Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 2016 Quick Lit


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




 

14 comments:

  1. How cool that we both reviewed Present Over Perfect, Jeannie! The Best Friends book looks very intriguing. Having been through a deep loss, I can testify that it's incredibly painful and certainly life altering.

    I'll be putting that on my must-read list.

    So good to connect with you today!

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    1. Same here, Linda - yes, I would highly recommend the Levine book. I found it helpful.

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  2. I loved Present Over Perfect! Am intrigued by Moments and Days ... sounds like a good title for Advent and Christmas. Best Friends Forever is one I may need to read. I wrote a dissertation on female friendship in 19th century American literature and, of course, have my own personal break-ups and drift-aways.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Megan. Yes, the Moments & Days book is so interesting the way it combines the Jewish and Christian feasts, etc.

      Your dissertation sounds very interesting; is it published online?

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  3. I loved Present Over Perfect, too. I plan to pick it up again next year.

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    1. Hi Caroline, thanks for coming by here. I agree that P over P would be a very re-readable book. I loved it so much more than I even expected to.

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  4. Not to make EVERY comment about Present Over Perfect, but I'm in the market for a book to give as a gift to a good friend who is about to have her first baby. I'm not looking for a parenting book, but I would like it to feel applicable to her current situation. Do you think this would be a good fit? Thanks for the reviews.

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    1. Hi Kimberly - I actually think it would. I think it's the overall theme that is most widely applicable, not the details. As I hinted in my review, I am NOTHING like Shauna Niequist: I'm not a go-go-go, more-more-more type of person who flies around giving talks. But what she is getting at is more the overall sense of wanting to do it right and meet expectations, and how exhausting that can be. Practically speaking, it also might be a good fit for your friend because it has short chapters that focus on one specific theme at a time so it can be read in small spurts -- but there's lots of depth and things to think about.

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  5. Oh, that Best Friends book sounds great. (They all sound great.) I can identify with this subject matter, too.

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    1. I'm thinking it's probably a lot commoner than we realize, Laura. Sorry if that's the case for you. :-(

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  6. I'm so interested in Present over Perfect. I haven't read either of Niequist's books either, for the same reason you mention, Jeannie! :) This one sounds like just what I need lately. Since my son left for college, and I realize I have 1 or 2 years left with my daughter, it makes me more purposeful about how I spend my time. We go on a daily walk, I try to take her on daughter walks, and I also telephone weekly a young woman I've "adopted" (hour and a half chat each week). So these keep me from being "Productive" in other ways, yet I don't think I could possibly do anything else more worthwhile.

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    1. What you're doing sounds wonderful, Betsy, and I agree there is nothing really more worthwhile you could do. Niequist's book is lovely and I'd encourage you to read it. She doesn't set out formulas, but just her way of finding where her priorities lay and how to focus on the essentials.

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  7. I just (last night) finished Present over Perfect and really enjoyed it! So many good lessons to pull from it!

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    1. This seems to be such a popular book right now. I wonder if it's because a lot of women feel frantic? (gosh, ya think? :-) )

      Thanks for coming by today. Will click your blog link & check out your Quick Lit list now, if you have one....

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