So, I had a bit more time this month for reading. I finished 7 titles and started another. That one will take me a while. I’ll start there so I can explain.
About 8 years ago, a group of ladies I knew decided to start Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. I’d never read it nor had the desire to but this group got me a bit excited to read it. It is a daunting sized book at about 900 pages. As a group, I guess they felt the same way as the group never got past 2 weeks and a couple of chapters. I saw the book the other day and decided to tackle it again. I am about 100 pages in. It is a strange story so it is not a fast read. But I am going to push on because I am curious about how this is going to go for the next 800 pages. Is it going to continue with the main character seemingly so crazy as to fancy himself a knight-errant and facing all the thing he read in his fantasy stories? Or is something going to change drastically and take the story in a completely different path? I don’t know so I’ll keep on and see.
I read 2 books by Nik Wallenda, of the Flying Wallenda family. I started with Facing Fear. It was a touching, challenging, and wonderful book to read. Life is seldom what we expect or dream. It can be better or it can be worse. Either way, fear can prevent us from living life. Nik Wallenda delves into how he handles fear in his day to day life and in the job he does. Spiritual strength, his connection with the one true God, helps he in his daily struggles to keep focused and push forward into dreams. Reliving one of the worse high wire accidents of history in which he was the one in charge, he helps the reader see how worshiping God will render fear helpless. God is the one who pulls us through the hard times and helps us focus in the daily needs. I found this such a wonderful book that I bought additional copies for a couple of friends whose names stayed in my head during the reading of this book. My teenage daughter read through it almost as fast as I did, finding a connection with the performance aspect and finding worship in what you daily do. Highly recommend.
The other book by Nik Wallenda was Balance. Nik Wallenda takes us through his early life, his training, and his understanding of the balance of faith and life. His writing is engaging and we desire to see how he pursued life with an energy that drives forward continually. Without losing the focus of God working in his life, Wallenda shows us how he dealt with many of the challenges in his life. From his childhood and on through some of the biggest walks of his life on the high wire, we see the worship take center stage as he strives to show the world God through his performance. A beautifully written memoir.
When Shovels Break by Michael Shank is the follow up book to Muscle and A Shovel. In the first book, we read the conversion story of Michael and his wife. The second book is about living a Christian life and returning to it when you have fallen away. Michael is candid about the difficulties he faced, what pulled him away from Christ, the sins he chose and bore the consequences of, and how he returned to the one who loves him. This second book delves into the difficulties culture places on new Christians, how the flame of love can be extinguished, and how a seemingly good person can be living a double life. It is a good reminder to look beyond the surface of what you know about folks, get to know them, and offer help at every turn.
The Last Rose of Shanghi by Weina Dai Randel was a book I got from Amazon Prime First Read so it was an ebook. I found this historical fiction book a quick and enjoyable read set in WWII. It focuses on two unlikely people: a young Jewish refugee seeking work and life for him and his sister in Shanghai and a young Chinese woman who is a business owner seeking freedom from tradition and family culture. The struggles these two face are large and heavy but they keep pushing forward, seeking a way through the challenge. Music and friendship and love help them both to keep refocusing on what is best and through all the twists, turns, and cruelty of war, life can be good.
The Skylark’s Secret by Fiona Valpy was another ebook I had. Told in alternating voices between Flora, a game keeper’s daughter, and Lexi, Flora’s daughter, this is a story of difficulty in relationship, love, and life. Lexi is returning home to the Scottish highlands after her vocal career in London is no longer viable due to damage to her vocal chords and a dead relationship with a producer and following the death of her mother. However, she is taking home with her a new life in her daughter. As Lexi is struggling to learn her new place in the world and figure out what to do with her life, she is also exploring the world she grew up in and the secrets that her mother held. Through the friends of her mother’s and friends of her own, Lexi is reliving her mother’s life and learning much about community. Flora had lived through WWII and her beloved home port, Loch Ewe, became a naval base for the Home Fleet. From there, convoys were staged to supply the Russians who were struggling against the German forces. These dangerous Arctic convoys were a big part of the life of the community and Lexi learns just how important they were through piecing together her family’s history. It was an interesting look at yet another part of WWII.
Sold On A Monday by Christina McMorris was a depression era novel that I enjoyed. An accidental photo leads to a reporter’s big break. It is quickly followed by a mistake that destroy’s the perfect photo. Recreating the photo slightly different leads to unexpected consequences that follow the reporter through life. Life in the US following the stock market crash left hard times everywhere but for Ellis Reed, this photo gave him a glimpse of a difficult past while leading him into what he viewed as better times. For the newspaper secretary Lillian Palmer, she also sees her past and it invoked a lot of emotion. These two follow their stories forward, propelled by this single photo. This was a unique look at how some of the lives were lived during the Depression and those difficult days. I found it an enjoyable story and it was an easy read. It definitely took some twists and turns but left a pleasant feeling at the ending.
Daughters of the Night Sky by Aimie K Runyan is another WWII story. Starting in the beginning stages of WWI in the remote part of Russia, we meet Katya. Her mother is struggling to keep them alive as the poverty is extreme in their area. Katya is smart and works hard to earn a place in a pilot training program, despite poor teachers who see her as nothing more than a girl who can marry and work and produce children. She and the other young ladies continue to work hard and earn their wings, again despite teachers who do not think women should fly. Earning the right to be a part of a women’s bomber group in the Russian Army, the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, she learns to love, live, and strive for peace among some of the worst conditions possible. Her regiment’s success is celebrated and the enemy gives them the nickname “Night Witches.” The story of love, life, loss, and hope is one that is lived the world over in daily life and war time, peace and struggle. Based on an actual group of women pilots and navigators, I enjoyed this story a lot.
I always enjoy hearing about other titles so please share anything you enjoyed reading in the comments.
Lori, At Home.