Saturday, November 13, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Did you ever have to read Mythology in high school?  I had to, and I didn't love it.  I thought it was interesting, but I just couldn't get into the stories like I could other books.

However, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is fantastic!  Obviously this book isn't intended for a 26 year old woman to read, but it is wonderful.  It's fast-paced, page turning adventure that everyone loves.  I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I would.  I read it because a lot of my students are reading it, but it turned out so much better than I ever imagined.

If you want a fantasy, easy to read, entertaining book this is a great one!  And it's a series of 5, plus Rick Riordan just came out with the first book in a new series that is a spin-off of this series.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There is No Me Without You

This is another book I have not read yet, but plan on reading in the very near future.  This is a book about an Ethiopian woman who loses her husband and daughter, and then reluctantly decides to take in two AIDS orphans.  This sparks other orphans to start appearing at her door, and before long, an orphanage has started.  Written by a journalist, it is a non-fiction book with a story like appeal.  This book was recommended to me by someone who is in the process of adoption, and told me that I should read it since my husband (Justin) and I are hoping to adopt in the near future.

I think this is going to end up being one of my all-time favorite books, so go pick it up and read it!  I'll let you know once I've read it if it lives up to the hype I have created for it in my mind.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria

I finished this book today.  First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria is the author, Eve Brown-Waite's, personal journey through Ecuador and Uganda.  She begins as a Peace Corps volunteer, falling in love with her recruiter.  She leaves for her two- year commitment in Ecuador, but leaves early due to unexpected circumstances.  However, she gets a second chance at third-world living when her husband gets a job offer in Uganda.

The book is funny and interesting, but at times drags.  I enjoyed it and finished it, but I didn't love it.  It's not a book that I would re-read, or that I would consider one of my favorite books.  If you like to travel, or enjoy reading about others travels, you'll enjoy it.  Be warned, there is some cussing.  Not a ton, but the occasional word seeps in.  So if you're looking for a personal account of life in a third-world country that's funny, yet whiney, pick it up.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

You Know a Book is Good When....

right after you finish you want to turn right back to page one and reread it just so it doesn't have to be over.

I just got around to reading The Help (Kathryn Stockett). I loved it. I have this problem with books that the characters suck me in and in some crazy fiction realm they become my friends. This book was no exception. The author describes such detail that I felt like I was watching a movie instead of reading a book.

Not only did I find it enjoyable in that I-can't-put-it-down kind of way, but it inspired me to do a better job of just loving people. I think I'm ok at it but I think that is part of my personality that I don't give a lot of effort to. I feel inspired to love people, if this makes any sense at all, in a sturdier, quieter, deep in my character kind of way. That's what Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter taught me.

Read it and meet my friends. And if you have read it, read it again just to spend time with some inspiring friends.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Year of Living Biblically

The Year of Living Biblically is on my "to be read" list.  However, I thought I'd post it because it seems incredibly interesting and enjoyable.  A.J. Jacobs does his best to live according to the Old Testament law for an entire year.  A great concept, and what I'm sure is a fabulous read.  If your into non-fiction, documentary type books this is a one to pick up.  Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


My dad recommended Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell to me a year or so ago.  I was familiar with Gladwell because my husband, Justin, had read another one of his books, Blink, for a class.  This is a great non-fiction book.  It's all about why people who are successful, are successful.  What makes someone find success over someone else.  What makes these people different.  Hence the title, Outliers.  It's really interesting, and a pretty easy read.  I admittedly haven't read it completely, but what I have read is great.  If you want an informative, non-fiction book, this is a great choice.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Mysterious Benedict Society

This is a great fiction book.  It's technically young adult literature, and you'll find it in the kids section of any bookstore.  However, don't let that fool you!  It's actually a really fabulous book.  And it's the first book of a trilogy!  So if you love it, you get two more books to read.  This really is a great book, and an easy read.  If you are bogged down and need a stress free book, this is a great choice.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I read Pledged by Alexandra Robbins awhile ago. It is a great book. Robbins pledges a sorority somewhere in the South, and basically writes about what she sees and hears from her sorority sisters. It's really insightful, though sometimes tough to read because of some of the activities that the girls partake in. It's definitely a real world perspective on sororities- so be prepared. However, if you enjoy documentary type books this is a good one to pick up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Girl Meets God

I read this book for the first time in college. I absolutely loved it. This is my type of book. It's a memoir, and it's very personal. Lauren F. Winner is an orthodox Jew who converts to Christianity. This book is all about her spiritual journey. It is brilliant. It's funny, insightful, personal, and thoughtful.

I am re-reading it right now for my church book club that I'm in. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs, especially religious and/or cultural ones. Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Columbine, by Dave Cullen

Very detailed inside facts that the author spent 10 years researching. It so eye opening and really reveals a lot of things the media made wrong and gives a very close picture of both boys lives/minds/ and plans. Its over 300 pages, but I read it in a day and half. Obviously non-fiction, but ready easily.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Direction

Alright my reading ladies. Our current system is not working. And I understand. Summer is hard because people are out of town, busy with projects, and for those less fortunate souls, working. I've been brainstorming some ideas for our club, and I think I've come up with a solution.

Rather than having a specific book each month that every one is supposed to read, I want you to read whatever you want. After you read a book, come on here and tell us about it, even if you dislike it. This will allow you to get recommendations for books, which is what I believe all of us really want to get out of this. Now, if you read a book that someone has already posted on, you can also post about it. Just because it's already been talked about doesn't mean that you can't write about it! I'm still going to try to have at least one book per month to recommend, and I'll always tell you what book I'm about to read.

Hopefully this will encourage all of us to write more, since you get to pick what you want to read.

I have two recommendations for you today.

Recommendation One: The Appeal by John Grisham. I've never really been too interested in Grisham's work, because everyone reads him, but after listening to The Testament I was hooked to his work. I read The Appeal while in Red River, NM. It is a page turner for sure! I couldn't put it down. It gives an inside look to political campaigns that I've never considered. It was unbelievable. The character development is excellent- I felt as though they were real. And, in true Grisham style, the ending is crazy. That's what I love about Grisham, you never know where the book is going, but you know it's not going where you think it is. I highly recommend this book.

Recommendation Two: Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I can't even put in to words what this book has done to me. Really, I shouldn't say what the book has done to me, but what Jesus has done to me through this book. I recommend reading this book in conjunction with Donald Miller's book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Be prepared to be wrecked.

The book I'm about to start is Letters by a Modern Mystic. I'll let you know what I think when I'm done. It comes highly recommended (thanks Katie!), so I'm sure it'll be wonderful.

Let me know what you think of this new format. Please post, and don't be afraid. We want to hear what you think.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Anyone Out There?

Hello my friends?

Are you there?

Are you reading?

Have you fallen into hibernation since it's summer?

I would love to know your thoughts on The Help and on Black Heels to Tractor Wheels.


Please post.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thoughts on The Help

Oh man oh man oh man!!! I just finished The Help. I read it all in basically 2 days. I could not put it down!! I loved it so much.

I don't want to talk to much about the specifics of the book because I don't want to give anything away. But I will say that I was very surprised about some of the characters. I didn't expect a lot of their traits. This, of course, made me love the book even more. So if you haven't read it yet, GO DO IT!!

This book definitely has me thinking about my own prejudices. Obviously I don't consider myself a racist, but neither does Miss Hilly, and she clearly is. Reading books like this one always make me stop and consider, what humans am I somehow belittling or make less human through my speech, actions, and even thoughts? It's a difficult question to really ask yourself and come up with any honest answers.

Of course, I initially become defensive. I answer with no one. I'm an open-minded person, there's no way I'm ostracizing anyone. But we all know this isn't the truthful answer. There are most certainly people I consider less than myself.

So, I want to make an effort to consider all people as equal to myself no matter what. I want to watch my speech and thoughts; that I'm not even accidentally minimizing anyone's existence.

I want to know- if you have finished or are finishing The Help, what did you think?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

June Book.....get ready!!

Hi book friends :-),

You still there? Still reading and clubbing (book clubbing that is!)?

Well, I'm very excited to announce the June book. It's a little different format per se, but I think you can handle it!

Do you know about The Pioneer Woman? Well, you should. It's an amazing blog that Johanna introduced me to about this really fun woman, Ree Drummond. She is a city girl who fell in love with a cowboy. She is witty, has amazing tips for photography, homeschooling, home&garden, and A-MAZING easy to follow recipes. I laugh out loud all the time when I read the blog

So she's written a book called Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. It is an online book on her website. It's about her love story with her husband whom she affectionately calls Marlboro Man. It is fabulous. You will laugh, you will cry, it is a completely fun read and nothing less.

TO READ THE BOOK: click here ...It will take you to the page on her website where she has each chapter listed. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to the oldest date to start.

So in the words of Ree: "Grab a cup of coffee. Curl up with a blanket. Have a box of kleenex and a fan handy. " ENJOY!

By the way, I think they are making a movie about it.... :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Help: Initial Thoughts

I started reading The Help this week, admittedly behind for the month of May. It's quite a lengthy book, but I think it'll be easier to get through since it is fiction.

I am enjoying it very much so far. I like that it's written from three different perspectives, but all deal with the same people and issues. Sometimes it's difficult to read books from various perspectives because they all deal with different people and issues, and it gets confusing. However, this has not been confusing yet.

I also like that the main characters are women. It's always interesting to me to read about various women's perspectives and personalities. I realize this is a work of fiction, but I do feel like these women are real. And this is historical fiction- many of the elements of this book are accurate.

This being said, I'm asking you to put aside your political opinions for a minute, and realize how incredibly huge it was for an African-American to become President. I know that not all of you are supporters of President Obama, but despite that, it is remarkable that he won the Presidency considering the plight of African-Americans in our nation. Sometimes I find myself imagining that this book was set back during the Civil War, hundreds of years ago. But then I realize that it actually was only about 5o years ago! That's not long at all! And I realize that this book is set in Mississippi, perhaps one of the most racist states still to this day, but I just find it amazing to think about.

Of course, I believe that we still have room to grow in race and gender equality, but wow, have we come a long way.

I'm excited to continue this book! Great pick Joanna!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

my contributions.

Hello friends!

Since I haven't been able to discuss much (I don't have a copy), I'll share with you my favorite quotes. I initially read Traveling Mercies while I was on the World Race in 2007. I remember flying through it on a mattress on the floor of our church in Belen, Costa Rica. ha.

It's safe to say that I also love Anne. And I already feel like we're friends. And I want to be THAT authentic about my faith. Not just how I live it .... but how I TALK about it too. Give me the gritty, raw stuff.

So .... here goes. My faves. Sorry it's so long - I liked a LOT of them. :)

  • "My coming to faith did not start with a leap ... but rather a series of staggers."
  • "Only grieving can heal grief ... I'm pretty sure that it is only by experiencing that ocean of sadness in a naked and immediate way that we come to be healed - which is to say, that we come to experience life."
  • "I understand just enough about life to understand that I do not understand much of anything."
  • "Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure." -Rumi
  • "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." - hahahaha. so true.
  • "We in our faith work - stumble along toward where we think we're supposed to go, bumbling along, and here is what's so amazing - we end up getting exactly where we're supposed to be."
  • "Nietzsche said that he could only believe in a God who would dance, and I feel the same way." -me too. :)
  • "The world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less okay for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, you bring them juice and crackers."
  • "Again and again I tell God I need help, and God says 'Well, isn't that fabulous? Because I need help too. So you go get that woman over there some water, and I'll figure out what we're going to do about your stuff." :)
  • "The road to enlightenment is long and difficult ... and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines."
  • "Grace is having a commitment to - or at least an acceptance of - being ineffective and foolish."
  • "I think I already understand about life = pretty good, some problems." -Sam Lamott @ age 7
  • "I believe that when all is said and done, all you can do is show up for someone in crisis, which seems so inadequate. But then when you do, it can radically change everything. Your there-ness ... can be live-giving. So you come to keep them company when it feels like the whole world is falling apart and your being there says that just for this moment, this one tiny piece of the world is okay, or at least better."
  • " ... a person being herself is beautiful - that contentment and acceptance and freedom are beautiful."
  • "Ugliness is creeping around in fear."
  • "It's what we DO in families: we help, because we were helped."
  • "Let the beauty we love be what we do." -Rumi ..... I also think me and Rumi would have been good friends.
  • "Because Christianity is ABOUT water: 'Everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.' It's about baptism, for God's sake. It's about full immersion, about falling into something elemental and wet. Most of what we do in worldly life is geared toward our staying dry, looking good, not going under. But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and founts, you agree to do something that's a little sloppy because at the same time it's also holy and absurd. It's about SURRENDER, giving in to all those things we can't control; it's a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched."
  • "This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we're most sure that love can't conquer all, it seems to anyway. It goes down into the rathole with us, in the guise of our friends and there is swells and comforts. It gives us our 2nd winds, 3rd winds, hundredth winds."

Love. and glad to be reading with you!

Final Thoughts on Traveling Mercies

I forgot to ask this in my last post, but I would love to know everyone's final thoughts on Traveling Mercies! I know there are some of you who have read and been following, but aren't posting. I would encourage you to do so. It really is cool to read everyone's different thoughts and perspectives. I know it seems like it takes a long time, but a normal post takes me about 5 minutes. So, you can do it! Post away my friends!!

So what did YOU think of Traveling Mercies?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Help

ok, so apparently this book is the best book ever....... I wouldn't know because I actually don't have the book in my possession yet, but here is how I know it has to be good....

there is a 55 person wait list to get the book at my library and they have 8 copies! 55!! 55 PEOPLE - that would take me over a year to get to read it.

Then, I posted on my facebook to see if I could borrow it and I already had a friend who is going to bring it to church on Sunday for me to borrow and she says its amazing!!

SOOOO excited to read it....good choice Joanna!

Monday, May 3, 2010

April is Over, May is Here!

I finished Traveling Mercies last night. I am so glad that I read this book. I just loved it. It's definitely a book I would read again, which is saying a lot. I generally don't re-read books because I don't really feel any need to, but this book had so many nuggets of wisdom in it that I don't feel like I got it all the first time. But what I did glean, I loved. Anne Lamott is insightful and hilarious, all in the same breath. I'd be cracking up and then the next sentence I'm grabbing my pencil and underlining like crazy. I just wish I had an ounce of the wisdom and insight that she has. Although I'm sure she wouldn't say that she has either of those characteristics, I find her ability to draw spiritual connections between and out of regular life events uncanny. I definitely envy that.

Anytime I read a memoir of Anne Lamott's nature, I find myself questioning myself. The other day I was reading the blog Stuff Christians Like, and Jon Acuff (the author) was talking about people's various "things". He proposed that everyone has a "thing" that when he/she does it, he/she feels alive and like he/she is really doing something big. However, he also posits that very few people are actually doing their "thing". Anne Lamott is definitely doing her "thing." And if she's not, I am extremely jealous, because she is such an incredible writer. But it made me think, am I doing my "thing"? I realize this is kind of a rabbit trail from the actual book, but it's what this book made me think, so I'm going there today.

If I'm not doing my "thing", what exactly is my "thing"? Is it problematic that I don't think I can answer that question? As much as I'd like to, I'm not sure what my "thing" is. But I desperately want to know, and I desperately want to be doing that.

Sometimes, I think I'd love to write, but I don't think I have what it takes. Other days, I really think I'd love to go into politics. And then I don't think I have what it takes. Then again, I really am interested in psychology, and maybe that's my "thing", but again, I don't know if I have what it takes. On the other hand, I'd love to live somewhere outside of the USA and do missions work. But then I remember I have a husband. :)

And then I remember. I have the Holy Spirit inside of me. God is inside of me. So why do I ever question if I have what it takes? Why don't I just stop making excuses and DO??

And what if we all did that? What if we all thought about what our thing is, stopped making excuses, and then just did it? Probably some of you are thinking that you are doing your thing, and I'm sure you love it. But just think- what if all of humanity, or even the majority of humanity, was actually doing what they love. What they want to do, rather than what's practical, or earns them the most money. What would life be like?

I'd like to see it. And I'd really like to see it just in my own life.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May Book - Fiction!

Johanna, I was on my way over here to post the May book when you asked your question. The winner is:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

It was the one I kept coming back to over and over again.

I'm excited to read it and hear what everyone thinks!

May Book?

I'm getting excited about whatever our May book is going to be!! Any decisions yet Joanna? :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Better Late than Never

So the procrastinator side of my personality has come out in full force this month and I have yet to start "Traveling Mercies"......I plan on starting it today! I'm posting so that I will have something holding me accountable!!

Ok, on another book note..... I have just discovered Elizabeth Noble, fiction author. Has anyone read any of her books? I just picked up "Things I want my Daughters to Know" at the library. I've read one chapter and I already love her. She is British, or at least this book is written British. Apparently she has a Bestseller called "The Reading Club".... possible suggestion Joanna?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fiction anyone?

I'm enjoying "Traveling Mercies" and might actually manage to finish it in April! However, the duty of choosing next months book falls on me. And I am ready for a fiction story. Don't quite know what yet. Anybody have anything to suggest?

I Don't Want It To End!

I am nearly done with Traveling Mercies, and I love it. What a great book Julie chose! Thanks again Julie!

I like this book for numerous reasons. The two main reasons are that she is so normal, and that she is able to put words to things that I can't always express.

One chapter in particular that I loved was "Forgiveness". I know that I, like many women, struggle with comparing myself to others. I love how the whole time Anne Lamott is relating these various interactions with the mom of her son's friend, she is the one who is actually doing the comparing. The thing is, I never caught on to that fact either until Anne pointed it out. I know that I'm so very much the same. I think that someone is judging me, when in reality, I'm the one judging. Or even allowing myself to be judged. It's not fair to that other person, and it's not healthy at all.

I also really loved the chapter "Why I Make Sam Go to Church". I know that my parents always made us go to church, and I loved how Anne Lamott expressed her feelings about why she makes her son go to church. I also, like Sam, always loved church, even if I griped about going. And looking back, I'm so glad my parents made us go. It should be a great place of community, which is in essence the reason that Anne makes Sam go.

Overall, I really love this book. I'll finish it this week, which is convenient since it is the last week of April! And this will be a book that I will always love and cherish.

So, Joanna, we're all excited to find out our book for May!! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My First Thought on Traveling Mercies

Well, I have been avidly following the posts on here and commenting occasionally. I am suffering from First Year Teacher Syndrome. I don't have time to do much of anything that doesn't involve school. I just now finished the India portion of EPL and am finally past the Overture of Traveling Mercies. Here are some thoughts so far on Traveling Mercies:

The overture was a tough read for me. Like Johanna mentioned earlier, I have nothing in common experience-wise with this woman. She has some interesting thoughts on faith and it does me good to hear about some non-Bible-Belt Christian thinking. While reading today I came across a quote that really made me think:

"Maybe it's because music is about as physical as it gets: your essential rhythm is your heartbeat; your essential sound, the breath. We're walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to the mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn't get to any other way."

I'm not sure I could have made it this far this year without music. I have cried to Steven Curtis Chapman's "Beauty Will Rise" cd on my way to work more times than I can count. It reminds me that out of the ashes of hardship God can (and will) make beauty rise. Robbie Seay Band's song "All I Want" has reminded me that with all the junk going on, and all the stress, and all the tired, all I need is Him.

So somehow music has let me get to places I couldn't get to any other way. How about you?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lily Pads

Unlike EPL, which I speedily read through and enjoyed, this book has taken more effort to dive into. I have just now finished reading the overture. It seems like some of you are having similar feelings about this book. That gives me some relief. I thought it was just me. :-)

Though the overture has been difficult to get through, I will say that the beginning paragraph of the book hooked me. Her allegory about faith being like lily pads deeply resonated with me. The last several months I have spent more time reflecting on my faith journey, and although my story is much different than the authors, I see how God uses different circumstances and experiences to project me along in my journey of faith. from one transformation to another. Like she says, " I can see how flimsy and indirect a path they made. Yet each step brought me closer to the verdant pad of faith on which I somehow stand today." My journey definitely feels indirect at times, but I am encouraged that its always had a purpose. There's a reason it's indirect. In Exodus 13:17-18 when the Israelites left Egypt God did not take them on the shortest route to get to their destination. It says God took them a longer way because He knew that if they faced war with the Philistines they would change their minds and return to Egypt. The longer way put them in some difficult places, but God protected and guided them. In the same way our lives may not feel like it's follow a direct route, but we can trust that we are held by a God who has our good in mind.

Anyone else feel like they're hopping on lily pads?

Room Service and Barn Raising, I mean why not Ann?

:) First off I would just like to say that I am pleased with your posting on facebook Johanna. I click on your link from there and then come here, and then take the time to post. So way to use your facebook effectively (for lazy people like me!)

Well I am about halfway through Traveling Mercies. Honestly, I mean, it's not my absolute favorite read. She is kind of everywhere, but as I was talking to Katie about earlier this week; I suppose the title prepares us for that by stating that it is a bunch of thoughts on faith complied into a book. So I can't fault her for that. I appreciate her honestly. I enjoy her descriptive words and analogies. ;) I am grateful to have my eyes opened to a new relationship that someone shares with Jesus. It is different than mine, different I feel from probably most of us, and yet very similar at the same time.

Although in many ways she is hard to relate to because of her background, or extreme liberalism, or profession ,etc. When it comes to the tiny details, when it comes to the every day, there are enough moments of brutal honesty that collide with my life that it's making it worth the read.

When she is talking on forgiveness, and the mom that she hates that does everything perfect, only realizing that she is projecting all of her own insecurities on this other mom. Realizing all this through looking down at a shoe. I Love it! That is how our God works! Through these silly, intricate, detailed, obvious, subtle, ridiculous, blatant, ouch that hurt, sweet honey kind of ways.

Two recently read quotes that I'm diggin':

"Grace is having the commitment to- or at least an acceptance of-being ineffective and foolish. That our bottled charm is the main roadblock to drinking that clear cool glass of love. Grace meet us where we are but does not leave us where it found us."

" By then I'd figured out the gift of failure, which is that it breaks through all that held breath and isometric tension about needing to look good: it's the gift of feeling floppier."

OH- and i'm ready to do some barn raising around some people... who's with me? :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Overture of Traveling Mercies

Well, I'm still a little peeved because no one has posted since my last post, but oh well.

I have some thoughts about Traveling Mercies thus far that I want to share with you all.

First, I really am enjoying this book, but in a totally different way than Eat, Pray, Love. I was a little concerned that we were reading another memoir, but this has SUCH a different feel from EPL that I'm not worried at all. I'm so glad Julie chose this book.

Secondly, while I sincerely enjoy the book so far, I am having a bit of trouble identifying with Anne Lamott. I mean, holy cow, how many bad things can you have happen in your life before 30?? She has definitely experienced it all. I, on the other hand, have admittedly lived a very sheltered life. I can't really say that I've done any of the things Anne L. has done, and I definitely haven't experienced all of the incredible pain she has experienced. This is not to say that I haven't had bad things happen to me, but nothing like what her.

Thirdly, this book has some absolutely beautiful and breathtaking moments. I find myself constantly underlining and commenting every where. I wanted to share two particular quotes that just take my breath away quite literally:

"I guess it's like discovering you're on the shelf of a pawnshop, dusty and forgotten and maybe not worth very much. But Jesus comes in and tells the pawnbroker, 'I'll take her place on the shelf. Let her go outside again."

"But the church smelled wonderful, like the air had nourishment in it, or like it was composed of these people's exhalations, of warmth and faith and peace."


So, tell me, what do YOU think so far?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Okay Ladies

You all know that I love our book club. And I really enjoy the various posts that have come up throughout Eat, Pray, Love. However, I have a bone to pick with many of you.


Okay, maybe that came off a little too strongly. I'm slightly kidding, but I really do want more of you to post. I personally get so much more out of each book when I can read your various thoughts and insights. I think that perhaps some of you are afraid to post negative thoughts that you might have, but please don't be! None of us wrote these books, so you are not hurting our feelings if you say you hate it.

So, please, I BEG YOU, POST!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Still praying for Usher: My final thoughts on Eat, Pray, Love.

(sorry this post is late....crazy week last week! and I have a lot to say :)

When I was in college (wreck 'em!) I went through a then-called phase that I referred to as my "Usher stage." It was somewhere around sophmore year through junior year, right about the time the song "Yeah" made the big times. (I know what you're thinking....what does this have to do with our friend Liz Gilbert and her book? I'll get to that....stick with me, just let it burn....) Back to Usher. So I went through this phase where I loooooved Usher. If a magazine cover had a picture of him on it, I was already swiping my credit card to buy it before I had even processed the thought of whether I had the money in my skimpy college budget to buy it. It even seems a little labored to have to mention the fact that his album was constantly playing. ok, ok, to the point.... I could have sworn that he and I would be friends should he ever dain to look through my magazine or tv screen back at me. I did have the understanding though that we probably lead very different lifesyles and that there are probably a lot of choices he makes that I wouldn't agree with. And I would still be his friend should we ever have the opportunity. I remember thinking when I watched him accept a grammy and he thanked God first, I remember that a cultural gratitude or does he really love Jesus. I don't know the conditions of his heart, nor has he ever written a book laying out for the entire female population the conditions of his heart. I decided right there and then that I every time I saw him or thought about him I would pray for him. That he would LOVE Jesus. That Jesus would rescue him from the dominions of darkness like we all need him to and that that love and that rescue would be evident in all that he says and all that he does.

Last week on American Idol, Usher just happened to be the guest mentor on American Idol. On the results show he perfomed his new song (destined to be a hit). I prayed for him right before I realized that that "phase" in college, wasn't just a phase.

Ok, If you are still with me, by now you probably realize the parallel I am about to spell out for those of you who might skip right to the bottom to see why all of the above words actually matter. I feel the same way about my new friend Liz. Whereas I do not agree with a lot of her lifestyle and spiritual choices, should we ever meet, I know we would be friends. I started reading her next book "Committed" because I love her so much and wanted to follow her and continue our "friendship". I feel the same way about this book as I did the first, maybe even a little more exaggerated (I have already ranted back at her a few times in my head). But I will finish it because I like her and she is my friend. Most importantly, when I finished E,P,L moments before I watched Usher perform, I made a commitment to pray for her whenever I see her name or think about her.

So, that's how I feel. I could rant a little bit about the "bead" when she talks about heaven and hell being the same, and maybe a few other things that rubbed me the wrong way. BUT, instead, I will end on a positive note... one of my favorite quotes from the book....:

" 'But I don't know how much more socializing I can do, Felipe. I only have the one dress. People will start to notice I wear the same thing all the time.'

'You're young and beautiful, darling. You only need the one dress' "

-Liz and Felipe

What are your favorite quotes from the book?!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Final Thoughts

Well, I guess no one wants to post her final thoughts about Eat, Pray, Love, so I will.

I must confess that I am not totally done with the book. March was a little bit crazy with family in town, but I am working through it. I will definitely read Traveling Mercies by the time April ends.

I have mixed feelings about Eat, Pray, Love. From strictly a writing perspective, I love it. I find Elizabeth Gilbert to be incredibly relatable, funny, down-to-earth, honest, and genuine. Her writing makes me feel like I am talking to her. Perhaps not talking to her, but that I am privy to her innermost thoughts, like a life-long friend. I really enjoy that.

Memoirs happen to be my favorite genre to read, so that was also a big plus for me, and part of why I chose this book.

However, I feel frustrated a lot of the time reading the book. Her religious ideas and even her basic ideas of life itself are so close to Truth, yet so far away. It breaks my heart. It is a reminder to me though, that until Jesus truly reveals Himself to her, she'll never fully understand. She will continue to search and meditate to no avail. So I pray for her. I know that sounds silly, but she is a real person, and this is her real story. So I pray.

Overall, I am glad that I am reading and will eventually complete this book. And I do plan on reading Committed, basically because I want to keep up with her. I want to know how Elizabeth Gilbert's story turns out.

So please post. I want to know what you thought. And the only way this really works as a book club is if everyone contributes and posts.

Also, start posting about Traveling Mercies. Knowing Anne Lamott her writing will definitely cause you to think.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Final Thoughts

I'm so excited about our April book! I have had Traveling Mercies by Ann Lamott sitting on my bookshelf for a few years now, and have never picked it up for whatever reason. I'm very glad to know have a good reason to make myself read it.

I am curious to know everyone's final thoughts about Eat, Pray, Love. Even if you haven't quite finished it yet, like me, I want to know what your concluding thoughts are. Did you enjoy it? Did you hate it? Did you love her and her writing style, or did she drive you crazy? Let's hear it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Traveling Mercies by Ann Lamott

Alright. I know I only gave everyone a day to decide.. haha... but since April is fast approaching I am going to go ahead and officially choose. We will read Traveling Mercies. It is the older of the two, so if you end up liking this first one... you have the next one to read. :) I am not sure how much this book is to buy, but I do know that they have it at the library!! With a wonderful book behind us, I am hoping april brings just as much thought and discussion! :) Thanks everyone!

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Book for April!

Hi all,

Alright so I am always nervous about these decisions. But I was thinking of the group reading an Ann Lamott book. I have heard good things. I am up for any of her books. I have chosen two specifically if anyone is interested:

Traveling Mercies

Grace Eventually

Any preferences? Do tell!

Sorry if those links do not work, I am still getting used to this mac thing!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

When Can I Leave?

Reading EPL makes me really want to go/move to Italy. Reading her descriptions and stories makes me desperately want to experience Italy for myself!

That's all. Who's with me?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If you liked Eat, Pray, Love...

So I know I've been MIA thus far in the discussion, but I have definitely been reading! I wanted to share this link I found on Elizabeth Gilbert's next book "Committed." (Though I wouldn't suggest reading it yet unless you've read to "bead" 98. The review contains a bit of a spoiler if you haven't gotten that far.) The book seems pretty interesting, especially if you like her writing style. Check it out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

EPL Trailer

Hello everyone! Michelle here. Following the discussion and enjoying it so far. Thought you all might like to see the new preview!!! Looks beautiful. Enjoy ....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

AH I forgot something!

Sorry! I forgot something. I don't know how you all feel about our blog's look, so I want you to tell me if you want me to change it. Go to either Shabby Blogs or The Cutest Blog on the Block and tell me if there is a background you like more. If I don't hear from anyone, then I might just change it myself. :)

Alright, I think that's all for now.

A Few Items

First of all- I'm loving all of the discussion so far about this book! Keep reading and keep posting.

Secondly, if you haven't heard of or use Google Reader yet, you need to. Basically Google Reader will organize all of the blogs you want to follow on ONE screen. It's absolutely fabulous. That way you don't have to type in each web address of every blog you read or follow. If you don't follow many blogs, or any except this one, then Google Reader won't do much for you. But if you are like me and read many blogs, Google Reader is great.

Thirdly, I've organized a rotation for picking books. Whenever it is your turn, please let us know the name and author of the book by the last week of the previous month. For example, Julie is our next book picker, so Julie will let us all know her choice sometime during the last week of March. Then, Joanna will let us know our May book by the last week of April. Get it? So here you go!

April: Julie
May: Joanna
June: Carrie W.
July: Katie Hill
August: Tara M.
September: Annie E.
October: Ann G.
November: Hilary
December: Angela
January: Kelli
February: Claire

And then we will start over!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Movie with Julia!!

So I was browsing the magazing rack while checking out at CVS tonight and came across the latest People. When I saw the cover I had to buy it, and the reason was only a little due to the fact that Jake and Vienna were the main story (Yes, I do watch the Bachelor - I have a specific reason if you want to know some other time). The main reason was because it had a "sneak peak" of a new movie coming out from the very book we are all reading. AND the one and only Julia Roberts plays the main character, our new friend, author Elizabeth Gilbert!!

(You might have already known this was going to be a movie in which case some of you can just pretend you didn't to humor me!)

A little of this.. a little of that... thus far...

Alright you will all have to bear with me. You see, I am a person that thinks and thinks and think about things... but when asked to speak her thoughts, does so with um's and blanks and stares, and looses all train of thought. So, a list is how I shall work this post- because I am a fan of lists- and if possible, i will highlight this list, because I am a fan of colorful lists. :)

1. I agree with Johanna, I am so glad I read the introduction to see how she was choosing to structure it. Not so much because I am a fan of structure, I just love knowing background information. I love knowing just a little bit more to help it sink in that much more. So yes, I'm a fan.

2. I love the writing. She is down to earth, yet a smart little sassy girl with her own insecurities, someone every lady can relate too!

3. This book is starting to make me want to learn Italian. I catch myself saying the quotes outloud, trying to have an Italian accent while my husband stares at me across the room in confusion.

4. I should have blogged sooner , because I had many more thoughts before this, but see ( i didn't make a list) and therefore, they have vanished.But the part I am at right now, she is talking about really understanding pleasure for all that it is. How in Italy, they applauded her for that and yet in America we seem to learn something different. It caused me to ask the question:

" Where do I stand with pleasure? Should i worry so much about what pleases me, or worry about pleasing the Lord? Or mayyybee... when I desire to please the Lord, my pleasure becomes what His was in the first place.."

She states ' generally speaking Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. But we seem to like it. Of course we all work to hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pj's, eating cereal straight out of the box staring at the TV in a mild coma. Americans don't really know how to do nothing. ..... Planet advertising in America orbits completely around the need to convince the uncertain consumer that yes, you have actually warranted a special treat. This Bud's for you! You deserve a break today! because you're worth it! You've come a long way, baby! And the insecure consumer thinks, yeah!! Then the reactionary binge, followed by remorse."

I have found myself falling into these same lies and traps (especially with Kit Kats, ohhhh they get me!). It's sooooo interesting to me how different cultures function, different nations, different people's.

It raises the question, what is pleasure to us? Where do we find it?
If you were told that you had the week off of work and you were supposed to use that week doing whatever gave you the most pleasure. The absolute most pleasure , where would you go? What would you do? Would you really even know?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thoughts and Yes, Feelings (so far...)

I am only through Chapter Three. And I have a few thoughts and yes, feelings. Because if you know me, when I think I feel, when I feel I think.

Let me start with the good things. Things I really like....

1. I love any book that begins the first chapter with a kiss, or an almost kiss in this case.

2. I love the way she "speaks" in a Gilmore-esque way: quick, witty, likeable. I think we would be friends and I like her.

3. She knows her audience: women. Think about it: food, religion, grabs us girls at the core.

Ok now the main thing that I was biting my lip about....

After reading Chapter 2 and 3, I feel sad. Sad that someone who is passionate about seeking the "truth" can be so close and yet not see it yet, both with the idea of marriage and her view of God. And she is not uninformed. It's almost like there is a flashing neon sign right in front of her and she is looking everywhere but at the sign.

Of course I will continue to read this book and I promise I will like a lot of it, but I do feel sad already. I want her to know and see and experience and yes feel the God that I feel in good times and bad. A God who IS "magnificent" BECAUSE there is only one way to Him: a relationship with his son Jesus.

We will see where she ends up. I'm interested to see and hear more about her journey and how she did become informed with what she does believe and know.

And yes, I would still be her friend.

Is Love Enough?

I came across this quote from Eat, Pray, Love today, and I wanted to know everyone's thoughts on it. Elizabeth Gilbert writes, "We were so committed to solving this thing. Because how could two people who were so in love not end up happily ever after? It had to work. Didn't it?"

What do you think? Is love enough? Comment or post away, even if you haven't gotten to this part or even started the book!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thoughts So Far

Confession: I just started reading our book today. I know, I know, I should have started it awhile ago, seeing as I already owned it, and have been wanting to read it, but I've been reading other children's books for school. So I haven't gotten too far, but I wanted to share a few thoughts on what I've read thus far.

I'm really glad I read the introduction, because I liked the explanation of how the book is structured. If you know me at all, I LOVE structure. I thrive on structure. I have small panic attacks when things are unstructured, and therefore, knowing that this book is founded on this awesome principle of structure, I can sleep a little bit easier tonight.

I also thought her comments about how our spiritual journeys are structured was also interesting. She said, "Sincere spiritual investigation is, and always has been, an endeavor of methodical discipline." I am intrigued by that statement, and as I thought more about it, I believe she is absolutely right. People who say they are looking for Truth, and for spirituality, but are haphazard and not all that concerned with any sort of investigation whatsoever, are really not that interested at all in finding Truth or spirituality. However, how often do those of us who are Christ-followers (I myself included in that group), try to make out the Gospel and Christianity as this "do whatever feels right, there is no structure here" belief system? True seekers are searching for the Truth with "methodical discipline", and I believe that unless we have a disciplined, structured system to offer, these seekers will definitely be unimpressed, and probably seek out other belief systems. I'm not saying that we should become this ultra-traditional, legalistic religious cult, but rather, embrace what makes Christianity and the Gospel the Truth.

I don't know if that makes sense at all- it does in my head. I'm very interested to know all of your thoughts so far. Please feel free to post! And post often.

Friday, February 19, 2010

March Book

Announcing our March book! After looking at the various votes and opinions many of you had, our first book is going to be Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert! I am super excited about this book because I've been wanting to read it for awhile, but for whatever reason hadn't!

Amazon is selling this book for $10.20, Barnes and Noble has it for $15.00, Target has it for $12.00, and Borders has it for $10.80.

And of course I assume your local public library has it as well for free!

So start reading and posting! Feel free to post about anything as you go.

And keep telling your friends.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Start Date

So far we have a good amount of people wanting to be a part of our no-pressure, online book club! I've invited about 10 authors so far, which is a great start. Please continue to tell your friends, and have them send their email address to me,

I will choose a book by Friday, and then we'll start reading and posting. Please feel free to post whenever you feel like it. You don't have to have something brilliant or completely compelling to say, just your basic thoughts and feelings about the book. At the end of March someone else will pick the next book, and we'll read that book for the month of April.

So, as in every civilized country, we have a few ground rules that I'd also consider basic common sense:
1. Please use only appropriate language. If it can't be said on television without getting a fine, don't say it on here.
2. Respect everyone's opinions. Please feel free to disagree all you want, but do it in a polite way.
3. You don't have to read every book. If you feel uncomfortable with a book, post that you're not comfortable, and then don't read it. Just wait a month and then we'll be on to something else!

Don't forget to vote for the book you want to read this month! I definitely want your input when choosing this first book, so comment or post your vote.

And tell your friends.

That's all folks.


I am really excited! A no pressure book club. I kinda rebel when I feel like I HAVE to read something which is why a regular book club is not for me, but this I can handle. I think all of these sound great but my vote is on Eat, Pray, Love. Also I have to say that I have already read Same Kind of Different as Me, but would recommend that everyone read it at one time or another and if yall wanted to read it now I would be glad to follow along on posts.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Okay, sorry to post again so quickly, but I figured out how to add authors. All I need is your email address! So, if you will email them to me at

Alright, that's all for now.

Book Club: Month One

Hey all! So, we are really doing this! I hope that many people join us throughout our journey through books, but if not, oh well! We'll have fun even if it's just a few of us.

Here's how this will work. I am the administrator of the blog, meaning I can change the background and that sort of stuff. But, I believe I can make various "authors". That means that each of you can become an author, at least until we have used up all of the spots. I am pretty sure you can have up to 25, but I'm not positive. I'll find out more about that when I finish writing this.

After I put you as authors, you can add posts just like this!

I'm thinking we'll read a book a month, and we can take turns choosing the book. For our first book, I want to give you some options, vote, then we'll start. So, here are the choices:

1. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Fiction: love story meets intrigue. I've heard it's great. And when we're done, we could watch the movie.

2. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton. This is a mystery book that begins Sue Grafton's alphabet series. I've actually started reading this already, but haven't finished it yet. It's a good "whodunit" book.

3. Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. This is a memoir/nonfiction book about worlds colliding with a wealthy man and a homeless man. Again, I've heard great things.

4. Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. An intriguing story, that I honestly don't know too much about, except that it's about a monkey? I don't know, but it comes highly recommended too. Very interesting.

5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Another memoir, this time about a woman who travels around the world in search for significance. Also, highly recommended.

We have some great options here if you ask me! Let me know your vote as soon as you can. I'll let you know our final decision in a week.

Last thought- tell your friends!! Book clubs are more fun with more input and viewpoints from multiple people. Get the word out.