And then sometimes the stars align and you read all the Right Books at just the Right Time and you curl up in the armchair that gives you a headache if you don’t sit just right and you fall into someone else’s story and ignore the clock.
That was my last month of reading. It was great. It was good. It was all I ever ask for in book reading. Now I’m worried because WHAT IF I NEVER FIND ANOTHER GOOD BOOK AGAIN??? If you have any suggestions, let me know!
So – here’s the books I read & loved in the last month-
Coming Clean: A Story of Faith by Seth Haines.
“I suppose we’re all drunk on something.”
I would love to force all of you to read this book – what a great, intelligent, balanced, honest view of beating addictions. In the book, Seth describes a time in his life when his drinking got out of control as he and his wife were struggling with the bad health of their (then) almost two year old child. The book is basically the journal Seth kept during his 90 days of sobriety as he gave up drinking. He discusses faith, healing, prayer, our relationship with God when we don’t “hear” anything and also addictions. Seth’s addiction was to drinking, but how man of us are addicted to other things like porn, drugs, even theological systems by which we attempt to box up God and make Him understandable to our puny minds? Loved this look at recovery and learning to live with the mystery of faith. Rating: 9
Addie’s a little younger than I am, but much of what she discussed in her book was applicable and relatable to me: being raised in a Christian home, youth group, Christian college, etc. There were some big differences as well, though – while she was “all in” with things like See You At the Pole and True Love Waits – I wasn’t because of my age (again, she is younger)… but I never really felt completely sold into a particular program or felt that a program equaled my faith per se. So – it’s a little tricky to explain in a short blog entry, but yes, I could relate to her story, but on the other hand, no, I couldn’t relate.
Nothing really goes “wrong” in Addie’s fairly sheltered life, which makes the whole book centered on her crisis of faith she has after she gets married. Her crisis of faith involves drinking, a period of depression and a struggle in her marriage when she begins a flirtation with another man. I will say I appreciated her honesty and her clear look at her background and her faith, but I don’t think because you say the f-bomb, drink freely and skinny dip in the baptismal pond at Willow Creek, you are somehow more enlightened than the average Christian… but I could relate to her struggling with her faith, dealing with a boyfriend who was “on fire for God!!” and who would use that against her at times (I have some fun stories too – I should write a book – ha!) and with her desire to find a church that would help support her and her husband in their spiritual growth. This book is worth reading for a different perspective of growing up in the church and is a well-written look at a young lady coming to terms with her faith. Rating: 8
Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth.
This book was recommended on two recent episodes of my podcast – because it’s that good! (Oh, and if you missed those episodes, be sure to check out Just Try with Kelli Wick HERE) Duckworth takes a look at grit – how, why and what drives certain people to succeed. Using anecdotal evidence and scientific findings, Duckworth managed to break it down into readable information. Oh, and yes, grit matters way more than anything else as far as getting things done and succeeding. Best go get you some! It’s a well-written book, and I would highly recommend it if you like books on goals, motivation or personality traits. Rating: 9
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave. This was the third novel about World War II I’ve read in the past year and this one moved itself into top position as favorite. The book follows four young people living in London during the middle of the war – focusing mainly on Mary and Alistair. I will say this book took me a while to get into – as some of the dialogue was so quick and full of subtle jokes that I had to reread sentences to catch what was going on. This is NOT a bad thing at all, just part of Cleave’s writing style. Once I figured his writing style out, ohhh…. loved it so much. Somehow he managed to take a serious subject (actually, multiple serious subjects) and make it funny and poignant with beautiful atmosphere, funny sarcasm and endearing characters. Rating: 8
This is a young adult book I read to my 12 year old son. I have to say it is the first book ever that he asked for and said he LOVED it. The story follows Moose, the son of a prison guard who moves his family to Alcatraz Island. Moose also has a sister, Natalie, who is 16 and is severely autistic (although, since the book is set in the 1930’s, this term is not used). The humor was perfect for a 12 year old, and the storyline taught us a little about life in the ’30’s. Definitely recommended – even if you don’t have someone to read it out loud to! Rating: 8
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware.
Okay, so this one wasn’t the best of the month, but still…This book was a good mystery, suspense novel. Woman goes on a cruise and hears a body be thrown overboard – but all the passengers and crew are still there – so who was it that was killed? And who did the killing? Easy read. Not the best suspense book, but an easy read. Rating: 7