to out on my to read list.

    I also wanted to let you know I read the beautiful letter to your dad. It was so touching and brought tears to my eyes as I remember my own daddy. The anniversary of his death is next month on the 24th. You have a beautiful gift for writing and sharing emotion.

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    1. Mary, thank you.

      As I thought of my dad last week, I was thinking of you and your dad, too, and others like us who in that same boat. I hope that reading the post offered you a bit of encouragement.

      We are not alone in our mourning, in our moving on, in our remembering.

      Thinking of you especially today ...

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  14. wow Linda, I've been traveling and just now catching up on emails and my readings and found you mentioned my latest here and on the amazon review. Thank you soooooo much. Your words made my day!

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    1. Welcome home! And thanks again for the generous offer of a free Kindle read! I'm trusting that many readers are taking advantage of your grace-filled offer ... and are discovering a wealth of tools that will draw them closer to Christ.

      Blessings on you, Jean!

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  15. Linda,
    I laughed at the librarian knowing you! I'd be there right with you requesting and reserving books if I lived in your town! :) There's something about a library that makes me feel at home and excited for an adventure at the same time and the smell of books? Divine! xo

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    1. How fun to see you out and about, friend! I hope your summer's included many delightful hours curled up with a great big book!

      Are you blogging again? I must go and check ...

      ;-}

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  16. I love that you're known at the library. You are my kind of celebrity :)

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  17. Being Mortal is a book I am constantly recommending to people. It's an all-time favorite.

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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