Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Many Books...Little Time

I've always been an avid reader, but over the past few years, the time that I could spend lounging about, reading to my heart's content has greatly diminished. At first, upon realizing that I was going months without picking up a book that didn't have to do with our homeschooling, I felt bitter. Then the realization came that 'to everything there is a season', and this was my season to be mothering, raising a family, homeschooling. I felt selfish for wanting to take time for myself. I'm slowly learning that I NEED to take time for myself, without feeling guilty. I am not God, nor does He expect me to be able to keep up with everything and everyone without having my batteries recharged.

I do not believe in coincidence. I do not believe that things just happen. I DO believe that God has a plan, and that he orchestrates it beautifully, even when we cannot see the entire picture. Over the summer, I received five books. I didn't spend a dime to get them. They just came to me, and I thanked God for sending them my way.

Yesterday, I finished the first one, and I'm in the middle of two more. So, how did I receive the books? Well, one day as I was reading Beck's blog, Frog and Toad are Still Friends, she was talking about how most Christian fiction is syrupy, no real storyline, and quite frankly, unreal. I laughed when she wrote:

"- but mention Christian literature and those aren't the types of books that I think of. No, I think of stuff like this:

"I love you Annabelle," Josh said, nervously.
"Oh Josh! Annabelle said. "I love you too."
They held hands and looked at each other rapturously.
"You know what we should do now?" Josh said, excitedly.
"Yes I do, said Annabelle. "We should pray."
And they prayed together all night long, over and over again. "

As I was reading over the comments, one caught my eye.

I hope you all don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. There's great fiction out there that doesn't camp on adverbs and schmaltz.

I loved Gilead. I nearly cried over the prose. I loved Peace Like a River by Leif Enger for the same reason. Oh and The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin. And This Heavy Silence by Nicole Mazzarella. Wow. Great stuff.

I hope to think what I've offered is worthy too. My first novel made it to the finals of the Christy awards, and I was very impressed with the other two books in my category.

Anyone here: If you want my first novel, Watching the Tree Limbs, I'll send it to you, autographed and free.

Email me at maryedemuth at sbcglobal dot net or visit me at

Mary E. DeMuth

So, I thought to myself, "Sure, I'll read her book!" I contacted Mary, told her that I saw her comment on Beck's blog, and requested a copy of her book." She promptly mailed it out, and I received it within a week.

I started this book on Monday, and finished it yesterday. It is not filled with fluff, and artificial sounding Christians, but characters who are very real. It was a good read, and I'm anxious to get the sequel, Wishing on Dandelions.

Several weeks later, I received an email saying that I won three more of her books. She was having a giveaway on her blog, and unbeknownst to me, my name was entered because of my first comment to her. I love surprises! Another week passed, and I received another package.

I haven't started this one yet.

I've started this book, as well. It's more a devotional- type book with very short examples of what God can teach us through our mothering. I'm enjoying it.

I've not yet started reading this either.

The fifth book that I've received came from my secret sister, who isn't so secret. Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper, was recently gifted to me. I'm enjoying reading about each woman. Thanks, Ally!

I'm so glad that I'm finding the time to read again. I won't be reading a book a day like I did years ago for quite some time, but the time that I do find for myself is very enjoyable.

How about you? Have you read anything worthwhile lately?


Anna S said...

I'm now re-reading some of Jane Austen's writings. And my reading time has been limited lately too, but I'm sure I'll catch up later on!

Penless Thoughts said...

Enjoyed your story here and some info on the books. Reading is such a blessing to our lives. I am constantly reading something. Currently I am reading "Prayers That Avail Much".

Momma Roar said...

I'm still working through This Present Darkness - it is so good, but so hard to find the time. I'm not real impressed with some of the literature touted as 'christian' out there.

I think about young girls who might read them and be given a false reality of marriage - but that is my opinion.

I like Peretti and Ted Dekker - even though he is a little out there sometimes. I have a few classics on my bookshelf I hope to read one day...but I agree with you - this is the season I am in and if there is a book to help me with homeschool and parenting, then I want to read that. Right now I am really enjoying Beechick's Biblical Home Education.

And congrats on winning all those books - I will write her name down and keep an eye open for her books!

Great post!

VAIL said...

Several years ago I decided to quit reading a lot of the authors I used to read and focus on Christian fiction. Now, I am not a reader who likes the "academic" fiction books - I like interesting stories, believable characters, page-turners. Yes, there is fluff in the Christian fiction genre, just as there is in the secular books. Sometimes, I want a fluff book. But, to say all "Christian" fiction is fluff or bad, is totally not true. I haven't read a lot yet, but some of the most memorable are Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson, Uncharted by Angela Hunt, Mary DeMuth's two fiction books, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Beyond the Shadows by Robin Lee Hatcher. I know there are many more, I just can't think of them off the top of my head. You can check out my blog for book reviews and suggestions.

Karen said...

How wonderful the way God provides, isn't it. I, too, love to read, but feel guilty doing it. But I realized many years ago, that if I don't look after myself too, I melt down. My wise husband also recognizes the signs, and does what he can to convince me to attend to my needs.
I would love to read Watching the Tree Limbs. I'll have to look for it here.

Rachel said...

Yes, I have also learned that I must take some time for myself and not feel guilty about it. The more I do it, the better I feel!!! I hope you really enjoy reading your books - God knows are needs before we even ask Him. Is she still giving away a copy of her book?

Tracy said...

I'm not could visit her site and ask her.

Sharon said...

For a long time I stayed away from Christian fiction and then decided I couldn't say much about it if I hadn't read any.

I have found a few authors that spin a good tale and I always like a happy ending. Sometimes I need to have "light" reading. I have recently enjoyed Wanda Brunstetter's tales of Amish families, and Cathy Marie Hake books.

Christy said...

Thank you for this post, I have been looking for some good books to read...

I love to read, this is what I do when the kids are in bed! Right now I am at a point in my life where it is easy because they go to bed so early-I know that will not always be the case!

Stacie said...

Hi, Mrs. K!
I love reading. The last book I read was "Face the Music" by Melody Carlson. It was really good. I also like the Annie's People series by Beverly Lewis a whole lot! Jesus freaks by dctalk is an awesome book as well! I love most Christian fiction that have a good plot! However, I haven't read a book in a couple of weeks. I guess I've been too busy reading my school books. But I am getting ready to read a book for school. I think it is called "Silas Marter".

Sheri said...

Congratulations on all your free books!!! What a blessing!

I am with you on the reading time Tracy! I would love to read the amount of books I did when I was a young person or even before we had little ones, but this isn't the season. =) I do still try to read one book through every few weeks and many times have mulitple books going.

Currently I'm reading "Homeschooling with a Meak and Quiet Spirit" by Teri Maxwell, and a few e-books.

Rebecca said...

Wow! Wonderful treats to win such goodies!

I just realized that you had asked me a question and I never ever responded to you! I am so sorry! I completely forgot, and hope I didn't cause you offense...

You asked me a while ago what denomination I am from-and I wanted to write you the answer HERE on your blog rather than my own because I have family and friends who read my blog and I don't really want to hurt them by my answer.

First, I must say, you are QUITE observant! I was very impressed that you had gathered so much just from my (and my husbands) blog! :-)

Presently, we are RP-Reformed Presbyterian. We are not entirely happy with some of the ideas of this denomination (one that I have been my whole entire life.) We have come to different conclusions than the RP church on several different issues, one huge one is paedocommunion. Unfortunately, there is no paedocommunion church around here that isn't freakish in some way. So-short answer, RP. Long answer-we aren't sure yet! :-)

We keep the paedocommunion part under our hats as much as possible, though, since many of our family and friends look at it with disdain. Ironically, they look at it with disdain without RESEARCHING it-but hey, that is a different story all together! ;-)

well then, my secret is out. I only tell this to you, because you ASKED. I don't make it a point to declare a denomination just because I don't think a denomination declares you more of a Christian than another, you know?

I hope your thoughts of my rudeness might be lessened just a bit now that I have ACTUALLY answered you question. I am sorry it took so long!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Oh - so timely to have found this. I have a week vacation in a week and am collecting titles to catch up on reading! Yippee! Thanks for sharing.

Beck said...

I'm so happy that my grumpy post led you to such a great new author! I've been reading "Watching The Tree Limbs" too and it IS terrific!