I am so excited to finally be doing a post on books! Since becoming a momma of two there has been next to no time to read, but I am happy to say that little Thing Two is finally napping with some semblance of consistency now, which means I was actually able to finish a few books this month!
Here are the books I read in July, along with which ones I recommend…
American Wife by Taya Kyle
Having just seen the film American Sniper, it felt serendipitous when I was gifted this book by my friend Rachel, a Marine wife and nurse; but I was even more blessed by her sweet note inside which was such a great reminder that we are all in this together.
As for the book itself, it started out a little slow for me. The beginning felt a little “canned,” and I didn’t feel like her humor was coming across the way she intended at some points. That all changed when I hit the section titled “Shattered.” From that point on, her voice rang out clear, raw, and beautifully passionate and honest; I had a hard time putting it down after that. While I couldn’t agree with all her theology, I appreciated her exploration of faith through her grief and was truly inspired by her courage and her commitment to Chris through the ups and downs of military life. I would recommend American Wife to my military and civilian friends alike. Thank you, Rachel!
Favorite Quotes from American Wife
“People said Chris was blessed that I hung in there during his service to our country; in fact, I was the one who was blessed. I wanted everyone to hear me say that” (p. 200)
“What was remarkable to me in retrospect was the kids’ attitude toward God…they weren’t angry with him that their father had died. Instead, they told God they were thankful that He had given them Chris to be their father. They said it without crying, without anger, and without prompting. The faith of innocents is a truly blessed faith” (p. 184).
“It can be difficult to remember, but God doesn’t leave you in your pain. You’re not being punished. Faith is not the only support, but it can be a powerful one” (p. 324).
“From the moment I learned the horrible news of Chris’s death, people have asked me what they could do for me. I have always had one simple answer: Pray. Pray that I will always hear Chris’s voice…Pray that I will continue forward, on my belly if I have to, until the day comes that God anoints me with those he has saved” (p. 329)
Anything by Jennie Allen
I loved this book. At some points it felt like the author was reading my mind, and at others she changed my perspective completely. I don’t even want to tell you too much about it because I just want you to read it; but basically the book is about what happened in her life when her and her husband began praying that God would do whatever he wanted with their lives and resources. This book was a massive wake up call to just how often I let fear dictate my life. I would recommend this book one thousand times over to anyone.
Favorite Quotes from Anything
“Usually we do not fear God. We do not see him for who he is; we doubt him. We belittle him. It is the most damaging thing in us-to mistake God for something small or wavering…” (p. 7)
“I did wonder sometimes, when I closed my eyes and let it get scary quiet, if I was missing the best things, the things that matter most, because I was afraid. He knows we keep chasing other loves until we love him most. We keep spinning. We keep searching, restless. We keep missing all he has for us. He’ll always feel far away, drowned out by other louder rivers, until every other thing fades away and he becomes the only thing” (p. 39)
“We seize more of God when he seizes us through our broken dreams. He is wildly unpredictable, and learning to question and accept his ways is part of the journey of following an unsafe, invisible God…Our faith must remain greater than our pain and our fears” (p. 61).
“One big thing- God must replace the chaos of me. I’m over my cute, comfortable, easy life. I don’t want to make decisions based on my adequacy and capacity. I don’t want to miss what God has for us because I am afraid” (p. 144)
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
I wanted to love this book. I grew up on To Kill a Mockingbird, and still re-read it fairly often. Atticus has always been one of my fictional heroes. I mean, who doesn’t love Atticus? Well, you understandably might not after reading Go Set a Watchman. This book is not a sequel; it is the destruction of everything you love about TKAM. Not only are we informed almost immediately that Jem is dead, but the majority of the book revolves around Scout’s hero metaphorically dying to her as she attempts to wrap her mind around that fact that Atticus is a segregationist, and that she basically hates everyone from her hometown except her Uncle and her ‘retired’ nanny Cal, who now wants nothing to do with her. The only parts I enjoyed were the flashbacks to Scout’s childhood memories, and her snarky verbal spars with her hometown would-be ‘beau.’ Honestly, I wish I had never read it, and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who loves TKAM.
Favorite Quotes from Go Set A Watchman
“Had she hindsight, could she have pierced the barriers of her highly selective, insular world, she may have discovered that all her life she had been with a visual defect which had gone unnoticed and neglected by herself and by those closest to her: she was born color blind.” (p. 122)
“Atticus Finch’s secret of living was so simple it was deeply complex: where most men had codes and tried to live up to them, Atticus lived his to the letter with no fuss, no fanfare, and no soul-searching. His private character was his public character…Even his enemies loved him, because Atticus never acknowledged that they were his enemies.” (p. 115)
“Baby, you’ll have to grow some more before this makes sense to you, but your daddy and mamma loved each other something fierce, and when you love somebody like that, Miss Scout, why that’s what they want to do…they want to kiss and hug and carry on and have babies all the time.” (p. 138)
Want the ‘cliffnotes’ version of my recommendations? I say “Yes” to American Wife; “Definitely Yes!” to Anything; and “No, thank you” to Go Set a Watchman (but if you haven’t read it yet, a great big “YES” to To Kill a Mockingbird). Happy reading, friend!