This month I leaned toward the non-fiction genre of books. It’s just the way it worked out with library copies becoming available and my inability to focus on intricate fictional plots. 🙂 I was really happy with all of the books I read, and I’m so excited to share what I learned.
For the sake of space and because I included a brief description in each review, I left out the synopses. I did link to the book info where the synopsis of each can be found at the top of the page. Let me know if you’d like me to bring the synopses back next month in case that’s more convenient for you.
Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton
I was introduced to the work of Glennon Doyle Melton (aka the founder of the online community Momastery) when the speakers at Women of Faith referred to her authenticity and resilience. After taking a quick look at excerpts from her blog, it was clear that I had to read Glennon’s book to get more of the same unconditional love and passion for life she shares there. She’s coined the term “brutiful” (a combination of the words “beautiful” and “brutal”) that she uses as the central theme of this book and in most of her writing – acknowledging that though life has its fair share of heartache, it also holds a lot of beauty as a sacred gift.
“Carry On Warrior” is the result of what happens when you are wholly vulnerable. In Glennon’s brutally honest retelling of her struggle with addiction, financial problems, marital issues, and adoption efforts, she shows us what it really means to embrace a “messy” life (as promised in the book’s subtitle). While she hits on the “brutiful” parts of her life story, there is also a heaping amount of comical relief. The woman is a hoot. I remember reading this in the car once while Jordan was driving and just giggling like a maniac about “stroller vacuuming.” I love the balance she strikes between sharing the hard stuff and the sweet everyday moments you can’t help but laugh about.
She does share a lot of her personal faith and beliefs within her stories, but she is neither judgmental nor pushy about it, and I personally loved the spirituality that was woven throughout. However, others who are not believers may not identify with some aspects of her journey.
What I enjoyed most about this book is how Glennon’s outpouring of hope and support just jumps off the page and into your life. She cheers on the readers and paves the path of acceptance for all of us facing challenges while doing so in such an inspiring, loving, and forgiving way. It’s something you just have to read and can’t be completely explained until you experience it yourself. This definitely goes down as one of my top 10 reads of 2016.
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
I’ve made it no secret that I’m a Jen Hatmaker fan after listening to her speak at Women of Faith, reading “For the Love,” and her countless blog and Facebook posts. The woman is a wordsmith, not to mention downright hilarious, honest, and a role model for moms/wives/women everywhere.
When Jen and her family set to embark upon a challenge that very closely mimics the minimalistic lifestyle I discussed in my last book review, I was immediately intrigued. Seven months of closely monitoring and reducing seven areas of their lives – clothes, shopping, media, waste, stress, possessions, and food – turned into a lesson that revealed to them how truly blessed they are and what they could indeed live without.
This book reads very easily as a journal of sorts with each of the seven areas of excess divided into chapters. Jen shares some of the comical thoughts and nuggets of real talk she’s known for, all while drawing parallels to what the Bible says about living a simple and uncomplicated life. She openly talks about her own shortcomings and her tone is such that you never feel the guilt factor that you would expect from a subject of this nature.
“7” left me motivated and wanting to make similar sacrifices of the luxuries we often take for granted in our lifestyle. If you’re expecting this book to give you a specific how-to for downsizing, you won’t necessarily get that. This was more of a faith-based social experiment that encourages us to deeply examine ourselves – how living with less will bring us closer to what really matters in life and why we should refocus on making generosity a higher priority.
Preview of Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, & Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst
As a member of the launch team for Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book (set for release on August 9), I was provided the first three chapters for a sneak peek, so I thought I’d share a mini-review before the full-fledged recap next month. After reading “The Best Yes” last year (which focuses on battling “the disease to please”), I was really drawn to Lysa’s writing style and encouraging spirit. When I heard she was working on a book that addresses the lies we’ve been fed about rejection and how to live from a place of being unconditionally loved, I was immediately interested.
In addition to citing biblical truths that get to the root of why we shouldn’t let our insecurities sabotage our right to belong, she provides tips for overcoming self-doubt and handling the pain of being rejected. Her willingness to speak from the heart about her own very private and personal experiences with rejection is brave and admirable. That’s what elevates “Uninvited” from a traditional self-help book into a practical tool that that she’s using to help women approach the world and themselves with a viewpoint that looks past perceived judgment, being cast aside, and the emotional instability that usually follows.
I think many people who hear about this book may not feel that the subject of rejection is something they can relate to in this season of their life. But rejection comes in many forms, and like me when I first picked up the pages and didn’t think I had any deep rejection issues, I realized there were many seemingly trivial events that had affected me. I’ve also been guilty of assigning thoughts and feelings to other people they never had that then led to me feeling inadequate, which is really just another disguise for rejection. I can’t wait to read the rest of Uninvited next month and see what advice Lysa has to offer.
That’s a wrap for July – heavy on the non-fiction but the reads were totally worth it! Here are the books I’m looking forward to reading in the next couple months for a different change of pace:
Emily Giffin’s “First Comes Love.” I’m a gigantic Emily Giffin fan and am chomping at the bit to start this.
Brené Brown’s “Rising Strong”. Listening to Brené herself read the audio version of her most recent book has been fascinating.
Lysa TerKeurst’s “Uninvited.” This will be a more complete review after I’ve read the entire book.
Tell me what I should read next!