A Pleasant and Savory Failure


If success tastes sweet, and defeat is bitter, then what would you call an experience that, while technically a fail, brings great satisfaction and joy to your life?  Is it sweet or bitter?  Or would it better be described with other words of gustatory perception such as salty or sour?  Hmmm.  Not quite right, any of them.

I recall as a child, learning about the different perceptions of taste.  The teacher demonstrated with small dixie cups, each filled with a mystery liquid.  She used cotton swabs to dab a drop or two of each flavor onto different areas of our tongues and we contrasted sweet with salty, sour with bitter.  Later on, I learned, a new category was added.  Umami.  U-u-what??

Umami.  I looked into it, and it seems this is a Japanese word that translates as “pleasant savory taste”.  Hmmm.  Yes.  I think it will do quite nicely to describe my failed 2015 resolution.  Actually, it is the only resolution I’ve had for the past two years and I have yet to reach my goal.  But the trying is just so darned rewarding I can’t feel bad about my loser status.

I tried again to read 52 books in a year.  I know I am able.  I’m sure I have done that and more in the past.  This season of life, however, is simply too full, too distracting, and I find myself falling short again.  In spite of this, I have found a renewed joy of reading.  I choose a wider variety of reading material than I might otherwise, because I know I’ll be sharing my selections with all of you.

So, without further ado, I would like to share my 2015 reading list: (Top ten favorites are in red!)

1.) The Fisherman by Larry Huntsperger

2.) The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse: A book for creators by Michael Gungor.  For any artist, this held some incredibly insightful and thought-provoking bits to chew on.  Warning: there are a couple of swear words in this, but I didn’t find that it detracted from the message at all.  In fact, they were designed to make a point.

3.) Wilbur and Orville Wright by Augusta Stevenson

4.) Dark Justice by Brandilyn Collins

5.) The Good News About Marriage by Shaunti Feldhahn with Tally Whitehead.  The statistics we all were raised with and that we all quote are flat-out wrong!  I highly recommend this to all.  Our view of marriage is vital to how we counsel and encourage other couples.

6.) 10 Lies Men Believe About Porn by Stephen Kuhn

7.) The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks.  Fascinating view into some of Dr. Sacks’ most interesting cases.  Medical nerds, you will LOVE this!

8.) No Flying in the House by Betty Brock.  My all time favorite book as a young girl.  I have now read it to all three of my own daughters.  A delightful story!

9.) The Work of Christ by R.C. Sproul.  A thought-provoking read.  Very good!

10.) Hacker by Ted Dekker.  Mind blowing, as are all in the Outlaw series.

11.) The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages by Shaunti Feldhahn

12.) Black by Ted Dekker

13.) Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace by Mary A. Perez.  Mary comes from a background of poverty and abuse.  This is her story, written vividly and with honesty.  An excellent story of hope and victory.

14.) AD 30 by Ted Dekker

15.) As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes with Joe Layden.  I will make this comment brief.  If you are a fan, you MUST read this book.  So fun, and I love the movie even more now!

16.) Blessed Are The Uncool: Living Authentically in a World of Show by Paul Grant

17.) Women Who Love Psychopaths by Sandra L. Brown

18.) The Measure of Madness: Inside the Disturbed and Disturbing Criminal Mind by Cheryl Paradis

19.) Dark Pursuit by Brandilyn Collins

20.) Judges For You by Timothy Keller.  Timothy Keller is amazing.  Go.  Buy anything he has written.  He is a Christian teacher/thinker/philosopher, called by some, the C.S. Lewis of our day.

21.) Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.  This was incredible.  Funny yet reverent.  And I was actually able to ask the nice young man at the Barnes and Noble counter for this book without blushing or giggling.  (I couldn’t recall the tagline, just the word Stiff.)  Quite a feat, let me tell you!

22.) Death’s Acre by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson.  An inside look into the beginnings of the real life body farm in Tennessee.  Fascinating reading, though my kids roll their eyes whenever I start talking decomposition with their friends.  What?  It’s interesting!!

23.) Aesop’s Fables by Aesop, of course!

24.) Rush Revere and The Brave Pilgrims by Rush Limbaugh

25.) Working Stiff: Two years, 262 bodies, and the making of a medical examiner by Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

26.) Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann.  I love this author.  This particular title really resonated with me for some reason.

27.) Angel of Wrath by Bill Meyers

28.) Winter Watch by Anita Klumpers.  A super fun story with great history woven through the mystery.  I consider Anita to be a friend, though we have only met online.  When she told me she had written a novel, I bought the Kindle version immediately, and I LOVED it!  I am excited to get my hands on her next book, due out in February.  Check out her blog, The Tuesday Prude and be prepared to laugh!  She has a delightful wit and wisdom that I know you’re going to love.

29.) I Could Pee On This: and other poems by cats by Francesco Marciuliano.  So funny.  A must read for cat lovers.

30.) The Forgotten Way by Ted Dekker.  Hands down my favorite book of the year.  This is a book of meditations on our identity in Christ.  Squashing legalistic religious traps by focusing on Yeshua’s words and our identity in Him, I am learning to break free of old ways of thinking.  I am still assimilating the messages in it and will read it again.  And again…

So there you have it.  I didn’t read as many as the previous year, and my selection definitely skewed to psychology and medical stories.  The classics are sadly missing from my short list, but I’m content nonetheless.  Learning fascinating new information is always a joyful experience.

Umami.  Pleasant savory taste.  Yes, I think that imagery applies here.

Will I alter my resolution for this year?  I know I should.  This year will see my second play produced, my daughter married, and we’ll be hosting our friend’s family for 5 weeks of beautiful, chaotic fun.  The likelihood of meeting my 52 book goal is slim.  Yet, I find myself reluctant to lower the bar here.  It’s so satisfying to try.  So I’ll keep it as is, and who knows, perhaps I’ll find the time to sneak in a few paragraphs between rehearsals and homeschooling and wedding plans and….

To see last year’s list, click here.


Photo by makunin, at pixabay

3 thoughts on “A Pleasant and Savory Failure

  1. I copied some of your top ten choices to check out for myself. I love to read, and am always looking for recommendations from like-spirited people. Thank you, Rebeca! Have you read The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown? It’s about the motley rowing crew from the University of Washington that won the Olympics in 1936, held in Berlin, Germany. The back-stories of everyone involved, the history of the times, and even the details about rowing make a fascinating read.


    • That sounds interesting, Nancy. Thank you for the recommendation! Be warned, some of my faves from last year aren’t for the faint of heart. 😀 Others, while thought-provoking, may offend some readers. The Michael Gungor, for example, is one that really offended a friend of mine. The fact that this ‘Christian artist’ had some swear words was repugnant to her. (However, the book makes it clear that he doesn’t see himself as a ‘Christian artist’ at all, but rather, an artist who is a follower of Jesus. While my friend had some good points, I fear she threw the baby out with the bath water over one thing they would disagree on, ie. whether a professing Christian who is famous can ever use a swear word.) Let me know what you think of any of them, and I will go look on Amazon for the one you mentioned…. Blessings on your weekend, my friend!


  2. Pingback: The Elusive Magic Number | Building Standing Stones

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