By Natalie Snapp
Recently, someone asked what I would do if I had an afternoon all to myself with nothing on the agenda. My first reaction was disbelief because could this ever really happen?
But then . . . I started to think about it and of course, it’s a no-brainer.
I am a lover of words, a devourer of books. I love the way they smell. I love how the pages sound when they’re turned, one by one. I love their covers and spines, their distinct personalities only a fellow book-lover would understand. How you can lose yourself in a good storyline for an hour or three.
So if I had an afternoon all to myself with nothing to do and nowhere to be, it’s easy. I would be with a book.
Like summer, the two weeks of Christmas and the New Year is prime season for reading. School is out so we can stay up later and honestly, I don’t mind if my children want to play Minecraft a little bit longer so I can lose myself in a good read.
If you’re a book-devourer like me, then perhaps these books might rivet your soul, too. Here are five books you MUST read. Like, right now . . .
Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Cara Putman and Sarah Sundin
OK, so maybe I love this book so much because it takes place in the town where I currently reside. Cara Putman is also a local and I adore her BUT . . . This is not why I’m recommending it, friends. I love, love, love the stories told of the Turner family during the holidays. Set during World War II, I found it so interesting to learn what wartime was like for stateside civilians and the characters are so well-developed you’ll feel like they’re good friends by the end of the book. Perfect holiday read!
Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand
I have to admit, books about World War II fighter pilots don’t always sound so riveting but this one, friends. Oh, my. I really feel like this book should be required reading for ALL people in the United States. I won’t spoil the ending because I had no idea the turn it would take, but I was so pleasantly surprised by how Louis Zamperini was able to forgive his captors while he was a prisoner of war in Japan. The man was a true hero – and he just passed away this past July at the age of 97. The movie releases on Christmas day but since it’s Hollywood, the best part of how he was able to forgive was omitted – so you’ll need to read the book.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
I’ve read it twice now because it’s that good. Peace Like a River is a beautifully written work of fiction about a family who is torn apart by two town bullies who are out to get the father. In an act of protection, his sixteen year old son kills the two teens after they break into their home but he is eventually convicted of murder. Soon after this conviction, he breaks out of jail and the family goes on the run to find him. I love the supernatural powers the father possesses – he communes with God regularly and is very strong in his faith, making the reader wonder if he is some sort of angel. There is so much symbolism in how the story ends that we could talk about it for days. Definitely a must-read!
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Five years ago when my daughter turned five, we had a birthday party for her at our home. One of the mothers of the guests asked if I would mind too terribly much if she sat and read while the party was going on and of course, I enviously told her it was no problem (but I secretly wanted to fling cake at her because I wanted to read, too. I know. Selfish. ) She apologetically explained she was reading an early version of a manuscript her sister-in-law had just completed and was in the process of looking for a publisher. Three years later, I picked up The Language of Flowers because of its beautiful cover and recognized the last name immediately. Sure enough, the woman who read during the party was credited as an early reader.
It’s now one of my very favorite books of all-time. The complicated story of a woman who spent her childhood in the foster care system, “Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness” (from Amazon description). You won’t be able to put it down. Trust me.
The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
A transformational story of forgiveness, this true tale of a pastor stalked and heckled by a neighbor who didn’t care for his ways will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. Young Rebecca Nichols grew-up in a constant state of fear because Horry Watts eventually did more than just heckle – he started to bomb the parsonage where her family lived and ultimately, altered her family forever. While Horry did unspeakable things to this family, it’s Rebecca’s strength and ability to forgive that is most impactful. Yet another page-turner.
There you have it, friends. Five books to keep you riveted during the more relaxed (hopefully, right?!) days ahead. Even if you aren’t much of a reader, these are titles I think you’ll love.
To get you going, how about we have a little giveaway? I’m giving away two SIGNED copies of Where Treetops Glisten to Deliberate Women readers.
All you have to do? Leave a comment telling us about your favorite Christmas tradition. Yep, that’s it.
Well, it would be nice if you checked out some of Cara Putman's others books and her blog, too. She's a wonderful writer and I'm blessed to call her a friend. Visit her at www.caraputman.com. You'll be so thankful you did.
Deliberate Woman will announce the winner on Friday as well as on my Facebook page.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Sweet Friends!
Natalie Chambers Snapp is first and foremost a follower of Jesus, then wife to Jason, and mom to one spunky daughter and two spirited sons with a crazy amount of energy. Choosing to follow Jesus at 27, Natalie is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of God’s love regardless of your track record. She lives in the Midwest with her crew and tries to channel her inner Brother Lawrence when she writes about finding faith in the everyday moments. The outpourings of her heart can be found at www.nataliesnapp.com in the free moments between being a wife and mother. Her first book, Heart Sisters: Being the Friend You Want to Have, will be published by Abindgon Press April 21, 2015.