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December 2017 Reading List

I feel like I didn't read much in December.  We traveled to the UK and returned home via Iceland and we were pretty busy while we were there, but I did read on the plane quite a bit.  Then we had family here for Christmas and I know I didn't read much that week.  Still, I did finish four books during the month!

The first was She Never Knew by C. J. Simpson.  I kept thinking, "Either I've read this before or the plot is pretty predictable."  Maybe both were true, but mostly it turns out I had read it before.  If you were brutally raped and had a child as a result of the rape, what would you do if the rapist re-entered your life years later? This is a story of hurt, of trauma, of forgiveness, of moving on. It's not all nicely wrapped up by the end with all problems solved. It's an intriguing story line, but the plot seemed predictable and the writing clunky. There were also a lot of details that could have been left out that had nothing really to do with the plot, such as the details of creating crafts for VBS.

The second book was The Color of Hope by Kim Cash Tate.  I loved the characters and I love how Ms Tate deals so well with racial issues. She gives us a lot to think about on the subject of race and she encourages believers to actively examine their lives and to live in peace with each other. What I didn't like about the book was that there were SOOOOOO many characters. I really had a hard time keeping them all straight. I think maybe the story could have been adequately told by taking a few people out of the story.

Next on my list was Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish.  This book is multi-layered and in some ways quite complex. In other ways it's beautifully straightforward and ordinary in a homey sort of way. Leisl runs a bakery/cafe. But as the story unfolds, we learn about her painful childhood and how it affects her present-day relationships. We learn more about each person who works in the bakery. I love that none of the characters are typical romance-fiction characters with their beautiful looks and steamy romances. They are ordinary: grouchy, overweight, slow with words, teasing, flirting, hard-working, and doubtful about their abilities or rights to love. Even the little girl is kept from being too cutsie by chewing on her braid and hiding behind her dad. They are such real people whose approach to life is just ordinary and normal. That is one facet of the book. Woven into the story is the history of bread and its spiritual significance. And the third facet is like a cookbook with bread recipes (which I skipped since I probably am not going to have a sourdough starter and make bread that way). I really enjoyed this book and I think anybody who likes thumbing through cookbooks and or understanding what makes people behave like they do will also like it.

Finally, there was N. T. Wright's book, Paul for Everyone, Galatians and Thessalonians.  I have been studying the book of Galatians, so I just read that section.  Once again, I found N. T. Wright's commentary on Galatians to be very helpful. Parts of Galatians are pretty complex, but N. T. Wright does a great job explaining them. I found this book to round out well my study on Galatians.
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