What I Read: April 2017

This month I approached my reading a bit differently than I usually do.  I made a goal to read 30 minutes daily and did so on 29 out of 30 days!  I will say, however, that I read far more than the 14.5 hours…as you will likely assume when you see the total number of books I read this month.  I had a week of spring break and I read several hours each day — I’m also a fast reader.  I am going to once again set the 30 minutes goal for May, though I doubt I will get through even close to as many books due to a much busier calendar.  I noticed reading puts my mind at ease in a way television can’t.  I explained it to a friend this way – when I am reading, all I can do is read.  It takes every part of my mind and emotions.  I can truly escape from my worries or thoughts of the day.  When I watch TV, I am often trying to multitask – cleaning or catching up on work email or scrolling through my phone.  For me, books are so much better.

Here are the 13 (!!!) books I read in April:

IMG_0439

The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life (Ann Voskamp): A good read for the end of Lent. I have a love/hate relationship with Ann Voskamp’s style and therefore had mixed feelings about this one.  My rating: 3 stars.

Along the Infinite Sea (Beatriz Williams): the first of anything I’ve read by Beatriz Williams.  I think I want to read them all! My rating: 4 stars.

In a Dark,  Dark Wood (Ruth Ware): a good thriller about a bachelorette weekend gone wrong. Kept me in suspense the whole time.  My rating: 3 stars.

Between Shades of Gray (Ruth Sepetys): this is a YA novel about the plight of Lithuanians during World War II.  I knew nothing about the topic and this was a good introduction.  My rating: 4 stars.

Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi): all I can say is “wow”! This is a sweeping epic that begins in colonial Africa and reaches to the present day.  For those of you trying to read the words of #ownvoices or #diversebooks authors, this is a great one.  And Gyasi is younger than I am! She and Brit Bennett (last month) amaze me.  My rating: 5 stars!

Alive in Him: How Being Embraced by the Love of Christ Changes Everything (Gloria Furman): If I am ever able to write a book, I want it to be one like this.  Furman writes with joy and wisdom.  She presents an in-depth study of Ephesians rich in theology and gospel truth that is told without too many anecdotes and emotional appears.  We need more books like this.  My rating: 5 stars!

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress (Ariel Lawhon): a fictional story based on the author’s imagination of a real event.  This story takes place in 1930s New York and follows the three women who were closest to Judge Joseph Crater before his disappearance.  Fascinating debut that I could easily picture as a movie! My rating: 4.5 stars!

The Chemist (Stephenie Meyer): well it certainly wasn’t anything like Twilight.  It took me about 100 pages to get into this book..I almost abandoned it, but then things picked up and I enjoyed the story.  My rating: 3 stars.

The Bruised Reed (Richard Sibbes): It’s hard to put a rating on a book written in the 1600s so I’m not even going to try.  A beautiful and comforting study of the passage of scripture that includes, “A bruised reed he will not break.”

A Piece of the World (Christina Baker Kline): Another great book! This is a character study based on the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting, Christina’s World.  Kline took what little we know about the real Christina and Andrew Wyeth’s biography and imagines the years leading up to the image.  I enjoyed this book. My rating: 4 stars.

Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul (Hannah Anderson): While Furman’s book had my soul saying, “Amen,” this one brought great conviction. Taking wisdom from agriculture and scripture, Anderson shows us that humility is the answer to our restlessness, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy.  I will be reading this one again, and soon.  My rating: 5 stars.

A Hundred Summers (Beatriz Williams) – I plan to read everything this woman writes.  This one would make a great beach read. I just loved it (and it was set in the 1930s…a period I’m beginning to enjoy).  My rating: 4 stars.

Exit West (Mohsin Hamid): this is a very recent release and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love the genre.  Magical realism isn’t something I read often and I had some difficulty with it.  It’s worth the struggle, even if you have to suspend reality, because this book is a great commentary on so many relevant social issues.  My rating: 4 stars.

What I Read: March 2017

I can’t believe it but I kept up my two books per week average yet again during March.  I did not, however, read every day and that is something I’m really trying to do this year.  Below is my March reading list – it’s got some good ones, some great ones, and some that aren’t worth your time.

Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up (Ian and Larissa Murphy): I admire this couple, especially Larissa, quite a bit.  I first heard their story through a video Desiring God promoted and they have a hard but inspiring story.  I was eager to read this, but it wasn’t what I expected.  I am hesitant to say anything critical because this book is written by two people telling their life story, but they would have benefited from a ghost writer.  That’s all.

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (Eric Metaxas) – an extremely well-researched and well-written biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  It took me several months to read but it was worth the time.

Small Great Things (Jodi Picoult) – just when I was ready to give up on this author, she surprises me with this!  SGT is definitely my new favorite of her books and one of my favorites that I’ve read this year.  It does not follow her typical formula and for that I am thankful.  I don’t want to give away the plot, but it is a fast-paced story with well-developed characters….and takes a look at race relations in America.

The Wonder (Emma Donoghue) – this is the second of Donoghue’s books that I’ve read (the first was Room).  I read this one in a day – it drew me in from the beginning and the story went in a direction I did not expect.  I think Geraldine Brooks fans would like this book.  I enjoyed it.

We Were Liars (e. lockhart) – I picked up this YA novel as part of my 2017 Reading Challenge – I needed one with an unreliable narrator and this did not disappoint.  Just when I thought I understood what was happening it became very clear I was way off.  Other people have said they figured out the plot twist early in the novel – I almost want to read it again to see if I can find the clues.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (Amy Schumer) – this book was not for me.  Schumer starts the book talking about her sexual escapades, tells the reader the book isn’t about sex, and then talks about it on just about every page. I skipped through a lot of it and never found any redeeming qualities.  If you want a funny book written by a female comedian, read Tina Fey’s book or either one of Mindy Kaling’s.  So much better.

English Lessons (Andrea Lucado) – I recently received an ARC of this book after being selected to be part of its launch team.  It comes out May 2 and I highly recommend it.  It’s a memoir of faith and I found it relatable on so many levels.

Emails from Jennifer Cooper  (Robert Scott) – you get the plot through the emails in this one and I appreciated the unique device.  It’s got action but it is also a great character study.  As a counselor and naturally curious person, I really enjoyed this part.  (Disclaimer: I have a friend who played a big role in the development of this book.)

I’ve got a huge “to-read” stack ready for April. Hopefully with spring break coming up I’ll be able to get to a lot of them.  Happy Reading!

What I Read: February 2017

[Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what I’ve been reading lately.]

February was another good reading month for me – I read another 9 books! It’s an eclectic bunch, as you will soon see, and I recommend nearly all of them.

Here they are (in the order I read them)

theselectiontheelitethe-onesearchingforsundaythemotherstheunderground-railroadthe-sun-is-also-a-staras-you-wish-cary-elwesno-little-women

The Selection, The Elite, and The One – Kiera Cass – what a fun YA series! To me this was The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games (at least it exists in a post-apocalyptic world that reminds me of the series – the contestants aren’t killing each other). It was a quick, fun, read. There are still two more books in the series but I haven’t read them yet – they feature different characters so the third book felt like a natural stopping place. I read these novels in 4 days.

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leading, and Finding the Church (Rachel Held Evans) – this is one that I felt like I should read so that I knew what it said. I read it fairly quickly, but found several of her arguments headed down a dangerous path. I just don’t know about this one.

The Mothers (Brit Bennett) – this was a wonderful and captivating debut! One of my reading goals this year was to read more from diverse authors and this one fit the bill. It’s a believable, well-told story, that I don’t want to give away. Just read it.

The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead) – I’m a little behind the times with this one. This is a National Book Award winner from 2016 and tells the struggles of slaves fleeing their plantations on the Underground Railroad with a twist….the railroad is a real underground train system. A unique take on some hard subject matter. The railroad is the only thing fanciful about this book.

The Sun is Also a Star (Nicola Yoon) – another YA novel by a diverse author. This one chronicles one day in the life of two teenagers in New York City. It’s a big day for both of them (in very different ways) and I quickly found myself rooting for them both. An engrossing story from the beginning.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Takes from the Making of The Princess Bride (Cary Elwes with Joe Layden) – I read this one very quickly and thought it was ok. Fans of the movie will appreciate a behind the scenes look at filming, but I felt like there wasn’t enough for Elwes to write to make a 250+ page book worthwhile.

No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God (Aimee Byrd) – Byrd confronts the problems she sees in the Christian publishing industry, especially with regard to the type of product it markets to women. She uses Scripture to back her claims and offers practical suggestions for women and Church leaders. I look forward to reading her other books.

Friday Finds 2/17/17

And the weeks keep flying by! I actually have a lot to share this week (for a change)

First, as I spent another Valentine’s Day alone, I appreciated this post from Kelly Minter. In all honesty, Valentine’s Day was not a difficult day for me. In fact, some recent events in some friends’ relationships have served to remind me that it’s better to be single than in a terrible situation…

Apparently Fridays are when my sweet tooth kicks in because I am dying to try these Salted Caramel Chocolate Oreo Bars. I may stop by Kroger on the way home and buy one cookie to try to control myself.

And finally, I listened to a podcast this morning that stirred a lot of things in my heart. I am currently frustrated with the lack of depth/research in most Christian books marketed to women and this episode touched on that idea a bit. It also highlighted the many ways in which the internet/social media has provided an even bigger platform for things that are good and true but are not TRUTH. Albert Mohler refers to this as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

You can listen to the podcast here: Is Your Social Media Theology Changing You?

And, if you’re interested, here are a few more articles on the topic.

A Helpful Cartoon Illustrating MTD

Overcoming Empty Optimism with Soul-Stirring Truth – by Kimberly Cummings

Why Orthodoxy Matters by Aimee Byrd

Stop Calling Everything a Bible Study by Jen Wilkin

Friday Finds 2/3/17

It’s official – when it comes to reading, my eyes are most definitely bigger than my stomach.  I have a stack of about 20 books that I bought last year and still haven’t read. I sorted through them last weekend and promised myself I would read them before getting any new books or library books.

But….

I already had one booked checked out on my kindle – The Selection, a YA novel that is very popular among my middle school girls. So, I picked it up Wednesday morning and stayed up too late Wednesday night to finish it. It is my favorite YA novel to date — The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games…kind of. I loved it.

Naturally that meant Thursday morning I had to go to the library to see if they had the second book in the series. And naturally when I found books 2, 3, 4 and 5 (the whole series) on the shelves, I had to get them all…plus three other books that caught my eye in the span of 10 minutes I was there.

So much for reading what was already in my house!

And, because I was too busy reading YA novels to browse anything for this post, all you’re going to get is this story and my hearty endorsement of The Selection series by Kiera Cass.

Have a great weekend!

What I Read: January 2017

Happy New Year! I’m back with a list of what I read in the past month. But first, I want to remind you why I read so much.

  1. I read to escape – reading is my retreat. It’s pretty much impossible to multi-task when you’re reading. I enjoy watching TV (and spent way too much time this weekend binge-watching The Good Wife) but I don’t have to put in the same kind of effort to watch a TV show or movie. For example, while the TV was on this weekend, I wrote a short paper for class, cleaned the house, cooked dinner, and browsed the internet more than is healthy. I can’t do that when I’m reading. The political events of this month highlighted again how much we need that escape. When I am reading, I can only think about what I’m reading.
  2. I read to learn – this month alone I visited a magical world in England, spent time on the set of my favorite reality TV show, lived in Saigon during the Vietnam War, learned English in rural Alabama, became a migrant worker in 1930s Mexico, and spent a winter in Siberia in 1917.  How else can you even do that?
  3. I read to grow – this month I spent 31 days meditating on a single passage of Scripture with the help of someone far wiser than I.

What’s  your reason for reading?

And now, here are the nine books I read in January.

Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything In Between) by Lauren Graham – loved this memoir. I want to be Graham’s real life friend. This book won’t change your life but if you like Gilmore Girls or Parenthood, you’ll want to read this book.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling – I still don’t love Harry Potter but I will read the whole series this year.

It’s Not Ok: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After by Andi Dorfman – Fun read for fans of the Bachelor franchise. I really liked Andi as a contestant and as the Bachelorette so it was nice to hear things from her perspective. I could tell she refrained from sharing all that she could have out of respect for the men and I appreciate that about this memoir.  If you didn’t watch her seasons of the show, I wouldn’t bother picking this up, unless you’re really curious.

I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson with Deb Baer – DO NOT waste your time. This was awful. I’m not sure why I even finished it. I didn’t watch the season Courtney was on so I couldn’t recall events that she alluded to. Also, it’s just poorly written trash. Not even a ghostwriter could fix this.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout – I think this was a well-written book and I picked it up because it was highly praised. It’s relatively short and I read it in an afternoon. It wasn’t really for me, but I can see why others liked it and it’s objectively a good book.

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai – this Newbery Honor book gives the free verse account of a ten year old Vietnamese girl witnessing the fall of Saigon. She and her family arrive in rural Alabama in the summer of 1975 and the reader gets a glimpse into the life of a refugee.  This book is written for young adults and it is brilliant. Based on real events in the author’s life — I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan – another YA historical fiction, this one is a fictionalized account of the author’s grandmother’s story. After tragedy strikes their wealthy Mexican farm, Esperanza and her mother flee to the United States, where they find work on a labor camp in 1930s California. A sweet coming of age story that I highly recommend. I listened to the audiobook for this.

The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport – this one took me a while to work through because it is a true non-fiction biography and every sense. It is meticulously researched and well written. I’ve always been fascinated by the Romanovs (the legend of Anastasia – which the author squelches quickly – and the hemophilia rampant in the royal families across Europe, which we studied in seventh grade science) so this was a fun read for me.

Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray – its 31 chapters make for a great month-long devotional. Murray takes a deep look at John 15 and I learned so much. I will be reading this again.

What I Read: December 2016

Happy New Year!  I am excited to say that I ended the year having read 102 books – 104 if you count the Bible and The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp’s Advent devotional that I re-read this year.

I will post again in a few days to share my favorites from all of 2016 and my reading goals for 2017, but for now, here’s what I read in December.

  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – this came highly recommended and I bought it back in June, but for some reason I didn’t pick it up till this month. The book begins with a plane crash…not a spoiler. From there, we follow the lives of the survivors post-crash and learn about the victims’ lives leading up to that moment as we slowly come to learn why the crash took place.  Suspense without gore – a good, hard to put down story.
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Eric Larson – this is the first of Larson’s books that I’ve read, even though I also own two others. Larson has a similar style to Jon Krakauer, who I’ve mentioned many times before. The book is completely non-fiction, but so well researched and written that it seems like you’re reading a story.  This one did start slow for me, as Larson chronicles every day of the ship’s journey before the big event, and I really just wanted to get to that part. Still, it’s fascinating and I put his other books on my priority list for 2017.
  • At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen – set in World War II Scotland (are you surprised), this isn’t life-changing fiction but a well-told love story with a little bit of folklore and the Loch Ness Monster, so that’s fun.  A good beach/escape read.
  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – I loved this book! I listened to the audiobook and highly recommend it to anyone. Noah reads the story and this adds to the experience – it also helps with all the South African languages he uses in the dialogue.  For those unfamiliar with apartheid, it will be a valuable education. What I liked most about this book is that even though it is a memoir/autobiography, it is arranged topically instead of chronologically, and connects Noah’s experiences to that of a nation.
  • The Aviator’s Wife  by Melanie Benjamin – this is a fictionalized “autobiography” of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. I read this as a combo audiobook/ebook and I think I may have lost some of it in the process. I did like this book and I learned about Charles and Anne as people. It left me feeling a bit sad, so if you don’t want to feel that way at the end of a book, maybe don’t read this one.
  • Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin – I’m a bit late to this one but it is a good immigrant story.  It wasn’t my favorite because I found the character development to be a bit lacking and I felt detached from all the characters, but given the success of the book I know many people feel differently.
  • Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee – another Christian themed memoir…I didn’t relate to it and I’m glad it was a $0.99 kindle deal.  Not for me, but nothing wrong with it.
  • Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love by Katherine and Jay Wolf – this one will probably end up on my top 10 list for nonfiction this year. Katherine suffered a brain stem stroke at age 26 and this is their story of recovery.  More than anything, I loved the deep Truth that is presented in this story. It’s currently $1.99 on Kindle – get it ASAP.
  • Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury – I only read this because I can’t not finish a series but I don’t think I can read much more by this author. Ugh.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but her perfectly tied up happy Christian endings frustrate me.
  • A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury – see above comment.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I have a confession to make. I have never read the Harry Potter series or watched any of the movies, but I have committed to reading them all.  I will refrain from commenting on them until I’ve read them all, but fantasy is not a genre I am particularly fond of, so we’ll see how this goes.

What I Read: November 2016

One more month of reading done and a few good ones to share.

Here’s what I read in November.

  • The Woman in Cabin 10 (Ruth Ware) – If you’re looking for a thriller, this is a good one. I did not fully anticipate the ending and it kept me guessing. I will say, however, that I am tired of the heroine in these recent bestsellers always being a drunk and an unreliable witness. Where’s Nancy Drew when you need her?
  • None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different From Us (And Why That’s a Good Thing) – Jen Wilkin – this is my #1 for the month. Wilkin is one of my favorite Bible teachers – she calls on us to love God with our MINDS and her books reflect this. This is a short book and I felt the need to underline almost every word.
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (Atul Gawande) – Gawande is a surgeon, so this book is similar to When Breath Becomes Air, although Gawande was not dying when he wrote his book. He examines the advances of modern medicine and how they’ve impacted both how we live and how we die…and what should be different.
  • One in a Million Boy (Monica Wood) – a sweet story with a lot of heart. It tells of the relationship between a young Boy Scout and an 104 year old woman.
  • Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of a Violent Faith (Jon Krakauer) – I’m not sure why, but this is the first time I’ve been bored while reading one of Krakauer’s books.  This one is about Mormon Fundamentalists, especially those who practice polygamy – and I usually find this fascinating. I even wrote a research paper on the topic for one of my sociology classes. Maybe that’s why I was bored – I already knew most of it? Anyway, not my favorite.
  • She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That’s Passing Away (Raechel Myers & Amanda Williams) – I really liked this book. In some ways it is similar to the popular Christian women memoirs that have come out lately (many of which I read and found to be either lacking in depth or intellect). However, this one points Truth over any emotion or popular trend and I respect that. Raechel and Amanda are the founders of the She Reads Truth Bible Study program and I have done many of their studies.
  • My Story (Elizabeth Smart) – major trigger warning with this one. Elizabeth Smart’s story in her own words. She chronicles her months in captivity and how she recovered. Painful but hope-filled. A hard, but hard to put down, read.

This brings my reading total for the year to 91. I’ve got my work cut out for me if I am going to make it to 100. Fingers crossed!

What I Read in October

October was pretty much a reading slump for me. I managed to read 6 books, but found most of them somewhat disappointing based on the hype.  Here they are (in the order I read them):

  • The Secret Chord (Geraldine Brooks) – a fiction novel loosely based on the life of King David. I usually like Geraldine Brooks’s work but this one disappointed me. There wasn’t anything wrong with it — well-written — but I didn’t like the direction she took with David and Jonathan’s friendship.
  • This is Awkward: How Life’s Uncomfortable Moments Open the Door to Intimacy and Connection (Sammy Rhodes) – lighthearted and entertaining, Rhodes broaches deep and challenging topics with enough humor to make it go down easy. A good read.
  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven (Chris Cleave) – again, this was a great story and inspired by Cleave’s own grandparents.  However, this book came so highly praised that I couldn’t help but feel let down.
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (J.D. Vance) – the best book I read in October. A personal look at rural Appalachian poverty with insights that are easily broadened to apply to the whole.  I highly recommend this book and think it should be required reading for teachers in my school division.
  • Lilac Girls (Martha Hall Kelly) – yet another highly anticipated read based on true events. This one covers a truly dark topic – human experimentation done in the Ravensbruck concentration camp. A hard, but beautiful, read.
  • The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (Richard Rohr & Andreas Ebert) – I’ve been reading up on the Enneagram lately because I am fascinated with personality theories and have been for a long time. I appreciated this book because it fairly addresses strengths and weaknesses of all types and is both convicting and comforting. I still haven’t figured out what I am but I’m slowly narrowing it down.

Hopefully a month from now I will have a list I am more excited to share.

Total books read in 2016: 84 and counting.

What I Read: September 2016

I’m pretty proud to report that I read 10 books in September!! Because some of you have asked, I don’t set particular reading goals for each month. At the beginning of last year, I set out with a goal of reading 52 books.  Before January 2015 I had never tracked my reading so I really had no idea how many books I usually read in a given year.  I set a goal of 52 because it seemed daunting.  I felt like I had no time to read and wanted to get back to being the reader I was a child.  In 2015, I hit my goal in early summer, and continued the pace, reading 100 books in 366 days. J

In 2016 I hope to read 100 again, but I again didn’t think I’d be able to reach that number. I am busy! I don’t get lunch breaks so I can’t read for an hour during the work day unlike many reader bloggers I follow.  I am also taking classes for a school administration certification and therefore spend a great deal of time reading textbooks and writing papers. So my goal has always been this: read as much as possible but don’t let it become a stressful thing.

Somehow I’ve still managed to read 78 books in the first nine months of 2016. 100 does seem doable, but again, I’m not going to worry about it.

Here’s what I read in September:

  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (Tom Franklin) – not my favorite but I know many people have love this one
  • Into Thin Air (Jon Krakauer) – I think I want to read everything Krakauer has written. This was about an Everest expedition gone horribly wrong. I felt like I was gasping for air the whole time.
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (Katrina Bivald) – this had been on my to be read list for a long time and I somehow had the whole premise of the book wrong in my mind. Therefore, I found myself confused for a good portion of the book, but also enjoyed it.
  • The Light Between Oceans (M.L. Stedman) – fantastic. This one made me cry. I’m glad I read it before the movie comes out.
  • Truly, Madly, Guilty (Liane Moriarty) – this was not my favorite of Moriarty’s works, but it held my attention and it would make a good beach read.
  • Once, Then, & Now (Morris Gleitzman) – this is a children’s book trilogy about two children, Felix and Zelda, during World War II in Poland. This was heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. I’m not sure I’d read it to an 8 year old though.
  • When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi) – this one has been mentioned all of the place. Paul Kalanithi was about to finish his training as a neurosurgeon when he learned he had terminal cancer. This was deep and moving. I made it to the end without crying but then the epilogue written by his wife made me lose it.
  • The Cost of Discipleship (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) – Finishing this book while reading Gleitzman’s series provided a valuable juxtaposition. Bonhoeffer was killed in a concentration camp after plotting to kill Hitler. He lived and died during one of the most ugly times in world history, and yet he preached love for one’s enemies. His words are powerful even without an acute awareness of the evil with which he was surrounded, but were made even more so by reading about the events through the eyes of a child in Once and Then.