Last year was a good year in reading for me with 138 books (2 short of my personal record) totaling 51,671 pages (a new personal best) and more 4–5-star books than usual. As far as reviewing/blogging, it wasn’t so good, with reviews written for only about a quarter of what I read. Between the pressures of ministry and my wife’s ongoing/worsening health issues, I’m having a hard time summoning the energy to write anything beyond my weekly sermons, Bible studies, etc. for church. This blog has been enjoyable in the past, but it’s time for me to let it go for now. It is possible that I will pick it up again at some point in the future, but don’t expect any new content here anytime soon. I plan to continue reading and interacting with other people’s book blogs (I love this community!), so you will still see me around. Also, I plan to remain somewhat active (including sporadic short reviews) on Goodreads, so if you have an account and want to stay in contact there you can find me HERE. On to the next chapter of life!
Thank you to Karen at Books and Chocolate for hosting the Back to the Classics 2022 challenge! I completed all 12 categories this year for three entries in the prize drawing (I can be contacted here on the off chance that I win). My reads for the year were:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. – from John 1
My wife and I just got back from the Together for the Gospel conference, and in addition to hearing a lot of good speakers (John Piper, Shai Linne, Sinclair Ferguson, David Platt, etc.), we acquired a ton of good books…not quite literally, but I did just about injure myself trying to get the book suitcase into and out of the car (yes, we took an empty suitcase to bring back books).
I tried to take a picture of the conference bookstore, but with thousands of pastors, theology nerds, and related bibliophiles wandering around a conference center ballroom with about a dozen publisher tables, multiple kiosks, and scattered piles of heavily discounted books it was impossible. Plus there were palettes of 2-3 free books per attendee before each session.
Here are the ones that are immediately going onto my TBR (two are from a used bookstore we hit up after leaving the conference…shouldn’t be too hard to pick them out):
…and here are the ones my wife is adding to her list and collection of teaching resources:
Plus plenty of other freebies, duplicates, church resources, and more:
I’ve never done this before on this site, but a close family friend is in desperate need of help. He has been dealing with cardiac and GI issue for the last year, including three major life-saving surgeries and at least four other hospitalizations. During that time, he has been largely unable to work…a couple times he was cleared to work, secured a job, and ended up right back in the hospital within weeks.
His recovery is not going well, as he is still frail, needs a cane to get around (and he is only 40ish years old), and seems to spend more time in the hospital than out. my family and I are trying to raise funds via GoFundMe for his ongoing medical bills and other monthly bills so that he at least doesn’t have that pressure nagging at him along with everything else.
Thank you for any help you can provide via this link!
Here is a picture of Dan from a couple years ago when we had a family outing to see the latest Star Wars movie:
Title: The Goblin Emperor Author: Katherine Addison Genre: Court Intrigue Fantasy (possibly YA) Pages: 449 Rating: 4.5 of 5
This book pleasantly surprised me. The original cover and publicity blurb made me think it was some sort of cutesy YA fantasy clone, but a fellow book blogger’s rave review convinced me to give it a shot. There were a few of the usual YA tropes (teenage outsider whose parents are dead and who doesn’t want the role that has been thrust upon him), but it never descended into the obnoxious whining pity party and simplistic plotting/characterization that I think of as characteristically YA.
Maia, the unloved youngest half-goblin son of the elf emperor has been raised in obscurity far from court, but he is suddenly thrust onto the throne when the emperor and all of his other heirs die in a catastrophic accident. The rest of the book follows the challenges of growing into this role while navigating (potentially deadly) court intrigue.
In my experience, fantasy books that center on political maneuvering tend to be either cynical grimdark dystopias or trashy romance novels disguised as fantasy. This was neither as Maia brings kindness, warmth, and wisdom to the table. There’s plenty of awkwardness, self-doubt, and grief along the way, but this is the story of a refreshingly good-hearted young man.
If you are looking for high action, you’ll want to go elsewhere. If you need a break from angsty anti-hero fantasy this book is a breath of fresh air.
It’s going on two weeks since I posted anything, so this is just a quick check-in to let you know that the blog isn’t dead. Corona finally found our house; the one family member who has preexisting breathing issues is the lucky one to catch a breakthrough case. No hospitalization yet but things are a bit touch-and-go so please keep us in your prayers and I’ll be back to book-blogging at some point.
It’s another challenge signup post! Thank you to Karen K over at Books and Chocolate for once again hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge.
The challenge involves completing classic books (50+ years old) in as many of the 12 sub-categories as possible for entries in a prize drawing (Click the picture I lifted from her page to go there, see full details, and sign up). For me, it’s mostly a fun incentive to include some “serious literature” in my reading and an opportunity to see what classics others have enjoyed.
You don’t have to choose which books you will be reading at the start of the year, but I like to start with a list of possibilities. This year I’m starting with two possibilities for each category… we’ll see how it goes. Without further ado, the list:
A 19th century classic: The Black Robe by Wilkie Collins The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville
A 20th century classic: The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald Oil! by Upton Sinclair
A classic by a woman author The Sundial by Shirley Jackson Julius by Daphne DuMaurier
A classic in translation Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
A classic by BIPOC author Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cuba by Machado de Assis The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
Mystery/detective/crime classic Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay Nightfall by David Goodis
A classic short story collection The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne DuMaurier An Obsession with Death and Dying by Cornell Woolrich
Pre 1800’s classic Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
A nonfiction classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown The Travels by Marco Polo
Classic that’s been on your TBR list the longest (Pretty close between these two) For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
Classic set in a place you’d like to visit The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (Middle Earth) Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm (Oxford)
Wild card classic Ashenden: Or the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
My TBR enters the year 103 books long (not counting all the half-remembered mental “I should read that!” thoughts). Some of those books have been on there for over a year, so this challenge seems like good motivation to knock a few of those off the list. Thanks to Roof Beam Reader for hosting, and if you are interested in participating click this picture that I lifted from the challenge signup post.
My challenge list of twelve books (plus two alternates) that have been on my TBR for over a year: