One of the someday-dreams my husband and I have is to own a house with a library in it – imagine, a room dedicated solely to the storage, display, keeping, and reading of books! It brings such wonderful images to mind – a fireplace crackling in the corner, dark wood bookshelves stacked and stacked with pages, a yellowy lamp, snow falling outside the window…ooh, just writing about it makes me giddy!
Now, if you were to come to our little house and see our current book collection, the room and the shelving system wouldn’t be as impressive as that dream, but we certainly have the quantity of books to make that dream come true! 🙂 And if you scan the shelves to see what we’re interested in, you’ll probably come away with one thought – Hannah must love the Amish.
I’ve been fascinated with the Amish for as long as I can remember. I appreciate their work ethic, their commitment to God, their family-oriented culture, their humble nature, and their determination to live a simple life. Although I know they’re not perfect by any means, I certainly hold them in high esteem because I believe we – in our ever-changing, fast-paced, distracted world – can learn much from them. One of my favorite quotes illustrating the Amish life is this:
[ An Amish writer responded wonderfully in “Small Farm Journal” to someone’s (maybe flippant) desire to become Amish: ]
“If you admire our faith, strengthen yours. If you admire our sense of commitment, deepen yours. If you admire our community spirit, build your own. If you admire the simple life, cut back. If you admire deep character and enduring values, live them yourself.”
Bjorn and I had the (absolutely amazing!) opportunity this past summer to visit Lancaster County and actually stay with a New Order Amish family in their home! That weekend with the Amish was the trip of a lifetime and a dream come true for me. To be immersed in a culture I’ve so enjoyed learning about all these years was overwhelming, in the best sense of the word. 🙂
And my love for learning about the Amish didn’t stop with our weekend in PA. I’ve continued to enjoy learning about them. I love my subscription to their simple, anecdotal “Family Life Magazine” and I continue to search the shelves at Barnes & Noble for more about these Plain folk.
The most recent Amish book I’ve read is A Love Undone by Cindy Woodsmall. This piece of fiction centers around a young woman named Jolene who lost her parents and fiancé and chose to throw herself into the family life of raising her younger siblings…until an unexpected (and possibly forbidden) friendship comes along. Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite authors when it comes to Amish fiction. She’s a best-selling author with close connections to the Amish community, which allows her to portray their lives even more realistically in her literature. Her writing style is heartfelt, authentic, and clever…and in A Love Undone, a plot twist near the end had me exclaiming, “What?!” out loud. That’s the kind of book to reach for. 🙂
This kind of book may not be most challenging literature out there. But these Amish fiction books are my comfort reads, my simple pleasures. They draw me in with their rich, hearty life stories and they make me feel at home as I get caught up in their struggles and strivings and joys. And hey, for comfort reading – it can’t get much better than that. So, if you’re looking for the kind of book you read in the quiet of your home, curled up wearing sweatpants and drinking tea…you may want to give this book a try. 🙂
What do you like about these people and what they stand for? Have you read any books about the Amish yourself?
For more about our weekend staying with the Amish in Lancaster County, visit:
// I received this book from Blogging for Books, but all opinions are my own.