Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Book Talk - Spring Edition

I am way overdue for a Book Talk post, partly because I have had to change the way I read due to my right eye situation.  It can take much longer to read a book and I used to wait until I had finished a book to write about it.

However, I'm in the midst of reading a few that I will share now.  I don't think any of them would contain offensive situations or language in the unread portions.  I have also started going back and perusing some favorite cooking and decorating books.  Also included are some favorite D. E. Stevenson novels for the Kindle. After the past year and most certainly, the past winter, I needed some light and fun reading.

Kindle Books

I always have one book that I am slowly reading on my Kindle Paperwhite.  That book right now is Joel Clarkson's lovely Sensing God. I had highly anticipated this book and had pre-ordered it about the time it became available.  I love the book and it is one that I need to read and reflect on rather than quickly skim through it.

Joel writes beautifully about how we react to God and can know God better through our five senses.  The book is filled with personal stories that reflect his experiences that are enjoyable to read and help us realize how each of can better grow in Christ through nature, music, art, food, and other ordinary means of knowing Him.

Sensing God: Experiencing the Divine in Nature, Food, Music & Beauty
... here.

I have mentioned before how much I appreciate being able to get D. E. Stevenson books at such an inexpensive price for the Kindle.  Especially those that are not yet available in paperback. 

I like so many of her books but I particularly enjoyed what I call the "Vittoria Cottage" trilogy that consists of Vittoria Cottage, Music in the Hills, and Winter and Rough Weather (known as Shoulder the Sky in the U.S.).

I was happy to see two very hard to find books now available for the Kindle.  The first, Bel Lamington, is a lovely book about a young career woman in London but the second half of it takes place in the same town in Scotland as Music in the Hills and Winter and Rough Weather (Shoulder the Sky).

That book was hard enough to find, at least inexpensive copies, but the sequel was almost impossible.  I finally found an "acceptable" copy that was good enough to read and then I sent it to a dear friend who had bought a copy of Bel Lamington for me on a trip to Scotland.

So, I am glad that when they made Bel Lamington available for the Kindle, they made available the sequel called Fletchers End.  I bought these two books for the Kindle and plan to reread them soon.  They are highly recommended for those of us who love a good story.

Vittoria Cottage... here.

Music in the Hills... here.

Winter and Rough Weather (aka: Shoulder the Sky)
... here.

Bel Lamington.
.. here.

Fletchers End.
.. here.

Audible Book

I'm still enjoying No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington by Condoleezza Rice. She is one of my most admired women and has led a fascinating life.  It takes you right into the White House during 9/11 and the years thereafter.  Condoleezza narrates the book herself and you can feel the emotions coming through.

I also highly recommend her first memoir which takes her from growing up under Jim Crow laws up until the time she goes to work for the Bush Administration.  It is called Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family.  

I loved how her parents taught her to overcome racism and encouraged her to follow her heart by studying music and then standing by her when she switched her major.  (The professor who influenced her to become an expert in Russia surprised me!) This is not only her story but a good one for all parents, no matter what their color of skin.

No Higher Honor (Audible link also contains other formats)... here.

Extraordinary, Ordinary People (paperback link contains other formats)... here.

Bible Study, etc.

I have long been fascinated by the "Letters to the Churches" section in the Book of Revelation because they tell us what God desires from His people and churches. I have listened to many sermons and Bible studies, as well as read books about them over the years, but it has been awhile. So, I decided to learn more about them in 2021 by reading new-to-me books.  

Right now, I am getting ready to read a book about the letters to the seven churches called This Hallelujah Banquet, How the End of What We Were Reveals Who We Can Be by Eugene Peterson.  It was published posthumously, just in the past couple of months.  I like Peterson's way with language.  If I remember, this book was put together from a series of sermons on the subject.

As a reference book, I'm using the book called A Light in Darkness: Seven Messages to the Seven Churches by Rick Renner.  This is called Volume 1, so I assume he is working on a Volume II, even if this took something like ten years to write.  It is a large book and rather heavy, not the kind of book you would pack for the beach.

It is a beautiful book, full of beautiful photography of the island of Patmos and the various parts of Turkey where the original churches were located, perfect for the visual learner as well as one who wants to read well researched material.  Pastor Renner is an American pastor who has lived and ministered in Moscow with his family for the past thirty years.  

This reference book is not cheap, I had saved up credit to buy it at one time since I knew I wanted to use it for a study.  Sometimes a book disappoints me and I think it was not worth the price.  This one is!  One could get lost in its' pages.

This Hallelujah Banquet
... here.

A Light in Darkness
... here.

Cooking and Decorating Books

I have been perusing some of my older books and enjoying a newer cookbook.  All are great books, especially as the dark days of winter persisted.  I have kept a few out for continued spring reading.

I invest in a few cookbooks a year that talk about my food interests at the time.  I've enjoyed learning more about Mediterranean cooking in general and the last few years, I've been learning more about Middle Eastern cooking because it is so healthy.

When I was looking up a cookbook that I had seen on a cooking show, I realized it was far more expensive than I wanted to use credit for at the time.  However, as Amazon does so well (to woo us in), it recommended other similar books and I settled on Zahav:  A World of Israeli Cooking.  It had excellent reviews, the photos and recipes they showed were what I was looking for, and it was half the price of the other cookbook!

From the time it arrived, I have been happy with my decision.  It is going to help me make more healthy meals with herbs and spices I am trying to add to our diet as a bonus.  As one who has vision challenges, I love that it is a large book with a good size font!  Highly recommended for those wanting to try a more Mediterranean diet.

Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking
is... here.

One of the things I love to do, especially if I'm not feeling well or need a mental vacation, is to go through some of my older cooking and decorating books.  Those I have held onto through the years are mostly my favorites.  I will share more about them in upcoming Book Talk posts but below are a couple old friends I have out at the moment.

The Romantic Prairie Cookbook by Fifi O'Neill is visually pretty, has wonderful stories about various families, and had family favorite recipes within those stories. This is a quintessential "take me away from it all" book for food lovers as well as those who enjoy beautiful photography of the countryside.

I follow Fifi on Instagram and she went through some tough times last year, becoming very ill with COVID just after she moved to New England from Florida.  The experience showed her that it would be wise to move back to the area where she had plenty of family and friends.  Did I mention that this beautiful woman is in her 70s and is still busy with photography, writing, and editing?  Amazing.  

You can get The Romantic Prairie Cookbook... here.

Frugal Luxuries by Tracey McBride is one of my all time favorite books to pick up and skim through for ideas.  Although there are no photos, you will love reading this book if you enjoy living a beautiful life on a budget.  I highly recommend this book!

Tracey is also one of my favorite people I have met through blogging, although we have not talked for two or three years.  She is one of the many who have fallen off our radar that I would love to hear from again. 

Frugal Luxuries
can be found... here
(This book is my favorite but she also has a book called Frugal Luxuries by the Seasons that I don't have time to link to at the moment but you can find from this link, too.)

I'm including this final book because it is perfect for the beginning of Spring.  I can't remember who recommended it to me when I still had a garden and was thinking of creating even more of a wildlife shelter in our backyard.  It didn't work out since the fatigue became worse but it is still a good book.

It was recommended because it deals with the subject of being good stewards of nature and the land in a way that you feel you are reading a letter from a good friend.  I wasn't sure what a book about environmentalism from a Christian perspective would be like (it would be so-so or very good) and I'm pleased with this book.

You may not agree with everything in it but if you love nature, growing food, taking care of the environment, etc., then you will enjoy this book.  I need to re-read the chapters about the way we eat!

Caring For Creation in Your Own Backyard by Loren & Mary Ruth Wilkinson can be found... here.

I hope this list of books makes up for a long absence! 

Disclaimer:  Most links to are Associate links.

ImageBook Shop: Kim-Sung


Donna said...

Dear Brenda~

I too have loved Tracey McBride and her Frugal Luxury books. I did read that she lost her beloved father a couple of years ago, I have a feeling this may be contributing to her online absence. :( I'm saving this list for my summer reading. Thank you and take care.

Donna Wilson

Terra said...

I like the Bible study books you recommend, and love Condoleeza Rice so would like the memoirs. I am reading Chasing David right now, which suggests how his story, from shepherd to king, relates to our lives today.

Carol in Texas said...

I LOVE your book blog entries! Your thoughtful recommendations are so interesting. I am going to pursue several of these in this column. I am such a slow reader that I do not get through as many books as I would like to do. But knowing what is out there is very helpful. I made a list of these books and will keep it at hand. Thank you so much. Know that your blog is read and deeply appreciated. I sent one of your blog entries to my best friend who was not a blog follower, and she now reads your blog faithfully and we often discuss it in our daily messages to one another, as we are not in the same town. Thank you!

Carol in Texas said...

I LOVE your book blog entries! Your thoughtful recommendations are so interesting. I am going to pursue several of these in this column. I am such a slow reader that I do not get through as many books as I would like to do. But knowing what is out there is very helpful. I made a list of these books and will keep it at hand. Thank you so much. Know that your blog is read and deeply appreciated. I sent one of your blog entries to my best friend who was not a blog follower, and she now reads your blog faithfully and we often discuss it in our daily messages to one another, as we are not in the same town. Thank you!

Judy said...

I'm glad to see the Wilkinson's book on your list, Brenda.

Mary Ruth and Loren were well regarded by the Vancouver (Canada) Christian community during the years I lived there. They were known for their generous hospitality, their knowledge of children's literature and, of course, their work and writings on our responsibility to the environment. I was privileged to hear them speak on a couple of occasions and always felt that their lived experience reflected much of what Francis and Edith Schaeffer talked about.

Deanna Rabe said...

Hurray for book talk! I miss Tracey, too! I don't have a copy of her book but I love the ideas she shares in Frugal Luxuries!

I like D.E. Stevenson and have a few of her books on Kindle. I'll have to check and look for more. I find her easier reading than Goudge, and that is what I'm liking these days!

Carolyn Maves said...

Hello Brenda, my inter-library system did not have the Romantic Prairie Cookbook, but I looked up the author's name. They had a home decor book written by her, that will be fun to look at too. My husband and I re-read our D.E. Stevenson books again and again. Years ago we were able to find them at used book sales so we have quite a few. Thanks.