It’s been awhile since I updated you on my latest reads so here ya go! I have been HEAVY on the Christian non-fiction thanks to all the recommendations I get from podcasts. Sorry to those who aren’t into that genre. However, I think some of them would be good even if you aren’t a Christian so don’t rule them out immediately.
There are a few others thrown in there, like my review of Ronda Rousey’s biography for example 🙂 I have an endless list of books to read but I could go for a few solid FICTION suggestions so if you have any, please let me know in comments or on social media.
Without further ado, 10 book reviews for you!
1. Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen
I LOVE Jennie Allen and her book “Anything” really changed my life in certain ways, so I was excited to read her newest book. Nothing to Prove came at the right time for me, as I have really been struggling with feeling “good enough,” especially professionally. This book speaks to our human desires to be “good enough,” answering it with the fact that we ARE good enough in the Lord. Our identities are not in our jobs or titles or past behaviors. We are saved by grace and have nothing to prove. A refreshing read for any woman who might struggle with this.
2. Steadfast Love by Lauren Chandler
I needed a new devotional style book and had heard good things about this one from Lauren Chandler. It was great for reading a chapter or half a chapter each morning with my coffee, covering some of the personal struggles Lauren has been through (including her husbands traumatic health issue). The book, as the title suggests, can serve as an anchor for you in your daily life. It’s not about crazy miracles, but more about trusting the Lord in a day to day basis, knowing that his love and provisions are deep and wide and far.
3. Between Heaven and the Real World by Steven Curtis Chapman
As an avid Christian music fan in the 1990s, Steven Curtis Chapman was one of my favorites. I still to this day love his Christmas album and it gives me all the joy in the world. I hadn’t heard much from our about him in years until I recently heard he’d written a biography. For those that don’t know, Chapman’s daughter, 3-year-old Maria was killed in a tragic accident years ago. His teenage son actually accidentally ran over her and it was such an awful situation. The family’s faith and strength in the midst of this was insanely beautiful. This book goes over Chapman’s early career, documents his very real struggles in marriage and of course the intense experience of losing Maria and how they overcame together. I was definitely in tears a couple of places and walked away with so much respect for this man. It was great, especially if you are a fan of his music.
4. A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, Home and the World by Katelyn Beaty
I had the opportunity to interview author Katelyn Beaty after reading this awesome book that I discovered by accident. In the book, Katelyn takes on some controversial issues of feminism, working women, ministry and the church. She talks about our god-given gifts and callings and how we are called by God to use them effectively and with joy. There’s a shadow of guilty over being a working mom sometimes, especially at times in the Christian world where a conservative view of staying at home with kids appears to be the more approved path. That is not always the case but I walked away feeling more confident in my decision to be a working mom, because I recognize the gifts and passions God has given me to use for His glory.
5. Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore
I cannot say enough good things about this book. I also interviewed the author, Dr. Russell Moore recently, and his leadership has really made a difference in my life. I was searching for someone who combined faith and politics in a way I could respect and learn from. Moore is IT for me. His book tackles the very dicey, controversial issues that we face as Christians in today’s culture. With a joyful, optimistic and beautiful perspective, Moore explains how we should live and why we should not be frustrated. I could go on and on but if you are anything like me, frustrated with politics & culture but a Christian who still wants to be engaged and make a difference, read this!
6. The World is Not Ours to Save by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson
Another book that has been so helpful to me trying to navigate the faith and politics world. The essential message of the book is in the title: We cannot save anyone or anything — that’s God’s job. This book speaks to folks involved in activism of any kind and talks about how we should approach the causes we most believe in. There are some beautiful stories of forgiveness and love in here. The book covers a lot of ground and is well worth reading if you are someone passionate about an issue or cause.
7. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This book has been on the bestseller list for sometime and I finally broke down and got it. Paul Kalanithi was a surgeon who was almost done with residency when he, in his early 30s, discovered he had stage IV lung cancer. As the book documents, he’d always had a love for both writing and medicine but ultimately chose medicine. As he realized his life was coming to an end, he got to writing his life story. It is a fascinating look inside the mind of a very human doctor making life and death decisions each day. We sometimes think of doctors as superheroes, but they are really just human beings who get tired and make mistakes and get cancer, too. It’s a pretty philosophical book and it will make you think and cry and re-evaluate a few things for sure. He died before he could finish the end, so it is written by his wife, with whom he had a little girl while he was sick. It’s a must-read.
8. My Fight, Your Fight by Ronda Rousey
I love a good biography and hadn’t considered Rousey’s until my sister chose it for her new “I’ll Have Another” podcast book club (you can join the private FB group if you want to participate in the next one.) Of course I’ve always thought Ronda was awesome and I’ve admired her incredible athleticism from afar. Being so into CrossFit, I’m surprised I don’t like watching UFC more but I digress…it was a fascinating look into Ronda’s life growing up with fierce determination to win. I was surprised to find out how hard she worked, barely making ends meet after winning the bronze medal in Judo in the Olympics — and how NO ONE believed she could do what she ultimately did with fighting. In the end, I could tell that Ronda and I probably wouldn’t be besties but I admire her determination. She’s a very intense, emotional person and getting a look behind the scenes is certainly eye-opening.
9. The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison
I heard of this book from Mary Karr, the famous memoirist, on a podcast. I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought it. It is actually am memoir of incest that must have been incredibly hard and brave to put into words. You never think a “normal” person would experience something like this but you also can’t imagine what one might do when put in the hardest of emotional trials. It’s not a book for the weak at heart, but beautifully written.
10. Play with Fire by Bianca Juarez Olthoff
Another personal memoir, but I can’t get enough of them! I heard Bianca on a podcast or two and loved her enthusiastic personality. I also heard the story of her writing her book (and how a bunch of it got LOST and she had to rewrite a huge section, which sounds TRAGIC, as someone who just finished writing a book). I enjoyed her writing style and her story of overcoming obstacles in her life, learning to trust the Lord. The great things, we ALL have a story to tell and each and everyone of them is inspiring in their own way. I recommend this one!