So far the 2018 reading year is off to a great start! I’ve read five really great books this past month. Here is a brief review of each one:
Jumping Ship by Michael and Debi Pearl
This short, bold little book is one that I can already tell will be read and reread over the next twenty years in this household. Pearl addresses a big problem in the Christian homeschool community – one that affects countless families but is seldom talked about. Namely the problem of homeschooled children feeling stifled and imprisoned at home, so they “jump ship”, rejecting their family’s values and faith. Pearl gives very practical and wise advice to parents to keep your kids from doing the same. Great book to kick off 2018’s reading!
Relaxing with God by Andrew Farley
I’ve read God Without Religion by Farley before, and it changed my life forever. The way he described the gospel clicked, and suddenly the religion in my life was replaced by the vibrant life of Christ and the freedom I have in Him. Relaxing with God was so encouraging and really dives into the specific ways that the gospel allows us to relax with Christ instead of striving to “do better, be better”. As with any theological book I’ve ever read (or really any book I’ve ever read, period!) I don’t agree with the points in a couple chapters. But the overall message of this book is spot on and was the perfect book to get my mind in the right place for the new year!
The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley
Because this was the third book I’ve read by Farley on grace, it felt a little redundant (especially I was reading Relaxing with God at the same exact time). But I think that if I were to recommend Farley to someone who had never read him, I would actually encourage them to read The Naked Gospel first, then God Without Religion then Relaxing with God. Great introduction to and in-depth look at grace.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Wow. Just…wow. I downloaded the audiobook version of The Help on a whim earlier this month, and was absolutely sucked in. For days I forgot that it was below freezing in the middle of January, and was transported to the sweltering heat of 1960’s Jackson, Mississippi. The story was phenomenal, the dialogue and character development was excellent, and holy cow, the narration was incredible. Octavia Spencer reading Minny Jackson was possibly the best narration I’ve ever heard – certainly eclipsing her performance of Minny in the film! Sometimes this book was very hard to read and very emotional – I rarely cry when reading, but I cried from my heart at the end. It was so rough in parts that I don’t know if I’d ever have the guts to read it again (I’d have to psych myself up first and maybe give it a few years), but it was truly a modern masterpiece.
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I usually am very strict with myself about reading books out of their series order – if I want to read a book in the middle of a series, then by golly I’ve got to read the whole series and get to it in due course! But I had a strange and inexplicable craving to read just The Long Winter, and I let myself do it. 🙂 I haven’t read it in years, and was stunned at the skill with which Laura wrote. The Little House books are so much a part of my childhood that Laura’s writing style and stories kind of soaked into me without me ever actually critically looking at the stories from an adult perspective. Reading it as an adult, I was thoroughly impressed with The Long Winter! Not only was it an incredible story, but Laura managed to convey the feeling of deep, biting, bone-chilling cold like nothing I’ve ever read. Reading this book made me cold, even bundled up toasty warm while reading!
Victoria the Queen by Julia Baird and The Hidden Helpmeet by Denny Kenaston and Debi Pearl
These two are bonuses because I actually finished both of them on New Years Eve, so I could start the new year with fresh books! I really enjoyed the biography of Victoria; I felt like I had to at least read one biography of her before I die, just because we share a name! She was a fascinating, strange, incredible little woman who literally shaped an era. Baird’s writing style was engaging and easy to follow, although she did insert anachronistic feminist comments occasionally. That got really old by the end of the book, but it wasn’t enough to turn me off from Victoria’s long and colorful history!
The Hidden Helpmeet was very short (almost more of a pamphlet than a full book) but good! It is a good accompaniment to Created to Be His Helpmeet. Whereas Created is kind of a “how to” book with lots of do’s and don’ts, The Hidden Helpmeet is more of an encouragement once you’ve grasped the concepts in Created. A reminder that being a great wife really does matter, and isn’t the dreary existence that the world would sometimes have us think it is!
Like I said, 2018 is off to a fantastic start in the reading department! Right now I’m currently continuing my leisurely re-read of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and my first time reading The Shining by Stephen King. So far, King is blowing my mind again – the guy is a genius. I know it’s not going to end happily, but I can’t help but pick it up and devour it every chance I get.
What are you currently reading? How is your 2018 reading year going so far?