In my favorite poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay, he reminds us that like the seasons of nature, life is one season melting into another, and quickly fading away. This is my attempt to document each season in my life and my family.

In Celebration of Books: A Giveaway

Filed under: 100 Books,General,Great Reads,Reading — Rachel at 3:27 pm on Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Last year was a breathtaking voyage of words for me. I read 72 books just for the pleasure of reading them, and I enjoyed myself immensely. I have read 29 novels, 14 memoirs, 13 theology books, 3 biographies, and the remaining 13 were various topical, non-fiction books.

My favorite novels? “The Help”, “Little Bee”, “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”, “Lolita”, “Stern Men”, and “The Gravedigger’s Daughter”

My favorite memoirs? “Eat, Pray, Love” “Higher Ground” and “Committed”

My favorite theology? “Adopted for Life”, “The Canon of Scripture” and “A Feminist Introduction to Paul”

I thought about trying again in 2012 to read 100 books, but I decided against it. I want to focus on writing words instead of reading massive amounts of them. Oh, I’ll still read lots. I always have and I always will. Just not at such a breakneck rate. If it weren’t for taking five classes during the spring semester, I think I might have actually read 100 books. I guess I’ll never know.

To celebrate 72 books read and an infinite selection of wonderful books ahead of me, I’m having a giveaway. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me the title of your favorite book, and I’ll put your name in the hat. Additionally, if you read any of the books I reviewed after I reviewed it, tell me the title (titles if you read more than one) and I will put your name in again.

What’s the prize? A book, of course! What else? If you win, you can choose between any of the books that I reviewed that I actually own a hard copy of. Obviously, I can’t give away Kindle books or library books. Here is a picture of some of the books that are up for grabs. If you want to read one that isn’t here (these were just the books I had handy), let me know and it’s yours if I have it. Also, if you are the winner and you read a book that I reviewed, I will send you two books of your choice.

Ok? Ok.

Even if you aren’t particularly thrilled with this giveaway, please leave a comment. I’d really love to know who’s reading. It’s extra motivation for a year of more frequent blogging.

That is the end of the part of the post about the giveaway. Feel free to stop reading now. For those who are interested, though, I’m posting a numerical list of the titles of all the books I read this year.


1. Radical by David Platt

2. The Darkest Child: A Novel by Delores Phillips

3. Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

4. Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

5. Little Bee by Chris Cleave

6. Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches by Russell D. Moore

7. Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos

8. The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives by Ravi Zacharias

9. The Awakening by Kate Chopin

10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

11. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

12. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

13. Spiritual Parenting: An Awakening for Today’s Families by Michelle Anthony.

14. Gray Matter by David Levy and Joel Kilpatrick

15. A Taste of Heaven by R.C. Sproul

16. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

17. Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus by D.A. Carson

18. Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall & Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent

19. Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness and Mythconceptions Throughout The Ages by Leland Gregory

20. I Quit: Stop Thinking Everything is Fine and Change Your Life by Geri Scazzero

21. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbary

22. Naomi and Her Daughters by Walter Wangerin Jr.

23. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

26. The Gravedigger’s Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates

27. What Is The Gospel? By Greg Gilbert

28. Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola & George Barna

29. The Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest Generation by Thom S. Rainer & Jess Rainer

30. A Feminist Introduction to Paul by Sandra Hack Polaski

31. The Canon of Scripture by F. F. Bruce

32. Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper

33. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

34. Affirming the Apostles Creed by J. I. Packer

35. Churched: One Kid’s Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess by Matthew Paul Turner

36. The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson

37. Souvenirs of Solitude: Finding Rest in Abba’s Embrace by Brendan Manning

38. Ya-Ya’s in Bloom by Rebecca Wells

39. Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison

40. One Small Boat: The Story of a Little Girl, Lost Then Found by Kathy Harrison

41. Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ by Russell Moore

42. Lucky: A Memoir by Alice Sebold

43. Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

44. The Little Known by Janice Daugharty

45. Hope for the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can Be Healed by Gary Chapman

47. Unplanned by Abby Johnson

49. Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates

51. Higher Ground: A Memoir of Salvation Found Then Lost by Carolyn S. Briggs

52. Committed: A Love Story by Elizabeth Gilbert

53. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search For Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

54. St. Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton

55. Living Close to God: When You’re Not Good At It by Gene Edwards

56. In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life by Sinclair Ferguson

57. A Fair Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates

58. The Land of Elyon #1: The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

59. Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates

60. A Mended and Broken Heart: The Life and Love of St. Francis of Assisi by Wendy Murray

61. Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates

62. The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi by Brother Ugolino

63. The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions by Jeff Manion

64. The Land of Elyon Book #2: Beyond the Valley of Thorns by Patrick Carman

65. Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert

66. The Pearl by John Steinbeck

67. Zombie: A Novel by Joyce Carol Oates

68. My Mortal Enemy by Willa Cather

69. First Love by Joyce Carol Oates

70. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

71. The View From a Monastery by Brother Benet Tvedten

72. The Help by Kathryn Stockett


Filed under: Great Reads,Interesting Websites — Rachel at 11:47 pm on Monday, December 22, 2008

I was reading an article by John Piper called “Clusters of Hope” from the Desiring God website. I found this portion to be particularly relevant to my current state of mind and also to my thought processes about the need for community in our churches. I thought I would share it with you.

It is amazing how much hope you can find when you look hard for it, and hope is a desperately needed power in our lives. It is the river of joy that flows back to us from the final triumph of God, and “the joy of the Lord is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). We simply cannot live without hope—let alone flourish in the cause of God.

So maybe we should go harder after hope than we do. I have in mind specifically the most exhilarating hope of all—namely, the hope that God’s saving purposes are now triumphing in the world and will one day hold sway over all creation.

How shall we go harder after this hope? First of all, we can’t do it alone. Without each other’s cheering exhortations we sink. God saves one from despair by giving another a vision of hope. He does not always come directly. God’s work of encouragement in you saves me. His work of encouragement in me saves you.

Continue reading…