I don't have nearly as much time to read as I'd like, and part of that can be attributed to my own unwillingness/inability to sit down and just READ, without interruptions. I read voraciously as a kid and even through college, but the last few years my reading (of new books) has dwindled. (I say new books because I am an avid re-reader, which some people don't understand but there's just something comforting about picking up a book and opening it to any page and reading a familiar story. It's almost like watching a movie I've seen a dozen times. Weird, I know.)
Anyway, I've been trying to read more, especially practical, helpful books. And while I haven't exactly been flying through the stacks I'd like to read, I'm at least reading a few new things.
Okay, this first one is actually a re-read, but it's so good that each time I read it I feel like it's the first time because I learn so much. Anyway, it's Writing for the Soul by Jerry Jenkins. My friend Laura who is a very talented writer herself sent me this book last summer and it is just fantastic. In case you aren't aware (and I wasn't either, so we can be ignorant together) Jerry Jenkins had written over a hundred books before he ever wrote the Left Behind series, and this book is full of practical advice as well as inspirational wisdom for writers, aspiring or otherwise. He certainly shoots straight but it's a pretty neat thing to read a book by one of America's most prolific authors and feel as if he is personally rooting to you to make it as a writer. Also, he's really funny and each chapter has inserts about the famous people he's interviewed. I'd find it a great read even if I didn't consider myself a writer.
Next up... I talked about this one a few weeks ago but it was just in passing so I'll elaborate a little. Harvest of Gold is the sequel to Harvest of Rubies and is the story of Sarah (the cousin of Nehemiah) and her husband Darius. This book is captured my interest for two reasons: 1) the love story between Sarah and Darius, whose marriage has tentatively recovered from its very rocky beginning, continues as they face even more challenges in their struggle to find security within themselves and their marriage, and 2) the subplot involving Nehemiah's rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem, outlining the opposition he faced is fascinating. I love this story line because it offers a historically accurate and very detailed of this biblical account that can often be overlooked because some of the actual facts can seem a little dry. I would recommend it as a resource if you're looking into the life of Nehemiah as it bring the story to life in a way I've never seen before. And the powerful love story between Sarah of Darius is certainly no chore to read through, either.
And finally, this last book...oh, this last book I could talk about for days. I'd seen Janssen mention The Wednesday Wars a few times and actually I just happened across it this week at my aunt and uncle's house in a box of books. I picked it up, vaguely aware that I'd heard of it, and started reading. I didn't come up for air (except for dinner, because, obviously) for the next two hours and finished the whole thing in one sitting. It's SO good. The most well-written book I've read in a very, very long time, and so perfect. I think I'm particularly fond of it because it's about a seventh grader (I teach middle school) and his English teacher (and I happen to be one of those.) Janssen articulated the greatness of it so well in her review, and I couldn't agree with her statement more: "If I could write any book, this is the book I would want to have written." I want to buy up copies to give away; it's that good. I'm already re-reading it, mentally highlighting passages just because of the sheer awesomeness of their wording. I know everyone around me is going to get really tired of hearing me talk about it, but it's just fabulous. Read it, read it, read it.
What are you reading these days? I'm always open to suggestions, and as always, I send you to Janssen for better, more informed recommendations (especially if you're looking for children's books... she pretty much has a corner on that market.)
Happy Wednesday, from one bookworm to another. =)