Books 25, 26 & 27

Book #25 — Little Women is one of my favorite books of all time, and one I have admittedly read before. This time I was reading it for my class, but I decided it should count as part of my 52, since I believe one reading in a lifetime is not nearly enough.

Little Women follows four sisters as they learn and grow and the side of their beloved “Marmee,” who is wise and gentle and wonderful and everything I want to be as a mother. She reminds me a great deal of my own beloved mother and grandmother. There are so many wonderful life lessons in this book that if you were never fortunate enough to have a “Marmee” of your own, you can almost believe that Mrs. March is right there with you to see you through all of life’s hard times and help you get the most out of them. Each of the girls has a special “burden” she must learn to manage — vanity, selfishness, timidity, and temper. Marmee herself admits to having to struggle with her temper daily, a comfort to those of us who think we will never be able to manage something that seems to have a life of its own. I will be reading this to my 9-year-old daughter as soon as we finish some other books, and I look forward to sharing a book so near and dear to my heart with her.

Book #26 Families Where Grace Is In Place is a must-read for every Christian family. VanVonderen challenges common misconceptions Christians have about authority, submission, obedience and discipline. He addresses the fact that ALL Christians are commanded to submit to one another, and the fact that discipline is NOT the same thing as punishment. I love the fact that he makes the point the parents are not responsible for making their children obey for their own satisfaction, pride, or convenience but for being an example of who God is and for “bringing them up” in a positive and encouraging way. This is probably my very favorite parenting book, but it doesn’t end there. It addresses the roles of everyone within a Christian family.

Book #27 The Old Man and the Sea was Hemingway’s short story that beautifully evokes the feeling of being out on the ocean. It is the story of an old man’s struggle to bring in a giant marlin and with the sharks that threaten his catch. There is no resentment, fear or bitterness towards nature — only tremendous respect and sympathy. He refers to the marlin as his “brother,” and he even admires the sharks’ intelligence and persistence. I would never have thought that I would be able to stick with and enjoy a book about a single fishing escapade, but this is truly a masterpiece.

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