Still catching up… (almost there)!
This book was such a blast! I’m not typically a big fan of fantasy, but this book is more of a cross between historical-ish and fantasy. And I LOVED it!
Here’s the summary from amazon.com: “Once, in a cottage above the cliffs on the Dark Sea of Darkness, there lived three children and their trusty dog Nugget. Janner Igiby, his brother Tink, their crippled sister Leeli are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice and pursue the Igibys who hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.”
One of the things I enjoyed most about this story was the realness of the characters and in particular, the development of Janner (who’s something of the main character). The way that Peterson captured his struggles, desires, conflicts, yearnings, frustrations and delights as an adolescent boy wrestling through what it means to be a young man of responsibility, courage, selflessness, hard work, clear thinking and identity. The story kept me guessing throughout, wondering what would happen next (although I did figure out the “twist” about 2 chapters prior to the reveal). I had read about half the book off and on in spare moments over about 2 weeks and then took it with me while waiting for our car to get worked on. I read for nearly 4 hours straight and kept hoping the mechanic would take just a little bit longer so I could finish the book! The last quarter of the book especially had me reading so fast! This is definitely on my list of books to buy – not only so I can read it again, but so that my children can read it one day. The enjoyable blend of promoting good character in the midst of difficult circumstances and real struggles impressed me. And the story was just plain fun! I ordered book #2 to take with me on vacation in a few weeks. It will definitely be a challenge to hold off on starting it ahead of time!
Spiritual/Non-Fiction: A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love by Milton Vincent
This was actually a re-read for me. And definitely not just the 2nd time through. I think this was at least my 3rd or 4th read – yes, it’s that good and yes, it’s worth re-reading that many times (and more)! I had recently felt that I was struggling to understand the ways that the Gospel applies to my every day life (in meaningful ways beyond just having saved me from an eternity apart from God in Hell). I knew that this book was ALL ABOUT how the Gospel transforms every facet of our every day lives and thus I plucked it from my bookshelf and dove in again. It was definitely what I needed. It was humbling to read it. Vincent has a very simple and straightforward writing style – he just says it like it is. I was humbled by the reminder of how simple the Gospel is and how simply it applies to my daily life. This simplicity also encouraged my soul – living in light of Christ’s completed work on the cross does not need to be – nor should it be – a complicated thing! How do I keep managing to just screw it up and complicate it over and over again?! I felt refreshed and renewed after this read. And I need to make sure I keep it close by. It’s definitely a book that, upon completion, can easily be picked right back up and started again. Actually, I’m thinking that I’d like to spend some extended time using it as a study book next year, taking it VERY slowly, looking up and reading all the scripture references, taking notes/journaling, etc. While it was wonderfully refreshing to read through it again, it only left me wanting to go deeper! What a great thing!