Top 2 Books – September 2017

Hi everyone! Today I’m back with a slightly-shorter-than-normal review of my favourite books of the month. I read quite a few books in September, but alas my time is running out today, so 2 is all I have time for right now. 😀

 

Yancey-Bible-Jesus-Read

 

This was (again) a book I read as part of my school work this year, and (again :D) I was very pleasantly surprised by it! Yancy takes the reader on a journey as he delves into the Old Testament – shedding light on the Bible that Jesus would’ve read. The Old Testament is the prequel to the story of Jesus, but so often Christians are put off by the sheer size of it, the dense prophecies, or the depressing stories. But Yancy takes the Old Testament and shines a light on the beauty hidden behind those initial barriers. Writing a chapter each on Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Deuteronomy, and the Prophets, he gives clarity to the story that each book holds.

The thing that I found so captivating about this book is the way that he points out how each book is part of a greater narrative, and how each story is woven into The Story. The Story of the world, and how Jesus has come to save it. This book wasn’t exactly light reading, as it had a lot of historical/theological information in it to process. But Yancy writes in a very clear, compelling and captivating way, and I didn’t find this book hard to get through at all. If you struggle with the Old Testament at all, or are just wanting to learn more about the backgrounds and meanings behind the OT books, then this book is for you! I’m giving this book a solid 9* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 14+.

 

beowulf

Three massive battles with monsters and dragons featuring feats of intense bravery and fortitude – it doesn’t get much better than that. 😀 Throw in that this book was written over 1000 years ago, but is still readable and interesting to a modern reader, and bam, you’ve got a rather interesting book on your hands. Now lest you think that I am an incredible nerd for picking up a 1000+ year old book and actually liking it, let me shed some light onto the situation. You see, I’m only a slight nerd, because I choose to take classes like ‘Middle Ages Literature’ and then actually enjoy the books that I read in that class. 😀 So yes, this is, yet again, another school book. But I enjoyed it so much I figured I’d spotlight it on here. After all, it’s not every month I read an ancient, poetical story full of monsters and daring deeds. 😛

Anyways, where was I…? Oh yes, talking about Beowulf. So yeah, it’s basically what I’ve already said – a really long poem about a guy that fights a monster, then the monster’s mother, and then a dragon. Which in itself doesn’t exactly sound thrilling. But it is! The writing is incredibly beautiful. Seriously, I wish that I could write some of the things that the author of Beowulf comes out with. The history behind it is fascinating. I’ve been learning about it in my class, and finding out so much history behind the story! Learning the history behind all the rituals detailed in the poem, the Scandinavian culture within which it was composed, and how it survived seemingly a million and two fires and finally got translated into English – it’s all so fascinating! Of course, I am a history nerd, so that might bias me a little bit. 😀

And yes, because it was written such a long time ago, the language is hard to follow. The story itself is interesting, but the rabbit trails and side-notes that the author takes are often confusing and slightly tedious. But apart from that, it’s a masterpiece! I’d really recommend going out of your comfort zone, and if not reading this book, then reading something else that you normally wouldn’t read. Because, as I found out when I read Beowulf, sometimes it’s good to stretch yourself out of your normal habits, because you can learn and grow and find gems of literature along the way! I’ve giving Beowulf 8* out of 10, and recommending it to anyone that is brave enough to take the challenge. (but probably 13+ :D)

That’s all for this week! Please feel free to share some of your favourite books you read in the past month. I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

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Top 3 Books – August 2017

Wow, can you believe it’s already September? Summer is over and done, and I’m sad about that… 😦 Summer is my favourite time of the year, and if I could I would make it doubly longer! 😀 Alas, I do not possess that power. Let me know if you know of any special trick to stop time from going so fast, I’d like to know about it. 😛

So school has started back up for pretty much everybody school aged by now. I’m going into my Junior year (of high school, for all my American readers) / Year 12 (first year of Sixth Form for all my English readers). It’s kind of scary how old I am now! 😀 And seeing how fast time has gone by recently, it seems very probable that before I know it, I’ll be graduated and done and dusted with school. Yikes! :O

To distract from that scary thought, let me tell you about my top three books that I read in August. There were some good ones!!

 

the westing game

The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin

Sam Westing is dead. He left behind a will. Which is actually a game. A game with the objective of finding out who killed him. He has chosen a random, yet very specific group of 16 people to play this game. And the wild card? One of those 16 people is the murderer. Does it sound interesting? It’s even better than it sounds. 

Seriously, this book is waaaaayyy better than it sounds. And it sounds pretty interesting to begin with! This mystery is incredibly well written – the characters are fresh, believable and unique, and the story line… well it’s SO good. Seriously, Ms. Raskin must be half-genius to come up with the plot line and the crazy twists. And the ending – man it comes out of nowhere and is so clever!! I don’t feel like anything I say can give a true idea of how cool this book is, so my advice to you is – go read it! 😀 This is a solid, most-definite 10* read. (and I’m recommending for about ages 12+)

 

Gods-and-Kings-Lynn-Austin

Gods and Kings – Lynn Austin 

A nation with their backs to God. A King bending to the mighty Assyrians’ dominion. A priest haunted by the deaths he has caused. A Prince angry and bitter against his Father. And a God who refuses to leave them alone. 

Looking back in the archives of my blog, I can’t believe that I haven’t mentioned Lynn Austin before! Apart from L.M. Montgomery, she is my favourite author. She writes historical fiction – some of the best I have ever come across. I’ve read most of her historical fiction, but I have never ventured into her Biblical historical fiction before. Until this month. And as always, she did not disappoint! She tells the story of King Hezekiah’s childhood in godless Jerusalem before he ascended the throne. Surrounded by idol worshipers, with the mighty Assyrian empire breathing down his country’s back,  Hezekiah’s story is one of great tension, but also of great redemption. God is after his people, and he won’t stop at anything until he gets their attention and brings them back to him. He might even us a prophet or two… maybe one called Isaiah? It is very evident that Ms. Austin has done immense amounts of research into every aspect of his historical time period in order to make this story accurate and compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and my only complaint is that it finished and now I have to get my hands on #2 in the series. 😀 I’m giving ‘Gods and Kings’ 9* out of 10 and recommending for ages 14+

 

God's smuggler

God’s Smuggler – Brother Andrew 

God has the power to make seeing eyes blind. Especially when his Word at stake. 

God is a God of miracles. It says so in the Bible, but sometimes it’s hard to believe. But after reading this book, I was struck again by God’s power and sovereignty. This is the story of one young man that had a dream to see Bibles taken behind the Iron curtain. This also the story of how God made that dream come true. There is really no other word to describe the many narrow escapes, perfectly timed meetings, and anonymous monetary gifts that are chronicled in this book other than ‘miraculous’. God’s hand of guidance was so clearly outlined in this story. I came away from the book in awe at how God worked in order to get his Word into the hands of persecuted Christians, and encouraged by the fact that he is still doing that today! I’m giving it 9* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 14+. (due to some explicit scenes)

That’s it for this week! Hope you enjoyed the monthly review of my favourite books.

Lets chat! Have you read any on this list? How’s back to school going for you?

 

Book Review – After the Dancing Days

It’s time for another book review! I have a seemingly endless list of books I’d love to share with you, so I’m slowly hacking away at it, one book review at a time. 😀

after the dancing days

Statistics:

Author: Margaret I. Rostkowski

Published in: 1986

Genre: Children’s/Historical Fiction

PoV: First Person

Number of Pages: 217

 

War is a senseless, horrible thing. And though the Great War was not fought in Annie Metcalf’s home country of America, its influence is visible months after the end. Scarred and broken young men trickle back into normal life, a constant reminder that life will never be normal again. And the absence of her favourite uncle is keenly felt. Her Mother says the best thing to do is to forget. Her Father spends his time working with injured soldiers in an army hospital in town. And Annie? Well, Annie is torn. Torn between the longing to forget the pain and blot out the ugliness of war, but the desire to remember her uncle and his fellow soldiers. The soldiers that are irrevocably scarred by the War and are trying to learn how to live their lives again in the hospital down the road. Strangely drawn to them, Annie is faced with a decision – to either dull the pain with forced forgetfulness, or to remember the pain and confront it in order to eventually overcome it?

I really enjoyed ‘After the Dancing Days’. I believe I read it in one sitting, if my memory serves me correctly. I was fascinated by Annie’s story – of how she learned to live with the scarring, painful aftermath of the Great War. The clear picture that Rostkowski painted of the veteran’s hospital, and the wounded inhabitants who were struggling to remake their lives with life-changing injuries (both physical and mental) was powerful and sobering. I found this story encouraging because it showed, through Annie’s story that pain can and does heal, through the memories that sweeten over time. Because often, the best way to heal the pain, is to remember, to honour, and then to move on, never forgetting what went on before and looking forward to the hope of the future.. This really was a wonderful book, and I’m giving it a solid 7* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 13+.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week! 🙂

Top 3 Books – July 2017

Hello there! Welcome back to ‘The Way of Delight’! I just want to say that I’m so glad to have each and every one of you lovely followers following along with me on this blogging journey. And for every person that randomly happens upon this blog, I’m very glad you’ve found me! 🙂 I love getting comments, so please do drop me a comment and ask questions or give your thoughts on the post or anything really!

This week, it is again time for my ‘favourite books of the month mini-reviews’. (Goodness, what a title :D) July was quite a sparse month again, reading-wise, but I did have some good books. So let’s dive in!

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farewell to m

Farewell to Manzanar – Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston

A child growing up behind barbed wire in America.

Shocking? Yes.

True? Unfortunately also, yes.

Everyone has heard about all the internment camps under the Nazi regimes during WWII. But did you know that thousands of Americans were put into internment camps, in America, during WWII? Jeanne Wakatsuki, a Japanese-American girl, was one of those people. Her childhood was abruptly changed forever when she, along with her whole family, was placed in Manzanar camp, an internment camp for Japanese living in America. Her whole life would be shaped by her years living in captivity behind the barbed wire fences in southern California. She tells her eye-opening and gripping story in Farewell to Manzanar.

I read this book avidly, soaking in all the details about this shocking part of WWII history. I would really recommend that you read it. It is a little-known part of history, but one that I think is so important that people know about. I’m giving this book 7* out of 10, and recommending it for ages 13+

 

my heart lies south

My Heart Lies South – Elizabeth Borton De Trevino 

An American girl + a Mexican man + His family = a whole lot of entertainment

When Elizabeth Borton accepted a writing engagement down in Mexico, she didn’t expect that she would return a week or so later, engaged to a native of that land. She didn’t dream that the strange land full of fast speaking, emotionally charged, and lavishly loving people would become her own. But a year later, she returned to Mexico, Mrs Luis Trevino Arreola y Gomez Sanchez de la Barquera. And thus began the adventure of a life time, told charmingly and entertainingly by Elizabeth herself in ‘My Heart Lies South: The Story of my Mexican Marriage’.

This was was a second time read for me, but I still found it incredibly entertaining and educational. It is informative, giving a very in depth look into the Mexican life in the 1930’s. It’s also nice and easy to read, Mrs Trevino’s writing is witty, clear and educational. I felt like I was reliving what life was like in a native Mexican family for myself. There was so much information packed into this one book, from facts on the detailed courting rituals between couples, to how dinner parties were handled, to how babies and children were treated. I find that kind of thing so fascinating – real life stories mixed up with real life lessons and facts.  I’m giving it 8******** out of 10 and recommending it for ages 13+.

 

jane of lhill

Jane of Lantern Hill – L.M. Montgomery

 Full of magic and delight and beautiful LMM characters – it’s a darling!

I believe this is the first LMM book I have officially featured here on my blog! And what a good one to start with. 😀 Ahhhh, this book. ❤ It’s perfectly LMM-ish in every way. The story is fascinating (A girl goes to live with her estranged father for a summer and tries to reunite her parents. Sounds interesting, right?). The characters are delightfully humorous and memorable (The Snowbeam family, Aunt Matilda Jollie, Uncle Tombstone, and the cats, First and Second Peter are some of my favourites.) (As well as of course Jane and her Dad!). The descriptions of P.E.I. are on point and magically wonderful. (‘far off hills made of opal dust’, ‘long branches of spicy fir hung over the laced water’, ‘the wind that sang in the spruces, and the gulls that soared whitely over the harbour’.)

The whole book is just packed full of whimsy and fun and delight. And let me tell you, for a LMM book, this is nothing new. She has this wonderful way of writing that is so unique and incredibly enjoyable. I love her! So if you haven’t yet, please go read some of her books. I promise you will not be disappointed. I’m giving this book 9* out of 10 and recommending it for ages 13+.

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So there you have it, my top 3 books of the month!

Let’s chat! Have you read any LMM books? If so, which ones are your favourites? And what were your favourite reads of July?

Poem – The Books are Being Burned

Well hello there! I have returned from the rainy but beautiful country of Ireland. I had an absolutely amazing two weeks there, and I’m so grateful to God for all the work he did in my heart and in the other people serving with me. He truly is a great God full of compassion and love for the lost and broken people that do not know him!

This week I’m doing another poem. I wrote this after reading Fahrenheit 451. I was really impacted by the beauty of the writing, as well as the seriousness of the message it contained. I don’t need to go in depth about it here, because I have here. I will just say that the theme of the books being regarded as evil and irrelavant things that need to be eliminated impacted me pretty heavily. Especially since I see that trend towards dismissing books becoming bigger in our culture today. So I wrote this poem based off of the theme of book-burning in Fahrenheit 451.

 

book burning

 

Words go up in smoke.

Pages wither like dying butterflies.

The wisdom of the ages consumed in flames.

And no one cares.

Why?

Because books have become objects of ridicule.

Having knowledge is considered better

than having wisdom.

The vessels of wisdom are considered worthless drivel.

Rubbish.

To be burned.

What changed?

Why are books now disdained, feared, and hated?

Why is their wisdom and beauty considered trash?

Because people decided that movement was better

than stillness.

Blaring noise was better

than silence.

Head knowledge was better than

heart wisdom.

The hunger for learning

was replaced by the hunger for instant pleasure.

Books were no longer in the picture.

Thus, books have been slowly pushed down

to become nothing more than

dangerous containers

of ideas and words and silly fancies and feelings.

Stuff to be ignored,

shut down

and destroyed.

Books are to be burned.

Because that’s all they’re worth.

No one cares

Because their minds have become numb

With constant movement,

and noise,

and knowledge being pounded into their brains.

And above all,

the striving for instant pleasure.

No one recognizes the infinitely precious treasure

that books are.

The beauty and wonder and wisdom

that can be found in their pages.

The numbed-brain people can’t appreciate it.

No one needs books any more.

No one wants books any more.

No one cares about books any more.

So the books burn.

 Pages crumple into black smoke.

Books melt into ashes.

Words dissolve into nothing.

The wisdom of the ages goes up in smoke.

The books are being burned,

and nobody cares.