First, What Are You Reading? Volume 14, October 2011

Here are my answers to the four questions I ask on the first of each month:

first, what are you reading?
what do you like best about it?
what do you like least?
what’s next on your list to read?
As always, I hope you’ll consider your current reads on your blog and/or sharing here in the comments or on Facebook.  Happy reading!
First, what are you reading?
The Wilder Life:  My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure.

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo.


What do you like best about them?
The Wilder Life is so wonderful—it’s writer Wendy McClure’s poignant, meandering and very funny months-long pilgrimage to Laura Ingalls Wilder sites and re-reading the books and related books.  McClure had grown up loving the books (not the television show, as she continually tells us), like I had, so I found her perspective so … me.   And I know I’m not the only one–those of us who loved the Laura books as a girl are featured in this book, primarily McClure herself.  We’re a varied bunch, but it’s a fun sorority to be a part of.

Heaven is for Real is very poignant and sweetly written story from a Dad’s perspective about his son’s near death experience and visions of heaven.  Todd is an evangelical pastor, but nothing in the book contradicts the Catholic faith that I could tell.  In fact, he makes a point of mentioning Catholics several times in a respectful way, which I find refreshing.  I did enjoy reading this quick, inspiring read after a fellow school mom recommended it (See, I actually do ask people in person, what are you reading? Thanks, Jeanne!).

What I love most about this book is not the book itself.   When my 5th grade daughter saw it on my nightstand, she mentioned that her teacher was reading it, and was it okay for her to read?  I said sure.  Since she is a fast reader, she finished it by the next day and was ready to talk.  Wow, the conversations, especially late-night conversations, we have had about this book.  I also just found out in recent days that a junior high teacher is reading it with all the upper grades, and so my 8th grader has read it and discussed it as well, so we’ve been able to share a lot about it.

My husband is a theologian, and I’ve been known to joke on many occasions, well, I’m not the theologian in the family.  Turns out my husband has some more competition in the theologian department.  This is a fact we already knew with the Zen-like questions our son used to ask when he was 4 (such as, “Can you spell Jesus without any letters?”).

What do you like least about them?
Oh, I cried and cried at the end of The Wilder Life, not only because I finished the book on my late father’s birthday, as McClure reflected on her own mother’s death a year before.  I also cried because I expected a plot twist that didn’t happen.  That may sound odd, but I don’t want to give anything away about the book.  If you have read it and were also waiting for a  certain “plot twist,” let’s talk about it in the comments, and see if you agree with me that the ending is so poignant on many levels.  Crying at the end of a book is not really a bad thing, so it’s not really something I “didn’t like.”

This isn’t really a think I disliked about Heaven is For Real, just an interesting point that came up in discussions with a young theologian in our house.  Todd Burpo keeps mentioning that his son couldn’t possibly know some of the details from Scripture that describe heaven.  What occurred to our 5th grader was that as a Catholic, even a 4-year-old would have heard some of those Scriptures at Mass, in particular around the certain feasts like we just had several days ago at Mass on the feast of the Archangels.

What’s next on your list to read?
Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire by Rafe Esquith.  Already partway through and enjoying this one.

I truly wish I could be reading Gone With the Wind along with my 13-year-old daughter, but I’m not.  I brought home a handsome new edition from the library thinking I might try to read it, but she absconded with it and I quickly realized I would not have time for this huge read right now.  So I did the next best thing and asked a dear longtime online friend, author and GWTW lover, Cay Gibson, for any “content issues” I should keep in mind.  And because she is dear, she gave lots of great ideas and also comfort, as 13 was the age she first read GWTW.  Much as I would love to keep up with everything my kids read, sometimes you have to outsource, and I’m glad to have friends to count on for this.

So, what are you reading these days?  Any books to share?

One thought on “First, What Are You Reading? Volume 14, October 2011”

  1. Oooh, can’t wait to pick up The Wilder Life. I read them all too. And loved the TV Series. I always wanted to go to Walnut Grove! Birgitta

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