Reading 2013

While I haven’t done a great deal of reading this year, I have managed to muddle through a few books, good ones too! And since there’s nothing more disappointing to a time-crunched momma than to waste precious moments on a crummy book, I thought I’d promote a few that are definitely worth your attention.

Book Review Collage

{1} Redemption. Written by Mike Wilkerson to those who have both suffered and caused abuse in many forms, this book has changed my life in more ways than one. It is even responsible for many of the concepts behind this blog, the motivation for why I write, the reason I am beginning to see my place in God’s plan. The very introduction sums it up by saying “Rather than trying to write God into our stories, we would be wiser to sit patiently with our Father and let him tell us his.” Realizing that my life is not a story by itself, but a chapter in the Father’s grand story, has helped me let go of things I don’t understand, be content to have problems go unresolved, realize my plans are not ultimately perfect, and accept a God-revised edition of my life even though I thought the original draft was best. Not having been the victim of any seriously tragic abuse, I was slightly concerned about reading the book, as if it were only meant for those with “big” problems. But that was a lie. “This [book] isn’t a who-has-the-saddest-story competition with compassion as the prize. The point is this: whether our misery is big or small, we all find ourselves under the fountain of God’s mercy.”

Following the story of the Israelites and their release from Egypt, the author invites us to track with him along their story of redemption and how that story echoes in each of our lives years later. From their experience I’ve learned how to identify sin, own it, reflect God’s mercy and justice by calling sin out in others while loving them at the same time, learned about true forgiveness, come to understand who I am in Christ, gotten a bigger view of God’s redemptive plan, and come to understand His goodness and mercy like never before. I highly recommend the book and suggest several re-reads.

{2} The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. Apart from the Bible, I’ve never read a book that has caused me to respond in worship as this one did. I walked away from every snippet of reading with an awe at God, a joy in his power and mercy, an astonishment at his work in the Church at large, and a conviction over my lack of love and compassion. Rosaria Butterfield was an English Professor and spokeswoman for ladies’ studies at Syracuse University and strong advocate for and participant in the LGBT community. This book is her story of coming to Christ and the beautiful mess he made of her. I think of her almost every day, and it’s been months since I’ve read this book. Her compassion, dedication, service, diligence, creativity, sacrifice, and tact are such beautiful evidences of grace in her life, and she freely gives of all to all she meets. I thank God for her. Beyond telling her story and pointing you to Jesus through it, she writes incredibly well. So well, that it has to be one of my all-time favorite reads. She is funny, forthright, wise, insightful, bold, and talented in speech, making her an extremely delightful author to read. Basically you need to buy this book pronto. I got the e-book edition and read it on the iPad very quickly. Not a long read at all.

{3} A Fragile Stone. In this book, Micheal Card tells the story of the bold and passionate Peter we read of in the gospels. Being an artistic fellow, Card takes a lot of liberties in deducting things from what is written. For example, how Peter felt in this or that situation, how Jesus responded here or there, what life might have looked like on a day-to-day basis were the subject of many a page. A lot were assumptions based on fact while others seemed to stem more from Card’s rich imagination. While I don’t think it’s wrong to speculate about such things, I rarely find it helpful in understanding the meaning behind a particular text of Scripture. Perhaps I’m too scientifically minded. Apart from the extrapolations made, Card brings out many facts that I had never noticed before. For instance, Peter was married. Who knew?!

Reading of Christ’s investment in Peter’s life was a constant reminder of his patience with me, how he loves me, teaches me, bears with me, died for me. Though I definitely benefited from this study of Peter’s life, a man to who I could certainly relate, I did not entirely enjoy this particular read. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the book. The writing style just wasn’t my favorite.

{4} The Hobbit. I don’t have to say much about this book, do I? There was a movie made about this one that grossed over 300,000,000. Enough said. Story line perfection. I was able to read the first 1/3 of the book before I watched the movie, and I’m so glad I did. The writing is much richer. With all respect to the movie producers they just can’t hold a candle to the book. There is a depth of imagination and worldly insight that Tolkien has that can’t be rivaled. This book that celebrates the necessity of the little guy, that heroes often come in unlikely forms, that purity of Spirit is the greatest weapon in any battle has captured my heart.  A must-read classic. I’m currently reading Tolkien’s biography and am really enjoying the peek into this inspiring man’s life.

Hopefully a couple of these will inspire and encourage you like they did me. Have you gotten to read any of these or are you enjoying another book these days? I’d love to hear about it!

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5 comments

  1. Secrets Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert is a true gem. One of my favorites of the year if not of all time. And The Hobbit is definitely an all-time favorite! 🙂 I agree the writing is much richer in the book than the movie.

    1. Oh Mrs Harper! I’m glad you think so too!! I am really going to have to give Secret Thoughts another read. Absolutely incredible, one that “provokes to good works!”

  2. Thanks so much for sharing!! I read the Hobbit long ago but just put a hold on it from the online library, and I’m really interested in The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. I’ll have to look for that one when we get back State-side. Have you read When Sinners Say I Do? It is essentially a marriage book, but very Gospel and redemption centered. I loved it!!

    1. Yes! Daniel and I read that together! I just know you’re going to love Secret Thoughts! Let me know when you’ve gotten a copy 🙂

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