As I had mentioned in my last blog post, one of the things I’d like to do before I’m 30 is read 40 books. I decided I want to document each book I read in a running list that can be easily referenced whenever. For that reason, this post will have a permanent spot in my Education section under ‘Books’.
So, how am I choosing which books to read?
I wrote down probably close to 80 book titles that I’ve been wanting to read and put them in a jar to be randomly picked out when it’s time for a new book. I color coded them, partially because I’ll use any excuse to color code something, and also in case I’m in the mood to read a particular genre. I’m going to do my best to read whichever book I draw because I’m having the mindset that if I pulled it, there’s a reason I’m supposed to read it.
1. Anything by Jennie Allen Ironically, I had recently purchased this book because I felt like I needed it and it ended up being my first selection. This book is the account of the author giving her life to God’s will, praying and vowing that she’ll do anything he wants her to do. I don’t identify with any single religion, but I do believe in a higher power. As someone wanting to open myself up to that power, I found this book to be intriguing and inspiring. I believe there are many of us out there that want to fulfill our purpose on this earth. However, I think that desire comes with clauses. Most of us, especially in America, are so accustomed to comfort, safety, and security that our ‘anything’ is more like ‘anything but giving up material possessions and jeopardizing comfort and safety’. We forget that those things are luxuries and privileges not a guarantee or a right. Additionally, we don’t want to depart from what the author calls our scrapbook – our hopes, dreams, goals, and visions we have for our life. Yet, if we believe in a higher power, particularly God, is that really what we’re supposed to have? As it was pointed out in the book, several believers during Biblical times weren’t awarded an easy and comfortable life for obeying God. (I’m definitely not an expert on this topic, though.) What hit me for the first time was realizing that Jesus was willing to sacrifice himself and his life to fulfill God’s will. As a non-Christian, but believer in God, this spoke to me. Peace isn’t necessarily meant to be lived on Earth, it’s really the reward in the afterlife for living in accordance with God’s plan. I had recently told my mom that I didn’t think God’s plan for us is meant to keep us comfortable. Rather, I believe living it out is going to require us to stretch, grow, and be uncomfortable. I think that we all have the ability to serve our purposes, but they might not come with the amount of recognition or global impact that we would like in order to make the sacrifices we could potentially be asked to make.
2. The Lakota Way by Joseph M. Marshall III I’ve had this book on my shelf for years and I can confidently say it’ll be there as a staple for years to come. This book’s main focus is on character using Native American stories and events to magnify things like humility, perseverance, respect, honor, love, sacrifice, truth, compassion, bravery, fortitude, generosity, and wisdom. Unfortunately, I misplaced the notes I made for this book, but two main things are standing out to me as I think back on it. I found the respect had for the earth and those who inhabit it to be thought provoking and endearing. It really makes me think about how things have changed and how little appreciation we have for the earth, its creatures, and how we can be provided for by nature solely. Another thing that surprised me was the Lakota mentality towards battle and bravery. It was seen as braver and more courageous to touch a live opposing warrior in battle than it was to kill him. Adding to that, conflicts were often used as an opportunity for men to show their bravery and courage rather than it being about winning, killing, or even an issue between tribes. Of course, deaths did occur in the process, but I found this fascinating and quite the opposite of what history books prefer to teach.
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver Dare I say that this might be one of my favorite books of all time? Although, a little more opinionated or slightly political in places than I’d like, this book was excellent! It documents a family’s move from Arizona to Virginia in order to pursue a year of eating seasonally and locally. It’s thought provoking, informative, comforting, and amusing all in one. Probably the most fascinating part to me was learning how much human influence during turkey reproduction has interfered with a turkey’s innate ability to mate and raise young. The book as a whole was very eye-opening to our food industry and what we’ve adopted as normal that couldn’t be further from it. If you’re interested in food, cooking, gardening, environmental issues, or any similar topics, I highly recommend this book.