This month, The Arc team is all set for cozy fall and good reads! Find some inspiration for your TBR or library list with the ideas below.
Is It Any Wonder? By Courtney Walsh
If you’re skeptical of Christian romance fiction, this book may surprise you. (Yes, it’s a beach read—I’m behind on my reading list!) I was reluctant to give this genre another chance after slogging through novels that were either too steamy or too gritty for my taste. While author Courtney Walsh doesn’t shy away from real-life drama caused by grief and loss, she uses enough romantic-comedic humor to lighten the mood. I’ve often laughed out loud at how real and relatable the dialogue is (both internal and external) as Louisa sorts through her feelings for her childhood friend and first love, Cody, who’s recently come back into her life after more than a decade apart. Despite the cliché-sounding premise, this story isn’t like some of the cheesier romance novels out there. The characters are genuine, their brokenness is real, and the unfolding love story is sweet enough to make even the most skeptical romance fiction fans root for a happily ever after!
To Read: Provenance by Carla Laureano
Inside The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader: A Guide to Exploring the Journey Beyond Narnia by Devin Brown
This month, I’m enjoying Inside The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader by award-winning author Devin Brown. Of the Narnia books, The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader has been always been a fun one for me with its fascinating exploration of mysterious islands and exciting pacing. But let’s face it. My biggest draw to the story is, of course, Eustace Clarence Scrubb, thanks to the ridiculousness of his arrogant, “logical” behavior in a world of Talking Animals (which, need I mention, he enters by falling through a picture frame) and the significant epiphanies of his transformations (both when “dragoned” and “un-dragoned”). Scholar Devin Brown writes and explores characters like Eustace in a style of voice that welcomes the curiosity to learn more about C. S. Lewis’s approach, further contemplate themes woven into the events of the plot, and gather additional context behind the beloved tales. Getting to examine and revisit such a classic through Devin Brown’s book is quite a delight!
To Read: Inside Narnia: A Guide to Exploring the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Devin Brown
The Wingfeather Saga: On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
C.S Lewis once wrote that “…a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story” (from “On Three Ways of Writing for Children”). This book passes the test.
We started Book 1 of The Wingfeather Saga toward the end of September as a family for the kids’ bedtime read-aloud story. My goodness, is this well-written. We’ve read through 8 chapters thus far, and the vivid, imaginative writing, the storyline of family, courage, history, suffering, setbacks, questions, and hope, keeps us coming back to see what will conspire with the Igiby family in the Land of Aerwiar.
To Read: Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky and Cindy Coloma
Call Your Daughter Home by Debra Spera
Call You Daughter Home is based in 1920s South Carolina and follows the story of three women: Retta, a first-generation freed slave; Gertrude, a mother who leaves an abusive home; and Annie, an influential plantation owner. This novel weaves the seemingly separate storylines, told by each protagonist in the first person, into a web that reminds us how interconnected life is. No man or woman is an island. The book is written beautifully, and while it is a bit of a slow start, it takes a dramatic turn in the second act. I have really enjoyed the many narrators form since they bring a fuller, inside-outside perspective of each character and their actions. It is a great exercise in literary empathy. Also, you have to love closing out the summer with a Southern-set story.
To Read: The Lord and His Prayer by N.T. Wright
Tell us, what are you currently reading? What’s on your To-Read Pile?