I put myself on a book diet during January. I didn’t allow myself to buy a SINGLE BOOK. This was sad. And hard for me. One night I went to Barnes & Noble just to walk around and feel the feeling of books in the air. Walking out without a book from a bookstore was like… the time I went to Paris – which is to say, it’s never actually happened before in my entire life.
Not being able to buy books means I was putting holds on them at the library and picking them up on the way to work. I began a really good book called Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and am SO into the story… and then got an email saying it was overdue. So after having to wait for it to be available, picking it up, then having to return it, half-read, story not completed, I realized THIS IS WHY BOOK DIETS ARE STUPID AND YOU SHOULD JUST BUY EVERY BOOK ON THE PLANET AND WHAT HAPPENS TO ESI AND EFFIA?? (Here’s the link to Homegoing – it really was a good book, very heavy story, but good. And no, I don’t actually know the ending.)
Anyway, thank you for listening to my super mature rant. Now let’s move on to this past month’s book review:
Chris started the organization Help One Now. The book is good – straightforward. A little repetitive – because if doing good is simple, then there’s not a ton to say about it, right? And while doing a good deed can be simple and easy to do (hosting a lemonade stand to raise money), is doing good really that simple? Not always. Investing in people’s lives and showing up week after week is NOT always simple. It can be draining and difficult to come alongside someone suffering from real life issues. I mean, even the author himself ended up starting an entire organization to help people out – is that a simple good deed?? Good book? Yes – read it. Absolutely agreed with his suggestions. Encouraging. But understand it just grazes the surface. Rating: 8 out of 10 cups of lemonade sold by your six-year-old
I’ve read Sebastian’s writing before and his non-fiction style is one I really enjoy reading. This book focuses on how we were made to be in tribes or community with one another, but today’s society offers very little in the way of needing each other for support and how that is detrimental to today’s isolated humans where we don’t need each other, aren’t dependent on each other and are, in large part, alone. Where Junger’s writing really is spot on and great is when he tells military stories – great writing. One other note, he bases everything in the book on the theory of evolution. (Tribes/community developed because we needed each other to survive and evolve.) However, if you replace this with the idea of God creating us for community (and hello! Tribes of Israel!), his conclusions still apply and “work.” Rating: 7 out of 10 cups of lemonade you just drank from the kids’ stand, all by your lonesome, without a tribe.
A private plane crashes into the ocean. There are two survivors – a man and a young boy. This happens in the first chapter and the rest of the book goes into detail about each passenger’s life and why and how their lives intersect on this plane. I liked the characters (especially the surviving man) Hawley developed. I did not like the overuse of language – but it made sense in the context of the characters – some of whom were meant to be unlikeable. Good story and the only thing I’d be slightly picky about is the ending, which I can’t discuss here, because I don’t want to give it away, just know that my friend who read it felt the exact same way… so give it a read and let’s discuss it. Rating: 8 out of 10 cups of lemonade that you’re drinking without realizing it because you’re so into this page-turner, but UGH, now you realllly have to pee.
Sigh. Okay, so she’s popular as a blogger, and I like her writing style in the sense that it is honest and personable. However, I cannot recommend this book at all. This is the story of her marriage to Craig (did she ask him permission to write all this stuff?? I’m thinking yes. But yikes…), who turns out is into porn and has had multiple one night affairs all through their marriage. Glennon, herself, struggles liking sex (yes, she goes into detail – fair warning), and being able to feel loved by her husband. They go to therapy. They work on the marriage. Here’s the thing: this is sort of presented as a book about God (and you have to keep in mind her background and following as a Christian blogger), but God never really shows up in the writing. She does figure out by the end that standing naked in front of God makes her feel healed and accepted, but there are no other theological grounds for anything – like, what about her own sin, redemption, grace?? Although this isn’t meant to be a theological treatise, again, keep in mind that she is seen as a current influence on many women as a Christian blogger. She talks a lot about people in the church being judgmental and not accepting…but this just comes across as judgmental on her part. Everything being very ME ME ME centered. (Is there healing and therapy to be done to help through the pain? Yes. Absolutely! Is there more to God than feeling judged and then maybe hearing Him in some waves at the beach? Yes!)
I don’t know. I was angry by the end of it. If you read it as a memoir – good book! Great writer. If you read it as some sort of Christian book? It’s not. Rating: I won’t rate it to be nice. But just be careful, friends. God is who He says He is in His Word, not who we think He is based on what we think He is or what we personally need in that moment to shape Him into.
Til Next Time – Keep Reading!!
Oh, and if you missed it, HERE IS THE LINK to my latest podcast episode!