BlogHer Book Club Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

My husband probably wishes that I hadn't received a copy of Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) from BlogHer, because there were a number of nights that I was shaking the bed with laughter while he was trying to sleep. Jenny Lawson, better known as The Bloggess, has put together one of the single funniest memoirs I've ever read. I suppose it's a memoir in the sense that it tells stories from Jenny's life, but I would put this more in the category of a collection of essays than firmly in the memoir category. Regardless, I absolutely adored every page of this book. It's completely irreverent, completely insane, and completely entertaining. My favorite bits were some of the conversations that she and Victor had. I sincerely hope those parts are true, … [Read more...]

Feed Your eReader!

Kindle

I was quite sure that I was not going to like e-books as much as I like real books. And then I read Stephen King's 864 page 11/22/63 without the arm strain and decided that they are pretty much the best thing ever. I've been a fan ever since. With the holidays fast approaching, I wanted to let you know about a few ebooks that you can gift to your friends or keep for yourself (the following are all affiliate links - thanks for helping support this blog with your purchases!). Robb Ryerse was a fundamentalist of the not-so-nice sort, until he discovered that he was no longer content with the things he had always believed. He details the move from fundamentalist pastor to emergent church planter in his new book, Fundamorphosis. I appreciated this book because we often hear stories of how … [Read more...]

Why Biblical Womanhood Needs Rachel Held Evans

Rachel vs Rachel

  The Christian blogosphere has produced a storm of posts about feminism over the past few weeks. Some posts condemning feminism, some posts lauding feminism, some posts wrestling with feminism. While this is a somewhat common topic, it has been brought to the forefront again by the release of Rachel Held Evans's new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master." I, for one, am grateful for this conversation. My history is in the complementarian camp. I was brought up in a church where women were not allowed to vote regarding matters in the church, let alone be a pastor. Wives submitted to husbands who submitted to God. And while it seemed grossly unfair to me as a little … [Read more...]

Book Review: Building a Life Out of Words by Shawn Smucker

Shawn Smucker has a fascinating story. Fortunately, he is a wonderful story-teller, so that works out well for him.In his new e-book Building a Life Out of Words, Shawn shares the story of becoming a full-time writer. The first thing that you should know about this book is that it is not a how-to book. If you're reading this to find out how you can make a living as a writer, this is not going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to achieve that goal. However, any time someone shares their story, there will be events that you can learn from if you want to follow in their footsteps.Through the chapters, Shawn tells us a bit more about his journey. His fears, his failures, his successes, his resolve. I really enjoyed reading about he and his wife Maile navigated the challenges of not … [Read more...]

BlogHer Book Club Review: Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee

Stephanie McAfee's Diary of a Mad Fat Girl was originally released as a self-published e-book. Just a few months after she put it out there, it debuted at #31 on the New York Times bestseller list. She stayed there for 12 weeks, got an agent, and got published.It's an impressive story.I just wish I liked the book as much as I liked the story of McAfee's road to publishing success.First, I just felt like the book was overwhelmed with pop culture references. If the book was about pop culture that would be one thing, but they just felt like they were put in for no real purpose. They didn't add to the story, they didn't flesh out the characters. If I picked up this book five years from now, I just think these would make it feel dated and irrelevant.As for the characters, I felt more like they … [Read more...]

BlogHer Book Club Review: The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith

This month the BlogHer Book Club is reading The Rules of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith.I love memoirs and this was by far one of the most unique books in that genre that I've read. Rather than telling her story in a linear fashion, Claire shares bits and pieces, broken up. Claire at 18. Claire at 22. Claire at 14. Each section gave us a better view of the pieces that we had seen before.I also loved that because it was, in part, about losing parents, the disjointed story-telling actually helps set the mood. She deals honestly with depression, addiction, and grief. The dialog is all shared without quotes, so the story has almost a free verse form to it.The pain of losing a parent, let alone both, is one that I have not had to experience. Because Claire lost her parents at such a young … [Read more...]

BlogHer Book Club Review: The Underside of Joy

This month the BlogHer Book Club is reviewing Sere Prince Halverson’s debut book, The Underside of Joy.This story starts out beautifully with the description of the relationship between the newly married couple, Joe and Ella, and Joe’s children Annie and Zach. Halverson gives us a glimpse of a couple that is happy, but is working through learning how to communicate in a more honest way. When Joe dies, Ella finds out some of the areas where she and Joe had not been fully honest with one another. In the midst of that, Joe’s first wife and the mother of Annie and Zach comes back into the picture, wanting to become more involved in their lives. I really enjoyed this book. Halverson has woven a beautiful story here. Her characters are believable and likable. And as a woman who has suffered from … [Read more...]

Interview with Jason Boyett

The apocalypse is coming, you guys, and who better to prepare us than Jason Boyett, author of the new book, Pocket Guide to 2012: Your Once-in-a-Lifetime Guide to Not Completely Freaking Out.I've had the opportunity to get to know Jason a little bit over the past couple of years through the social media. His book O Me of Little Faith was the first book about doubt that I ever read and it gave me hope and assurances that I wasn't the only one who felt this way.Jason is a fantastic, funny, informative writer. I was very much looking forward to his take on the end times and I was not disappointed. Jason gives tons of information in a way that manages to be both hilarious and still somewhat respectful (which is difficult, given the subject manner). I had the chance to ask Jason a few … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us by Matt Woodley

The good folks at InterVarsity Press have a new series of commentaries being released, called the Resonate Series. The second book in this series is The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us by Matt Woodley. As someone who is not so much a non-fiction reader, let alone a commentary reader, I was a bit hesitant to agree to read and review even just one chapter for the blog tour. But since it was just a chapter (and because Ed Cyzewski is a persistent friend), I agreed to go ahead and give it a whirl. And I ended up going back and reading the whole thing.The purpose of these commentaries is to provide insight into the passages in a new way. Rather than to simply break down verses and explain their cultural meaning, these books also seek to make them culturally relevant for the reader as well. … [Read more...]

Book Review: Because I Can by Janet Oberholtzer

I'm not always the most thorough person when I visit someone else's blog for the first time. This was the case with Janet Oberholtzer. For whatever reason the first few times I went to her site, I read what had been linked, maybe commented and then clicked away. I didn't visit her "about" page for the first several times I went to her site. I just liked her writing and thought it was cool that she ran.So it took me a few trips to Janet's site to realize that Janet even having a site is kind of miraculous. And the more I read of her story at her site, the more excited I was to read the book that she was working on. So I was thrilled for her when she won the Rhizome Publishing contest allowing her book to be published and available to all of us!Janet was in an accident that nearly took her … [Read more...]