Bobby’s World: Summer Reading Review

I present to you Bobby’s World, monthly musings from the one and only Hubby!  As promised, here are his reading recommendations for the summer.


*Apologies… This became longer than I was expecting. If you’re looking to do some summer reading but would like some ideas before jumping in, feel free to consider what I’ve read over the last six months before making your decision. Happy reading!


Translating God by Shawn Bolz – A quick read that is chock-full of keen insight and pragmatic tips as to how to cultivate the prophetic into everyday, Christian living. Fueled by stories from Shawn’s own experiences, the recurring message of the book is to pursue prophesy in the context of loving others. A suggested book to anyone looking to explore the concept of hearing God and sharing His heart for others.


Tribes by Seth Godin – Almost a decade old, I had never heard of this book until Amazon recommended it to me. It looked to be worth a read, and I picked it up through my library. It’s premise was that leadership in the 21st century is based on building tribes–small, tight-knit, loyal and passionate crews that can carry your ideas forward in any field. Mixed feelings on this one; overall, it was filled with a lot of “rah-rah” leadership rhetoric that lacked in substance. However, it had moments of unique and dynamic language and analogies that made it worthwhile. Definitely walked away feeling encouraged to take risks, invest in others and build a tribe, even if it didn’t meet all my expectations.


The Lord of the Rings (Trilogy) by J. R. R. Tolkien – Though I grew up with the movies and even one time watched all three extended versions in one sitting from dawn to dusk, I had never actually read the books. Arguably blasphemous to say, I have found Tolkien’s storytelling to be a bit lengthy and long-winded. I opted to listen to the trilogy through audiobook on the way to work, and moments are filled with great excitement and others are very dull. To be fair, Tolkien accomplished the incredible task of creating a complex fantasy world, even incorporating his own languages for the varieties of people groups in Middle Earth. In the end, it was ok/good/dull. I’m glad I did it, but I’ll stick to The Hobbit for Tolkien reading and watching the LOTR movies.


Fools Talk by Os Guinness – A deceptively heavy work regarding Christian apologetics in the postmodern era. Guinness’ main idea is that Christians need to regain a persuasive spirit in presenting the gospel if they are going to have any impact in a day and age that is skeptical and cynical. Storytelling, wit, humor, questioning; all important “table turning” techniques to be used and reclaimed in winning the hearts, minds and souls of the people we rub shoulders with. This book is deeply introspective and analytical, bringing the reader into the human mind and breaking down the “why” behind complex processes such as conversion, truth-denial, atheism and faith. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in making their faith relevant to those who seem absolutely uninterested, but do not expect a step-by-step guide to apologetics but rather a call to become creative and persuasive in our methodology.   


A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis – As a fanatical Lewisian disciple, this was the first of a few CS Lewis’s works to be read over this year. The shortest book that I have read by Lewis, A Grief Observed is essentially Lewis’ grief journal that was written in response to his late wife’s death. Lewis holds no punches in this one, thinking and grieving out loud and allowing the reader to tread quietly along at his side. His writing shifts from personal stories to questions of God to memories of his wife; a brilliant swirl of raw emotion that is attempting to make sense of the grief that Lewis has been surrounded by. The beauty of this short, powerful work is that it does not offer clean and well-tied up answers to complex questions, but instead offers sobering and sometimes jarring insights about the human heart under the terrible pressure of pain.


The Great Divorce  by C. S. Lewis – Years ago, this book was recommended to me by a close friend (who I have consistently let down by not reading their recommendations until years later), and over the last year it has become my faithful Barnes & Noble read. After months of reading a page here and there, I finally settled down to knock this one out, as I should have a long time ago. Lewis does not disappoint with this one, using his imagination and outside-the-box thinking to tell a short story about a busload of inhabitants from Hell who take a trip to Heaven and are surprised by what they find. I will not go into further detail in order to avoid giving away too much, but I will say that it well worth the read. If you have read Screwtape Letters by Lewis, I would highly recommend The Great Divorce. For me, I often found myself putting this book down to walk away and think about the reality of the eternity that awaits us. The creative genius that he is, Lewis will have you asking tough questions throughout his story of a journey from Hell to Heaven, and that is precisely why I enjoyed The Great Divorce.


In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson – This book was recommended to me rather recently, and being that the copy was put into my hands rather than just suggested, it found its way to the top of my reading list in order to get it back to the person. Funny enough, the author is a pastor who I had previously followed closely on a blog years ago and did not realize it was the same person when I first started reading this book. Originally published over ten years ago, the main message of this book is to face your fears and to take the risk that you are currently afraid of taking. I could see In A Pit being a great and helpful read for someone facing a fork in the road who needs to be challenged to go down the path that they do not want to go down. As someone who likes to play it safe, I’m glad I read a book like this that charged me to take action. However, if I’m going to be honest, I don’t think you need to read the whole book. I found it a bit repetitive, even if the stories used throughout the book were fresh and honest. At times, too, it also felt a bit hokey, but maybe it was just me, or the fact that it was written almost a decade ago. In the end though, it is definitely worth a quick read (even if you only read the first three chapters).


Church Zero by Peyton Jones – I purchased this book last year after listening to the author’s podcast called “Hardcore Church Planting” (which is a great podcast for anyone who wants to hear quick interviews with leading church planters around the nation). Right off the bat, let me say this; Peyton Jones is cool. Yes, this is the opinion of a low-key nerd, I know. But the fact that you could incorporate Star Wars, shotgun wielding Zombie-slayers and Nacho Libre in a book about church planting in the 21st century; you’re pretty cool in my book. Here are a couple of things you will immediately notice as you’re reading Church Zero; Jones probably had a great time writing this book, you’re having a great time reading it, and Jones genuinely cares about the future of the church and church planting in today (and tomorrow’s) cultural-climate. He holds no punches, saying things that need to be said that no one is willing to say, and all with the intention of seeing Jesus honored and biblical churches built. An attractive blend of humor and honesty, I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in church planting or philosophy of ministry that also doesn’t mind laughing along the way.


If God, Then What? by Andrew Wilson – If you haven’t heard of Andrew Wilson before, let me introduce you to “my boy.” I hope he never reads this because 1) I am ashamed of the reference I just used and 2) I am ashamed of how much I fan-boy over him. There it is, I have no dignity left. Getting back on topic, Andrew Wilson has had a profound impact on my life through the blog that he contributes to; www.thinktheology.co.uk. His teachings as a pastor and clarity as a writer have helped to shape my faith over the last three years, specifically with regard to charismatic theology. After reading his contributions on his blog, it was only a matter of time before I got my hands on some of his books. Last year I read his work Unbreakable (which I strongly recommend) and this year I hope to read his more recent work The Life You Never Expected. As for If God, Then What?, I could not put it down. I figured I would start it on a bus ride to Washington DC, but little did I expect to be so engrossed in it that I would finish it before we arrived. The book’s subject is just as it seems according to its clever title; an approach to Christian apologetics in a linear, question-based, thinking out-loud style of logical reasoning. The genius of this book is that you feel as though you are in your own mind as you try to process the questions that surround the existence of God. It is non-threatening while intellectually challenging. It is inviting to both Christian and unbeliever alike. It is focused on getting to the bottom of truth and drawing conclusions based on what is most plausible, not what is absolutely airtight and fully explainable. As it stands right now, this is the nonfiction “Book of the Year” for me, and I think it is going to be hard to beat. CS Lewis would be proud, and I’m almost sure that Os Guinness is. Check it out.

*I am also reading through the Harry Potter series right now (for the first time, and yes I know I am really late on this one) but will comment on them in a separate post, later on this year.

2017 Summer Reading

Summer starts on Friday in our house. Hubby is a teacher, so the last day of school means the official start for us.

This particular summer is a first for me though. Some of you are going to hate me for this, but this is the first one in my 26 years of life that I will work straight through. Seriously, privileged is an understatement, I know. Up until now I have been a student and/or employed by schools or teachers.

Alas, not this summer. But who am I kidding, I have a great job. To spite sticking out the summer 9-5, I am still excited to amp up my reading for the summer, because even if its only on the weekends there is nothing quite like a good book at the beach, or on the front porch, or by the pool… you get the picture.

Here are the books on my list (with affiliate links). Any quoted blurbs are curtesy of Goodreads. 

Mind Health:

 

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman – Lindsey West
Umm, My name is Megan and I am a loud woman.
Also, I am a loud woman who has felt like I have had to hide myself and be small in order to survive.
Also, I love reading other human’s stories and remembering I am not alone in the world.

“Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.”

Quiet – Susan Cain
So remember that time I told you I am loud? Its true, but I also walk the line of introversion and know a lot of people who are introverted. This one has been a game changer for a few people I know and I have been antsy to get my hands on it.
Also, I love reading other human’s stories and remembering I am not alone in the world.

“This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves.”

My bookshelf bonus :


You are a Badass – Jen Sincero
I talked a bit about this one over at the May heart to heart. Jen’s book is full of really helpful tools and tips if your looking to grow in your understanding and championing of self. Its definitely one to take the good and leave the bad, but absolutely worth the read.

“In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word.”

Spiritual Health:


The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery – David G. Brenner
I am going to be honest, I have to read this one for a class I will be starting in the fall, but I am pretty excited for it.

“Discerning your true self is inextricably related to discerning God’s purposes for you. Paradoxically, the more you become like Christ, the more you become authentically yourself.”

Mhmm, I could use some help figuring that out.


Yes, And – Richard Rohr
One of my life goals for the summer is bettering my practice of prayer and meditation. This looks like a good place to start.

“Yes, and…is an excellent daily prayer resource for fans of Richard Rohr’s work, and those who are looking for an alternate way to live out their faith—a way centered in the open-minded search for spiritual relevance of a transforming nature.”

My Bookshelf Bonus


 Jesus feminist – Sarah Bessey
We have chatted a bit about this one as well. While Sarah writes as woman for women, this book is a refreshing call to stop fighting and let our being speak for itself. Sarah also beautiful gives words to explain an often mis/under represented cross section of christianity.
Also, I love reading other human’s stories and remembering I am not alone in the world.

“Through a thoughtful review of biblical teaching and church practices, Bessey shares how following Jesus made a feminist out of her.”

Body Health:


The Real Food Athlete – Steph Lowe
I have been living the low carb life for a couple months now. I have read quite a bit about keto life, but nothing yet specifically combining keto and fitness.

 


Feeding the Hungry Heart – Geneen Roth
Geneen’s other book Women, Food, and God was a real eye opener for me. Disclaimer; I do not agree with her conclusions on “god” but that withstanding, her insight on the soul connection to food has helped me so much, I am ready to dig into another of her books.
Also, I love reading other human’s stories and remembering I am not alone in the world.

“Twenty years after its original publication, Feeding the Hungry Heart continues to inspire women and men, helping them win the battle against a hunger that goes deeper than a need for food”

My Bookshelf Bonus :


The End of Overeating – David A. Kessler
If your a fact nerd like me this book is one to get your hands on. Kessler looks at the problem of overeating both physiologically and psychologically with science to explain it all.

“Dr. Kessler met with top scientists, physicians, and food industry insiders. The End of Overeating uncovers the shocking facts about how we lost control over our eating habits—and how we can get it back.”

Social conscience:


Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
A dear friend gave me this book more months back then I care to admit. I have been staring at it on my bookshelf, yet somehow new ones have been piled on before I could get to it. Not anymore, its going to the top of the pile! Coates offers a unique lens to consider race in America as a father writing letters to his son.

“Thoughtfully exploring personal and historical events, from his time at Howard University to the Civil War, the author poignantly asks and attempts to answer difficult questions that plague modern society.”


Hillbilly Elegy – J.D. Vance
If I am honest, it is way to easy for me to dismiss the perspective of the poor white American. Yet that voice has been dismissed over and over, and here we are. Its more important than ever that we listen to everyones experiences, not just the ones we relate to or prefer.

“From a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, a poignant account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream.”

My Bookshelf Bonus:


Born a crime – Trevor Noah
For those who like to chuckle while they challenge their worldview, Trevor does an incredible job of getting you to laugh and really think deeply all at the same time. 

“The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty.”

Just for fun:


He said She Said – Erin Kelly
Fiction is totally not my preference, but i like a good thriller when I want a tune out book. This one has been generating some buzz, so I figure I’ll jump on the wagon.

“In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever.”

Wonder Women – Sam Maggs
There is so much power in story and this looks freaking awesome.

“Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors, complete with portraits by Google doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino. Plus, interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations—all to show the many ways the geeky girls of today can help to build the future.”

My Bookshelf Bonus:

 

Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
This is a long one, but don’t be intimidated. Roberts book reminds me of of Forest Gump in that he finds himself in so many places and situations that you wonder “how can one life experience this much?”

“Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas—this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart.”

Whats on your list?

Keep your eyes peeled for Hubby’s list coming next week.