2012 Library

So I skipped the monthly bookshelf this year as my reading was all over the place and sometimes I was reading three books at once, sometimes I was writing my own and sometimes weeks went by where I didn't open anything. Having a look back, it's a bit ironic that there are 12 books on this list, so I suppose no matter what factors are going on, reading one-book-a-month is still part of my life. I realize that seems like nothing to some who read a book-a-week (or even day), but to me, a working mom who has an adorable husband with an innate desire to be super social every spare second he gets, I'm glad that books are still my dear friends. So what joined the library this year?

#1 - Love Wins - Rob Bell

Read it. Loved it. Bought a million copies for everyone I know. Wish everyone in the world would read it. Amidst the massive amounts of controversy surrounding this book, I obviously was attracted to the mystery. What would get so many people upset about in a book? What would cause people to write rebuffle books and create hate groups surrounding this book? What would be something that God wants so badly for people to hear that the devil tries every single thing in his arsenal to prevent this book from spreading? Few things make me as angry as Christians who boycott or stand on a pedestal in judgement over something (or someone) they have not even bothered to read or research. It's just annoying noise and it's embarrassing. I don't want to be associated with anyone like that and I honestly have rid myself of certain friendships over this very idea. I'm not saying you have to like it or agree with it or even read it. However, if you choose not to read it, you give up your right to have an opinion about it.
I read it. I loved it. I advocate it.

#2 - On Becoming Baby Wise - Gary Ezzo

Hello, we did have a baby this year! Being new parents, it's an understatement to say it's completely overwhelming to see the amount of baby books and parenting philosophies out there. So, what did we do? We asked some very dear parents around us and got opinions about which direction we should take. Baby Wise was recommended by tons of people who have amazing kids and families and morals and boundaries...we gave it a shot. That shot landed directly on target. I loved this book. It was SHORT! woohoo! A new mama needs an easy read. It was PRACTICAL. It gave me practical ideas to implement in every stage of Bina's early weeks. It WORKED! There were things in the book that I sort of raised my eyebrows at and thought 'yeah right, maybe if your kid is super passive and calm that might work'...but we tried it anyway, and it worked. Bina was sleeping through the night after only a few months, she was on a great schedule so we could go places, see people, enjoy life as we know it without any tantrums or surprises. She was eating solids at 4 months and growing, learning, developing, and a super healthy baby...and I do credit the techniques from the book. It's written by a Christian who wants families to succeed and be happy together on the same page. We decided from the beginning that we didn't want to change our life for Bina. We love our life and the adventure it is, and we wanted to bring Bina along to enjoy it with us. That's what we've done and we haven't looked back. It's been a marvelous journey.

#3 - Save Our Sleep - Tizzie Hall

So we read a few baby books along the way. I think it's wise to get alternative opinions and do what works best for you and your family. I'll be honest, I had about 10 books, 5 of which I shut and will never re-open. Not all books are good or valuable. Baby Wise sort of ended with Bina sleeping through the night and being on a great schedule, great for newborn-to-baby phase. But there was the in-between moments of baby-to-crawling-baby phase. I didn't read this cover-to-cover, but borrowed it from a friend who loved it. I jumped to the stage Bina was already at and again had some really great practical techniques and advice which worked overnight. Love it or hate it, no one sells millions of copies of a book that doesn't have something to offer.

#4 - On Becoming Baby Wise 2 - Gary Ezzo

Hooray, we made it to the 9+ month stage where things make more sense. This book comes into play right now and is a very valuable resource. It's only about half the size of the first book, BONUS! Seriously loving short, practical books right now. It's great about implementing the high-chair rules and teaching your child right from wrong rather than letting her discover things on her own in a negative manner. Setting boundaries from a very young age creates stability and security in Bina's life, and it sets the expectations as part of her life rather than waiting until she's at an 'appropriate' age and all of a sudden trying to implement new boundaries. Who needs to set themselves up for future failure...we'll start now. I love teaching Bina new things and this book helps me do it in a loving and directed manner.

#5-7 - The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins

Yep. You read it right. I'm a huge sucker for young-adult fiction and totally jumped on the band-wagon. Loved it. Saw the movie too! I need to veg my brain out sometimes and these kind of books are perfect for that! Because they're geared at a younger audience, I don't have to worry about some ugly sex scene or violence that I don't want my brain engaging in...rather I can still have the fictional adventure and imagine a new world and a new story, without the adult content staining it. These books were perfect during those first couple of months with the late-night feeds and lack-of-sleep days. I needed a book that would make me excited to get out of bed, and these were the perfect solution.

#8 - The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

So I skipped Gone with the Wind this year and exchanged it for another classic that I found in the $5 bin at the bookstore. So good. I love classics...and I may have needed a bit more literary thought and vocabulary after the above trilogy...so classics are a great way to travel back-in-time and enjoy a fabulous tale with adult conversation but without the adult content. Perfect for a rainy long weekend or a cabin on a lake.

#9 - Crazy Love - Francis Chan

I've had this book on my shelf for years, collecting dust. Sometimes there are books I really want to read, but know they're going to challenge me or make me think and it seems like too much effort. I thought that would be this book. We started doing Chan's youtube snippets at our cell group on Wednesday nights. I can't help but think of him like Rob Bell; the way he talks, the way he preaches, his nooma videos...maybe that's why I love his book so much too. (Ironic that he was one who actually wrote a book in contrast to Rob's book...but I haven't read it yet, so I won't say anything else about it.) Simple, encouraging, easy-read. One of those books that can really just 'hit' you when you need it. It really is great.

#10 - Another Man's War - Sam Childers

Sam Childers came to our church one Sunday morning. I had never heard of him, as embarrassing as that is. He wasn't a great speaker, he's rough around the edges, he's not someone you would find sitting around your Thanksgiving table entertaining the kids with beautiful stories about butterflies. He is an incredible man of God and he has an incredible calling from God and he doesn't care what you think about that or what you believe about it either. He's going to save kids in Sudan no matter what price he has to pay, including killing anyone who gets in his way from saving those kids. The Machine Gun Preacher became a movie with my favorite actor, Gerard Butler, and is just as raw and extraordinary as Sam himself is. It's not a movie you would watch in your church, and that's probably the thing that makes it great; it's authentic. The book reads like fiction. It's story after story of the most incredible things you've ever read and the entire time I was thinking 'no way!', 'no stinking way!' What a story Sam has to tell, is still telling, and one worth reading for sure.

#11 - Fasting - Jentezen Franklin

Oh man, this one is a doozy. It's probably the worst written of all listed here, yet had the most impact and conviction (besides Love Wins) of said list. Just goes to show God can use anyone, anywhere, anytime to get His message out. I really can't even begin to do justification for this, so I'll just say I highly, highly recommend it. I fasted 7 days during this read and saw the power of God in a way I've never experienced in my life. It's definitely something I'll be making a habit of and something that leaves me in a state of expectation...I'm so excited about it! If you want to come to expect miracles instead of just hoping to hear about them one-day, to train your body and mind to learn to seek God and to really allow scripture to become alive for you...it's a must read.

#12 - Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters - Meg Meeker

Wow. That's really all I can say. Every single father needs to read this. It should be a pre-requisite to leave the hospital. Then, every single mother should read this and remind the father of what it says. It's SUPER intense. It's not going to sit well or be anything sugar-n-spice. It will make you sick. It will probably make you cry and want to lock your daughter away on an island. However, it needs to be said, it needs to be read and it needs to be addressed. You need to read it, even though you're not going to want to finish it. Please read it. Now. Go get it! Download it, it's faster! Don't waste any more time!


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