What I’m reading this summer (part 1)

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One of the things that I look forward to most about my summers is the opportunity to READ!  So I  thought I’d share some of the  books that I’ve read or am currently working on.

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In no particular order:

Divergent by Veronica Roth (novel) 2011

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As a high school English teacher, I occasionally like to read a YA (Young Adult) book that is popular with my students (or will be soon).  I just picked this book up a few days ago and am already intrigued.  It’s set in the future where all people are placed in separate societies based on a type of aptitude test at age 16.  The main character, Beatrice, doesn’t fit into any of the molds and is given the label “Divergent.”  She gets to pick the society that will be her family the rest of her life.  As the front cover says, “One choice can transform you,” and isn’t that the truth???

It’s amazing what one choice can do for us, and it’s no different for Beatrice.  I’m on chapter 11 (of 39) and she is already questioning her decision.  I’m looking forward to reading more!

Wishing on Dandelions by Mary Demuth (novel) 2006

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Wishing on Dandelions is the follow up novel to Watching the Tree Limbs.  It’s the story of a girl in Texas who lives through sexual abuse, but more than that, it is a story about the redemptive power of Jesus.  The story is gripping and painful and poignant.  I loved getting to know the characters, and watching the main character, Maranatha, begin as a scared girl and turn into a young woman who learns how to let Jesus deal with her hurts and fears.

A challenging quote from the book on dealing with losses in life:  “The way you’ll know if you’re a-growing [in Jesus] is if you learn to shake hands with the taking-away stuff, welcoming it as a way to be more like Jesus.” (page 95)

DeMuth is a good writer, and I enjoyed the two-book series.  She has other novels, as well (but have not yet read).

Thin Places by Mary DeMuth (memoir) 2010

(Can you tell that I’m on a Mary DeMuth kick??)

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Memoirs are my FAVORITE genre, and Thin Places ranks at the top of all memoirs that I  have read.  BTW, I ran across Mary DeMuth’s blog a while back but didn’t pick up her books until this summer.  DeMuth’s memoir is raw and vulnerable because much of the book is not just about her past but about her present.  Turns out, the two novels I read by her were autobiographical, so it was interesting to read the memoir and novels simultaneously.

DeMuth writes, “The Celts define a thin place as a place where heaven and the physical world collide, one of those serendipitous territories where eternity and the mundane meet” (page 11).  DeMuth discovered that the thin places in her life happened at the most difficult times and in her greatest weaknesses when she allowed God to walk in and take over.

The memoir is full of grace, truth, pain, healing, and redemption.  I was gripped by her honesty and wondered if I could ever be that honest with anyone about the depths of my depravity.  I savored every page, seeing myself in her pain and vulnerability, thanking God for this woman who made me think through the thin places in my own life.

One chapter is about Envy.  DeMuth admits her own struggle with envy but writes, “The only way to turn around envy is to offer gratitude for what you have –to give thanks for what God has done in you and for you.  My friend Hud says gratitude is perhaps the greatest indicator of where we are with Jesus.  The more gratitude, the close we are to the whispers of Jesus” (page 52).  I have found that to be so true.  The more gratitude I offer, the closer I am to Jesus.  And I really want to hear his whisper (there is really nothing like it).

So far this summer, Thin Places has had the greatest impact on me.  Let me know what you think about it if you get a chance to read it.

Tune in next time for “What I’m reading this summer (part 2)”!!

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