Masterpiece (Elise Broach)

This was a delightful children's novel about a beetle named Marvin and his friendship with a boy named James. Marvin and James have real problems in life, but none so serious as when they become involved in a carefully crafted art theft. Their friendship is tested many times, and at the end of the adventure, this bug and boy know that they are true friends.

Interspersed along the curiosities of beetle life in a human world, and  the friendship between Marvin and James, is very interesting information about true artists and their work. With short, suspenseful chapters, written on an upper 4th grade level, this book would be a wonderful readaloud for 3rd-5th grade students!

Genesis (Moses)

As a part of a personal challenge from this book, I am currently reading through the Bible. There are, like, a gajillion different reading plans, which all seem wonderful; however, I do not like reading plans. Reading is my plan. Don't schedule my reading. I like reading at my own pace, pausing to ask and go back to find answers to my own questions. But thanks, all writers of reading plans. I'm sure your schedules are lovely and helpful and thorough and beneficial. My goal is to complete the Bible, reading from cover to cover, in 1 year. Hopefully I won't saunter too long through the Word and end up not making my goal. But honestly, is there such a thing as "sauntering too long in the Word?" As with other books I read, I'll be posting summaries/thoughts here, and will label each book with the Bible tag.

Anyway, here we are, beginning at the beginning.

Genesis is the first book in the Bible, composed of 50 chapters. The beginning of the world, and all of the subsequent drama, is included. People are created, their hearts beat about 5 times before they foul up a perfect world, but even in these earliest phases, the groundwork is laid for humanity's ultimate salvation, one so strong that not even we can mess it up. Many of the stories I've heard since childhood are found in Genesis, but there are also lots of insight and other interesting aspects to those stories that you gain when you actually put your eyes on the page and read it all word for word.

My favorite people from this book were Joseph and Abraham. Joseph experienced some pretty nasty stuff at the hand of his brothers. They picked on him, they threw him in a pit, sold him into slavery, lied to their father about what happened to him, and pretty much tried to forget he ever existed. There's no telling all the mean things they actually said to him when all of this was happening. Yet, he tells them that "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." (chapter 50, verse 20). Because, as a result of their betrayal and abandonment of him, Joseph was relocated to Egypt, where God used him to foretell and prepare for a terrible famine that would have otherwise taken the lives of so many people, probably Joseph's entire family. It is a powerful thing to remember that sometimes what other people in our lives intend for evil, the Lord means for good. Remembering this will help us react differently when suffering comes our way. God made us, He is sovereign, and that is all that matters in the good, bad, and ugly of this life.

Abraham was the son of Terah, who descended from Shem, who was one of Noah's three sons. In chapter 12, verse 1, the Lord told Abraham (then, Abram...apparently name changes in the Bible were both common and significant) to "go forth...to the land I will show you; and I will make you a great nation..." God essentially told Abraham to do something that was sort of nuts. He told him to take his family and leave all that he knew, all that was safe, all that was comfortable, and to GO. He didn't tell him where, though, nor did He say how long it would be before He would let Abraham in on the plan. He just said to GO. And you want to hear what's even more nuts? Abraham did! He went! I wonder what Sarah (his wife) had to say about all of this. I can just hear people talking about how crazy they were, and how stupid it was to leave safety, and how unwise Abraham must be to take his family into the unknown, etc. Abraham and Sarah made lots of mistakes, but the most important great thing they did was to obey and to go.

And speaking of Abraham, it is in chapter 17, verse 10, when Abraham and his crew are settling down in the land of Canaan, that the Lord establishes a covenant with him that involves Abe and all his manfolk getting circumsized. I don't know about you, but I am thinking that Abraham probably responded with something like, "You want me to what?! You want me to cut off part of my what?!" And I wonder how the other guys, who had not heard this instruction straight from the Lord, reacted to Abraham when he started cutting off foreskins. Nevertheless, in verse 23, we see that Abraham immediately went and circumsized every male in his household. Between going and leaving all he knew, offering his son as a sacrifice, and getting circumsized, Abraham had this obedience thing down. Of course, he messed up lots of other times, but we can learn from those as well.

There are many more of these real-life encouragements and applications in Genesis. It made me sad to leave this book behind because there were so many significant people and events included. I loved every word of it. Next stop: Exodus.


Poppy (Avi)

Poppy is a tiny little mouse with a huge heart of courage. Part of an enormous family of deer mice, Poppy has grown up heeding the survival lessons taught by her father. The most important rule is asking permission from a huge forest owl, Mr. Ocax, before leaving their home to go to another part of the forest. Mr. Ocax is the villain we love to hate. He is the ultimate bully, and continually takes advantage of the mice. Eventually, brave Poppy learns that even Mr. Ocax has fears. 

This is the best children's fiction book I've read in a long while. It is suspenseful, witty, and would make a great readaloud for any 3rd-5th grade class.  



Kindle Convert

I have looked at these eReader devices for years, and kept changing my mind on what I thought about them. I love books, obviously, but I also love technology. You would think that blending these two worlds would be so exciting for me, but the truth is that for a long time I wanted nothing to do with eReaders. My hesitance has always been rooted in the fact that it isn't just that I love to read, I love the experience of reading books.

I like to feel the books in the store or library. I like to run my fingers across the front cover, and examine the pages for texture and weight. I enjoy using odds and ends for bookmarks...playing cards, pictures, receipts, actual bookmarks, etc. I like the smell of a new book, and I really love the crrraaack of a new book that has never been touched or opened or held by another person. Books are beautiful. They are my most favorite decorative accent in our home. Books are filled with descriptions of places I'll never see and people I'll never meet. They lead me to reconsider or affirm the way I think about things in the world.

I love the feeling of walking into Barnes & Noble, or a public library, or my school library. Each and every single time, there is a feeling that washes over me and I usually don't think about it but I know that I love it. Do you know what that feeling is? Potential. I love knowing that books change people's perspectives and enable us to evolve and grow throughout this life simply by what we learn from them.

Some impending travels abroad (the length of which we are not entirely certain) led me to seriously consider purchasing an eReader. For at least a year I've carefully been reading reviews, watching comparison clips, and talking to my Twitterverse about their experiences and preferences. Finally, one day it happened. I bought a Kindle. And a screen protector. And a cute little pink case to keep it in.

Here's what I think so far...

The Kindle, even right out of the box, is not difficult to operate. Finding books, buying them (or in my case, downloading the free ones), and reading them is snappy. As a friend put it, it is "dangerously easy" to buy books now.

At first, it seemed that the Kindle was almost too small. Too fragile. Too un-book-like. I missed the comforting swoosh of the turning page. Now, all I get is an ever so slight click when I press the "next page" button. The clicking bothered me at first, but I have grown accustomed to it. About a week into my new life as a Kindle owner, I was uber-excited just to have this awesome new device. About 3 weeks into it I really started paying attention to the bells and whistles of the Kindle interface, and began to have some questions about maximizing this resource as a Mega Reader. We're going on about 6 weeks of our new life together, and I'm ready to seal the deal and get her engraved. :)

My favorite aspects of the Kindle:
-ease in downloading books
-compact size
-l-o-n-g battery life
-easy on the eyes (I held out a long time for the iPad because I wanted a back-lit eReader I could use on the plane, in bed, etc. but I love that the paper-like display is much gentler on my tormented eyes than a computer-like device would be)
-seamless synchronization of my Amazon account across my Kindle, my computer, and my Kindle iPhone app. I can pick up on my phone where I left off on my Kindle, and vice versa.
-easy to search the full text of a book
-physically easy to read; you don't have to worry about losing your place (or losing the bookmark that is holding your place), and you also don't have to worry about propping up a heavy book or having the pages fall over if you're reading in bed
-global wi-fi and 3G
-faster reading
-dictionary reference
-books are cheaper than in print format (a typical new release might be $20 even with a discount in stores; from the Amazon Kindle store it is usually at least half that, sometimes less)
-you can easily view an indexed list of all your notes, highlights, and bookmarks. That is not something you can do with any printed book.
-you can easily share books with a fellow Kindle owner via your Amazon accounts

My least favorite aspects of the Kindle (and possibly of eReaders in general):
-there is no page number! All I get is a percentage, or a position (like 2345 out of 10976...Amazon should know that generally speaking, math is highly offensive to the community of serious readers). There are dots across the bottom which show me how far I am away from the next chapter, and I love that. Still. I want to know how many pages I'm reading. This is the one element I truly dislike, and I don't see myself getting used to it either. Page numbers, Amazon. Page numbers!
-it is not easy to make notes. Possible, yes. Easy, no. You have to depress each letter button at a time (not typing, more like texting), and entering a thought or a note requires some time and effort. I'd rather just write in a book.
-Amazon pushes through software updates wirelessly, and you aren't notified. About a week into it I grew a tiny bit frustrated because I could not navigate back to settings I remembered when I first explored the Kindle. Another friend was checking it out and asking questions that I thought I knew the answer to but suddenly could not find what I needed. I sent an email to the Kindle support team at Amazon, and they quickly responded that a software update had been pushed through, which had altered some of my options on the Home screen. Would have been nice to know...
-twice in the last month I've had issues with the wireless connection. I'm still trying to figure out if that has something to do with my settings or if it is a glitch. It's definitely time for another email to the Magnifico Kindle Support Team.
-when I highlight a note that extends to the next page, the cursor easily runs away from me, and usually only appears to highlight the last few words in the sentence, making me think I've skipped the rest by accident
-no color, no pictures other than black and white cover art
-you cannot borrow books electronically from the local library

The screen protection shield was the only $6 I regret from this purchase. It would never go on without leaving my screen filled with polka dot bubbles (and yes, I did follow the application directions), and I finally chucked it. The cute little pink case I chose is the leather one with a soft fluffy cushioned interior, and I think it grows even cuter and pinker every single day.

I strongly believe that printed books will always be a vital part of our society, but I like the option of having them in digital format. The debate should not be electronic or print. It should be the availability of electronic AND print. More on that another day.

I plan to add posts in the future that deal specifically with the Kindle and its relevance in the reading world.

For now...hi, I'm Michelle. And I'm a Kindle convert. :)

Considering an eReader? These sites helped me make my choice:



Things Hoped For (Andrew Clements)

In Things Not Seen, the prequel to Things Hoped For, a young adolescent boy (Bobby) suddenly, for no explainable reason, goes invisible. Eventually he returns to his normal self physically, but he is forever changed as a result of his time spent unseen.

Suddenly Bobby is 18 and now prefers being called Robert. His new friend Gwen has run into some massive trouble of her own. Her grandfather has suddenly vanished without a trace, and Gwen struggles with worrying about him and the pressure of her upcoming auditions for college music scholarships. She quickly learns that Robert is the best friend she can have when dealing with things not seen.

Another winner by Clements, but it's a bit more mature (not rated R or anything) than his previous works.


Beatrice's Goat (Paige McBrier)

More than anything in the world, Beatrice wants to go to school. Sadly, her west Ugandan family is too poor to buy her books and a uniform to attend. One day, they are given a goat, which changes everything for her family. The children have milk to drink, which makes them healthier. They are even able to make money by selling some of the goat's milk. The goat eventually helps Beatrice's parents build a newer, cleaner, safer place...and it also helps Beatrice achieve her dream of going to school. 


The Lion and the Mouse (Jerry Pinkney)

I haven't come across any books as truly beautiful as this one in a while. Jerry Pinkney tried his hand at a wordless picture book and retelling an ancient fable, and he ended up with a Caldecott for his efforts. The setting is in Africa (he actually traveled to Kenya and Tanzania to see the African savannah), and every page is filled with the beauty and majesty of nature. In this wordless version, the images show the mouse running from a predatory owl and in her haste she scampers up the back of an enormous beastly lion. For whatever reason, he sets her free rather than having her for a snack, and she promptly returns to her nest and tells her babies what happened. We see hunters setting a large net trap, and the lion stumbling into it. He roars a terrible roar (sorry, that was Where the Wild Things Are) and the mouse hears his distress. She comes to his rescue, frees him from his trap, and they all lie happily ever after. In the gorgeous African grasslands. 


I Stink! (Kate and Jim McMullan)

The "stinky" main character in this book is the garbage truck, who explains what he does and why he is so important to people. The dialog is a bit choppy at times (some pages have only "Hopper's full. Hit the throttle. Give me some gas. Rev me to the max."), but it would be great for boys, and for teaching kids about the importance of sanitation crews in our society. At one point, he goes through the ABC's of the garbage he gets to eat, which is filled with boy humor. (D for dirty diapers, P for puppy poo)


The Fathers Are Coming Home (Margaret Wise Brown)

This simple picture book shows a series of fathers (a spider, bug, dog, fish, etc.) coming home to their children at the end of the day. Its predictive repetition and simplistic illustrations make it perfect for preschoolers and early learners. 


Diamond Jim Dandy and the Sheriff (Sarah Burell)

One of the funnier books my daughter has chosen lately, Diamond Dim Dandy and the Sheriff has been at the top of the "Frequently Read" list at our house. Best read with an exaggerated Southern drawl, Diamond Jim is a great pick for preschoolers or readalouds in the school setting. On an ordinary, boring, "nothing ever happens in Dustbin, Texas" day, Diamond Jim the rattlesnake slithers into town. He does a great job of freaking out the Sheriff, whose job of course it is to keep out ragamuffin rattlers like Diamond Jim. Even though he wins the affections of the townspeople, the Sheriff remains skeptical of this friendly rattlesnake until the day he puts his rattles to good use for a special little girl in Dustbin, Texas. 



Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream (David Platt)

David Platt has thrown down the gauntlet to materialistic American Christians. American Christians who are among the wealthiest people in the world, who spend jillions of dollars on luxuries and worry about keeping up with the Joneses while millions of people starve to death every day, and most of those are going to Hell without knowledge or believe in Jesus Christ. He writes of his own experiences in some of the darkest places in our world today, and of people he met who go to great lengths just to read, hear, and be taught from the Bible. He also shares about friends within his church family who have had the same experiences, and of the steps some of them have taken to share their material possessions and their faith with people of this world who need them. This book is the best sermon I've ever read, and it will leave every reader with a jolt (not a stir) to immediate action.

The structure of the book is sheer genius. Platt begins with reminding us who Jesus is and that an obedient life of following Him can only be one of reckless abandon. "For when we abandon the trinkets of this world and respond to the radical invitation of Jesus, we discover the infinite treasure of knowing and experiencing Him." (pg. 18) He goes on to explain that the context of the American Dream is to depend on yourself alone for success. "As long as we achieve anything in our own power, we will always attribute it to our own glory." (pg. 46) That American Dream is also clearly present in the church community. "We have convinced ourselves that if we can position our resources and organize our strategies, then in church as in every other sphere of life, we can accomplish anything we set our minds to." (pg. 50) We are relying on ourselves, and that is probably why there are billions of people starving and hurting every day.

He writes about people in our churches, in our towns and cities, and across the world who are struggling to survive, and we could feed an entire family for a day or more on what we spend on a sack of french fries. He challenges us not to feel guilty for what we have, but to reconsider that maybe we have so that we can give.

I could not help but remember throughout this book that, regardless what many if not most Americans (especially here in the shiny gold buckle of the Bible Belt) believe, Jesus Christ was not a middle class white Republican. He lived for and among the most impoverished, most broken, most needy people of the world. He cared about and worked to actively serve those who had desperate physical needs, and He told us to do the very same. And not only that, His last words to us were not to sit on our hands in our multi-million dollar church buildings and hope people will come and hear about the gospel. He told us to GO and TELL.

Among the several other practical suggestions for revolutionizing the way we live to serve the poor and hungry in our world, there are steps Platt lays out for the reader to undergo the Radical Experiment. He is saying that maybe some aren't so sure about how this life will work, so he calls readers to give it one good try. One year of:

1. praying for the entire world "In a world where more than 4.5 billion people are without Christ and more than a billion on the edge of starvation, we have to begin somewhere."
"The multitudes are waiting to hear, and our most urgent need is to pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out Christians into the harvest field." (pg. 186-187)

2. reading through the entire Bible "If we want to know the glory of God, if we want to experience the beauty of God, and if we want to be used by the hand of God, then we must live in the Word of God." (pg. 192)

3. sacrificing money for a specific purpose "Our hearts follow our money...sacrifice every possible dollar in order to spend your life radically on specific, urgent spiritual and physical needs of the world."(pgs. 193 and 196)

4. spending time in another context "If we are going to accomplish the global purpose of God...it will happen primarily through giving ourselves. This is what the gospel represents, and it's what the gospel requires." (pg. 198)
"...Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes." (pg. 139)

5. and committing to a multiplying community "We will need to show one another [in the local church] how to give liberally, go urgently, and live dangerously." (pg. 206)

 All of this can be carried out however that practically looks in your individual family's life. One year of this radical life will likely lead to a lifetime of reckless abandon to Jesus Christ.

Do you see what I mean? It is impossible to read these 200 pages and not be overcome with the desire to do something, anything to get out of our selfish little materialistic bubbles and start giving of our resources and ourselves to those who need it for the ultimate glory of God.



The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Stieg Larsson)

Mikael Blomkvist is a reporter who has been convicted of libel. He has a hefty fine to pay and a gaol sentence to serve, but he is mostly concerned with saving his magazine, which is primed for closure given Mikael's conviction. Before he can work out his next moves, he is summoned by Henrik Vanger, who turns out to be the head of the Vanger family and CEO of the Vanger Corporation. Henrik has spent the last 40 years obsessing over the unsolved murder of his niece. He wants Mikael to comb through the files just one more time to see if he can uncover what really happened to Harriet. Mikael's venture into the questions that surround Harriet's murder, and the eccentricities which cloud the family gradually lead Mikael to uncover some of the deepest, darkest secrets beyond all the Vangers could have possibly imagined.

The girl who actually has the dragon tattoo is the most important part of this story. Her name is Salander, and though she seems a bit frightful, she has very good reason to be just that. Salander saves Mikael in every way one human can save another, and becomes an important part of his team.

There are several crucial pieces of the Dragon Tattoo pie missing here that would positively ruin a fantastic read if I were to share them. The first in a series of 3, and which already has a movie version out, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a bit tedious at first but quickly escalated to one that I could not put down. The coarse language and descriptive chunks of vile s*xual crimes was at times oppressive, and I could definitely have done without so much of both. I had no idea that Sweden has such a dark history of violence against women, and this book definitely changed my perspective of that country as well.


So Long, Insecurity (Beth Moore)

The women's ministry at my church often meets to discuss books or Bible studies. Beth Moore is by far one of our favorite authors, primarily because not only does she consistently point readers to the Creator and true source of help/wisdom/healing/peace, she is also discerning, authentic, funny, and wise. Recently we read So Long, Insecurity. In this book, Beth tells us what security is, and what it is not.

It's no secret that largely because of the misery mainstream culture projects, many women are plagued with insecurity. It is downright scary, however, to read about and consider just how that insecurity manifests itself in our lives. It can lead to perpetual misery, a controlling nature, being a painful perfectionist, mistrust of everyone around you, rudeness, issues with intimacy, constant fear of loss, and so much worse. Insecurity affects the way you act with your spouse, your children, your friends, your co-workers, and even your acquaintances. Beth, who has devoted her life to serving and ministering to women, guides the reader to uncovering the source(s) of insecurity and dealing with it in order to reclaim a life full of true peace and liberty. She does delve into how men and their personalities/attitudes relate to our security, and she poses the interesting question of whether we have been and should be treating the men in our life as gods or as devils (the correct answer, by the way, is neither).

Every single chapter is brimming with note-worthy quotes, but one of my favorites was Chapter 15, titled "Looking Out for Each Other." In this section, Beth writes that oftentimes it is women who are causing insecurity in other women, leading to a deeper pit of insecurity. She calls all of us ladies to respect one another in unity and sisterhood, specifically to:
-Stop making comparisons.
-Start personalizing other women.
-Stop tripping another woman's insecurity switch.
-Be examples of secure women. She elaborates in Chapter 14 (my most favorite section) that for our own freedom and peace we should actively seek to be examples of secure women, but mostly for the sake of our daughters, nieces, sisters, cousins, and granddaughters. How much easier our little girls will learn to live a life of security if they see it demonstrated daily in our lives!

Reading through this book is a very unique and personal experience, and it can be rather messy. Discussing it in a group of women was not an easy thing, but the wisdom within brought healing to many.


Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

The 5 Bennett girls are looking for love. Their mother will stop at nothing to see her daughters happily (or, ok, maybe even just slightly comfortably) married. It's set somewhere in England around the late 1800's, so they can't text, tweet, or Facebook. Therefore, they spend the bulk of their days writing letters, reading letters, planning balls, and hashing over every single detail of every single moment they were in the presence of their potential suitors. They plot and plan and hope and wish, and everything in life pretty much is all wrapped up in the boys. It is definitely a story about girls who are trying to land husbands. The differences among the Bennett sisters and their respective characters/personalities/moral standards and convictions are vast and starkly contrasted. One sister (Jane) is so good-hearted that she can't bear to think poorly of anyone, even when she is given factual evidence which proves certain individuals are conniving/manipulating/lying dogs. Yet, another sister (Lydia) is considered quite the raucous hoodlum, and at one point spontaneously runs off to shack up with a soldier. My favorite sister is Elizabeth. She's respectable and honorable, considerate of her friends and family, yet she is not a girl who will be pushed around. She knows how to stand on her own two feet, but she knows how to do so in a bold yet well-spoken manner. I would like to be friends with Elizabeth. 

The boys, as it turns out, are for the most part fairly good guys. They are good to the girls, and usually all have their best interests at heart. The intertwining of the girls' varied match-ups (and failed match-ups), doused with the culture and society of the Victorian era, made Pride and Prejudice quite a story, and one in which you can't help but root for the girls to get their guys. 



The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (Stephenie Meyer)

If you're a true Twilight fan, you've read all of the books in the series at least twice. Maybe three times. :) You've waited in line to catch the midnight openings of each movie, and probably giggled a little bit at the concession stand when you're getting your souvenir cup and the dude asked you, in a very cryptic way, "Which character do you choose?"

But do you have the foggiest idea who Bree Tanner is? Maybe you do, maybe you missed her brief encounter with the Cullens at the end of Eclipse. I actually did remember Bree Tanner but I didn't think about her very much. She seemed...inconsequential.

Bree Tanner is a 15-year-old runaway who had the distinct misfortune of being turned into a vampire solely for the purpose of serving as a soldier in Victoria's army of newborns. The title tells us that she has a short second life, because we already know that at the end of Eclipse, Bree Tanner is killed by the Volturi. (Spoiler-gasp.) She dies. We know this when we begin reading the 192-page novella that helps us better understand Victoria's strategy and process of creating this army of newborn vampires. Victoria, you see, is rather peeved that Edward killed her mate James (Now we are taking it old school, all the way back to Twilight.) She has tried and failed in other methods of trying to get her revenge on Edward by killing his beloved Bella, so this pack of newborns is her latest and greatest attempt. She wants Bella dead, and she thinks that if she uses a bunch of fresh, incredibly strong- even for vampires- run by her puppet/gopher boy Riley, then she can avoid Edward's pesky ability to read minds and therefore anticipate her attack on Bella.

So complicated. Isn't it ohsowonderful and ohsoexhausting?! I love these books.

So anyways, back to Bree. As it turns out, Bree was far from a mindless, blood-thirsty newborn vampire like the others Victoria was creating. She's likable, witty, intelligent, and scared to death, and as you get to know this young Bree Tanner, you begin to hope beyond all hope that somehow the ending that has already been written will change, that somehow her demise won't come as you've already read it in Eclipse. Poor Bree Tanner.

Her Second Short Life is fantastic, and really helpful in adding yet another dimension to the Twilight series. Her Second Short Life also proves yet again that no Twilight character is inconsequential.

Miracles (C.S. Lewis)

I like the way C. S. Lewis thinks. I respect his reasoning. I admire his intelligence. I applaud his efforts at explaining the logic of the existence of miracles. I love several of his other books. I love the concept of miracles as they relate to the Christian faith, and have always found the specific miracles mentioned within the Bible most interesting. But this book, Miracles, as a whole really just stinks. I spent most of the first 142 pages of this book drowning in the confusing philosophy of naturalism, supernaturalism, pantheism, probability, propriety, something Lewis called red herrings, and something else he called horrid red things. It was miserable, to tell the truth. My curiosity and hope for some small morsel of comprehension was all that propelled me, and my efforts were indeed rewarded. There were a few such morsels which I am thankful for helping me think more deeply and carefully about the character of our God and what He has done for us. 
pg. 117 “He is the opaque center of all existences, the thing that simply and entirely is the fountain of facthood.”
The best chapter, by far, is 14, in which Lewis describes the miracle of the incarnation of Jesus in the flesh. This chapter makes the whole book worth reading. 
pg. 147-148  “...God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still...to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and sea-bed of the Nature He created. But He goes down to come up and pull the whole ruined world up with Him.” Now THAT is good stuff. I have never heard the coming of Christ put so eloquently and poetic. It makes me want to see a painting created to depict such thought. 
There are some fairly interesting thoughts about death, some about which I continue to consider. 
pg. 166- “[Death] is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.”
A thought about the comparison of miracles with fairy tales:
pg. 174-175 - “The fitness of the Christian miracles, and their differences from these mythological miracles, lies in the fact that they show invasion by a Power which is not alien. They are what might be expected to happen when she invaded not simply by a god, but by the God of Nature: by a Power which is outside her jurisdiction not as a foreigner but as a sovereign. They proclaim that He who has come is not merely a king, but the king, her King and ours. It is this which...puts Christian miracles in a different class from most other miracles.” 
Miracles has really done nothing to either deepen or alter my pre-existing sense of or belief in the occurrence of supernatural or miraculous events. I do reserve, however, that this book is likely just well above my realm of understanding and will probably be greater enjoyed by those who are much smarter and philosophical than myself.