SEPTEMBER BOOK REVIEWS
1. Let’s All Be Brave
Living Life with Everything You Have
by Annie F. Downs
I get author Annie Downs. She doesn’t think she’s brave either. But she wants to be. Me, too. She shares personal stories on how she’s learning to be brave, and encourages us in the process. She’s still relatively young in her journey, but I admire her courage to write about it anyway. “Seeing other people be brave makes you want to be brave too.” Agreed.
2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
by Robin Sloan
I love how this novel mixes today’s technological world with yesterday’s old-fashioned book world since I relate to both. It’s an easy-going mystery and has already won numerous awards.
3. The Circle
by Dave Eggers
[What? Two novels in one month from this non-fiction lover? Blame it on the beach.]
“The Circle” is the world’s largest internet company, and the story develops through the eyes of a new employee there. It takes some nice twists that caught me off guard (maybe I don’t read enough fiction), so I stayed interested from beginning to end. It occasionally seems a tad too realistic though, possibly creating a little paranoia about our real life large internet powers (remaining unnamed).
4. Daring Greatly
How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
by Brené Brown
Oh, how I love the honesty of Brené Brown. She includes 12 years of her research on emotions, yet also aptly exposes her own experiences about the importance of vulnerability in our relationships. If you like easily-accessible psychology-type books—and are up to being challenged in your own life—make sure you read this one. It’s excellent.
“To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”
5. A New Kind of Christianity
Ten Questions that Are Transforming the Faith
by Brian D. McLaren
This is my “Oh my!” book of the month. If you’ve grown too settled in your Christian dogma, let this book shake things up for you. McLaren asks ten seemingly innocent questions that will prompt new thoughts and even more questions. However, if you’re uncomfortable with the status quo being challenged, you best skip this book.
“We can very easily confuse ‘The Bible says’ with ‘I say the Bible says,’ which we can then equate with ‘God says.’ (A friend of mine says that the average religious leader begins by humbly speaking with God; then he speaks humbly of God; then he speaks proudly for God; and finally he speaks arrogantly as if he were God.)”
6. If Grace Is True
Why God Will Save Every Person
by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland
The question: Will everyone end up in heaven? After reading the book, I still disagree with the authors (they think yes; I think no), but that doesn’t negate the great value of this book. They share insightful thoughts on grace and faith that we definitely agree on. “The Bible doesn’t say God can be loving or God is often loving or even God is usually loving. It says God is love.” Yes!
They also bring up other questions that I needed to ponder (and will continue to). My sister Sandy and niece Danielle also read this one, so we had a marvelous discussion afterwards about it. I’m looking forward to our next book together (Sandy’s choice this time!).
7. Still Foolin’ ‘Em
Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys
by Billy Crystal
I like Billy Crystal. He’s made me laugh for years. He makes me laugh again in this memoir about his career and about turning 65. He has a few colorful words and stories sprinkled here and there (just so you know), but overall it’s a funny yet poignant look at his life.
1. Les Misérables
by Victor Hugo
Yes, still here. I crossed the halfway mark though (51% read)! I’m finding it very interesting in chapters, and very off-topic in other chapters. But the good continues to outweigh the bad, so I’ll carry on.
“The gamin is a grace to the nation, and at the same time a disease; a disease which must be cured, how? By light. Light renders healthy. Light kindles.”
2. One Way Love
Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World
by Tullian Tchividjian
God loves us even when we’re not very lovable—a one-way love. This book is about God’s grace and love and faithfulness. That’s always welcome news; no wonder I’m enjoying this one.
“The Bible is a record of the blessed bad. The Bible is not a witness to the best people making it up to God; it’s a witness to God making it down to the worst people.”
3. Four Cups
God’s Timeless Promises for a Life of Fulfillment
by Chris Hodges
This is the one real book traveling with me to Guatemala. I listened to Pastor Chris’s sermon series on the four cups earlier this year through the podcast of Church of the Highlands, so I know this material will be profitable.
A third category this month. . .
I GAVE UP
1. Overcoming Sin and Temptation
by John Owen
I wanted to read this one with Tim Challie’s Reading Classics Together group. But I got behind early on. Plus the language is very laborious. Now just isn’t the time for it. Maybe later?
2. Thinking, Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman
The subject is fascinating: how our brains work in fast and slow modes. It starts out engaging. But frankly, the length (512 pages) grew too discouraging. I’ll just read what others say about it instead.
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What’s a good book you are reading this month? Please share here.
- Get your brave on
- But if you say no?