Tag Archive | non-fiction

The Reading Promise

If buying new books isn’t in the budget, I best stay away from bookstores. If I don’t want to come home with a stack of books I don’t have time to read, I best stay away from our public library.

When I go to the bookstore, I gravitate first to the sale items. When I go to the library, the new release shelves call my name.

It was no different last week when I took a friend to pick up a book. There they were; the pristine new editions were beckoning. So, despite the facts that I have several books on the go and many more I haven’t gotten to, I signed out five books. While I’m pretty sure I won’t read them all, I do intend to complete The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma.

“She is passionate about literature, education, and working with children.” Sounds like an author I want to read.

I’ll admit I don’t usually bother with the Acknowledgments. However, I’m glad I did in this case. Ozma has a charming, conversational style. I love it.

Ozma refers to The Streak. It began as either a 100-night or a 1000-night commitment – depending on who you believe has the better memory, Ozma or her father. At any rate, it lasted over 3200 nights, until the author headed off to college.

The commitment? Dad read aloud to his daughter for at least 10 minutes before midnight every single day.

So, what good does this do after a child can read for him- or herself? The Commission on Reading declared, “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”

As a homeschooling mom, I read, “Teach your children to read. They can, then, teach themselves everything else.”

I remember standing outside my children’s rooms at night reading to them. We read through The Chronicles of Narnia – well, except for The Last Battle. I thought that was a little scary for bedtime. I also read several of John White’s books. (OK, I’m sure they were even more frightening.) And I’m certain there were many others.

My mom instilled a love of books – and reading – in me from a young age. I still remember her reading aloud to me. (And that was at least four decades ago.)

The Reading Promise is about so much more than the books Ozma and her father read together. It’s about the bond that grew stronger with each passing year, with each passing book. So, if reading is important to you…if the special bond it can create between parent and child interests you…if spending time with an engaging, young author appeals to you…then pick up a copy of The Reading Promise.

I’d love to hear about what you’re reading these days.


Eats, Shoots and Leaves

Lynne Truss’s book isn’t new. (It was published in 2003.) However, it is still one of my favourites.

It is definitely one of the reasons my family has questioned my mental stability. There I sat, reading on the couch while they watched TV. From time to time, I would laugh aloud. (It takes a lot to make me laugh or cry when I’m reading a book, especially non-fiction.)

If you haven’t read Truss’s book, I encourage you to Google it. Take a look at the cover. If that was the only good thing about Eats.., I would considered it worth the retail price. The title…Absolutely brilliant!

Thankfully, the pandas and the gun aren’t the only brilliant elements of Truss’s work. (If you still haven’t Googled it, I bet you do now.) My favourite part inside the covers of this book about punctuation…yes, I said punctuation…is the Dear John letter. It is presented twice, back to back. Good writing? Not unless the author has a good reason. Since it’s a book about full stops (aka periods; Truss is British), exclamation points, semicolons, etc, it isn’t surprising to learn the only difference between paragraphs is the punctuation.

It may not sound particularly side-splitting, but you’ve got to get your hands on Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It may just make you laugh out loud, too–even if you’re not a writer or an editor.



Radical by David Platt is the second most life-changing book I’ve ever read. (The first being the Bible.)

It is written in an easy-to-read style. And yet, there is nothing easy about the message. Christians are challenged to live a radical lifestyle. In short, we are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned, all the while, sharing the Truth of the Scriptures.

Platt does not condemn material possessions nor those who have them. In fact, he is the pastor of a mega church. However, he is calling his congregation and millions of others to use that wealth to reach out in the name of Jesus.

He uses statistics in a way that got my attention. And believe me, I am not a numbers person. Don’t get me wrong; Platt doesn’t include long lists of numbers. He incorporates the information into each chapter in a very efficient and eye-opening way.

Maybe it’s because this book confirmed what the Lord has been teaching me. Maybe it’s because it answered some of my questions. Maybe it’s because it removed some of my long-held excuses. Whatever the reason, I would highly recommend Radical.

In the last chapter, Platt lays out a one year challenge. As he says, there are things we can commit to for a year and there are things we can lay aside for a year. If you’re ready to stop pursuing “the American dream”…If you’re ready, as one of Platt’s congregants put it, to have your life “ruined”…This book is for you.

You will also want to check out the corresponding website: http://www.radicalthebook.com/