Friday, July 29, 2011

Friends Or Just Reading Companions?

Is it just me or is there anyone else that loves a great book so much that upon reading the last sentence you walk away thinking you’ve just made a new friend? While my guests are enjoying a summer break I thought it would be fun to share some Take-Away values of some wonderful novels I’ve enjoyed. These are just a mere glimpse of some favorites.

WORDS by Ginny L. Yttrup

This is a story about a 10-year-old girl who copes with both her mother abandoning her and sexual abuse from the mom’s boyfriend, and the bond the girl makes with a woman who too is seeking love. Sounds like a dark story? Well, it’s definitely not a beach-read, but I found it very uplifting. My take-away value: God’s love for us. Directly quoting from the novel, “He loves us, little one, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.”

A FRIEND AT MIDNIGHT by Caroline B. Cooney

This YA (young adult) novel is by one of my favorite authors. How can one follow God’s commandment to honor thy father if this supposedly loving dad twists the heart of your kid brother and then dumps him upon tiring of the boy? My take-away value: we always need help and God is the one friend who is always there for us. We can ask Him to help us and not worry about the consequences because He has our best interests in His heart. Always.

THE FIRST TIME by Joy Fielding

Want to read a story that will make you chuckle, weep, and sigh? This is a shockingly beautiful love story from a well-known suspense author. The first line grabs seizes attention: “She was thinking of ways to kill her husband.” A story about what happens when a marriage fails and then grows again during an unexpected crisis. My take-away value: tough times don’t necessarily have to kill a relationship, and that love comes in many different sizes and shapes, and is forever changing.

SALEM FALLS by Jodi Picoult

This is the one novel that had made me a Jodi Picoult fan and had me driving into Vermont to meet her at a book signing. A true page-turner, this is about a present-day witch trial. My take-away value: happy endings can happen to people whom once thought they were only slated for anything else, and be careful in what you think about others.


Would you like some help in seeing The Garden through the eyes of Adam and Eve (Havah)? Okay, that’s an understatement. Read this book and you will be living that biblical passage, experiencing the sounds, smells, tastes, touch, and every vivid emotion as possible. My take-away value: getting to experience how the first man and woman may have lived.

ALMOST HEAVEN by Chris Fabry

A story about a simple man who discovers his mission in life is not that simple, and throw in an angel whose job assignment has him wondering if God has made a mistake. Talk about an interesting plot twist! My take-away value: keep following God even though the path seems odd at times because He’s never wrong.


Should a wife think twice about the husband she believed she knew when he doesn’t show up? Could his current disappearing act be the one for good? My take-away value: don’t give up on a marriage that God made possible, even if it doesn’t seem "normal."

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman

This is another YA novel I’ve really enjoyed written by an author with a fabulous voice. What do you do if you’re young, talented, have a great family, a loving boyfriend, are about to start on a journey to accomplish your goals, and then have it all taken away within seconds? My take-away value: tragedy can pass like a storm. Sure, there can be damage and devastation, but what remains is the love of a faithful person.



  1. That's an interesting question, Elaine. I love historicals and so many of the characters seem to deal with some type of forgiveness--of themselves or another person--for past wrongs.

  2. Sandra, nice to hear from you! As I was writing this blog entry I realized I had my own theme going: enjoying novels that are about the steadfast love of God and of important people in one's life such as a husband or friend. With you it's forgiveness. Thanks for sharing this insight.

  3. I usually read your posts in email form, and today I hopped over to comment . . . Almost Heaven is one of my favorite stories. So often the main character of a book is supposed to be an everyman, but we readers can see how special he is. I loved how Chris Fabry made his main guy so very ordinary and, even at times unappealing, and then showed how God was able to use him in such a beautiful way. And I also loved reading the angel's perspective!

    I guess my takeaway would be that each small battle in a Christian's life (whether we triumph or not) becomes an irrevocable part of God's eternal plan. This book was a vivid reminder of how God cherishes each life.

  4. Renee, thanks so much for visiting and commenting on my blog!

    I agree what you've said. What I appreciated about ALMOST HEAVEN is Chris Fabry's voice. He made his character step off the page and I think this is what helped us as readers experience first hand what the character does: both the ordinary and the extraordinary.

    Doesn't it make you want to simultaneously jump for joy and shake with goosebumps how everything in our life is important to God and what more, as you've said, is in His bigger scheme of things, for us as individuals and for other? Everyone in this world is like one huge chain of gingerbread cutouts--we all hold each other's hands, are all connected. And then there's God, making our small blip in life essential in all of eternity.


  5. Elaine, I love your blog and especially this "Take Away' theme. To me Jodi Picoult always says'keep taking those steps'. Cynthia Ruchti's latest siad to me 'if we listen long enough, we'll hear God's voice.'

    Regarding 'The Help' that you're reading-it was gut wrenching to me, but shows that God's redemption shines brighter the darker our canvas.

    Jude Urbanski

  6. Hi Jude,

    Your sweet words were the best thing I've heard all day. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit on my blog and to Follow me. I'm honored ☺

    Your take on both Picoult and Ruchti is a very interesting and right-on perspective. Thanks for sharing.

    I had to put aside THE HELP in order to read a couple of books for this blog for my upcoming guests, but now that you've said that tidbit, I definitely will have to finish this novel!

    My blog guest this coming Friday is debut Christian inspirational author Sandra Orchard. I hope you'll say a hello to her.

    ♥ Elaine


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