I can't believe it's been a month already since last time -- but again today I'm joining Modern Mrs. Darcy's monthly Quick Lit linkup, where we share brief reviews of what we've been reading.
I read three books this month, all nonfiction.
Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist. Niequist has published several books, but this one -- her newest -- is the first I'd read. I know she writes a lot about food and hospitality, and I wasn't sure if I would have a lot in common with her ... not because I do not eat or am inhospitable, but you know what I mean. Also, I am the total opposite of a frantic achiever type. But I absolutely loved this book. It's not quite a memoir, and it's not a how-to; it's one woman's reflections on how she found herself exhausted and depleted by busyness and striving, and how she learned to experience grace, freedom, and connection -- to her own true self, to her loved ones, and to God. I loved Niequist's thoughtful, warm style: frequently she describes a particular insight she's gained, then stops and says "To be honest, I'm not there yet" or "Full disclosure: I'm still working on this one." This book is for anyone who is feeling stressed by demands and expectations, wondering whether this is all there is, and longing to take the risk of just being themselves and living free and loved by God.
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. I had already read Melton's Carry On, Warrior, a series of essays and blog posts largely taken from her "Momastery" website and blog, where she devotes herself to living life "unarmed" and vulnerable. That book was a somewhat zany, often hilarious, and touching read. Love Warrior is much grittier. This memoir focuses on Melton and her husband Craig: how infidelity shattered their ideal-looking family and how they both had to unlearn unhealthy patterns from their past and forge a new, more genuine relationship. Interestingly enough, shortly after Love Warrior was published, Melton announced that she and her husband were separating amicably; she is currently in a new relationship with soccer star Abby Wambach. It might be tempting to think, Well, doesn't that just negate everything Melton says she's learned? But I didn't find that this knowledge made her journey any less legitimate. I guess that is the risk a writer takes when she puts herself out there the way Melton does; I still appreciate her honest, vulnerable approach and her determination to face with courage what she calls all the "brutiful" aspects of life and relationships.
Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend by Irene S. Levine. This book caught my eye because I could identify with its subject matter; I found it a helpful and informative discussion of women's friendships, how and why they sometimes go wrong, and how to move forward (with or without the friend) after a breakup.
I'm also currently halfway through several other books right now. I don't know if you're the type who must finish one book before starting another, or if you like to dip in and out depending on the day. I'm the latter. These three are worth taking the time to let sink in, so that's what I'm doing. They're all really good, but I'll give them actual reviews next time:
- As a Child: God's Call to Littleness by Phil Steer
- Moments and Days: How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith by Michelle Van Loon
- The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults by Temple Grandin and Debra Moore