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

44 comments:

  1. I'm reading Your God is too Safe by Mark Buchanan for I think the 4th time - I think it should be required reading for every Christian, for real -- so much is wrong with the world, but it starts with the problem of so many Christians living in "borderland" instead of living the life He prepared for us

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  2. My stack is equally tall and I am looking forward to each one of them. I just ordered A Million Little Things on your recommendation. The rest of the stack is: Rhinestone Jesus, More or Less-Choosing a Lifestyle of Radical Generosity, Radical-Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream, Jesus is Better Than You Dreamed, Carry On Warrior, UnDaunted, God is Able, Moment Maker….I will be a changed person when I am done with this stack….so excited!

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    1. Radical is the book that rocked our world!
      And I also read More or Less.
      Good stack!

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    2. My world is teetering and I think I am ready to be rocked….but then as I rethink that, you are probably never ready to be rocked by God….that's the point.

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  3. That is some deep reading...I think I need to delve in, too. :)

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  4. I just finished "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus"...a spectacular book that I will be reading again! My hubby and I read "Love Does" out loud together each night after dinner. We SO enjoyed it and were sad when it was finished! Right now I am reading the gospel of John....planning to do so several times over...in preparation for teaching next semester!

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  5. I just finished Love Does and it is just awesome. Jennifer Lee's book is AMAZING. My stack of books to read is growing and growing. I need to find more time to read. I believe next up will be Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha. Thank you for sharing your list as I always love adding more to my wish list.

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  6. My stack is embarrassingly tall and has been for a long time. I love to read, but I fall asleep not long after I start {which is very different from the days I would stay up waaayy past my bed time devouring a Nancy Drew novel}. I'm reading Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker right now and Love Does is next. :)

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    1. Interrupted!
      I keep picking my copy up lately to re-read parts. So good!

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    2. Oh man! SO good! I'll probably do the same and go back and scribble in it.

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  7. My two recent favorite reads: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling - this is laugh out loud funny and she will become your new best friend.

    A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller - I can't even explain what a gift this book has been! My "prayer life" is forever changed.

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    1. I read the Mindy book (of course I did!) when I was stuck in an airport last year. I loved it, but I secretly loved Bossypants more by Tina Fey.

      Praying Live sounds GOOD!

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  8. I had the same thoughts about The Goldfinch, Shannon! Except I continued reading in hopes that I would be glad I did (and I was on vacation and had nothing else to read) - unfortunately not the case. So dreary, too many details, and an unfulfilling ending - if you didnt like the first 300 pages, you wont like the others! I guess I'm not a Pulitzer Prize kind of girl either! Thanks for the other recs!

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  9. My favourite book (beside the Bible) in the last year is "Trusting God...Even When Life Hurts" by Jerry Bridges. It is not a book one rushes through...there is so much to ruminate over...but, it is worth the time. SO worth the time...and the pondering. I am incredibly thankful that Mr. Bridges took the time to write this gem...it has blessed my heart and has helped shape my view of our Great God. Many Blessings to you! Camille

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  10. I'll have to grab the foster care title as my husband and I are finishing up our training to foster parent and I have been reading everything I can get my hands on on the subject. I especially liked Three Little Words, Fields of the Fatherless, and Another Place at the Table. Follow me by David Platt is a different genre (some what) but blew up my world spiritually. We are providing respite care to two young girls this weekend in the foster care system. (Our first experience) so a prayer sent up on our behalf would be awesome as we follow Jesus on this journey :)

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    1. So excited for you! I loved Another Place and her other Title, One Small Boat.
      And David Platt is SO good. I need to read Follow Me.
      Prayers for you today! Dive into the hard places. Jesus is waiting there, sister!

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  11. Some great young adult fiction: A Long Walk To Water, Wonder, and Okay For Now. Incredible reads (and this, coming from a VERY picky reader).

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    1. Interesting. I don't read YA often, but I did love a few John Green titles. (Though I didn't really think they seemed YA??) I trust your judgment. :)

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    2. After looking up reviews, I went to the library and checked out all 3! :-)

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  12. I just finished Rhinestone Jesus and loved it so, so much!!! I felt the same, predestined, God's timing is so perfect!!! I also have Surprised by Motherhood, Flesh and A Million Little Ways on my list and would like to have Love Idol and Love Does on my shelf! Currently I am reading The Heavenly Man and that is rocking my thinking. I also have The Fault in Our Stars in line.

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    1. I'm jealous that you haven't read Fault yet! You still get to live the magic of that book. LOVED it!

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  13. Just finished Heaven is for Real, which was very comforting for me since my brother is going very soon. The little boy's description of being up above the room, watching himself in the hospital was almost exactly like my brother's description of what he has already experienced.

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    1. I can see why this would be comforting. Praying now for strength and peace to you and your family.

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  14. I just finished 'The Free' by Willy Vlautin. We read it for my book club, everyone loved it. Beautiful book about kindness in the most difficult situations. Brilliant, brilliant book!

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  15. So many great books on that stack of yours! Especially "Love Does" and "Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl". I would surely add "Million Little Ways" to that 'especially' header if I had taken the time to read it, but that one's *still* in my to-read-soon stack! :)

    I am almost finished with "God Is Just Not Fair" by Jennifer Rothschild right now and it is so so so good. And speaking to me exactly where I am - I love those kind of books. Also almost finished with "Beautiful Outlaw" by John Eldredge, which has been surprisingly good. In all fairness, my expectations were low for this one, but it's given me such a fresh perspective on the personality of Jesus, so I'll take it!

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  16. "Notes..." Is in my top 3 fave books ever read. He's other newer book, "Death by Living" is also incredible.

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  17. The only one of those I've read so far is Love Does. It gave me such a fresh perspective on what it really means to love. I have others to add to my list now. Thanks.

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  18. I have a huge stack of books that I can't start because I know they're going to be too good. I totally understand this jacked up logic. Notes from a Tilt a Whirl is so weirdly wonderful. I think you'll like it. I finished the Goldfinch because I almost always have to finish a book. It was so, so painful to read and only felt slightly redemptive at the end, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. Which is the sign of a good book, right?

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  19. I also quit the Goldfinch halfway, and I actually paid for it! Didn't like it at all, especially after he got to Nevada. It was to tragic, almost typically so. The long way around a story is right!

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  20. My stack: Million Miles in a Thousand Years-(for the 4th time), Found by Micha Boyett, The Invisible Girls by Sarah Thebarge, Love Does, and Paper Towns by John Green. Just wrapped up: Tattoos on the Heart (thank you for that) and The Language of Flowers (also a fiction about foster care--really good) I've had Million Little Ways and Freefall in my cart for a while...I think I need to hit "buy."

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  21. books and mocha almond fudge. you speak my language.

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    1. FYI, I can't stop missing you. That thing, in the driveway? It's haunting me, in the best way, but also in the "I need so much more" way.

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  22. you may already be doing this but did you know that if you connect with a publisher, review their books on your blog, they will send you books for FREE? =) love your blog!

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    1. I'm basically "paid" for blogging in books and necklaces. :)

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  23. love this list! a few on here I"ve read and LOVED and a few are on my list! so thanks for sharing :)

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  24. Goldfinch does not get any better. DO NOT I repeat, DO NOT GO BACK to the library. Save yourself the bajillion hours that book takes in getting to the end and just go eat some salsa! And I finished it, so I will give you the ending in recaps and save yourself the misery. Just ask :)

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  25. I just started Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl last night, solely because Kayla has talked about it so often and loves it so much. And, I bought Freefall to Fly for the exact same reasons as you. :)

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  26. We had the chance to hear Bob Goff speak last night! DELIGHTFUL man!!

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  27. Just pinned "To the End of June" so I wouldn't forget about it. Thanks for the lead!

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  28. just ordered love does finally. it should arrive on wednesday. :)

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