Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Recent reads - end of 2012

Recent reads
After moving house in September last year, I faced a slight dilemma. How do I manage to read all the books that are on my ever growing reading wish list without adding to the masses of books we already own? Moving house and packing up many boxes really highlights things like an over abundance of books!

I was very blessed to receive a kindle as a gift from my husband when the twins were born. Thus allowing me to download many books without requiring any shelf space. This gift, combined with the need to find 30 minutes of quiet, several times a day to express milk (not fun) gave me a nice amount of time to get through some interesting reads. In fact, I think I read more in the 6 weeks after the boys were born than in the previous 9 months!

So, here's what I read:
A Year of Biblical Womanhood - Rachel Held Evans
This book had been on my wish list since it came out. I read Rachel's blog as often as I can.
And I really enjoyed it. Serious and funny at the same time. Humbling but also empowering.
I was most impacted by the January chapter where Rachel tackles the Proverbs 31 woman and the list of tasks and achievements we have turned it into. The reclaiming of the meaning of Eshet chayil, 'woman of valour' has really challenged and changed my thinking, which is why I have made it one of my themes for this year. And it makes me want to make sure all women know they are Eshet chayil!

1000 Gifts - Ann Voskamp
I wasn't quite sure what had drawn me to this book other than another blogger who had referenced it. But now I know it was a total God thing. This book has literally stopped me in my tracks, messed with my head and set me off very slowly, probably in the same direction but with very different glasses on! I can't adequately put into words my thoughts on this book, other than to highly recommend it. I have already passed it onto 3 people! This is where the theme of Eucharisteo comes from and I will no doubt be sharing more from this book as I work that out this year.

Half the Church - Carolyn Custis James
This book was referenced in the Year of Biblical Womanhood and mentioned on some other blogs. I was really pleased that I read this and would recommend it to all women, in fact all men too, in church. It discusses God's vision for women across the globe and challenges the western idea that women are solely created by God to be wives and mothers. I've just started reading The Gospel of Ruth also by Carolyn Custis James and I'm really enjoying it.

Crazy Love - Francis Chan
This was a book that kept coming up on different blogs a while ago. I don't think that it highlighted anything new to me but it was good to refresh things. It challenges believers to a life of more than just church attendance. If God loves us as he does, how can we not long to do more?!

Creating Space - Ed Cyzewski
I downloaded this mostly because it was free! But it was a great read. A short but succinct book explaining the importance of allowing ourselves time to be creative in whichever way that works for us. We are all formed in the image of a creative God and therefore are each creative in some way. This will look different for each of us, but the importance is not really in what we create but in being part of a creative process. I enjoyed this book and will hopefully go back to it regularly to remind myself why I need to find time to be creative.

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness - Timothy Keller
Again, I downloaded this because it was cheap, and I'd read other things by Tim Keller and liked them. Its a small book and a pretty quick read. It describes the importance of recognising the problem of thinking too much of ourselves and getting the right perspective on ourselves and God. Again, nothing completely new to me, but good to read and be challenged on.

The Great Gatsby - Scott F Fitzgerald
I decided that I should read something other than Christian books and that a 'classic' might be an idea. The film version of The Great Gatsby is due out this year I think and I was hearing (reading) the title mentioned quite a bit so thought I should read it. And it was 99p on Kindle!
I have to say I was a bit disappointed with it. I felt that the story just rambled along and then stopped. There were no interesting revelations or cliff hangers or twists. I won't be dashing out to see the film but at least when I do watch it I can compare it to the book!

Ruth - Elizabeth Gaskell
I love Elizabeth Gaskell stories, although I've watched more than I've read. Wives and Daughters is my all time favourite period drama series. I have vivid memories of watching it at my Nana's after a day at 6th form. And even though I know the story I cry every time I watch it!
Ruth was no different. A real glimpse into history and the social and cultural expectations on women. But there's also a wonderful theme of grace and a challenge to how we judge people and our preconceptions. The ending was unexpected and rather sad, which is probably why it hasn't been turned into a tv series. There's no riding off into the sunset. But still a lovely story.

So, those are my recent reads. I don't think I'll get through so many over the next few months.
Have you read anything recently that you've enjoyed?
Do you have any recommendations?

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