20 Sep What I’ve Been Reading Lately
The world right now is a book lover’s dream. Everywhere I look, there are new books coming out that scream, “READ ME! I HAVE SUPER IMPORTANT THINGS TO TELL YOU.”
They put me in my happy place. But they also make me poor. Priorities.
Today, I’m highlighting four books that you absolutely must buy – RIGHT NOW – and read as soon as you can. Buy one for yourself, buy some for Christmas presents, and be prepared to be changed. I’m not saying this lightly. These books have changed my way of thinking on so many things.
The first one I finished just this morning, friends, and it’s a game changer. You might have seen it advertised, especially since it’s Oprah’s latest book club pick. (Side note – this is not why I read it. I ordered it from Amazon before Oprah ever chose it. Her choices have sometimes made me scratch my head and ask, “Really?” But not this one. She chose wisely.)
Book 1 – Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior (click to buy)
If you’re a mom and reader of blogs, you’ve probably encountered Glennon Doyle Melton’s blog, Momastery. She’s candid and honest, and people love her writing because it’s so real. Her book, Love Warrior, is so real it made me weep. I’m not joking – crying out loud, snot, the whole nine yards.
So, a couple of disclaimers before I go any further with this book. One, it’s not pretty. She was an alcoholic, a bulimic, and aborted her first pregnancy. And she is super honest about all of it. She talks about her multiple sexual partners and uses the F word when describing her old way of life. She is real and she is raw, and if this offends you, don’t buy the book. But if you like stories of redemption, BUY IT RIGHT NOW.
Second, her views on religion might be uncomfortable to you. She talks about God in unconventional ways, and she attends church where a minister is openly gay. She has written things before like, “I think Jesus would come back as a poor, black, gay teenage girl.” Her thinking is not the typical Bible belt view of God. Again, just beware.
So, if those are reasons not to buy it, why should you?
Chapter 8. That’s why. Oh my word, chapter 8.
You see, this is where she learns of her husband’s addiction to pornography and his multiple affairs, and this is where she writes, “If the answers to the questions of me are not successful wife and mother, then what answers do I have left? None. If I am not Mrs. Melton after all, then who am I? Nobody. The end.”
Chapter 8 is where I had snot running down my face as I sat in my car and underlined words and cried, “Yes. Me too.”
If you have ever lived in a pit of sin, wrestled with what the world tells women to be, or grieved the life you thought you had, please read her words. She says things like, “Grief is nothing but a painful waiting, a horrible patience. Grief cannot be torn down or scaled or overcome or outsmarted. It can only be outlasted.”
Some of her words ripped my heart apart, and some of them provided salve for old wounds.
Good. So good.
Listen. I know the tension you feel right now. There are a million things to do, less than a million hours to do them in, and only one of you. You are absolutely overwhelmed, and because you want to seem like you have it all together, you keep marching forward. You keep marching when everything in you screams, “STOP!” You have an image in your head of who you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do. The image is killing you, but you’re dying alone. You won’t admit you’re drowning.
In this book, Shauna (I can call her by her first name – we’re friends now) gives women permission to let things go. One of my favorite passages says, “This life you’re building is entirely your creation, fashioned out of your dreams and fears. What do you want? What do you love? What ways of living have you simply acquiesced to, simply because someone told you to? Because it seemed smart or practical or easy? Are those the best words to describe how you want to live?”
I LOVE that she asks, “What do you want? What do you love?” Because I think sometimes we refuse to let ourselves care about such things. We think they are frivolous and not serious, not things grown women should be spending energy thinking about. But we’re wrong. When we lose sight of what we love and what we want, we waste away. We lose ourselves in the frantic life we’ve allowed.
This is one of those books where I have underlined something on practically every page. In the margins, I have written, “YES!” and “This is me.”
She simply invites and encourages women to evaluate their lives, to give themselves permission to make their own choices, and to take up their space in the world.
So refreshing and so necessary.
If you couldn’t tell from the title, this book is all about the shame we feel, carry around, and allow to bind us. Christine Caine tells her own story of why she felt shamed for so long, and if you’ve never heard her testimony, it is a doozy. (She just preached at Elevation’s Code Orange Revival, and she shared her story. Watch it here when you have time.)
In the first chapter, she writes, “I don’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t feel that there was something wrong with who I was, something deficient in me.” From that line, I was hooked. So much of her story is just like mine, and she walks her readers through her healing. It is inspiring and amazing.
One part of this book I particularly loved was her candid discussion of being a woman, especially in ministry. She writes, “I often felt that as a woman, I was secondary. I was less than.” I won’t get into this discussion here, but let me say that I said Amen right out loud there. One of the most powerful women in ministry writes about what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world. Powerful.
I was honored to be on the launch team for this book, which means that I got an advanced copy of the book to read and get to help promote it! I have followed Edie’s blog and social media for years, so I knew parts of her story, but this memoir blew me away. She grew up in a dysfunctional family and had to grapple with drunk family members, poverty, and hunger.
Her relationship with her daddy, an alcoholic, is at the center of her story, and her goal in life became to make him proud. She eventually became a medical doctor as part of this quest, but when the degree and status failed to satisfy her, she self-destructed, breaking up her own marriage in the process.
Parts of Edie’s story hit home for me, and her incredible writing style kept me up at night to finish this book! I’m always fascinated to read the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of someone’s life, and this story is truly unbelievable. I think you’ll love it.
Ok – you know what to do now! Click, buy, read, and be changed. These books are such a breath of fresh air in a world telling you to put on a happy face and pretend everything’s perfect. They tell you to be you – authentically – and to face your truths rather than settle for a lie. That’s a message we all need.
I’m an affiliate for books I’ve read and loved. If you buy through my referral links, at no extra cost to you, I’ll make a commission. Thanks for supporting me this way!