"The Christmas Sweater" by Glenn Beck

Read this one.

Just do it!

I absolutely love Glenn Beck and this book is on our shelves at work, so I finally picked it up and started reading it one day. But eventually I got tired of only getting through a few pages or a chapter every a couple of days, so I bought a copy and took it home. And I have to say...

This story is beautiful and amazing. It's a story based on people and experiences from Glenn's life, but isn't a story of an actual experience. If that makes sense at all. Eddie (aka Glenn as a boy) just wants a red Huffy for Christmas, but instead receives a sweater from his mother. And from there he learns the true meaning of Christmas and why it is important to love those around us.

This book is a new favorite and I really wish everyone would take the time to read it. I was so touched and want to share this gift with all of you. You're welcome to borrow my copy - that's just how much I want you to read it!


"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte

We read "Jane Eyre" for my Literary Criticism class this semester and even though I had already read it (a few years ago), I really enjoyed it the second time through.

I like to think of Charlotte Bronte in the same terms as Jane Austen. Their books come from the same time period and although I've only read this one Bronte in comparison to several of Austen's, they have so many similarities.

"Jane Eyre" is romantic and captivating. Jane plays the role of "every woman" which is what I think makes her so appealing to female readers. She's a classic heroine and has bits of wisdom that I think I should apply in my own life. Like striving to be honest at all times and living according to a clear conscience. It is also a love story and a pretty powerful one at that!

I will admit that the Old English writing style can be a bit boring at times. I had a hard time getting through the first 100 pages or so the first time I read this one, and struggled the entire way through the second time since I already knew the ending and wasn't driven forward by the suspense. But if you haven't read it, give it a try. And don't give up if you're a little bored in the beginning. It gets better and hopefully you'll love it!

"Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine

"Ella Enchanted" is another childhood favorite! Like "Walk Two Moons," I've probably read "Ella" about a dozen times. I will admit that I still haven't seen the movie so I can't tell you how it relates, but I can tell you how much I love the book.

Ella is a classic Cinderella character, but with a little twist to the original story. Ella is cursed. She was given the gift of obedience as an infant by a well-meaning but hapless fairy. The "gift" however, creates more trial than blessing for Ella. She has to be obedient when given a command, so if someone told her to jump off a cliff... well you get the idea.

This might be my very favorite Cinderella story ever. It makes the classic fairytale princess seem real and even flawed. Ella is wonderful and I love reading about her over and over again. I think I read this book every year for a long time. It's been a while, but I read it again about a month ago and fell in love with Prince Charming and the Fairy Godmother all over again. Not to mention Ella!

"Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech

Let's see if I can catch up on my book reviews a bit. How about one of my all-time favorites first?

My childhood friend Katie Casteel gave me my first (and only) copy of "Walk Two Moons" when I was eight or nine. At first I thought it was a little strange that she gave me a book for my birthday, but read it anyway and absolutely loved it! I can't tell you how many times I've read it since then. In 13 or 14 years I have probably read it 13 or 14 times. It is beautiful beyond words.

The story of Salamanca Tree Hiddle (yes, that is her name) is mysterious, heartwarming, and hilarious. Sal is a young girl looking for truth and direction in her life, which I think everyone can relate to. And I'm always surprised by how anxious I am to get to the end - as if the words on those well-loved pages might have changed since my last reading. And I'm always touched when the end comes. It doesn't matter how well I know what's coming. I'm always moved.

If that doesn't tell you that Creech is a fantastic writer, then I don't know what will. Read this one. It will always be one of my favorites and one that I always want to share! Let's see how many more readings I can get through before my book falls apart...