Bedside Books


Over the last week, we’ve had some beautiful days with nice spring like temps and blue skies.  The kind of days that you want to soak up because you know that they won’t last long.  They’re fragile days of winter.  I know those of you with snow are sending me firebolts shooting out of your eyes for even mentioning our lovely weather.

With you in mind though, I thought the sharing of my bedside books would be a nice way to spread some warmth from my house to yours.  I find nothing more delightful on a cold winter day than to curl up with a good book.

I tend to keep many books on my bedside table.  Some have been there waiting patiently for months while others are brand new.  I like to keep my options open and some might suggest that I have a magpie complex when it comes to books — I’m easily distracted to hoard another and another and another.  Making a book list to read at the start of the year doesn’t seem to work for me because the truth is, I never follow the list.  I’m more of a go-with-the-flow book reader.  I choose my book to read by what I’m drawn to in that moment unless its for book club.

bedside books 1

1. Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain  This book came highly recommended.  This book has been patiently waiting to be read for a long time.  This year, I’m reading it.

2. Light Through An Eastern Window by  K.C. Pillai   This book was recommended by a fellow blogger/book lover.  I bought it for insight into an eastern mindset.

3. Grace For The Good Girl: Letting Go Of The Try Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman  I love Emily’s blog and this book’s description resonates with me.  I’ve had it for some time and no excuses, this year, I’m reading it.

4. Still: Notes On A Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner  I love her books.  She writes on faith from a Jewish and Christian perspective.

5. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts On Faith by Anne Lamott  I loved her book, Bird by Bird.  That book is on my top book list of all time.  I’ve had this book and all of her others forever and I think I’ve procrastinated reading them because I know I’m going to enjoy them and I want to savor them and I know that I don’t want them to end so I haven’t started them.  Does that make any sense to anybody else? Or is it just me?

6. Serena by Ron Rash:   This book is for book club.  A movie based on this book is coming out starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.  I’ve been told this book is awesome.  I hope so.  Book club choices lately have been a serious miss for me.

7. Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, And Other Southern Specialties by Julia Reed  My daughter brought it home from the library.  She loved it and said I ought to read it.  The author is local and I enjoy reading local writers so I’m giving it a shot.

8. Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good by Jan Karon   I’m currently reading this book and I’m so happy to be reading a book about Father Tim and Cynthia set in Mitford.  This book feels like the first books of the Mitford series before the characters went to Mississippi and to Ireland.

9. An Altar In The World by Barbara Brown Taylor  I’ve been told this author’s books will knock my socks off.

10. Icebound by Dr. Jerri Nielsen   As part of my reading for this year, I’m trying to read Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge.  On the challenge list is to read a book outside of your normal reading genre and this one fits the bill for me.

11. The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith  I follow her blog and I enjoy decorating books. Enough said.

12. Soulless by Gail Carriger  A recently discovered author.  I read her book, Etiquette & Espionage  which is a quirky fun little read.  The book references her previous series, The Parasol Protectorate. This book is the first in that series.

13. The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss   A new fantasy world for me to discover.

14. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon  I want to know what all the fuss is about.

15. The Living Page: Keeping Notebooks With Charlotte Mason by Laurie Bestvater  I’m a journal keeper and this book is about keeping journals.

16. Tender At The Bone: Growing Up At The Table by Ruth Reichl    I started this food memoir but had to stop so I want to pick it back up and finish.

17. Confessions by St. Augustine  I enjoy reading classic books that have stood the test of time.

18. A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman  This book is about discovering and pursuing your art.

19. Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir Of Food And Faith by Fred Bahnson Recommended by a blogger friend.  This book connects gardening, faith, and sacrament.

20. Same Kind Of Different As Me: A modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together by Ron Hall & Denver Moore  The movie is coming out and I wanted to read it first.

21. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline   I bought this book in the fall because I’ve heard the story is very good.

Happy Reading!



“Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”  John 21:25 NIV Bible

I Like Banned Books

image via


Books are wonderful, dangerous things.  Within their pages, I have been transported to faraway lands, to places right around the corner and to everywhere in between.  I’ve confronted my ignorance, challenged my prejudices, and dealt with my fears through the lives of the characters.  I’ve also been in love, cried a fountain of tears, laughed until my sides ached, and sighed with contentment in the warmth of grace.  I’ve shared my love for books and reading numerous times but a sampling can be found here and here.

Every year, the last week of September is Banned Books Week.  Books are banned for a number of reasons.  According to the Website for the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association, the top 8 reasons for challenging books over the last decade are:

  • Sexually explicit
  • Offensive language
  • Unsuited to the age
  • Violence
  • Homosexuality
  • Satanic
  • Religious viewpoint
  • Anti-family

Some of my favorites off of the 100 Top Challenged/Banned Books for 2000-2009.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle


  • For more Top 100 books, click here.
  • To learn more about Banned Books Week, click here.
  • Goodreads has a page devoted to banned book lists, click here.



“Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”  John 21:25 NIV Bible

The Summer I Fell in Love {and not with a boy}


I’m drawn to a deckle edge hardback edition like a moth to a flame.  I can’t help picking it up, fingering the pages, stroking the cover, and inhaling those fragrant tones of glue, linen, and ink as I flip through its pages. I treasure a real book.  Sadly, the Kindle is a poor substitute that must be plugged in or words don’t appear. I turn it on, push a button and then, push another button to turn pages.  No wonderful bookish aroma wafts up as the page turns, no discovering hidden receipts, old bookmarks, notes, or pictures someone has left behind. The corners aren’t dog-eared and stain marks, from crying while reading, don’t exist.  I can’t even discover if Jennifer {hearts} Peter on the end paper.  For me, book reading is a full-on sensory experience.  An experience that began the summer I fell in love with reading.

I don’t recall the actual moment of learning to read but that summer, I remember.  I couldn’t get enough of books. I was having a gorge fest with the written word.  A gawky tween: I was two parts tomboy, 1 part girl.  My mother signed me up to participate in a summer reading program and I received my very own library card.  That card had my name on it.  Monumental.

Growing up in the south, the humidity of summer causes buildings, particularly older ones built before central air, to smell rather musty. That odorous scent combined with old wood and paper permeated the library I frequented when I was young.  Rows upon rows of shelves held my attention and fascination as I gazed at all those book choices.  I was a happy camper and content to look for what seemed like hours.

I know some are drawn to a book’s jacket, preferring to go against the old adage of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  I chose books that summer found in the children’s section and they had warm primary colors of rusty red, golden yellow or hunter green covers.  Some depicted pictures in vibrant colors while others were rather plain, adorned only with an ink drawing.  That summer {and true today}, I chose books by their title and their covers.  They had to have that special something that sparked my curiosity.

stack of children's books

Unlike many young girls my age, I wasn’t drawn to the popular stories about horses. I liked adventure stories. I was inspired to dig around a tree trunk in my backyard so I could be like Sam in My Side of the Mountain.  And after I read all of The Borrowers series, I wanted to be small and experience life from their perspective.  I also liked stories about girls who were my age like Laura in Little House in the Big Woods and Caddie in Caddie Woodlawn.  I found stories about people and their accomplishments like Clara Barton and Helen Keller remarkable.  These tales I read taught me about self-reliance, hope, love, and determination.

I looked forward to my trips to the library. I would often check out the book limit and carry a big stack of books home.  If I was lucky, I’d go unnoticed by my mother and be able to make a quick dash to my room, impatient to begin reading.  I would dive right in and often read late into the night with my bed covers over my head and a flashlight so I wouldn’t get in trouble for staying up.  Sometimes, I was discovered.  Other times, particularly when it was time to set the table or help in the kitchen, I’d hide under my bed to continue reading so my mother couldn’t find me.  I mean, seriously, didn’t she understand??  I couldn’t stop now — Nancy was about to solve the mystery and I had to learn who did it.

Each time we returned to the library, I was introduced to new friends and new adventures all found on those inked pages that captured and held my imagination.  Those days instilled in me a life long passion for reading that continues to this day.  When I fell in love that summer, I was given the world.

To view more memoir posts written by other members of the {In}couraging Writer’s Group or to share your own, click here.



“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”  John 21:25  NIV Bible