1. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, Rhoda Janzen: I laughed out loud.
2. The Ametuer Marriage, Anne Tyler: I've read other Anne Tyler that I didn't like so much but I liked this; my heart slowly broke with the marriage.
3. What's so Amazing About Grace?, Philip Yancey: "The Christian life . . . does not primarily center on ethics or rules but rather involves a new way of seeing. I escape the force of spiritual "gravity" when I begin to see myself as a sinner who cannot please God by any method of self-improvement or self-enlargement. Only then can I turn to God for outside help - for grace - and to my amazement I learn that a holy God already loves me despite my defects." (p. 272, italics mine)
4. Grace-Based Parenting, Tim Kimmel: I was not really aware of the amazing nature of God's grace until recently and find that it's, well, amazing, and so applicable to parenting.
5. I Will Carry You, Angie Smith: Liz loaned this to me and at first I thought it was just re-hash of the blog. Had I started at the beginning and read it straight through (like, say, a normal person), I would have found out differently. But I picked it up, read some, cried, put it down, picked it up another day, read another part, cried . . . finally on Sunday I sat down and read it start to finish. Yes, there's a lot there that's already in the blog, but she also has pulled the story together with some wonderful themes and the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. It's beautifully written and inspiring. You will need tissues, even if you know what's coming.
6. The New Strong-Willed Child, Dr. James Dobson: I was holding out hope that Kate wasn't actually strong-willed but 8 pages in it became clear . . . she's a pretty classic strong-willed child. I didn't think this book presented much more than I'd already read: be consistent, pray, know your child and discipline accordingly.
7. Night Lights, Phyllis Theroux: I started reading this awhile ago and finished it this past week. Such good writing; insightful, flowing, sweet.
8. Small Wonder, Barbara Kingsolver: I have loved other books I've read by her. I picked this up for $2.50 and was disappointed that it's essays and not short stories. Readers with a higher level of reading comprehension would notice that it says that on the cover, but not me. Overall I have been enjoying it (OK, OK, I haven't finished it yet) but sometimes I feel like her tone is overbearing and demanding. We don't all have the luxury of a yard and a garden and eating only fresh veggies we've grown ourselves, or two houses and (clearly) having someone take care of the empty house's garden while they're at the second home . . . I mean, it must be nice for you but don't make me feel guilty that we have to shop at a grocery store. I do what I can and what I think is best but easily feel guilty for areas I think I'm failing in.
(oh good grief. What other book did I read? I know there were 9 "grown-up" books and then I was going to add a children's book to make 10 . . . oh, I remember . . . )
9. Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffenegger: I thought The Time Traveler's Wife was hard to get into but then I loved it. So when I saw this in paperback at Target, I snatched it up. I really liked it, although I found the "inciting incident" to be a little weak. It made me want to visit Highgate Cemetery, or just London in general.
So now, either head to your library for these books or over to ohamanda for more top-ten lists.
(update: After I posted this, I remembered one more.)
How could I forget Kate Braestrup and Here if You Need Me? I have been wanting to read this for forever and found it for $1 at the book bin at the grocery store. It was fantastic, so well written and interesting. She talks about wanting her husband back but knowing that all the amazing things that have happened in her life since his death would not have happened . . . she can't have both. They are two different things, held in two different hands. Oh. heartbreaking. I told Craig I wanted to get lost in the woods so the wardens would come look for me and she'd come so I could meet her . . . there must be an easier way because I for sure do not want to be in the Maine woods.