There are so many things running through my mind at the moment that I would love to discuss, but I suppose I will just have to pick one or two in order to prevent the inordinate length that could otherwise possibly result from this posting. Let's see here...
Recipes? City Rescue Mission? Christmas Present Ideas? Christmas Lights? Christmas Playlists? Poems? Prayers? Rhyming Words? Babies? Puppies? Books? Besties? Dream Vacations? Education for Women in Yemen and Iran? (I wrote a 20-page paper comparing the differences in educational opportunities for Iranian and Yemeni women for one of my final research papers this semester. I so loved researching and writing it. So now I am just anxiously awaiting my grade...)
Thanks to the beautiful fact that I have quite a bit of free time on my hands the next few days, perhaps I will just have to find time to write about a combination of all of them!
Today we'll go with books, as I possess a deep affinity for reading. These are a few books that I highly recommend for your winter break reading pleasure. Some of these I read this semester for class, others for pleasure, and others over the years but will always rank among my most favorite works.
Mantle of the Prophet by Roy Mottahedeh -- A somewhat lengthy read, but definitely worth your time. Mottahedeh depicts the Shi'ite faction of the Islamic faith through the eyes of a mullah, or cleric, in Iran. Very interesting. I actually reviewed this book earlier in the semester. Find my summary/review here.
Alphabet Weekends by Elizabeth Noble -- Just a fun, girly read. Very cutesy. If you're interested in a relaxing, care-free read, I recommend you pick up a copy.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver -- Must read. Perfect depiction of the dichotomy of purity and impurity. A picture of what can occur when religion becomes evil.
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell -- Favorite thought from the book... Far too many times we ask why our world is so dark, but instead we should ask ourselves why the light is not bright enough.
Forgotten God by Francis Chan -- One of the most challenging books I've ever read. READ IT. Be prepared. You may be uncomfortable at times, but it is so worth it. In this book, Chan sheds light on the power of the Spirit -- a power far beyond our comprehension.
Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality by Rob Bell -- I read this in high school, but it has always been one of my favorites. Very challenging and many an incredible story.
Paradise Beneath Her Feet by Isobel Coleman -- I read this this past semester for a research paper and loved it. Full of stories on how women are transforming the Middle East. One of my favorite quotes from the book came right at the opening, "Education is like sun and water. Without it, you can't grow anything. But if girls are educated, they can change our whole society." -Afghan mullah (2004)
Voices From Iran by Mahnaz Kousha -- I also read this this past semester for my research paper. Features the lives of Iranian women and how they view their roles in Iranian society. Very interesting. Look inside... “A woman is somebody who takes care of herself, who plays music, who dance. I like these things, but I can’t be that person. [...] I wanted to be a university professor and at the same time a woman who is happy taking care of herself, her house, and the family. But that is impossible. Everything seems halfhearted, half-done.”
The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne -- One of my favorites. Always and forever. One of the most challenging pieces of literature I've ever read. Not in that the text is challenging or anything like that, but the content provided is inspiring, heartbreaking, and surges an energy inside of you that makes you want to take action against the injustices of the world. Seriously. Read it.
The Christmas Bear by Henrietta Strickland -- My favorite book as a child. One of, at least. Beautiful illustrations and a wonderful read on Christmas Eve. Or in July, for that matter.
Things I'm adding to my reading list over the break...:)
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
That's all for now. If you have any reading recommendations, let me know! I would love any and all suggestions. More to come. All my LOVE. MERRY CHRISTMAS!