Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer Reading

Sorry about the absence of posts lately ... it's summer. I have been travelling (Greece, Korea, USA) and not posting! I am thinking and there is a blog post brewing ...

One of my favourite things to do in summer, is read! I love to read ... and fortunately (sometimes unfortunately) for me I am a fast reader. So often I will read a book a day - either one in the morning or one in the evening ... Since being in the States (a week now - not counting my conference) I have been reading! Some of my reading has been fluff but I have read some excellent books as well and I thought I would share with you the ones I think are MUST reads for everyone! I have included links for each of the books to Amazon in case you are feeling the urge!

1. The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine M.D
This book is a quick read and is a must if you are female or want to understand females. One of the best things from the 1990s is the advanced technology in brain scanning and the insight it now gives us in gender differences that are wired into our makeup. I found this book full of eye opening "wow" moments and will be buying it for a few people. Brizendine writes in an easy manner with lots of stories and humour, so it is an easy read and well worth the effort!

2. Mosaic by Amy Grant
This is a treat in writing. Basically, Amy shares a bunch of stories from her life and they have beautiful, thought provoking God moments in them. Some have made me think. Here is a quote from the introduction that really caught me. Amy is talking with a friend who is dying. She asks Amy, "do you know what the most important colour is in an artist's palette?" As Amy is thinking through the possible colours, she continues, "Child, it's black. Black is the most important colour for an artist. You see, without black, there is no depth. Without black, everything appears flat. But mix black with any colour and you can paint an object so real you want to reach out and touch it."

Amy goes on to say, "in our lives, the darkest times, the days that are bleak and black, add depth to every other experience. Like the dark bits of colour in a mosaic, they add the contrast and shadows that give beauty to the whole, but they are just a small part of the big picture."

Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax. M.D. Ph.D
There is huge concern in educational circles today about the failure of boys in schools. You cannot ignore the numbers. I must say that I picked this one up with a healthy dose of skepticism but Sax convinced me. He explores 5 factors that he believes are driving the growing epidemic of unmotivated boys and underachieving young men. It is an easy read with lots of stories - and if you have a son or teach boys, you need to read this. The five points he covers in detail are video games, teaching methods, prescription drugs (and the huge amounts of misdiagnosis of ADHD), endocrine disruptors and devaluation of masculinity. Again, like The Female Brain, this book takes much of the last ten years of brain research into account.

4. The Shack by William P. Young
This is an amazing fiction story. Up front, I have to say that I was not too impressed with the writing, but the ideas in the book make it well worth the read. Basically, a man loses his daughter to a serial killer while staying at a shack. One day he finds a note in his letterbox. The note is from God (known as Papa) and it invites him back to the shack for the weekend. This book has beautiful ideas in it and is quite powerful. Here are a couple of quotes I really like (my favourite will be in my next blog as it exemplifies exactly what I am wanting to say!).

"faith does not grow in the house of certainty ..."

Here's another one - Jesus speaking:
"I don't want to be first among a list of values; I want to be at the centre of everything. Rather than a pyramid, I want to be the centre of a mobile, where everything in your life - your friends, family, occupation, thoughts, activities - is connected to me, but moves with the wind, in and out and back and forth, in an incredible dance of being."

This next idea, I just love ... it's God speaking and takes the idea of "I am" - the idea that God is a moving, active force. He is a verb, not a noun! Check this out:
"I am a verb. I am that I am. I will be who I will be. I am a verb! I am alive, dynamic, ever active, and moving ... " " ... as my very essence is verb, I am more attuned to verbs than nouns. Verbs such as confessing, repenting, living, loving, responding, growing, reaping, changing, sowing, running, dancing, singing. Humans have a knack for taking a verb that is alive and full of grace and turning it into a dead noun or principle that reeks of rules: something growing and alive dies. Nouns exist because there is a created universe and physical reality, but if the universe is only a mass of nouns, it is dead. Unless "I Am", there are no verbs, and verbs are what makes the universe alive."

This book is a must read!

5. How Am I Smart Dr. Kathy Koch
Want to know about yourself and how you are wired? Want to know about your kids and how they are wired? This book by Dr Kathy is one of the best books on multiple intelligences I have ever read. One of the things that makes this book a standout from other ones (not counting the easy to read, lots of stories and illustrations etc) is that Dr Kathy goes through the characteristics of the different intelligences, the strengths and weaknesses, and also gives advice on how you can strengthen the various intelligences. Even better for Christian parents, Dr Kathy writes from a Christian world view!

You can get this book through the Celebrate Kids website (click link above) or Amazon.

So ... there it is people ... my current must-reads for summer. At the moment I am reading about the world superclass and how their use of power affects the world but I wouldn't recommend it. I also have read another 3 - 4 fluffy froth, mindless novels but again, I am trying to give you the books that I think are must reads!

Happy reading!


Danifesto said...

LOVE that story from Amy Grant about the colour black! Wow! Happy reading and safe travels!

BunnyGirl said...

Likfe Danifesto, I was immediately drawn to the comments on Amy's book. I've always enjoyed her music and, being a divorcee with a second marriage, I think I have some sympathies with her in that dark time of her life.

Like you, I am a fast reader. Books will last days not weeks or months. I'm voracious. Currently I'm reading for the second time "Whats so amazing about Grace" by Philip Yancy. Grace is a key for me right now.
Hope your trip is going well

Claire said...

i have heard that the shack is really good, a couple of my friends have read it. me too a fast books! looking forward to your next post! are you heading to NZ on this hols??? though not so flash summer weather here - brrr!

sassiekiwi said...

Dan and Bunny ... yes that quote is fantastic isn't it. I think it comes from having walked through "stuff".

Claire ... yes ... I am heading home to NZ - only for a very short time as I at the end of my number of days (I get 40 a year in country because of being a non resident for tax :( ...) I will be at my Mums for about 10 days at the beginning of August.