7 Book Reviews // Plot Twist Tuesday

We’re a quarter of the way through 2020?! Are you revisiting your new year’s resolution to “read more this year” with all the extra time we’ve been given? Same here.

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” (Mason Cooley)

Speaking of having to stay where we are, this weekend I color-coded my bookshelf and reminisced about the days when my décor signs “Gather” and “Let’s Have a Grand Adventure” were applicable.

Anyway, if you’re scouting for some new reading material, you’re welcome to browse my 7 book reviews of 2020 thus far (and also 7 blog posts I enjoyed). They aren’t hot-off-the-press titles, but I’d still love to hear your thoughts because I think book or article discussions are almost as exhilarating as springtime.

12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You (Tony Reinke) — Gold! This book’s message is only becoming more relevant in our culture. Many thanks to my dad for recommending and loaning this to me. Warning: you will be convicted but also encouraged.

Villette (Charlotte Bronte) — I nearly gave up on this book because it was too weird for me in the beginning. I trudged on and gradually became more intrigued even though it was still weird. In spite of Bronte’s frequent coincidences and my suspicions of every subplot (having read Jane Eyre), I was still surprised (and miraculously satisfied) by the ending.

The Pursuit of Holiness (Jerry Bridges) — I found this book to be a helpful, easy read. Bridges’ grasp on sanctification is practical, although I liked his book The Transforming Power of the Gospel more — I had read it when I was struggling to figure out sanctification in light of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.

Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) — If you want to know how enamored I am with this masterpiece, you can read my 2019 Little Women movie review (where I talk mostly about the book). I love how this story is just so real and sisterly.

Eve in Exile (Rebekah Merkle) — I enjoyed reading Merkel’s insight into history and logic. This book was thought-provoking, but I would have loved to have seen more Scriptural truth involved to answer the important question: “What did God make women for?”

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Barrows and Shaffer) — What a mouthful of a title! This was a charming, historical fiction work full of raw and delightful post-WWII details, told all through a series of letters. I LOVE books about writers, and I love it when literature refers to literature (you know what I mean?) I’ve been trying to read this book for years, and I’m glad I finally listened to it because the readers’ accents were darling. Note: this book does include some language and suggestive themes.

Life Together (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) — It seemed fittingly ironic to read this book about Christian fellowship right now when we’re “social distancing.” I don’t want to forget for a moment how important and precious is “life together” with my church people — no matter where we are. Bonhoeffer talked about how Christian fellowship is a gift of grace that may be taken at any time. Honestly, I didn’t take the time to fully digest this book, but I came away with some great quotes like this one:

“(The Christian) knows that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces him guilty, even when he does not feel his guilt, and God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces him not guilty and righteous, even when he does not feel that he is righteous at all.”

–Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Here are 7 articles, organized by topic, that I discovered and enjoyed reading this past season.

Missions

What should Christians think about the bride price? (David Hare) — thinking through how the Gospel interacts with culture.

Where are You From? (Grace Holsten) — Thoughts about our Anchor from an MK.

Writing

How I Write So Much (Jared Wilson) — I resonate with this writer’s anthem.

The Value in Doing – Lessons from a Banana (Lisa Dean) — Did you know someone once paid thousands of dollars for a banana? Love these thoughts on creativity and worth from Lisa.

Homemaking

Why You’ve Got to Have Guests When Your House isn’t Perfect (the Nester) — “Hospitality isn’t about me. It’s about you who come into my home.” I’ve been blessed by so many unfinished remodeled houses throughout my life.

Literature

10 things you might not know about Little Women’s Laurie (Trix Wilkins) — This is for all you Alcott fans out there!

It’s Like in the Great Stories, Mr. Frodo (Madelyn Canada) — When you feel like saying, “I can’t do this, Sam.” (Which is me pretty much every morning when it’s time to get up.) Loved this article!

7 thoughts on “7 Book Reviews // Plot Twist Tuesday

  1. I was scrolling your blog looking at your literature picks when I saw my name! I’m honored to be mentioned in your list of article picks! Plus, I learned that we have similar taste in books. I love Jerry Bridges and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I have Bonhoeffer’s book sitting on my shelf but haven’t opened it yet. It sounds like now would be a perfect time to start that one. Thank you for the recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa — I love that we have similar tastes! Let me know what you think of “Life Together.” And I just can’t stop thinking about your article–such great insight. Thanks for your comment and keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ugh, I am thinking I should read 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, but I don’t wanna. I mean, I do, but I don’t. I already know my phone use is doing bad things from me, but (as with most bad habits) I don’t want to confront it, I want to pretend it’s not so bad and I can ignore it. How often have I said smartphones are this generation’s smoking habit, and still I’m resisting taking it seriously in my own life? Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you! I knew when I opened the book “12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You” I wouldn’t be an exception to any of them. 😀 But what I really liked about the book was that it wasn’t all “why you shouldn’ts” — it really captured the why and the heart behind everything we do it our digital world. If you read it, I hope you enjoy!

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  4. My small Bible Study group just started the Jerry Bridges Book. It is a good book. Thank you for giving new life to your blog!
    Well, it was full of life before but now we are hearing more from you. One of the blessings of the virus. I actually see many. This morning I read several letters from missionaries, and God is at work in new ways. Who would have thought? Grandma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grandma — you are right! There are many blessings to the virus, like having more time to read and write. I’m also seeing the resilience from our missionaries! This uncertainly we are feeling is something they (and the people they serve) are accustomed to overseas in hard-to-reach places. Happy Easter!

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