Friday, April 25, 2014

What I'm Reading

Every six months or so I'm obligated - by the sheer height of the stack of books in my world - to unleash their awesomeness to the blogosphere. I have to dish. Because 1) I love you all too much not to share and 2) I read a stinking lot of books, man.

My urge to read competes every single day with my urge to lie slothfully about after the kids go to bed. My brain is gridlocked in a heated spar with my best intentions to do what I do best after 9 pm - vegetate. At least half the time, the book stack wins. I'll be honest, I makes me strangely irritated. Also, it interferes with my sleep, and sometimes my reality TV (and that's no joking matter.)

I've read a few of these, am reading a few more, and will soon dig into the remaining. But I promise you, these will all be read. Oh, yes, they will.

United: Captured by Diversity by God's Vision for Diversity by Trilla J. Newbell
This was in the swag bag for speakers at Hope Spoken and in a sea of beautiful jewelry, gorgeous bags and clutches, amazing prints, hand-stitched needlework (right?!) and even a gigantic can of hairspray, this is absolutely what excited me the most. I haven't started reading it yet, but you're guaranteed to hear more about it when I do.

Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker
"when we metabolize love, it can sustain us for years."
I wrote about this gem a couple days ago. Since then, I've read more of it, and it continues to wow me. Lisa-Jo shares her history against the exotic backdrop of her South African childhood. There are few things I love more than a dreamy memoir and this one drips with poignant, piercing clarity. It calls me back to my skinned-knee childhood and helps me connect those days with these right here. It's a book that'll make you both lost and found, both in the best possible ways.

Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee
We all want someone to think we’re sensational. We desire to be recognized, to be valued, to be respected. To be loved. Yet this natural yearning too often turns into an idol of one of God’s most precious gifts: love itself. (via Amazon description)
JDL, as I like to call her, is a new friend of mine, who spins wonder with her words. She's gutsy and generous and I already know I'm going to love this book just as much as I need it.

Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons
Full disclosure: All I know about this book is 1) I adore the cover art and 2) I've heard a lot of buzz about it. I don't do this often (enough), but I ordered it on a lark. Stay tuned!

Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch
Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough
Just - hello. I was predestined to read this book, TULIP or no TULIP. As sure as I'm sitting here in my wonky ponytail, dreaming about mocha almond fudge, I'll have more to say about this one.

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman
Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live
As I mentioned here, I moved through this one at the luxurious pace of a sill-napping cat.
There was so much depth and goodness and Emily is one of my favorite writers in the history of all the things. I accidentally based an entire workshop at a recent women's conference on A Million Little Ways. It just happened. I made the ladies pull tiny notebooks out of their purses and write down the title. It will change the way you view your world. (I'm still thinking - all the time thinking - about the profound truth that I am an image bearer with a job to do, not a job doer with an image to bear. Whoa.) (Full review here.)

Flesh by Hugh Halter
Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth - Learning to Be Human Like Jesus
Hugh is my homeboy, he just doesn't know it. Or care.
I'm exactly half-way through this book, and it's wowing me with its simplicity. Hugh has a way of cranking the Gospel down to its simplest beauty, without trying to erase its wild mystery.
 "Incarnation is going to ask you to see people like my Haitian driver saw other Haitians. Second Corinthians says this, 'We no longer view people from a worldly point of view' (author's paraphrase.) This one verse can be your life force. Incarnation is going to ask you to have full faith in God's ability to transcend what you presently see in someone's life."
Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl by N.D. Wilson
Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World
I'm so excited to read this that I keep not starting it. (Does that happen to anyone else??) I may have cast my expectations irretrievably high. Stay tuned.

Love Does by Bob Goff
Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
Listen, I know this sounds like a self-help book. But it's not. It is changing mah life right now. Bob Goff is a brilliant story-teller and lives an incredible story. He makes me want to be a better person, not because he is so awesome, but because he seems to really understand the simple, profound love of Jesus. And that understanding changes everything about, well, everything.

To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Cris Beam
One of the fundamental shifts in our daily life is that many of the people in our circle have spent time in foster care. That fact alone is enough to make me care more about the system that has failed all of them. This book wrung me straight out. It takes a hard look at the connections between foster care and eventual incarceration. It also made me wonder about what I have to offer to these kids, marginalized through no fault of their own, thrown precariously on a path that leads, for many, to self-destruction.
"...people don't go from foster care to jail because they don't have resources and need to steal (though that is sometimes true), or because an institutional life is the only life they know (though that may be true too). They move between the systems because a life stage has been irreparably damaged. They can't trust enough to care, and they can't care enough to hold on to a better life."  (emphasis mine)
Those words ring so true. It's time for the rest of us to join those already working hard to figure this stuff out. It's that important.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
This won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, which confirms my suspicions that I'm not a Pulitzer-Prize kind of girl. I made it to page 321 before it had to be returned to the library (no renewals bc someone else was waiting) and it wasn't even worth it to pay the late fees and keep it. I know!! I'm sorry! So many people recommended it, but it didn't meet the hype for me. And I was over half-way. I loved it in a few parts, but it got so dreary and it the author seems to prefer taking the long, painful road around a story. (That's saying something, coming from me.) I've considered checking it out and finishing it. Does it get better? Help.

That's it for now.
What are you reading? What book should make me drop everything and quit my life for a while?

*Scope out my last book-stack post right here.

*All book links are Amazon Affiliate links