Get To Know: Michele and Sarah {Book Club}

soul book club

Hey friends,

I’m excited today for a new Book Club feature. Sometimes we have a week where we are between books or have just begun a book and we don’t have much to discuss . . . until now! I love hearing about the reading habit of others. Love it. I love seeing what they are reading, if I’ve read books they mention, and being reminded of how wonderfully personal reading tastes can be. Today we have our first “Get to know” members of our book club. Without further ado, I bring you Michele and Sarah.

Introduce yourself. If you can share . . . where are you living? How long have you been there? What do you give a majority of your time to? What passport country do you hail from?

I, Michele, have been in Kathmandu, Nepal for five years. Before that I spent three years in India and before that ten in Indonesia. I started out homeschooling TCKs in Kenya. I have mostly been an English teacher, but in Nepal I have been called to focus on intercession and do so through a local church and an anti-trafficking network. I’m originally from Wisconsin in the US.

How do you prefer to read your books? Physically or electronically? How has living overseas shaped your preference?

I love the feel of a real book in my hands, BUT I also love saving money and luggage weight, so I have become a big Kindle customer!

Do you tend to read one book at a time? Or have multiple books going at once?

I try not to have more than two books going at once.

Which Velvet Ashes Book Club books stand out to you? In other words, which do you remember? What do you remember about them?

I loved Helena Sorenson’s books [Shiloh and Seeker]. They had an almost C.S. Lewis-like way of stirring hunger in my heart for eternity. It’s been a long time since a story did that to me. [This is Amy, I have to say, Amen! to Helena Sorenson’s writing. So, so good.]

In the last year or so, which book or books that you have read would you recommend?

One of the most important non-fiction books I’ve read in the last few years is The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen. I think it should be read by anyone dealing with poverty and justice issues. In fiction, I have just this past year stumbled on Charles Martin. I didn’t know he was a Christian until I was halfway through the first novel I read by him (I think a cyber-Monday deal last year)! He weaves great stories with solid truth. My favorite is Chasing Fireflies.

Where do you do most of your reading?

In bed. Yep.

What book has changed you as a person other than the Bible :)? How did it change you?

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. It was one of the handful of books I took to Kenya my first year overseas. I read Chapter 14 “The Exchanged Life” over and over. I felt that struggle for holiness that led up to his revelation of abiding in Christ and while I didn’t get it right away, the book gave me hope that I could actually live by grace. It stirred me to pursue that kind of life and I had some breakthrough in it a couple of years later as I started working in Indonesia. I think because of that book, John 15 became my anchor from the start of my life in Asia until now twenty years later.

What was a favorite book in childhood?

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (I still go through the whole Narnia series every five or six years)!

What are you currently reading?

The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by James Martin and Ask for the Rain by Larry Sparks.

Overall, do you tend to read more fiction or non-fiction? Are there any genres you just can’t get into?

The past year or two I’ve been pretty even between fiction and non-fiction. I don’t like most ‘romance novels’ or thrillers, but a lot depends on the writer. If it’s really well-written, I can enjoy almost any genre.

What do you have on your “to read” list?

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown (which has been recommended too many times to keep ignoring and I think the topic is timely for me right now) and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (because I’ve never read it or seen the movie and I have an actual hard copy I got at a second-hand sale here). =)

Thanks Michele, so fun to get to know you a bit through your books. Sarah, your turn!

Introduce yourself. If you can share . . . where are you living? How long have you been there? What do you give a majority of your time to? What passport country do you hail from?

5 years ago I (Sarah) left the corn fields of Nebraska, USA for the rice fields of Cambodia. I’ve lived in the capital city, a little village and am grateful to now be in a medium sized provincial town. My days are filled with training, teaching and coaching Cambodian believers.

How do you prefer to read your books? Physically or electronically? How has living overseas shaped your preference?

I adore the smell of a real book, but my practical side is grateful for my Kindle and books on my phone. I do splurge on a real book or two each time I go home.

Do you tend to read one book at a time? Or have multiple books going at once?

I used to always be a strictly one book at time gal. Too many books at a time is still overwhelming but now I enjoy doing a non-fiction book and a lighter fiction book together. I’m slowly branching out.

Which Velvet Ashes Book Club books stand out to you? In other words, which do you remember? What do you remember about them?

The first one I participated in was Fieldwork: A Novel back in early 2014. I was 7 months into language study and had restricted any reading for fun that ENTIRE time. My soul was starving and participating in book club fed that part of my heart, allowing me to give myself grace to do things other than study. [Okay, this is Amy, I just had to jump in here. Fieldwork: A Novel was our second book! Whoa. Sarah, if you knew how much I was stumbling in the dark when it came to what would work and how to have an online book club. The fact that you reference it, is a mercy from God through you to me.]

In the last year or so, which book or books that you have read would you recommend?

One of my favorites in the last year was A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman. [Amy again, sorry-not-sorry to keep butting in. I’ve wondered about that book for Book Club, what do you think? Anyone?]

Where do you do most of your reading?

My favorite spot is in my bedroom in my rattan quiet time chair. But I’ll read any where I can, except a moving vehicle.

What book has changed you as a person other than the Bible :)? How did it change you?

There have been many, but one that comes to mind is Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh. It gave validation to the way God created me and my place in this work (although believing this fully is still a struggle).

What was a favorite book in childhood?

Nancy Drew series and Laura Ingalls Wilder books

What are you currently reading?

I just finished The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown, which is a fascinating albeit gruesome history of the Donner Party’s trek to California in the 1840s. I am currently working on Unseen by Sara Hagarty.

Overall, do you tend to read more fiction or non-fiction? Are there any genres you just can’t get into?

I love both, but lean toward biographies and memoirs, and religious fiction. I have a hard time getting into poetry.

What do you have on your “to read” list?

SO MANY. But here are a few: The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher Heuertz, Code Girls by Lisa Mundy, Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown, Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson. [Last time, I promise. Guess what?! Humble Roots is one of our spring picks!!!!]

Thanks Sarah, so fun to get to know you through books.

Now, fellow clubbers, which have you read? Or want to read? What are you currently reading?  Next week we start another excellent book: The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason. I found a free version, but it is only available in some countries. Check out if you can get it for free! There are 24 chapters, so we will read 6 each week.

February 6: 1-6
February 13: 7-12
February 20: 13-18
February 27: 19-24

See you in the comments,

Amy

 

Photo by Prasanna Kumar on Unsplash

3 Comments

  1. Kiera January 29, 2018

    Chasing Fireflies sounds interesting, Michele (I just looked it up). I put it on my to-read list. 🙂 I love that you both have Brene Brown on your to-read list. I just read Daring Greatly this past year after having it recommended over and over again and it was worth the read.

  2. Sarah Hilkemann January 30, 2018

    I’m excited that we’ll be reading Humble Roots together!!

    Another note on reading Fieldwork: A Novel for book club. Reading a book for fun definitely ministered to my heart, but another aspect that was so important to me was reading a book in community. I loved when you (Amy) would write about a section in your post and I would think, “Oh, I know exactly the part she’s talking about!” I’m pretty sure I didn’t comment the entire time, but I did read what others were saying and loved the connection across the miles. It was then I know that VA was my place, my people, my community. And it’s been beautiful! 🙂

    So, ladies, even if you don’t read every book or have the opportunity to comment, I hope book club can be your place too, and one of the ways that the Father ministers to your heart through this community. 🙂

    1. Raven Cruz February 1, 2018

      “…even if you don’t read every book or have the opportunity to comment, I hope book club can be your place too, and one of the ways that the Father ministers to your heart through this community.”

      You said it so well.

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