books

Reading Lately

Loved

Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
Even though this book was published just after WWII, so much of it still resonates today. Howard Thurman is deeply theological while being completely accessible (one of my favorite combinations in writers). He helped me to see how even though we claim to be all one in the body of Christ, there are people who are overlooked and marginalized. This wasn’t something I was clueless about, obviously, because I live in the real world, but Thurman’s words helped me to see this issue in a whole new way and to realize that it’s not just a societal problem to leave up to someone else to deal with—it’s a problem the people of God have to take on because He would never leave anyone out the way we do. I highly, highly recommend this one.

I Will Carry You by Angie Smith
Angie Smith is one of my favorite writers, and this book did not disappoint. She shares the moment she and her husband received the diagnosis that their unborn daughter Audrey had conditions that would make her incompatible with life, then how she and her family navigated the following months. While the topic is not the easiest one to read about, the book itself is so warm and loving and filled with reminders of God’s grace. I was left with a greater appreciation for prayer, family, and God’s way of meeting us wherever we are.

Liked

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin
I mentioned how I absolutely adored The Happiness Project, Rubin’s first book on happiness research, so I was excited to read her follow–up. This one is very similar to Happiness Project but with a focus on making her home and family life happier. While it wasn’t quite as life–changing as the other book, I still enjoyed it, just in a different way. I think this was mainly because it was more focused on personal anecdotes from Rubin’s life rather than a blend of anecdotes and suggestions for what to try in your own happiness project like the first book. Even so, it was a good read and I’d still recommend it if you read Happiness Project and can’t get enough.

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst
This book was one of the ways I welcomed 2016. As someone who has trouble saying no to requests, especially requests to help out with something, I really appreciated Terkeurst’s approach to focusing on what you want to be able to say yes to, not just what to cut out of your life. Some approaches seem very “cut this and this and this, and poof! you’ll have more time,” but that isn’t always practical. Terkeurst understands how we end up being pulled in so many directions and gives real strategies for figuring out what matters most and making sure we have the time and energy for that. I recommend this book to anyone with a busy schedule—pretty much everyone, right?—and especially those who have lots of wonderful volunteer opportunities but not nearly enough hours in the day to say yes to all of them.

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler*
This modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew was such fun to read. It’s part of a collection Hogarth Shakespeare is doing, and when I heard about this new project, my English major heart was part thrilled, part terrified they’d ruin a bunch of classic plays. While reading Vinegar Girl is no replacement for the real Shrew, it’s a fun companion piece that stays true to the style of humor Shakespeare used. The characters are brilliant, and the way Tyler adapts little plot points for the modernization makes for an enjoyable read that left me thinking, “Oh, how clever!” over and over again. I’m sure some purists will fight against any type of modern retelling, but I don’t think these editions are meant to replace the originals any more than film interpretations are. I highly recommend Vinegar Girl and look forward to reading more novels in this collection.

vinegargirl
* I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this honest review.

Left unfinished

I normally make myself finish books regardless of whether or not I’m enjoying them, but I’m trying to break free of that habit. There are too many great books out there to waste my time on one I’m just not loving.

Love Does by Bob Goff
Please no one throw anything! I heard such wonderful things about this book, and I’ve read so many glowing reviews, and then it just . . . didn’t work for me? Or something? I don’t know. I tried so hard to like it—and did like some elements of it—but I think it was too whimsical for me. It may be one of those reads that’s perfect for the beach, something carefree and light–hearted that’s enjoyable but easy to put down if my nephew wants to build a sand castle right this minute, but it just wasn’t speaking to me at this moment. After reading such weighty books as the ones I listed under “Loved,” I think I just couldn’t get into Goff’s hijinks and schemes. Maybe I’ll try it again someday.

Because I love children’s lit

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
I can never get enough of this book! It’s such a fun read for kids but so meaningful for adults. I absolutely adore the family in it and love how L’Engle weaves theology so seamlessly throughout. Rereading this series is a lot like rereading Narnia as an adult—you remember why you loved it as a kid, but you realize how brilliant the author was, too. I mean, L’Engle casually throws in biblical Greek like it’s nothing. Hello? How cool is that?

Reading now

The Devotional for Women, edited by Rhonda Harrington Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson**
I’m calling this one “reading now” because it’s a devotional I’m savoring day by day. It’s a beautiful book with lots of lovely details—pretty purple cover, ribbon bookmark, the kind of book you run your hands over because it’s just so nice. Of course, the devotionals really make this book. Each one is short enough to start your morning with or for a nice afternoon break but with enough content to give you something to think and pray about. I love that each devotional is numbered rather than dated so you can start it any time or easily pick back up where you left off. There’s also space to journal right there after the devotional. A few of the devotionals are a bit conservative for my taste, but it’s easy to move on to the next one.

** I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program in exchange for my honest review.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman
This is one of those books that was trending all over social media a few months ago, and honestly, I don’t always jump into whatever everyone else is reading because I’m never sure it will live up to the hype (and perhaps I’m too cynical, but I find it difficult to trust over–the–top reviews from bloggers who just so happen to be trying to launch their own book deals, if you know what I mean). And I also tried to read Freeman’s Grace for the Good Girl a few years ago and just could not get through it. So why in the world did I pick up Simply Tuesday? I think it was due to the premise of the book—finding joy and meaning in everyday life. That’s one of my goals for the year, and so far, this book is helping me in that goal.

Up next

I guess The Red Tent is still on this list . . . oops! I checked out a bunch of library books, so those due dates made books I own take the backseat, you know? Still looking forward to this one, though.

I’d also like to read The Pigeon Pie Mystery, but I’m thinking I might save it for a beach read. Have you noticed how particular I am about beach reads? Ha! No clue why.

PS: Are you on Goodreads? Let’s be friends.

I’ve linked to Amazon but none are affiliate links (not that there’s anything wrong with those!).

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