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Dusting The Old Bookshelf: 10 Books to Read as I'm Spring Cleaning

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring is the season for cleaning. Old clothes, books, and miscellaneous items see the light of day as we bring them out of the storage. We may even find items that we thought were long gone. (Just a couple weeks ago, I pulled out an old purse and found a flashdrive that I'd been missing for a year now.) This is the perfect season for reading old favorites that have been collecting dust as well as books that we haven't gotten around to opening.

I've split my list into two parts
  1. Dusting the Old Bookshelf: books that are old favorites or have been collecting dust on my TBR list for a while now.
  2. Jumping into Spring: new releases that caught my attention.

{Dusting the Old Bookshelf}

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Genres: ClassicsHistorical

My Thoughts: Anne of Green Gables is an old favorite. I first read it in elementary school, yet it always captivates me when I pull it out for a reread. This is a novel with which readers of all ages can relate.


Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert had decided to adopt an orphan. They wanted a nice sturdy boy to help Matthew with the farm chores. The orphanage sent a girl instead - a mischievous, talkative redhead who the Cuthberts thought would be no use at all. But as soon as Anne arrived at the snug, white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she wanted to stay forever. And the longer Anne stayed, the harder it was for anyone to imagine Green Gables without her.

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
Genres: Fantasy

My Thoughts: I love Cinda Williams Chima's Heir Chronicles series. I started reading this last spring but never got around to finishing it.


A burning vengeance.

Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. The son of the queen of the Fells, Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

A blood-based curse.

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Destiny’s fiery hand.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Genres: Fantasy

My Thoughts: One of my friends recommended I read this book. One of my goals this year is to read three books by Neil Gaiman this year. So far, I've read and love The Graveyard Book. I'm reading this book with my students this spring, so it'll be interesting to see what they think about this book!


Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Saving My Assassin by Virginia Prodan
Genres: Memoir

My Thoughts: Women in my small group have been reading this book and highly recommend it. I haven't read many memoirs or nonfictions in the past. One of my goals is to branch out more with my reads this year.


"I should be dead. Buried in an unmarked grave in Romania. Obviously, I am not. God had other plans."

At just under five feet tall, Virginia Prodan was no match for the towering 6' 10" gun-wielding assassin the Romanian government sent to her office to take her life. It was not the first time her life had been threatened--nor would it be the last.

As a young attorney under Nicolae Ceausescu's brutal communist regime, Virginia had spent her entire life searching for the truth. When she finally found it in the pages of the most forbidden book in all of Romania, Virginia accepted the divine call to defend fellow followers of Christ against unjust persecution in an otherwise ungodly land.

For this act of treason, she was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, placed under house arrest, and came within seconds of being executed under the orders of Ceausescu himself. How Virginia not only managed to elude her enemies time and again, but how she also helped expose the appalling secret that would ultimately lead to the demise of Ceausescu's evil empire is one of the most extraordinary stories ever told.

I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler
Genres: ChristianNonfiction

My Thoughts: I've read the first seven chapters of this book, but I never got around to finishing this book. (The past couple of years, I've struggled with a fear of finishing books. It's something I've been working on.) I love how Turek and Geisler bring science and faith together in this book; it helped me reconcile the two and see how they aren't mutually exclusive. I look forward to finishing this one!


To some, the concept of having faith in a higher power or a set of religious beliefs is nonsensical. Indeed, many view religion in general, and Christianity in particular, as unfounded and unreasonable.

Norman Geisler and Frank Turek argue, however, that Christianity is not only more reasonable than all other belief systems, but is indeed more rational than unbelief itself. With conviction and clear thinking, Geisler and Turek guide readers through some of the traditional, tested arguments for the existence of a creator God. They move into an examination of the source of morality and the reliability of the New Testament accounts concerning Jesus. The final section of the book deals with a detailed investigation of the claims of Christ. This volume will be an interesting read for those skeptical about Christianity, as well as a helpful resource for Christians seeking to articulate a more sophisticated defense of their faith.

{Jumping into Spring}

The History of Hilary Hambrushina
Genres: Contemporary

My Thoughts: I love books that focus on friendship and issues we go through at different stages of life. Some of my favorite MG/YA reads have focused on such topics, and I'm hoping to add this one to my list of favorite friendship novels.


Hilary has one goal for her first year in junior high: to become popular. But her plans are turned upside down when her best friend leaves for the summer and a quirky girl named Kallie moves in next door. Kallie paints constellations on her ceiling, sleeps in a hammock, and enacts fantastical plays in front of cute boys on the beach. Yet despite Kallie’s lack of interest in being “cool,” Hilary and Kallie find themselves becoming friends. That summer friendship, however, is put to the test when school begins, reigniting Hilary's obsession with climbing the social ladder. As Hilary discovers the dark side to popularity, she must decide who she wants to be before she loses everything.

Let's Pretend We Never Met by Melissa Walker
Genres: Contemporary

My Thoughts: I actually heard about this novel before The History of Hilary Hambrushina. It's a happy coincidence that both novels are about middle grade girls seeking to be popular and struggling with the realization that their would-be best friend isn't cool. I'm looking forward to seeing where both authors take me on this journey back through middle school!


If it were up to Mattie Markham, there would be a law that said your family wasn’t allowed to move in the middle of the school year. After all, sixth grade is hard enough without wondering if you’ll be able to make new friends or worrying that the kids in Pennsylvania won’t like your North Carolina accent.

But when Mattie meets her next-door neighbor and classmate, she begins to think maybe she was silly to fear being the “new girl.” Agnes is like no one Mattie has ever met—she’s curious, hilarious, smart, and makes up the best games. If winter break is anything to go by, the rest of the school year should be a breeze.

Only it isn’t, because when vacation ends and school starts, Mattie realizes something: At school Agnes is known as the weird girl who no one likes. All Mattie wants is to fit in (okay, and maybe be a little popular too), but is that worth ending her friendship with Agnes?

Shakespeare Retold by E. Nesbit
Genres: Children's Book

My Thoughts: April is poetry month, and I've been on a journey back into reading books for younger readers. This Children's retelling of seven Shakespeare classics is the perfect addition to my reading list for this month.


A beautifully illustrated collection of prose retellings of seven Shakespeare plays will bring the Bard to life for young readers. Not only is this a beautiful keepsake edition, full of gorgeous illustrations by Antonio Javier Caparo, but the prose retellings by beloved classic children’s book author E. Nesbit are an excellent tool to introduce children to the complex language of Shakespeare.

Being a Witch, and Other Things I Didn't Ask for by Sara Pascoe
Genres: Fantasy

My Thoughts: The title is what  got me. I love fantasy reads with a good dose of humor. This sounds like it'll be a fun read!


When you’re fourteen and life has been nothing but hurt and disappointment, maybe it’s time to strike out on your own. But after leaving the boring village and foster home for the excitement of London, Raya finds out she’s a witch, with this annoying habit of time-travelling – by accident. And this sarcastic witch’s cat Oscar tags along for the ride. But why would she fling herself into the midst of the Essex Witch Trials in 1645 England? After being arrested by Matthew Hopkins, one of history’s most notorious witch hunters, her social worker and witch mentor Bryony goes back to try to save them from the gallows. But returning to present day London remains out of reach with Raya’s powers still out of control when they find themselves in 1645 Istanbul/Constantinople. There, life is more amazing than she ever dreamed. Can she stay? And at what cost?

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
Genres: Christian, Nonfiction

My Thoughts: Spring is a good time to start goal (what with January being out of the way and the sun spending more time with us). One of my goals this year is to develop a stronger prayer life. Thus far the first pages of this book have been very encouraging and humbling. Since I'm on Spring Break this week, I hope to get through much, if not all, of this book.


Women are busy. Whether their energy is expended at home or at the office, women find themselves overwhelmed with the to-do lists in their life, and they long for time away from it all so they can really hear God's still small voice. "But when I pored over the pages of Scripture," says author Sharon Jaynes, "I discovered that some of God's most memorable messages were not delivered while men and women were away on a spiritual retreat, but right in the middle of everyday life. He spoke to Gideon while he was threshing wheat and to shepherds while they were watching their flocks by night."

Using biblical wisdom and practical insights from her own life, Sharon invites readers to explore answers to the heart cry, "How can I hear the voice of God?"


What is on your spring reading list?

6 comments on "Dusting The Old Bookshelf: 10 Books to Read as I'm Spring Cleaning"
  1. I really liked The Ocean At the End of the Lane!! It was seriously creepy haha, I didn't expect that aspect of it, but still soooo good. The Graveyard Book is also a favourite of mine. <3 But I really need to read more Gaiman too!!

    1. I better not read Ocean alone at night then! That said, it's good to hear that it's living up to the hype I've been given :)

  2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is a really wonderful story. Hope you enjoy it.

    1. Thanks, Chrystal. My copy actually just came in the mail today. I look forward to reading it!

  3. I'm currently listening to Anne of Green Gables on audio. It's my first time reading the book and I'm so in love!

    1. So glad to hear that, Lori. Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorites! :)


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