Top 5 Tuesday: Books I want to reread

Welcome to another Tuesday, and another installment of Top 5 Tuesday hosted by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm.

This week is all about books I’d like to reread, if I can ever find the time! You’ll notice some of the titles are hyperlinked. That’s because I’ve blogged about them before! I must really like them if I’ve already mentioned them here!

“The Silver Star” by Jeannette Walls

My review (from 2016):

I love Bean and Liz…their tenacity, their spunk, the way they’re not afraid to stand out. And they can’t afford to be, these two teen girls who are basically abandoned by their flaky mother and move into a small Virginia town to live with their recluse uncle. There is so much irony in the fact that their family, who once owned the town mill and have a street named after them, have relinquished their power and prestige to a dangerous bully of a man.

Bean in particular is a memorable character. Even though she is three years younger than Liz, she seems to be the glue that holds the family together with her stubborn optimism and her “ugly mouth.” I think it’s interesting and probably intentional that there are references to “To Kill a Mockingbird” because Bean is a spitting image of Scout.

Small-town life has its perks and pitfalls, and I feel like “The Silver Star” encapsulates it perfectly. I loved the subtle bits of humor, the stand-up-and-cheer moments, and how the girls often encountered compassion in the face of cruelty. I underlined and bracketed several passages, and one of my favorite lines comes from Bean and Liz’s cousin Joe: “You don’t stop fighting just because you start losing.”

My thoughts today:

You know Walls for her memoirs “The Glass Castle” and “Half Broke Horses,” but did you know she wrote a lovely piece of fiction as well?

“The Silver Star” was a beautiful summer read that I could put on any number of “top” lists, as it’s one of my favorites. I loaned out my copy a couple of years ago, but if I had known I’d never get it back I would have guarded it with my life! I had so many notes in it. 😦 I’d better replace it soon, as I’d like to read it again this summer.

“If: Trading Your ‘If Only’ Regrets for God’s ‘What If’ Possibilities” by Mark Batterson

My review (from 2016):

This book gave me a fresh new perspective. Batterson takes us from the pitfalls of “if only” and challenges us to shift our thinking to “what if,” a mindset that is focused on possibilities in all arenas of life — work, family, you name it.

It’s all filtered through the lens of Romans 8, or “the Great Eight” as Batterson calls it. And there are many other Scriptures referenced throughout the book.

I really enjoyed Batterson’s writing style. He’s a pastor, and pastors use LOTS of illustrations to get their points across. I don’t mind that at all. I also appreciate his down-to-earth approach … there is NOTHING stuffy here.

As I was reading “If,” I kept thinking of all the people who would benefit from it as well. It’s a long list! I’d love to get my hands on a copy of the study guide and reread this wonderful book as I go through it. It’s a great option for a Bible study or Sunday School group.

My thoughts today:

This is something I still need and will probably always need for the rest of my life: reminders that we live better when we see life through the lens of possibility, not regret.

“Bruiser” by Ian Chorao

From Goodreads:

After spending another morning hiding in the clothes hamper eavesdropping on his miserable parents, Bruiser escapes to the open world outside. Set free into the chilly air of a noisy spring day in the city, slamming around, screaming crazy with guys on the block, Bruiser thinks of home and realizes it’s time to change his life. So begins the journey of a nine-year-old boy with a rich visual imagination who is trying to make sense of the world.

This is Bruiser’s account in his own words, captured by first-time novelist Ian Chorao with uncanny precision and an ear for the staccato rhythms of childhood consciousness. A novel refreshingly free of sentimentality, “Bruiser” confronts the darkness and violence of life even as it illuminates its wonder and sweetness.With a remarkably original narrative style, Bruiser spirits readers back to the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the late 1970s. From here, we follow Bruiser on his unlikely search for meaning, solace, and eventually the seeds of a tentative, hard-won maturity.

Overwhelmed by the pain and confusion of a troubled home life — his father is remote and given to irrational rages, his mother is undone by stifled artistic aspirations — Bruiser takes to the open road with Darla, a ten-year-old kindred spirit who lives across the alleyway. Their flight from the mounting tensions of home, an adventure dotted with frightening episodes and surprising revelations, is a journey in search of liberation and emotional truth, and with potentially tragic consequences.

Ian Chorao inhabits a child’s particular frame of mind with acute sensitivity and startling immediacy. In the disjunction between the limitations of a young boy’s awareness andour adult understanding of the circumstances lies a special poetry that is its own powerful truth, and a reminder of the often uncertain, yet painfully acute impressions that adults can make on the hearts and minds of children. In language that is both spare and potently sincere, Chorao has created a character in Bruiser that we won’t soon forget.

My thoughts today:

Another book about children from dysfunctional families, set in the 1970s. Huh.

I read “Bruiser” for an independent literature class wayyyy back in my senior year of high school. I remember loving it for its child’s-eye view of a very harsh environment. I think I will understand and appreciate it even more as an adult. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I was browsing the Keokuk Public Library’s used book sale a few years ago and found the same copy I had read as a teen, now bearing a “discarded” stamp. You know I snatched up that baby.

It seems that Chorao never wrote any other books, which is a shame.

“Visioneering: A Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Personal Vision” by Andy Stanley

My review (from 2016):

I discovered “Visioneering” after completing a YouVersion reading plan based on the book.

Through an interlibrary loan, I obtained a copy and read it in a little over a week. I kept having to remind myself I couldn’t highlight anything or make any notes in it, which tells me I need my own copy! Plus, the version I read is an early edition. It was recently revised and updated. I think I would enjoy a more modern edition, as some of the illustrations were a bit stale.

Stanley weaves in the story of Nehemiah’s vision for rebuilding the wall, which was a great biblical application. I don’t know whether the updated edition pares down Stanley’s “building blocks,” but there are 20 (!) of them in the edition that I read. That overwhelmed me a bit.

If nothing else, I want to reread “Visioneering” so I actually delve into the “projects” that follow each chapter. Keeping in mind that I had to return the library copy by a certain date prevented me from doing so, but that’s OK because I felt like giving this book an objective read the first time around helped me grasp general concepts.

I am in the early stages of developing a vision, and I want to be sure it’s a “God idea” and not just a “good idea.” This book provides a great litmus test for making that determination.

My thoughts today:

I first read “Visioneering” a little more than two years ago. My mom bought me my own copy not long afterward, making me promise I’d reread it at some point. I’m not sure what I’ve been waiting for.

As for the vision I had back in the fall of 2016, I believe it is a “God idea” but I haven’t made a lot of progress. I’m just praying for the courage and perseverance to make it happen.

“Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flagg

From Goodreads:

It’s first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two womenβ€”of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder.

My thoughts today:

This is the only Fannie Flagg book I’ve ever read, and I know she’s written many other gems. But I will never tire of “Fried Green Tomatoes,” whether it’s the novel, the movie or the food! I love the feisty, uniquely beautiful women in this book.

I’ll really miss having fried green tomatoes at Caz’s in Tulsa later this month during Hanson Day festivities. I hope my Fanson friends eat a few in my honor.

What are some memorable books that you’d like to reread?

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Tuesday: Books I want to reread

  1. Great list! I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell twice through, immediately, consecutively, without stopping. I just couldn’t get let it be over. (Though, forgive me, Rainbow fans, I skipped the Carry On, Simon parts.)

    Liked by 1 person

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