Bookish Radness

WaterBrook & Multnomah Books I’m Excited to Read

Fall is a busy season for book releases. We’re talking ALL THE BOOKS. It makes for some nonstop work days, but also that means I get to snag a lot of books from the office. There are quite a few recent releases (even a couple from earlier this year) I’m looking forward to reading from WaterBrook, so why not share with y’all?

Have you read any of these yet? Which ones are you looking forward to?

Some Kind of Crazy by Terry Wardle

An unforgettable story, in the tradition of Hillbilly Elegy and Educated, that reveals how a careful look at a broken past can open a path to profound healing and a satisfying future.

This is the intriguing story of the arduous childhood of a miner’s son growing up in the Appalachian coalfields of southwestern Pennsylvania. The brokenness of Terry Wardle’s early life led to problems in adulthood that brought him to confinement in a psychiatric hospital. But that was not the end–in time Wardle experienced an emotional and spiritual transformation that began a journey toward greater health and personal freedom. So what does a man whose life was shaped by an often affectionate, sometimes hilarious, and always dysfunctional family have to share with all of us? Some Kind of Crazy is alternately, funny, tragic, insightful, and deeply biblical, a riveting book that will lead you to a place where God may touch and heal your own brokenness, whatever form it may take.

I’ve Seen the End of You by Dr. W. Lee Warren

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science–and between death and hope–as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Dr. W. Lee Warren, a practicing brain surgeon, assumed he knew most outcomes for people with glioblastoma, head injuries, and other health-care problems. Yet even as he tried to give patients hope, his own heart would sink as he realized, I’ve seen the end of you.

But it became far more personal when the acclaimed doctor experienced an unimaginable family tragedy. That’s when he reached the end of himself.

Page-turning medical stories serve as the backdrop for a raw, honest look at how we can remain on solid ground when everything goes wrong and how we can find light in the darkest hours of life. I’ve Seen the End of You is the rare book that offers tender empathy and tangible hope for those who are suffering. No matter what you’re facing, this doesn’t have to be the end. Even when nothing seems to makes sense, God can transform your circumstances and your life. And he can offer a new beginning.

A Month of Sundays by Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson was quite concerned about the language we use between Sundays. He strived for a continuity of language between the words we use in Bible studies and the words we use when we are out hiking, at work, or eating dinner with family. He illustrated this passion in his writings and weekly sermons. A Month of Sundays is a devotional collection featuring excerpts of Eugene’s Sunday sermons arranged into thoughtful readings for every day of the month, drawn from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The four gospels give us snapshots of the earthly life and ministry of Jesus. Dig deep into Eugene Peterson’s thoughts regarding select passages, and discover clarity, insight, and wisdom in his distinctive style of earthy spirituality.

Double Blessing by Mark Batterson

New York Times bestselling author and pastor invites readers to pursue, recognize, and flip every blessing from God. He provides the tools necessary to inventory one’s blessings and participate in double blessing – that moment when a blessing in your life is leveraged to doubly bless another.

Mark Batterson believes it’s possible to experience more of God’s blessing – but that might look different than you would initially expect. The first wave of blessing is that which God gives you: time, treasure, talent. The double blessing, the second movement in this relationship, is our giving back to God by giving to others. In a day where divine flourishing and godly stewardship has been reduced to a hashtag; #blessed, Batterson challenges readers to pursue true, God-glorifying blessing and experience an exponential impact by participating in the double blessing.

Something Needs to Change by David Platt

USA TODAY BESTSELLER – The author of Radical takes readers on a soul-searching journey through impoverished villages in the Himalayan mountains, daring them to make a difference in a world of urgent need, starting right where they live.

“Grippingly vulnerable and unforgettable. I could not put this book down.”–Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts

While leading a team on a week-long trek of the Himalayas, bestselling author and pastor David Platt was stunned by the human needs he encountered, an experience so dramatic that it “changed the trajectory of my life.” Meeting a man who’d lost his eye from a simple infection and seeing the faces of girls stolen from their families and trafficked in the cities, along with other unforgettable encounters, opened his eyes to the people behind the statistics and compelled him to wrestle with his assumptions about faith. In Something Needs to Change, Platt invites readers to come along on both the adventure of the trek, as well as the adventure of seeking answers to tough questions like, “Where is God in the middle of suffering?” “What makes my religion any better than someone else’s religion?” and “What do I believe about eternal suffering?” Platt has crafted an irresistible message about what it means to give your life for the gospel–to finally stop talking about faith and truly start living it.

Blessed Broken Given by Glenn Packiam

An invitation to find beauty and meaning in the ordinary and imperfect aspects of your life; not as a call to settle for less, but rather as a way to mysteriously participate in God’s power and purpose.

Glenn Packiam wants to empower readers to find great joy, purpose, and passion in their daily living. While bread may be one of the most common items on our dinner tables, Jesus chose to take it at the Last Supper and invest deep, wonderful, and transcendent meaning in it. Like the bread that was blessed, broken, and given; readers will see how God uses ordinary experiences to cultivate their mission and their brokenness to bring healing to the world. The ordinary is not the enemy; it is the means by which God accomplishes the miraculous. Through clear biblical teaching and practical steps, Packiam leads the reader into a more purposeful, directed, hopeful future.

Finding God’s Life For My Will by Mike Donehey

The lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist for award-winning contemporary Christian band Tenth Avenue North shows readers that by seeking God first and focusing on serving Him, we can live daily in His will.

“Perhaps God isn’t giving me the plan because He wants to be the plan.”

This was the aha moment for Mike Donehey after years of wrestling with his obsession to know God’s specific plans for his life. He came to the realization that waiting for absolute certainty from God before making decisions may seem uberspiritual, but it can lead to a life of intense stress, paralyzing fear, and crushing regret–just the opposite of the freedom granted to those living a Christ-filled life.

“This is my story…how I gave up begging to know God’s will and began to ask His life to come and change my will.”

With his signature humor and relentless hunger for God, Mike will show you that discovering the Father’s purpose and plan for our lives is not the shell game that we all too often make it out to be. If you’re unsure what to do next, take heart and accept the ultimate invitation: learn to see God as the plan, not simply the formula to the plan.

These two aren’t traditional books, but I’m excited all the same!

My Real Story by Becky Thompson

What if you were able to recognize the story that God was writing in your life as you were living it? A popular blogger to millions of women helps you answer that question for yourself, as you create a unique keepsake journal.

Becky Thompson invites you to reflect on your own spiritual journey. With mini-devotions from Becky, artistic scripture verses, personalized prayers, reflection pages, and spaces where you can record those moments you don’t want to forget, My Real Story will encourage you to look back through the different seasons in your life in order to capture the heart of who you are in Christ.

Chase the Lion Weekly Planner by Mark Batterson

(I have used this every day since I snagged a copy)

The perfect companion product to New York Times bestselling author Mark Batterson’s compelling manifesto, Chase the Lion. This undated week-at-a-glance 12-month planner features excerpts from Chase the Lion sprinkled throughout to encourage the user to face their fears, defy the odds, and hold tight to God. Each week has space in the margin for trackable items such as the week’s goals, goals met, prayer requests, to-do lists, etc. At the end of each month is a page of self-evaluation questions and space to write a step toward a personal manifesto. Finally, the planner will wrap up with a multi-year calendar for user reference.

 

Happy Reading!

Book Reviews, Fiction, Nonfiction

What I’ve Been Reading | Fall 2019 Edition

I would like to give myself a high five for blogging this week! Granted it’s a recap of books, but hey, it’s a new post! Have you read any? Would love to hear what you thought of them!

Legendary and Finale by Stephanie Garber – Really enjoyed this series! While the conclusion felt a teeny bit rushed, I think it was more because I was sad to say goodbye to so many characters. Maybe we can get some short stories of a few years down the road :).

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl – This was a fun one for book club. It’s a quick read and produced lots of reactions. My take – if you’re looking for a fast read with some interesting historical pieces and foodie culture of NYC, it’s worth checking out.

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden – She continues to be one of my favorite historical authors. She always finds little bits of history I know nothing about and creates a fun story. If you want a bit of romance and history, be sure to check this one out.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – Even though I hadn’t read it yet, I was really excited when I heard this was becoming a movie (I read her debut), but honestly I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. This may be a slight spoiler: The story itself is interesting, but there was a character I felt she tried to make the “perfect” character, even when their decisions were actually terrible.

Endless Night by Agatha Christie – When I started reading this book, I wasn’t sure what to think. It wasn’t what I was expecting and it was in first person (which I’ve never read from Agatha), but I trust her books, so I stuck with it and I have to say it was worth it. Super eerie! Of the several I’ve read, definitely her most creepy!

The Dream Called Home by Reyna Grande – I really enjoy memoirs. No matter if you agree with every point and/or every decision a person makes, I truly believe there is always something we can learn from reading people’s stories. Grande’s is a story of an undocumented immigrant and the journey of a writer. If you’re looking for a memoir, check out this one!

State of Lies by Siri Mitchell – I’m a big fan of Siri’s historical fiction novels. As that’s her go-to genre to write, so it was so much fun to see her step into suspense and thriller!

Happy reading everyone!

Bookish Radness

A Literary Rebel

Sometimes I decide to make things and sell them. This time? My love of being a Literary Rebel.

A friend once said “Books change the world because books change people and people change the world.” Books, stories, words: They help see humanity in others, they motivate us into action, move us toward compassion, give us hope. Books also teach us, encourage us, and inspire us.

Today’s times are hard. Watch the news for 53 seconds and you know what I mean. People can no longer have discussions and have hidden behind a computer to yell and name call. Critical thinking seems like a distant memory and the art of debate buried.

As a person who loves Jesus and tries everyday to love people like He does, the environment we’ve created breaks me. People no longer see people. They see issues. Issues they have opinions about.

May that never be me. May I always see a person’s value and humanity and love them, no matter what faith they follow (if any), what life choices they make, what good or bad decisions they make, whatever it is. May I always see the person.

That’s what books help with. This isn’t just an opinion of a biased book-loving, publisher-working reader. Science, studies, and so many things point to this: When we read books and stories (especially true with fiction), we are kinder and we have compassion. Why? Because we are able to see humanity through the words of a book.

So this was going to be a one paragraph introduction to the mugs and stickers I have on Etsy, but apparently I had a word to share! So friends, keep reading books. Read books about stories you aren’t familiar with and people who look and act differently from you. Be a person known for compassion.

May we always rebel against that which isn’t love.

Want the mug or stickers? You can check out my Etsy shop >> here.

Want to get more recommendations than you’ll ever need? You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Also, don’t forget to sign-up (its free) for the Penguin Random House Readers Program. Buy books, earn points, get free books. Definitely a way to be a Literary Rebel. Sign up here#TeamPRH #ReadWithLoyalty

Book Reviews

What I’ve Been Reading | Spring 2019 Edition

Books. Books. All the Books! Even though I don’t do book reviews anymore, I still want to keep y’all in the loop of what I’m reading! Here’s the most recent reads – some for the INSPYs, some for the different book clubs I’m in, and some for fun! Have you read any?

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano: An INSPY nominee.

The Reckoning of Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright: Another INSPY nominee.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: Y’all know how I feel about this book. I think everyone in America should be required to read this. We read it for one of my book clubs and it was a great discussion. I also did a quote series on Instagram, be sure to check it out!

Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar: And another INSPY nominee.

The Land I Lost by Huynh Quang Nhuong: I wrote about this a few weeks back here.

Mark of the Raven and Flight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse: It’s a series, and I’m not so patiently waiting for the conclusion next year!

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay: I love everything she writes and this was no different! Well worth your time.

How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim: Always love the creativity and her unique take on a story. This is definitely one of my favorites from Petersheim.

Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan: Can murder mysteries be fun to read? I think so! I’m a big fan of Rachel and how she brings important characters and topics to the world. Be sure to check her out if you haven’t yet!

Broken Harbor by Tana French: This is my second book by French and I’m trying really hard to like her books. I like her writing, but the two I’ve read, the endings (and murder mystery reveals) have left me wanting. Usually I give an author two books before accepting we aren’t meant to be, but I’m willing to give her one more shot.

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon: Another INSPY nominee.

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon: I read this for book club and it was such a great discussion. If you’re looking for a good discussion book, I definitely recommend this one. It’s also just a great book, but extra bonus getting to discuss it with friends.

What are you reading?

Book Reviews

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin | Book Review

“If a white man became a Negro in the Deep South, what adjustments would he have to make? What is it like to experience discrimination based on skin color, something over which one has no control?”

So began the journey of John Howard Griffin and story in what would become a classic in America non fiction and racial history. Griffin served in the Air Corps, studied in France (where he helped smuggle Austrian Jews to safety) and was blinded for 10 years from a war accident at which time he started writing and would soon take on this life altering project. Such a life and such a story.

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.

Where to start with this book? We’ll go with the writing – it’s incredible. He keeps you captivated and so many sentences or insights were beautifully written and profound. He cuts straight to the reader’s heart and soul. You’ll go through all of your emotions with this book. There are so many insightful quotes that I thought about including, but I vote you read the book instead. So much of what he observed can (sadly) be applied today.

“Surely in America a whole segment of decent souls could not stand by and allow such massive crimes to be committed.” – John Howard Griffin

You know those times you read about some period in history and it leaves you completely dumbfounded and speechless? There were many times I felt that way while reading this book – reading stories (ones I’ve read so many times before) of such pure hatred for no other reason than the color of one’s skin. What in the living heck humanity? I simply cannot comprehend that person’s heart or soul.

His honesty throughout the pages is profound. He doesn’t hold back his feelings. He is vulnerable and that is what makes the book the classic that it is. Here’s one of his thoughts:

“The laughter had to be gross or it would turn to sobs, and to sob would be to realize, and to realize would be to despair. So the noise poured forth like a jazzed-up figure, louder and louder to cover the whisper in every man’s soul. “You are black. You are condemned.”

This was made into a movie in the 1964, but I think it’s time for a remake. We still need to hear and see these stories.

Some of the people he encountered were amazing too. Like the old man preacher he met first in Mobile. He understood loving the enemy. “When we stop loving them, that’s when they win.”

I cannot say enough how vital and important this book still is. I’ve read this before, yet reading it a decade later is still so impactful. If you only read one nonfiction book this year, may this one be it.

“Where racism is practiced, it damages the whole community, not just the victim group.”

Is there a book that has recently rocked your world? I’d love to hear about it!

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Inklings

If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis by Alister McGrath | Inklings Series Discussion

If you are looking for an introduction to C.S. Lewis, this book is a great place to start. Not only because you get some facts about Lewis’ life, but also an overview of his thoughts on faith, life and why he wrote many of the books he did. There’s also discussion on what Lewis’ writings mean for us today. I really enjoyed it and now I really can’t wait to get more of his books!

“Lewis does not try to prove the existence of God on purely rational grounds. His approach is much more interesting. Instead of launching an argument for the existence of God, Lewis invites us to see how what we observe in the world around us and experience within us fits into the Christian way of seeing things. Lewis’s genius as an apologist…lay in his ability to show how a Christian viewpoint was able to offer a more satisfactory explanation of common human experience than its rivals, especially the atheism he had once himself so enthusiastically advocated.”

I really enjoyed reading how all of Lewis’ experiences shaped the stories he wrote, his faith and how he shared his faith with the world. Have I mentioned he was a genius?

Lewis’ writings have shaped me in so many ways, so it was nice to read from someone who could articulate why Lewis and his writings are so amazing.

“One of the reasons Lewis embraced Christianity is that it helped him to discern meaning in life. Life is about more than just understanding things: it is about being able to cope with ambiguity and bewilderment, and about finding something worthwhile to give us direction and meaning.”

Okay, one more quote about his writing: “His approach could be described as enabling the believer to hear the harmonics of the cosmos, and to realise that it fits together aesthetically.”

The two chapters on Narnia were some of my favorite, because, as McGrath points out, through the stories of Narnia, Lewis shows truths instead of just telling us. I knew my love for Narnia was legit! ; ).

“These evocative stories affirm that it is possible for the weak and foolish to have a noble calling in a dark world…that there is indeed something beautiful and wonderful at the heart of the universe; and that this may be found, embraced, and adored.”

Can Narnia be real? PLEASE INTERNET!

Alright! Here’s a few discussion questions. Feel free to answer any or all, and of course include your own thoughts!

1. After reading this, is there a book of Lewis you really want to read?
For sure I am excited to read The Weight of Glory. I’m also interested in The Abolition of Man, since he was so fired up about the topic.

2. Did you have a favorite “lunch” (chapter)?
I enjoyed the first chapter about Narnia – I thought it profound that Narnia was written when Lewis’ life was at an all-time low. Plus I loved hearing Lewis’ response about Narnia: “Let us suppose that there were a land like Narnia, and that the Son of God, as he became a Man in our world, became a Lion there, and then imagine what would happen.”

“One of Lewis’s great achievements in Narnia is to help us understand that we live in a world of competing narratives. In the end, we have to decide for ourselves which is right. And having made that decision, we then need to inhabit the story we trust. Lewis help us deal with both questions.”

3. Any other thoughts?
I will forever be sad about the direction of Tolkien and Lewis’ friendship. Sigh….

I’ll end with this beauty of a quote:
“Perhaps one of the lessons that we can learn from Lewis is that apologetics is at its best when it makes people wish that Christianity is true – by showing them its power to excited the imagination, to make sense of things, and to bring stability, security, and meaning to life.”