Saturday, October 03, 2009

September 2009 Reading List

Anna's Books

Completed This Month:
I hope the number of books doesn't overwhelm you! I've been blessed to read and learn a lot this month. It's hard to fit everything into short reviews, so if you want to know more about any of the books, please don't hesitate to ask!
  • Worldliness edited by John Piper - Subtitled “resisting the seduction of a fallen world,” this small but powerful book issues a call for us to not drift down the path of conforming with the ungodly culture. I really appreciated its clear and bold message, tempered with grace and the emphasis that only the power of the cross of Christ can help us resist the world’s temptations. While it boldly talked about things we struggle with, it also covers legalism and how our obedience should spring from gratitude for the Gospel, not a list of do’s and don’ts. The last chapter gave practical ideas for loving the world as Christ would have us, and the appendixes had some useful articles. It is a great book that I highly recommend!
  • The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey -The many stories of lives changed through this financial plan back up the book's subtitle: “a proven plan for financial fitness.” Dave writes in an entertaining and engaging way, with great advice and one-liners that will cause you to think and really remember what he recommends. This book is one that anyone can understand, and it has left me more informed about the things I want to avoid and the principles I should practice. If you’re looking for a financial book, this is a great one to read. Even if, like me, you don’t need a total money makeover now, it will help you avoid needing one later!
  • The Wonderful World of Dance by Arnold L. Haskell - This book presents a brief history of dance of all forms, from the beginning of what we know. It was complete with photos, which were interesting, but there were quite a few shots I would have preferred not to see. I didn’t like the references to evolution as fact, or the emphasis on the magic different steps in dance were supposed to take, but it was interesting to read about many different old and new dance forms around the world. I am a big fan of dancing, but there are many dance forms that I do not believe are godly, so I can see why many people avoid it altogether. I am thankful for the opportunity to dance for the Lord!
  • The Actor at Work by Robert Benedetti - In order to become a better director, as well as actor (although I do it infrequently), I read and took notes on this book to become more versed in the art of acting. It was good to become more familiar with the acting lingo and think about all the different things that can be done to make a character truly come alive. I didn’t enjoy the frequent references to man as an evolved animal, or the new age-y exercises for the mind and body. However, I tried to be discerning as I read, taking the good and leaving the bad.
  • Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge - After hearing and reading conflicting views on this book, I decided to read it to see what it really said. I read it all the way through, and there were some passages that were quite true; they often accurately depict the typical women of today. However, many of the Scripture passages were taken out of context, and I was saddened by the passing, mocking comment about the Proverbs 31 woman (someone impossible to live up to, they say; but doesn’t God have it in the Bible for a reason?). Most of the role models and examples of women were taken from popular movies and novels while the Biblical examples of women they gave were rarely accurate, in my opinion. There were many sad stories of woman abused and neglected, and some of their suggestions may bring help to hurting hearts. However, the book as a whole was very self-oriented, encouraging us to focus on ourselves in ways that seem to diminish the power and glory of God. I could go on, but others I respect have reviewed the book in ways I agree with:
    Click the links for reviews on: Ladies Against Feminism, CBMW, and
  • The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter - After hearing enthusiastic reviews of books by Gene Statton-Porter, I decided to give one of them a try. I wasn’t disappointed! This story was well written, heartfelt, engaging, and a joy to read! It follows James MacFarlane, a wounded World War I veteran in his journey to health and wholeness. Some of the circumstances may seem far-fetched, but I truly enjoyed the story and the way trust and reliance on God was woven through it. It was fun to learn more about bees through the story and the amazing way God has created them. The mysteries the story holds will keep you guessing as you turn the pages, and yet I was delighted to find that what I had guessed was correct. A great classic book that will give you a wonderful treat!
  • The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Michele and Jim Bob Duggar - This book was an interesting glimpse into the lives of one of the largest families in America. I enjoyed reading the story of how the parents met and how each child was added to their family, as they learned business lessons and outgrew houses. The way that they have trusted God and how He has provided is inspirational. I enjoyed the Q & A boxes, recipes, and great organizational tips that are throughout the book. The Duggars seem to be doing a great job raising their family to follow the Lord. Although some of their personal convictions may be different than ours, we can still have a lot to learn from them.
  • Basic Principles of Classical Ballet by Agrippina Vaganova - This book, written by the developer of the Russian ballet technique (Vaganova), thoroughly explains nearly all the aspects of ballet technique. To read and comprehend it, you need to know at least a little of the basics of ballet, but the book also explains things in an easy-to-understand way. It starts at the beginning and then has chapters dealing with different aspects of ballet, including battements, arms, basic poses, jumps, and turns. It also had many well-drawn and easy to understand illustrations, drawn of a sweet ballerina figure in a modest skirt! This is a book that I definitely recommend to any ballerina, and one that I hope to buy myself, since I was only borrowing it from the library.
  • Playmaking: A Manuel of Craftsmanship by William Archer - This book I never completed; I gave up after the 7th chapter, because it really wasn’t helpful for me in what I am writing/directing. I ran across the title in another book, and before buying it, decided to search online to see if I could it less expensively. To my delight, I found it as a free e-book download here. However, with its constant references to plays I haven’t read and the style of writing (it was originally published in 1912), I decided it just wasn’t worth my while to finish.
  • The 3 Simple Rules of the Prima Ballerina by Anita Leembruggen - This e-book is all about the basics of ballet and ways to improve. It explains in easy-to-understand language and illustrations many of the basic moves and stances, and has helpful tips on many things, from setting personal goals to being a helpful ballet mom to nutrition and training. It goes in-depth about each of the basic positions and poses of arms and legs and gives things to remember about class etiquette, different styles, and performing various steps. It also explained the major dance styles and gave the stories of the famous ballets.
    It gave me useful tips to remember, and broke things down in a great way for beginners. However, it was a bit pricey for being an e-book of only 207 pages and it wasn't quite as good as I had expected after reading all of the reviews. There were also quite a few grammar and punctuation errors that were distracting.
  • Unfashionable by Tullian Tchividjian - Subtitled “making a difference in the world by being different,” this book by one of the grandsons of Billy Graham urges us to look to God’s Word to find out how we should live, even if that means living in direct opposition to the ways of the culture. Divided into four parts, it explores the Call, the Commission, the Community, and the Charge. A lot of the material and urgings I had heard before in one way or another, so this wasn’t a book that radically changed my perspective. However, I enjoyed his calling us to live our life entirely for the Lord, even though it will be out of fashion.
  • Financial Peace Revisted by Dave Ramsey - This book on money is written in a fun and practical way, and is the updated version of the bestseller, Financial Peace. Its view of money and how to manage it so that it doesn’t manage you is very effective as the book gives practical advice on a variety of financial situations. It is a great book to read as I begin to earn a little more money, so that I can start managing my money wisely from the beginning. My next action step is to take time to make a working budget, for as the book says, “When we fail to plan, we plan to fail…”
Currently Reading:
  • The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History by A. Kenneth Curtis, J. Stephen Lang, & Randy Peterson
  • Music At Your Fingertips by Ruth Slenczynska
  • Drama Ministry by Steve Pederson
  • Dawin's Black Box by Michael J. Behe
  • 100 Lessons in Classical Ballet by Vera S. Kostrovitskaya
  • Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology by Karen Clippinger
  • Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  • Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy
  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chamber
  • For the Love of God Volume 1: A daily companion for discovering the riches of God's Word by D.A. Carson
Miriam's Books
Again, I have been so busy that I haven't read much of anything except textbooks. I don't even read all the blogs I used to. =( But here's my current list of books. =)

Currently Reading:
  • Biology textbook
  • Music Theory and Sight-Singing textbooks
  • The Bible (for personal devotions as well as OT Religion)

    Now, what have you been reading recently?


Kaomi said...

Gene Stratton-Porter, she is the author of the Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost. If you haven't read those, give them a try. She is a really good writer. I love all of her books that I have had a chance to read. I haven't had a chance to read The Keeper of the Bees, but maybe soon.
God bless,

Sister in Prayer said...

I am reading right now:
Chronicles in Narnia.C.S Lewis
My Uttmost for His Highest. Oswald Chambers.
And, Victorious Christians you Should Know.

Jenny said...

Those look like some fun books! I was wondering, what forms of dancing do you think are ungodly? I, like you, am a ballerina, and I love dancing!

Lindsey said...

Thank you so much for sharing your views on the book "Captivating" I too had the same opinions as you and am saddened at how many young women havetaken ideas of the book so seriously. You are such a lovely light- it is so encouraging for my walk with our Prince!

PoetLady said...

Girl of the Limberlost is a really good book. I also recommend it to you, Anna.

Your sister,

Anna Naomi said...

Jenny: There are many kinds of dance that can be done in sensual ways or while wearing little clothing. These I think could be called ungodly. For example, there is tasteful jazz, but there is also a lot of hip-shaking, tight-clothing jazz...

Kaomi and Maria: I definitely plan to read more of Gene Stratton-Porter!

Sister in Prayer said...

Thanks for answering my question, Anna! I sit down someday and fiddle around with it, right now I'm away!
Thanks! ~

Jordan Eaks said...

I've been reading Do Hard Things by Brett and Alex Harris. It's very challenging! :) I'm also reading The Story of Liberty by Charles C. Coffin.

Maria Pauline said...

As always, you have given me a few more titles to add to my reading list.

I recently finished most of the eight or so books I was reading (including Northanger Abbey and Charlotte Temple) and am now working on Bleak House and Screwtape Letters, among others.


Marlana said...

On the note about Captivating.

The point of the book is that until you recognize the needs in your heart that were not met and that were assaulted, you can never receive healing and have a deep relationship with God. There has never been a book that has bridge my relationship with God more than that book. I have read several of other their other books now. They are all about a relationship with God. But they know that most people are emotionally blocked, going through the motions, bored and tired...why? they are scared of their wounds, scared of being too vulnerable because they have vowed not to get hurt again.

My favorite line is the book is let the tears come. When I did that, and I gave my shame to Jesus, I experienced instant physical relief. I was set free.

Just remember the kind of life Stasi lived...most of us have never began to experience that kind of pain. (I have not.) She received healing of that, and it's incredible.