A Good Vacation: Six(ish) Books

Hey y’all. Julie graciously gave me permission (and a login!) to post my bookish thoughts here. I’m usually over at Snoring Scholar (where I talk books, faith, and family, among other miscellany).

The first week in July, I unplugged myself from the various blogs, social networks, and electronic doodads that fill my days and went with my family to a beach.

I took a pile of books, plus my loaded-up Kindle, and I was ready to roll. I had no idea if the kids would actually let me get in any reading time (they’re 7, 4, and 18 months), but as it turns out, I finished six books honestly. (I’m not really counting that I finally finished Julie’s reading of Bridge of Birds.)

Here are my short reviews of the books I read. At least one of these books is probably really worth your time. And at least one of them might not be. So I’ll try to help you determine that before you commit and dive in.

The Temperament God Gave Your Kids: Motivate, Discipline, and Love Your Children

By Art & Laraine Bennett

I’m a personality geek. In my undergrad years, I did an honors project related to learning styles and personality type, with temperament thrown in on the side. I was really curious to read this book, as it’s been a while since I’ve really read up on any of this sort of thing.

It was an easy read and more than a little enjoyable. I would have liked a bit more information about my “don’t seem to fit into those buckets” children, but maybe I just need to check out the Bennetts’ other two books about temperament (this is their third).

I’ve been walking around talking about choleric and melancholic for a week now, my husband’s eyes are probably permanently rolled back into his head, and at least one of my bad parenting habits has been chalked up to temperament. Go ahead, laugh.

Should you read it? Sure, why not?

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury

It is Julie’s fault I read this, and wow! How did I miss this book before? I remember, a few years ago, my younger sister reading it for an assignment. Everyone hated it, she said. I can see why. It’s a hate-able book, just like 1984 (which I somehow also missed as a teen and only read for the first time a few years ago).

But it’s also a very necessary book, a book that spoke to me. I couldn’t believe how poetic it felt, how lovely it was to read as dire as it seemed to be. If you haven’t read it, do. (And then tune in for Julie and Scott’s discussion.)

The Reed of God

By Caryll Houselander

I kept reading quotes and excerpts from this book and I decided I had to read the source material. After all, a reliable Mary-geek friend of mine told me, it’s a classic.

Well, it’s a classic for a reason. Not only is it simply lovely, but it planted seeds of thought and meditation in me that are still sprouting over a week after I finished it. I will definitely be rereading it, posting more excerpts on my blog (here’s the sample I posted a few weeks ago), and using it to grow closer to the Blessed Mother and Jesus.

The Pope and the CEO: John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard

By Andreas Widmer

There aren’t many books that I recommend to my husband. He’s not an avid reader, for one thing, and he’s not as patient with what he’s not completely interested in, for another.

This is a book that I’m passing along to him, though.

It’s part biography, part life lessons, part spiritual reflection. The mix is just right, and I found that, though it was pitched to me as a Catholic business book, it’s just as relevant to the moms and retirees I know as it is to the executives and blue collar workers.

Christopher: A Novel

By David Athey

This novel was refreshing and surprising. The writing is excellent, though, and the characters are so well done I caught myself looking over my shoulder. This is straight-up great fiction. Don’t miss it!

Misty of Chincoteague

By Marguerite Henry

I was a horse-crazy kid the last time I read this book. It was even better than I remembered and I can’t wait for my seven-year-old to read it. I was so inspired after reading it that I reserved all of Henry’s other books from the library. Completely delightful writing and a little slice of the past in many ways.

What have YOU been reading?

I’m always looking for good recommendations (because my Goodreads lists aren’t NEARLY long enough…).

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Book Reviews – Here and There
Book Review – Redeemed by Grace
About Sarah Reinhard

Looking for Sarah Reinhard? Chances are she's hiding from her kids with her nose in a book...which is just too bad for the housework and cooking. Her greatest delight of late is how her kids are becoming bigger bibliophiles than she is. (And she's really only a beginner and a hack at that.) She’s online at SnoringScholar.com, CatholicMom.com, and is the author of a number of books.

  • willduquette

    Sarah, some years ago my wife and I read a book called Please Understand Me that you might enjoy. It’s sort of a mash-up of the Meyers-Briggs with the four temperaments, if I recall correctly.

    • http://snoringscholar.com Sarah Reinhard

      Oh yes, Will, I was just thinking I needed to dig out my copy of that (along with a few of the other temperament/personality books). Oh yes, INDEED. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/happycatholicbookshelf/ Julie D.

    You might like this Monday Morning Memo about temperament, if you haven’t already read or heard it. Here’s a bit.

    Roughly 400 years before the wise-ards followed their star to Bethlehem, a Greek physician recognized four basic styles of behavior, calling them Choleric, Phlegmatic, Melancholic and Sanguine in the mistaken belief that these observable patterns of behavior were triggered by excesses of certain bodily fluids. Today’s Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DiSC, True Colors and The Behavior Style Assessment are merely scientific instruments based on refinements of Hippocrates’ original observation.

    Just to be clear, these instruments do NOT measure your abilities but merely your preferences. You can function perfectly well outside your preferences. In fact, much of your peak performance is likely to be in areas outside your preferences. So what good is an understanding of the science of preferences if it has no link to performance?




    • http://snoringscholar.com Sarah Reinhard

      Julie, I quit reading/listening to the Monday Morning Memo a while back because it was just. too. much. And you have just reminded me why I should go back to it! Thanks for sharing that! :)

      • juliedavis

        I go in and out of listening to it … just ducked back in a couple of weeks ago. So we’re on the same page that way.

  • http://www.withouthavingseen.com Ryan Haber

    May I recommend a couple interesting pieces I have enjoyed this summer, or that just seem suitable to summertime?
    Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
    Herbert Butterfield, The Whig Interpretation of History
    Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand, The Art of Living

    • http://snoringscholar.com Sarah Reinhard

      Ryan, great recs! Charles Dickens is good anytime, really. I haven’t read anything by him in a while…hmm…

      And both von Hildebrands have been on my “Master List” for a while, so I need to get off my duff and read them!


  • http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester jeffmiller

    Welcome aboard Sarah,

    Though since I’ve read the majority of these books I don’t have anything to add to my wish list. One thing I like about my wish list is that it better helps me to grasp infinity since it just keeps growing and growing.

    • http://snoringscholar.com Sarah Reinhard

      Well said, sir. Glad I didn’t add to the burden of your infinity, though I will strive to change that in the future. Mwahaha!

      (You are guilty of adding recklessly to mine. I feel that repaying you in kind is only fair.) :)