I will never complete the lengthy book list I have on Goodreads. But because I’m a highly competitive person and love reading, I’m giving it a go this year.
My hope is to document some reviews of my past month’s reads throughout 2019. I know I always love getting recommendations from others–perhaps that’s why my to-read list is so long. Hopefully, you find it helpful as well.
1. Seven Myths about Singleness | Sam Allberry | Nonfiction
- In five words: No, your life isn’t wasted.
- My thoughts: I was excited to read this after hearing Sam speak at my church last fall, and it didn’t disappoint. This quick read was incredibly encouraging, as it did a great job of pulling out the blessings and distractions of singleness. Allberry affirmed singles for our mission and our worth, and also provided truth about some deep questions that surround singleness- some of which I hadn’t even considered.
- Key quote: “We mistaken [marriage] for the fuller reality and ultimate satisfaction to which it points. Even in our Christian circles, we do this. All. The. Time. We expect from our earthly marriage what we will only find in our spiritual one.”
2. Blue Like Jazz | Donald Miller | Nonfiction
- In five words: Other Christians wondered about ________ too?!
- My thoughts: In these pages, Don Miller pours out his unfiltered thoughts on, and journey in, faith. To tell you the truth: It was incredibly refreshing! I can tell why non-Christians have enjoyed the book as well. It breaks down the walls of religion that too easily overshadow Christ. And as a believer, I found that equally helpful. Miller explored everything from tithing to social justice. He spoke of his time living with hippies and his experience at the most secular university in the United States. And each foundational experience painted a fuller picture of who God is, underneath the religious jargon.
- Key quote: “I always thought the Bible was more of a salad thing, you know, but it isn’t. It’s a chocolate thing.”
3. Ramona y su Madre | Beverly Cleary | Fiction
- In five words: Equally as delightful in Spanish.
- My thoughts: I’m pretty sure I read this book as a kid, but I decided to revisit it in Spanish as a way to improve my skills. Yes, it’s not nearly as stimulating as the other books I read in January, but reading a children’s novel in Spanish is more forgiving. You can afford to miss a few words or plot details. Such is not the case when reading a higher level book. So, I enjoyed the simplicity and memories that came from reading this book. I’ll likely try to read another children’s Spanish book in February. 🙂
- Key quote (in English): “All her life she had wanted to squeeze the toothpaste really squeeze it,not just one little squirt… The paste coiled and swirled and mounded in the washbasin. Ramona decorated the mound with toothpaste roses as if it was a toothpaste birthday cake”
4. Turtles All the Way Down | John Green | Fiction
- In five words: Teenage drama exacerbated by OCD.
- My thoughts: I’m not a huge fan of YA fiction, but this book intrigued me because it is set in the town where I live. The author did a great job of portraying many of the landmarks and sights that I enjoy on a regular basis. I also think he did a pretty good job with the characterization of the protagonist. Yet, I felt like the overall product was lacking in depth. Green underplayed the theme of death in favor of teenage love, and I found that quite shallow.
- Key quote: “I missed everybody. To be alive is to be missing.”
5. The Poisoned City | Anna Clark | Nonfiction
- In five words: Flint, Michigan really got screwed.
- My thoughts: Having heard about the Flint water crisis in the news many years back, I thought I understood the crux of the issue. However, this book was an incredible window into the breakdown in trust and systemic racism that ultimately poisoned thousands of Flint residents.
- Key quote: “Lead is one toxic legacy in America’s cities. Another is segregation, secession, redlining, and rebranding: this is the art and craft of exclusion. We built it into the bones of our cities as surely as we laid lead pipes.”
6. Scary Close | Donald Miller | Nonfiction
- In five words: We’re created to risk relationship.
- My thoughts: As someone who struggles with putting up walls and bee-lining towards perfectionism, I was really encouraged and challenged by Miller’s honest reflections. He explored these tendencies, and more, as they relate to various the types of relationships we have as Christians. It was beautiful to read about how God redeemed Miller’s broken past of romance by revealing His love.
- Key quote: “Love doesn’t control, and I suppose that’s why it’s the ultimate risk. In the end, we have to hope the person we’re giving our heart to won’t break it, and be willing to forgive them when they do, even as they will forgive us.”