So many Books… where to begin???

Courtesy of Google.

Courtesy of Google.

13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi

By Mitchell Zuckoff

For a long time, I’ve wanted to know more about what happened in Benghazi. Good reviews of the movie pushed me to go see this exhausting 2.5 hour battle. From it, I learned there was a book, which I wanted to read right away trusting it to provide more details and the facts. I’m happy to report that this book was truly honored by the movie. The movie didn’t follow it perfectly, but very closely. In fact, it may be one of the closest book to movie adoptions I’ve ever seen.
This book doesn’t seek to make a political statement. All it does is recount, from the perspective of the men there, what happened in Benghazi. It shows their doubts and their courage as they seek to do the right thing even while they’re cut off and without any support.
Much of what they said reminded me of similar situations in Lone Survivor and American Sniper. If you enjoyed those books, you’ll enjoy this too.
This is an event in American history that can’t be lost or forgotten. Read the book. See the movie.

I thankful these men spoke out, told their story, set an example of American courage in a time where that seems to be fading. I thankful I got to read the book.

Rated R: Language, violence, intense situations.


The Importance of Being Ernest

By Oscar Wilde

Many of the books I’ve been reading are heavy in their subject matter. I needed a break, something lighter. In dances this delightful play by Wilde. I’ve seen the movie before and loved it. The play is no difference. It is a tale of love, mistaken identity, a lost child, and well… the importance of the name Ernest.

I highly recommend this clever fun story.

Rated G: General hilariousness.


In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

By Nathaniel Philbrick

I’m not a huge fan of Moby Dick, but I like the ocean, ships, whales, and history. Most of the reviews I’ve heard about the movie say that it’s boring, but since it includes some things if find interesting, I decided to read up on a bit. That’s when I discovered the truly interesting thing about this story isn’t the whale attack… its the cannibalism.

This is an easy to read re-counting of the horrors of survive by a group of men. The captain fails them and the first mate proves the stronger man, but his life ends with him going insane.

If you enjoy some of the more unique situations in history, you should check this story out. It’s a true story with plenty of horror and an interesting study of humanity when all that lies between you and death is the body of a friend.

If your teen is working through Moby Dick, this would be an excellent companion piece.

Rated: PG-13: intense and gruesome subject matter.


Dachau 29 April 1945: The Rainbow Liberation Memoirs

By Sam Dann

I read a lot of WW2 related books and have always been interested in the history of the war. Because of this, I’ve wanted to include different aspects of it in my own stories. I have part of the plot and scene where some men come across a holocaust type setting. As I worked on it, my sister suggested I read this book as research to get a sense of what it would be like walking into a concentration camp and liberating it.

This book is a series of short memoirs written by the Rainbow Division that freed Dacha on April 29 1945. Because each memoir is about the same event from a different soldiers perspective, there is a lot of overlap. This did require some plowing through as you read and reread and reread about the same events with very little new information. I did feel like it was important to read each individual account. The terrible atrocities that happened shouldn’t be made light of or forgotten.

If you are a studied of WW2 history, I highly recommend this book.

Rate PG-13: Subject matter.


The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War

By Richard Rubin

Richard Rubin has done us a great service in his collection of stories from the last of the doughboys. He spent several years interview men and women well into their 100s, recording and researching the times they spent fighting WW1.

I read this through Audible and really enjoyed the narrator.

What a huge amount of history these people experienced and what a wonder to listen to them talk about it. I can’t recommend this book enough. From men who got in right before the end, to African Americans, women, and men who went on to live very colorful and amazing lives, this book covers it all.

I was struck intently by their stories, especially the man who at one point couldn’t remember his Father’s name. Heartbreaking.

There are stories here that will make you laugh, cry, and cringe.


Rated PG: real life, war, history


One Ranger: A Memoir

By H. Joaquin Jackson and David Marion Wilkinson

I think this quick and easy read should be mandatory for every Texan, and probably every teenage boy.

It tracks the life of Joaquin Jackson, one of the last of the real frontier Texas Rangers from his early life as a ranch hand, to watching his son be convicted of murder, and several of the high-profile cases he worked, and some of his more interesting ones.

I think what I loved most about it was his love for Texas and the honor and respect he paid to the Rangers he served with and who came before him. It is also fascinating to here his perspective on some of the troubling times in the 60’s and 70’s with race and drugs. More than that, it’s nice to read of real men with guns and spurs. 🙂

The part where he goes through the list of guns he always carried was amazing. He could easily qualify as World’s Most Interesting Man.

Rated PG-13: mild language, some intense descriptions of crimes and murders


Through the Valley of the Kwai: From Death-Camp Despair to Spiritual Triumph or To End all Wars

By Ernest Gordon

I’ve wanted to read this book for a very long time and I wasn’t disappointed. The subject matter is rough ( death-camp run by the Japanese) but the payoff of hope and Christianity is so beautiful that it is well worth it. A wonderful biography.

And yes, I almost didn’t return my Library’s 1st Edition copy.

And yes, this book will greatly influence the plot of my own book.

Rated PG-13: Gruesome details about death camps.


Heart Cries to Heaven: A Book of Payers

By David Campbell and Sara Leone

I used this book during my morning devotions and found it very encouraging to read a Godly man’s prayers. Writing down our prayers is not something that I think many of us think about, but it can be an excellent source of hope and also educational.


(Remember, if any of these books catch your eye, just click on the link to head over to Amazon. I receive a small kick back for this, so you can think of it as supporting me if you enjoy this blog. THANK YOU!)


1st World Problems and Prayer


It’s funny to me how anxious I can be about 1st world problems. For instance . . . remodeling the house. I have a house. I have the time and the funds to remodel. Yet, I get stressed about it. Granted, there is a huge amount of research and decision-making to be done. (There’s a 1st world problem for you—too many options.) I have to take into consideration long-term and short-term plans, but really? Back and neck aching anxiety?

You may or may not know that I hate doing the budget, accounting, and taxes type work. I’m not a numbers person. I’m a words person. But I have money in the bank, the bills paid, systems in place and flexibility. We’ve never once lacked. Yet, I lay awake at night dreading dealing with the monthly statement.

I’ve tried telling myself not to worry. I’ve pointed out the 1st worldness of my problems. This hasn’t helped. When I lay awake at night or I wake up early and my back and neck start hurting (my high-stress indicator) only one thing really helps: prayer.

This isn’t some mystical magical sense of peace. This is a careful thinking about life in an offering to the Lord. Prayer is the process, the earthly process, by which we mentally align ourselves with the will of God. It’s where we wrestle within ourselves before and sometimes with God submitting ourselves to his commandments. God encourages us to pray about our daily needs, the wrongs we’ve suffered, and the temptations we’ve faced. By praying through them, we are reminded that God sees and cares about all our needs, that we must forgive as we have been forgiven, and we’re armed to face our temptations head on with the truth. For years, I didn’t do this consistently. I didn’t bring my everyday fears and worries before the Lord in an honest evaluation that would have helped me see I was being fearful and worried. I didn’t ask for wisdom. I didn’t face my temptation to be lazy and procrastinate when I don’t want to do something. Then by God’s kind grace, my Dad preached through the Lord’s Prayer and convicted, I started praying through my every day, humble, quiet life very specifically.

See, Jesus didn’t say only pray about really big or spiritual things. He did teach us to pray for the spreading of the gospel, but he also taught us to pray for all the little things in life, like bread, forgiving each other, and the temptations we face. I think I never really thought about praying over the budget cause it’s so mundane. But, isn’t daily bread mundane?


I pray through my and my churches daily, earthly needs. I pray that we would humbly forgive each other’s big and little wrongs as we have been forgiven. I pray that we would have strength in big and little temptations, sufferings, and trials. There are sins we wrestle with and anxiety is one of them for me. So I started praying about all the things I’m anxious about, asking for forgiveness, repenting of my lack of trust, my unbelief, and asking for wisdom.

Being very specific and honest has helped my anxiety because it’s reminded me to cling to the truth, not my perception. It’s calmed my heart because I know all this is from the Lord. God is so kind and gentle to us. I love to see the wisdom of God. He teaches us to pray, not because He doesn’t know everything, but because we need to voice what we need. It helps us!

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my normal schedule was all un-normal and I didn’t keep my normal prayer time. Lo and behold, I woke up one morning worried, literally in pain in my neck and shoulders about nothing. Nothing. I’m fretting over storage space as we rearrange my husband’s office and guest room. Really?

What I realized was that pain was really proof of a bigger problem: the problem of not starting my day, continuing my day, and ending my day in an aligning of my heart and mind with the Lord in prayer. I wasn’t casting my care on him. I wasn’t remembering his promises, and I wasn’t trusting him. I had tunnel visions for the trials of life and needed an adjustment. Prayer is a vital part of my life. Without it, I have physical problems pointing to Spiritual problems. But God is good and has given me the preaching and teaching of his Word by faithful men so I can be reminded to pray even and most especially about my 1st world problems.

Merry Christmas!