Saturday, January 5, 2013

Good Reads for '13

The New Year unfolds around me with a foot of snow on the ground, leftover from a Dec. 20 blizzard that affected a major portion of the Midwest. The snow proves beauty is possible for creation, even when the temperatures fall into the single digits.

The season dishes up a wonderful excuse to hibernate — and to my delight — read. At Christmas 2011, my husband gave me an e-reader. I must say he has always been an exceptional gift giver.

But I don’t want to be selfish. Considering all the time I spent in books in 2012, on and off my e-reader, I feel compelled that some of my reading time bear fruit. So I start my 2013 blogging with recommendations for reading for pleasure, information and inspiration.

Those close to me express no surprise whatsoever when I share my penchant for romance. My (short-lived) news reporter background gives me a special love for crime books, though I always loved a good mystery. Stories and non-fiction centering around children, mental health and missions dig into some of my deeper passions. A few books I read in 2012 for the second time, which is not a frequent practice of mine.

On the list, I include some of my favorite reference books, too, as digging into word meanings, specific ideas for living my faith every single day and cultural settings spark my learning as I study my favorite book, God’s Word.

On this list, I’ll include only books by Christian authors, though, of course, in 2012, I read and enjoyed other novelists and writers, as well. And I recognize that God gifted not just those who follow Him.

Sharing such a list, I find rather personal, because it reveals more deeply my bent. But I believe to share books with such openness is worth the risk, because they may help or bless others. And I pray many more people find time spent in hibernation with some of these books worthwhile.

Favored Books of 20121. I Want to Enjoy My Children, by Harry Brand, Ph.D., Kerry L. Skinner – Parenting – Full of personal stories, Biblical guidance, sound reasoning

2.  Kisses from Katie, by Katie J. Davis and Beth Clark — True story of an  American who moved to Uganda to care for children upon graduating from high school 
3. Dancing with Max: A Mother and Son Who Broke Free, by Emily Colson — Wonderful look into the life of a single mom and her autistic son, includes details of the involvement of many special people in their lives 
4. The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom — After long desiring to read this, 2012 was the year for it. What a riveting recount of a family who made it their business to hide Jews and sympathizers while their country was occupied by Germany in WWII.

5. Tramp for the Lord, by Corrie ten Boom — This book shares how after WWII Corrie ten Boom continued to rely on God, traveling the world to share the love of Jesus, and God’s faithfulness through the trials of WWII, and all it meant for her and her family 
6. Pretense by Lori Wick — A read that lasts, following across two generations. A romance with a great deal of depth, with insight into two sisters’ individuality and the love of family through grief and remarriage. Includes realistic accounts of fleeing and fighting temptation. Wick is a longtime favorite author of mine. 
7. The Interpreter’s Bible — I added this resource to my inventory this year after buying the entire used set. It had been a resource of a recent Bible study leader of mine, and I’d hoped to run across a used set at some point. What a wonderful surprise and gift from God! Without adding or taking away from the Word, it delves into cultural insights, detailed definitions and cross-reference verses. 
8. Squeaky Clean Mysteries series by Christy Barritt — Series about a young woman, a crime scene cleaner, with some honest questions about God. (Possibly not for those with a weak stomach.) A new fiction author to me, I enjoyed Barritt’s ability to give her characters distinct personalities. 
9. When Joy Came to Stay, by Karen Kingsbury — A young couple appears to have it all together, but hidden mistakes, and a subsequent mental health issue, come to light. Shows the story of foster children, and includes a mentorship relationship. Also shows God’s care throughout the discovery of depression and help received for it. Kingsbury is another go-to author of mine.
10. Critical Condition (Undercover Cops series), by Sandra Orchard — A nurse and undercover officer dance around romance while the officer poses as a hospital IT guy, Another new fiction author to me in 2012, I appreciated Orchard’s inclusion of a controversial healthcare topic, and her ability to attach appropriate emotions, reactions and thought processes to the critically ill and their loved ones.