Friday, 31 January 2014

Read in January 2014

Considering the Reading goals, I've been doing well enough. No fiction this month, but that's OK.

Christian books

Brother Yun: Living Water
I kept reading this slowly, 1-2 chapters per day, to absorb and pray about what Brother Yun teaches. His main point is to surrender to God. Instead of asking God to bless our plans and desires, to let Him change our heart so that we will live out His plans.

C. S. Lewis: The Problem of Pain
Still thinking about this, will post more about this subject at some point.


Paula Tilli: Toisin. (Otherwise. My life with Asperger's.)

Gretchen Rubin: The Happiness Project
I can see why this book has been so popular. Rubin makes many good points about happiness, what it is and isn't, and how a lot of it boils down to the choices we make. And she writes very well.

I have one reservation with this book. It is such a tempting concept that we can make ourselves happy with our own effort: have a nice formula, think positive, do X, Y and Z, and you'll be happier. Obviously, we are all responsible for our own choices and attitudes, and those influence our lives a lot. However, I'm convinced that real, lasting joy is only found in a relationship with God, the loving Father. Which is something you will not find in Rubin's book.

Having said that, there were many good tips and takeaways in this book. The following are my own paraphrases of what I'm hoping to keep in mind:
  • Appreciate what you have: attitude of gratitude.
  • Give up trying to be someone you're not.
  • Goals are good, but enjoying the process is at least as important.
  • Lighten up - relax - take time for fun and joking and silliness, too. (Especially as a parent.)
  • Make time for people and relationships.
  • Even if it's hard to get started, decluttering eventually makes me feel better.

For Fun

Rita Ahonen: Minu Stockholm (My Stockholm)
Forced to emigrate from the Soviet Union in 1988, Estonian Rita Ahonen found herself adapting to life in Stockholm. Even though Sweden is not very far from Estonia, there were many culture shocks and surprises along the way. I really enjoyed this story: I've travelled quite a bit in both Estonia and Sweden, and this book gave insights into both of those countries and cultures. And lots of little moments of recognition.

John Mullan: What Matters in Jane Austen?
When I listed this as one of my favourite reads from last year, I was inspired to read it again. :) Still liking it.

Robert Capa: Sotakuvaaja (Slightly Out Of Focus)
This memoir of a famous war photographer reads a bit like a novel. He recounts his adventures and does not dwell too much on the gory details. His photographs, however, show the grittiness of war plainly enough. Recommended for those who like to read about WW2.

Hard to categorize

Janika Tamm: Minu Keenia
Most books I've read of this series belong to "for fun" category. This one was not exactly a light read - Tamm recounts many stories of suffering people and the difficulties and challenges she faced in community development work. On the other hand, there are the hopeful stories, too. (Janika worked as a volunteer in a number of community projects in Kenya.)

Do photography books count as reading, when the pictures speak more than the texts?

Steve McCurry: The Iconic Photographs

A Day in the World
Book description from the website: "A Day in the World is a compilation of images from This 512-page book is a remarkable journey around our planet. Almost a 100.000 pictures from more than 160 countries were submitted to and the thousand best have been selected for this book by an international panel of photo editors. The result is a unique tale of life on earth in one day, a visually spellbinding record of our time. "
The project asked people to take pictures on May 15, 2012 and submit them to the website, And yes, the compilation is fascinating. (To check out all those nearly 100.000 pictures, if you wish, just go to the website...)


Books completed: 13
of which non fiction: 13
and fiction: 0

Finnish: 3
English: 8
Estonian: 2

In the middle of reading: 2 books. (Ann Voskamp's A Thousand Gifts and Noreen Riols's Secret Ministry of Ag. and Fish. Both would deserve their own blog posts in due time....)

One of my goals was to find more (new) books for Junior Bookworm to read. These days, he is racing through Enid Blyton's Famous Five series, which is at least new to him. With 21 titles listed in the series, it'll take him a while to finish it (he has read 5 so far), but I'll keep looking anyway...

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