First up was The Gold Bug, A Short Story by Edgar Allen Poe. This is an interesting story of the finding of buried treasured. It got a bit boring when he went into detail of how he broke the code because after you got the idea he didn't really need to describe the entire thing. This is very different from other EAPoe books in that it wasn't creepy. Personally I prefer his creepy stories. :) Also, one has to remember that the book was written even before the Civil War and Poe was a man of his times, but the characterization of the black character is rather offensive today.
The second book I read in June was Mama B: A Time to Speak by Michelle Stimpson. I had read another of Ms. Stimpson's books and liked it so I tried a second and was definitely not disappointed! The air conditioning at the church goes out and at the same time, the pastor's wife is dying of cancer. Mama B ends up hosting groups at her house where the air conditioning works, her granddaughter and great-grandson move in, and a health and wealth preacher substitutes for the pastor. Mama B has to learn when to speak and when to remain silent and what to say when she does speak. I think I have found a new favorite author! Ms. Stimpson does a great job of bringing her characters to life. She writes truth without being preachy. And she can be funny, too. I will be reading more of her books.
The third book is an older book, considered a classic Christian book, entitled Lord, Teach Us to Pray by Andrew Murray. This is a short little book (46 pages) that every Christian should read at least once. It seems that knowing how to pray would be natural to Christians, but it isn't. Andrew Murray shows us how to keep prayer simple. It is a child talking to his father. We do not have to first be good enough, holy enough, or eloquent enough to pray. Prayer isn't what we bring to God, but it is coming to his presence. Andrew Murray also briefly goes through the Lord's Prayer, also known as the Disciple's Prayer. He has some real nuggets of gold in this brief book, such as these quotes:
[Prayer] is the very essence of true religion, the channel of all blessings, the secret of power and life.
It is on prayer that the promises wait for their fulfillment, the kingdom for its coming, the glory of God for its full revelation.
Jesus never taught his disciples how to preach, only how to pray.Though it was written in 1896, it is a very readable book for today's reader. And it's free for Kindle! The version I got had two or three other sermons of Andrew Murray's included.
My fourth book was called Summer of the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson. This is a good, clean novel/romance with a plot that is certainly original. I even learned some things about Alaska. Overall the author is a good writer, but the book was needlessly long. There were several chapters devoted to an event that was not even essential to the plot. Rather than making the book better, it just kept it going on and on. So, it was a good enough book, but for me not an excellent book.
And my fifth book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, was Under an African Sky by Julene Hodges Schroeder. Julene is a missionary kid who grew up in Ethiopia during an era when long terms and separation from one's children were the norm. Her family did five-year terms in Ethiopia and her three older siblings stayed in Canada from 9th grade on while her family lived in Ethiopia. As she grew up, times were changing with more options for education, so she had the privilege of doing most of her high school years in Ethiopia. Her parents had 10 children, five of whom were buried in Ethiopia. They also took in an abandoned Ethiopian baby to adopt who died only a few days after coming to live with them. The Hodges' family's faith was strong and their call was sure, enabling them to overcome the separations, both in this life and until heaven. They loved the Ethiopian people and the country and were loved in turn. Their family was close and the children knew they were loved in spite of separations. This is a good book and though I grew up in a different African country and in a slightly later era, there are so many similarities in our lives. I laughed and I wiped tears from my eyes throughout the book.