Thursday, 22 May 2014

A Special Love

Hi guys!

Tonight I'm taking a quick break from studying to tell you about a special love of mine- my love for books. There are few things more calming than cuddling up in bed with a good book and getting lost in it for a few hours.

My mama will attest to the fact that when I am on holiday in Australia staying with her, I will sometimes hole myself up in my bedroom for hours on end, consuming one book after another.

I would literally rather spend my spare time reading than going to a party (that is, unless said party involves karaoke...)

So now, I would like to recommend some of my favourite books to you guys. These are all books straight off my own bookshelf...books that I loved so much that I simply HAD to have a copy of my own to keep. Let me know if you've read/would like to read any of these- I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

The first book I want to mention is "October Baby", by Eric Wilson and Theresa Preston. In this case, I had actually seen the movie first, and that in itself had wrecked my heart. I thought I knew what I was getting myself into...but no. The book shattered my heart into a million tiny pieces, and then gently, lovingly, put those pieces back together. You WILL cry reading this book. I can almost guarantee it. But it's a good cry- a cry that leaves you feeling healed and restored. I recommend this book to everyone, but especially young women who might be feeling doubtful of their worth.

The second book I want to tell you about is "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. This book is so good, and so inspiring, that I find myself reading it at least twice a year. I think every woman needs to read this book. It has totally changed the way that I see myself, and I always feel so empowered and uplifted after reading this book.

The next book is a classic: "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte. I first read this book when I did a study on it in English class in my final year of high school. I find Jane's character so relatable, and always admire her strength through tough and unjust circumstances. There is also suspense in this book that will keep you on your toes, as well as romance. The perfect mix, in my opinion.

The next book I want to talk about is "The Shunning" by Beverly Lewis. This book is an incredible tale about finding yourself and what you believe, in a world where you are surrounded by people telling you what to say and do, or you will be "shunned". It made me look deep inside myself and ask "would I still hold fast to my faith, even if it meant having to leave everything I know and everyone I love behind?" This is a beautifully written story- I couldn't put it down.

"The Shack" by WM. Paul Young made me think about God and Christianity in ways that I never had before. It made me question what "faith" really means, and what a real relationship with God looks like. It also confronts the hard questions, such as "Where is God when I am hurting?" and "Why do bad things happen to good people?" I recommend this book to everyone, but especially Christians who want to have their relationship with God re-ignited and see His Father heart in a new way.  

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins have become recent favourites of mine. These books carry beautiful metaphors of love being about sacrifice, and show how empathy and the human spirit can still survive beneath terrible oppression. They are also incredibly well written- I devoured the entire series in a weekend :)

I own all 6 of Jane Austen's published works, and I think that all of them are fantastic. The female characters are especially well-rounded. They are witty, sarcastic, strong, and yet charming. These are women that would have gone against the grain of the time period that they were in. The men are dashing, mysterious, and chivalrous. The romances are sweet, elegant, and understated. These are must-reads for all book-lovers, in my opinion.

Ahhh, The Babysitters Club. Sweet, sweet nostalgia. God bless you, Ann M. Martin! This photo is of just one of my 400 (yes, 400!) Babysitters Club books that I own. I've been collecting them since I was nine. I grew up with the characters in these simple, sweet, wholesome novels. They have great messages such as teamwork, friendship, and the importance of family. The books also deal with sensitive topics such as death, divorce, racism, and domestic abuse in ways that are both honest and age-appropriate. Also, some of the supporting characters add great humour to the stories. They're a really easy read, and I still love them now, even as a 24-year-old.

This book, "Loving Our Kids On Purpose", by Pastor Danny Silk, is the best book on child-rearing that I've ever read (and I've read a LOT!) As an early childhood teacher, I found his strategies both practical and effective. He writes very conversationally, and I feel that this helps him to connect well with his readers.

"The Fault In Our Stars"by John Green is really hot right now, and for good reason. This book is incredibly well-written and heart-warming. It is honest and witty, sad and joyful. You will get swept up in the story, and charmed by the characters. I also can't wait for the movie to come out soon! Finally, it must be said that John Green is simply the best at everything. Ever.

"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott was one of my absolute favourite books as a teenager, and I still love it to this day. I felt really connected to the characters, in particular Jo March. I still maintain that she is the book character I relate to the most out of any book I've ever read. This book is a classic, and one that I will definitely share with my children one day, when they are old enough. I look forward to sitting on my little girl's bed and reading to her each night before she goes to sleep, just like my mama used to do for me. I look forward to hearing her say "Just one more chapter mama! Pleeeease!" And I look forward to smiling down at her, tired as I may be, and saying "Of course, sweetheart".

And lastly, "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. This book is a modern-day, loose interpretation of the book of Hosea in the Bible. It will break your heart. It will make you cry. It will open your eyes to people. It will open your eyes to love. You will be reminded of how God loves us: Gently. Passionately. Unconditionally. Forever.

There you go guys! I hope you all have a great week, and thanks for reading :)


Melanie Raye.

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