Friday, June 24, 2011

summer reading

A few days before we go on vacation, I'm always at the library, grabbing books off the shelves like a madwoman. I bring 15+ books along for a week of vacation -- sounds crazy, but here's my logic: on vacation, why waste your time reading something you don't love? So, if I don't love a book, I throw it back into the bag and grab another. Because I bring so many books along, sometimes I skim through, just to get the author's gist. Other times, I read a book slowly, because it's too good to be done with too soon. {Toni Morrison's fiction, for example, does that to me.}

All that to say, here's part of the stack of books that I brought along with me on vacation in May:
And here's my {unsolicited} opinion on what I thought of them:

I picked this up in a moment of desperation, hoping for a bit of inspiration at the end of a stay-at-home-momma's-gonna-blow kind of day. And I got it... sort of. I liked Darla's attitude -- she was all about rockin' it out, being the best mom and wife ever, and believing in the importance of a stay-at-home mom. However... in her chapter on health foods, she got a little ditzy when she started talking about the importance of eating whole foods. {I'm paraphrasing here: "People always talk about how healthy oatmeal is, but think about it: have you ever seen an oat tree?" Wow. W-o-w.} Also, her whole mantra revolved around wearing sexy jeans, having a happy family life, living the American dream, white picket fence and all.
I left the book asking, "Ok Darla -- your life is awesome. I love your passion, your desire for family, and your chapter on cleaning. [I. hate. cleaning. Thanks for helping me out.] But at the end of the day, what's it all about?" Because, if you ask Darla, it's about taking care of your family -- and looking good while you're doing it {TIGHT JEANS! HOT SHIRTS! UP-TO-DATE HIGHLIGHTS!!!!!!}. Unfortunately, she's not going to have much to say to the single mom who's forced to work, or the mom struggling to lose weight after baby #3, or the mom whose house just went into foreclosure, or the wanna-be mom dealing with miscarriage after miscarriage, or... you get what I mean. And if you've been around here long enough, you'll know what I'd say she's missing: a little G-o-d.
Trust me: I'm not against looking good, or loving your family, or knowing how to cook -- I just know they're not the end-alls that Darla makes them out to be.

Do you know who The Pioneer Woman is?! She's a self-made blogging rockstar who cooks awesome food and takes fantastic pictures. This is her love story -- an autobiography on how she met her husband. And I LOVED it. LOVED IT!! AHHHH! It was SO GOOD! It got a little steamy at times -- conservatives like me, be warned -- but lalalalalalaLAAAA, it was amazing. The perfect thing to read on the beach. Go get it, and read it -- you'll want to move to a ranch after honeymooning in Australia, guaranteed.

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger: Moving from Affluence to Generosity by Ronald Sider
To be honest, I tend to avoid books like this, because they usually make me feel a sort of false guilt about being born in America. But I'm so very glad I read it: My eyes were opened to God's heart for the poor, and ways that I can join Him in caring for them. I appreciated that Sider didn't seem to generalize, or lump Christians into an "uncaring-fat-rich" category -- instead, he outlined the problem, and showed ways that I, personally, can do something to make a difference. Poverty is only one of the many crises facing Christians today -- but God used this book to challenge me. What am I going to do about it?

I guess I had a bit of a social justice theme going on, eh? This book was also amazing, eye-opening, and convicting to the core. It got me thinking about the clothes I buy, the food I eat, and the products I consume. Modern day slavery is huge -- way bigger than I can even comprehend -- but now that I'm responsible for what I know, I'm asking myself {again}, What am I going to do about it?

You know when you're in a slump about something you're going through... and then you go hang out with a few friends... and they're going through exactly the same thing... and you swap stories, and laugh about them, and leave feeling a million times better about life? That was this book for me -- except, well, in book form. It wasn't sophisticated, or very deep or intellectual. But it was real, and it was good for my soul. Reading excerpts and anecdotes from the lives of moms across the continent blessed me tremendously, and reminded me {for the umpteenth time} that yes, it's worth it.

To my own shame, I never learned much about the history of Afghanistan, or the people who lived there. This book changed that for me. Who knew that communism, of all things, brought {temporary} liberation for Afghan women in many ways? I learned that, and many other things, from this beautiful work of fiction. It wasn't an easy read, but it was important. I didn't love it, but I needed it. It made me feel deeper -- one of the incredible qualities of good fiction. I'd recommend this one, for sure.

I also read The Hunger Games, but meh, I wasn't impressed.

So now, help me out: Any good reads you'd recommend? I'm always looking for good fiction especially... I'll take any suggestions you've got!


CZ said...

Currently, the fiction I've read has been Beth Webb Hart. Each book is different but I like her style.

Sherah said...

I'll check it out! Thanks Christina :)