It's my first book review roundup of 2018! I'm not sure how it happened, but I have 12 books to tell you about today. If you can't find a book of interest in this collection, you need to expand your reading world. I'll be brief in my descriptions so you can take them all in.
Word Made Art: Lent: A Scriptural Encounter for Ash Wednesday through Easter (by Heather Caliri)
For my artsy readers, I'm starting with this book for Lent, which starts on February 14th. It's a well-crafted book in its illustrations and ideas. Using an old Bible, the author gives you directives about cutting, coloring, scribbling and journaling your way through specific Scripture passages for the Lenten season. My favorite part of this book are the reflection questions she offers both to individuals and if you decide to use this book in a group. What a unique idea!
Sacred Dying Journal: Reflections on Embracing the End of Life (by Megory Anderson)
It's not anything we like to think about, but this book could be a great gift. In this journal, an individual writes about their final wishes, desires and spiritual needs. It covers a plethora of topics, with questions such as these: "How do you feel attached to your body now as it declines" and "What clothing do you wish to be dressed in after your body has been washed?" I've been through the grief of arranging my father's funeral, and realize any insight a person can offer their loved ones in this difficult time would be invaluable.
If you have a young lady in your life between the ages of 9-14, get a copy of this book. I've often wondered if there were specific things I could do as a mother to help my daughter better navigate the tween and teen years full of drama, boys and self image struggles. Beth offers insight on the yearlong "rite of passage" her family helped her prepare for her twelve-year old. She explains how other cultures do this, tells their own personal experiences, and gives a ton of resources to help you start planning your own daughter's journey. My wheels are still turning from this one!
Still Evangelical? Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning (edited by Mark Labberton)
I've often wondered what it actually means to be evangelical. It wasn't a term I was even familiar with until the last few years. This series of essays by influential evangelicals gives you a history of the term, how it has impacted history, and what its future might look like. I appreciated all of the perspectives in one place, and learned so much. One of my favorite parts of the book was overall, it offered possible restructuring ideas, but remained positive towards this group of Christians.
Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry (by Tara Beth Leach)
In my opinion, just the right mixture of storytelling, Scripture references and encouragement. Tara Beth is the senior pastor at First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena in Southern California. Starting with her early beginnings in ministry, she tells readers about the anointing she and others saw on her life. As a woman, that often meant she didn't have females mentors to guide her or serve as examples. Sharing from Scripture and the life of others as well, Tara Beth doesn't argue that woman should lead, she guides her readers into a world where they already are, and encourages them to do so even more.
Live Lagom: Balanced Living, The Swedish Way (by Anna Brones)
Social media feeds are full of living Hygge, the Danish way of simplifying life to create a more peaceful existence. A look at the benefits we can glean from the Swedish way of life, living Lagom, offers much of the same logic. In this book, the author describes what her family taught her about living Lagom. She goes through the pros and cons of living this way. Reading the book itself gives you pause, as the layout and photographs are lovely. It was meaningful for me to consider what I know about Hygge, and how that compares to Lagom, while also considering what every culture might have to offer those of us looking for a more balanced lifestyle.
Between Heaven and Earth: Poems (by Kelly Chripczuk)
My favorite way to read poetry is one poem at a time. There's so much meaning packed into a few words. This book of poetry is no exception. Lovely insights into the lives we lead between here and our future in glory. Beautiful imagery. Soft and meaningful. I'm pleased to add it to my collection.
The Polygamist's Daughter (by Anna LeBaron)
I knew I wouldn't like this book. Anna's father was famous, for among other things, polygamy. She holds very little back in the telling of her childhood. Such a page-turning story! There were two gifts from this book; Anna's survival with her faith in tact, and the relationship she's been able to salvage with many of her more than fifty siblings. I don't begin to understand things like this, but I was proud of the woman Anna became in spite of an often tragic childhood.
The List (by Patricia Forde)
The world as we know it is gone, and we're introduced to the citizen of the city, Ark. In an effort to ensure survival, the words each person in Ark can use is limited and applicable to the roles they play. I've already told you what takes about five chapters to figure out. The main character, Letta, a wordsmith, has always been content to do her job, until she learns too much to ever be the same. A fantasy thriller that will keep you guessing!
Before We Were Yours (by Lisa Wingate)
Based on actual events, unfortunately. Rill and her siblings are living pretty unique childhoods in various stops along the Mississippi River. When their pregnant mother gets sick and their dad is forced to take her to a Memphis hospital, their lives are forever changed. They are taken, as part of an operation where Georgia Tann uses an adoption organization to steal children and sell them to families in need. Rill tries to keep her family together, while figuring out what happened to their parents, and what will ultimately happen to all of them. This one blew my mind!
The Great Alone (by Kristin Hannah)
Ernt Allbright lives life on his own terms, and when he suddenly finds out he's been gifted some land in Alaska from a fellow soldier he served with in Viet Nam, he packs up his wife and their daughter to start a new life. To say they were ill-prepared would be an understatement. Told from the daughter, Leni's perspective, readers follow along as a young girl becomes a woman in a largely undeveloped region of the Alaska wilderness. She's got her hand full; making friends, doing chores, and managing her family, who time and again threatens to fall apart. This book releases next week!
A Winter's Love (by Madeleine L'Engle)
In order to read the number of books I read, I'm a fast reader. But if you're not like that, and you take your time reading a novel, savoring the imagery and the basic, human story, this book is an excellent choice. It explores the struggles of marriage, the relationships between parents and children, friendship, adultery. It's a well-crafted tale and I found myself wishing I was only going to read this book, and this book alone, for a whole month.
I received a copy of "The List," "Before We Were Yours," "A Winter's Love," "Still Evangelical," "Emboldened," "The Great Alone," "A Voice Becoming," and "The Polygamist's Daughter" from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. I received a copy of "Living Lagom" from Blogging for Books for the purpose of generating a review. I received a copy of "Sacred Dying Journal" from the publisher, Paraclete Press, for the purpose of generating a review. I received a copy of "Between Heaven And Earth" and "Word Made Art: Lent" for being on launch teams to help promote these books. The opinions expressed here are my own.