What I’ve Been Reading Lately

Y’all know I love books. I’m constantly in the middle of three or four and, let’s just be honest, there are stacks of books piled high all over my room.

Here are three recent reads that you might be interested in.

In addition to my thoughts on each read, I’ve linked to where you can find more information and/or order the book.

 

Here, Now: Unearthing Peace and Presence in an Overconnected WorldHere, Now: Unearthing Peace and Presence in an Overconnected World :: Kate Merrick

My thoughts: Here, Now is a call to unplug and focus on what’s right in front of you. Over and over, Merrick talks about practicing presence – and I think that would have been a more fitting title.

I really appreciated her focus on appreciating the present moment and choosing to live fully where we are with the time we have.

Throughout the book, Merrick often talks about getting rid of social media. She writes of the ways she felt pulled in different directions and the peace she has found in less notifications and distractions. This is encouraging, a viewpoint we may have heard before, but usually not from someone taking his or her own advice. Merrick is actually living this out – and has been for years.

For those who have read Merrick’s first book, this will feel like a good continuation and fills in some of the storyline gaps. But for those who are first meeting Merrick through Here, Now, it may be a little difficult to follow along as she jumps between various timelines throughout the book, while assuming you know the main bullet points of the story told in her first title. I would definitely suggest picking up And Still She Laughs first, as you’ll then better enjoy Here, Now.

 

++++

 

I Think You're WrongI Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening) :: Sarah Stewart Holland & Beth Silvers

My thoughts: Although I’ve never listened to the Pantsuit Politics podcast, I’ve heard great things about this book – from people with various political backgrounds and opinions/beliefs – and so I was intrigued before even beginning.

There are many ideas within the pages of the book that are thought-provoking, grace-filled, and potentially both life and culture changing. “Take off your jersey” is an example of this. It’s simple and practical, easy to remember, and yet incredibly helpful.

As I continued reading, I began to pick up on a detail that, while small, became very frustrating. Always, throughout the entire book and in every example, Sarah is listed first. Sarah this, then Beth. It took me a while to notice, but once I did I started looking for any sentence where the opposite was true. I doubt the authors meant anything by it, but it felt off-putting. I honestly don’t know how it could be unintentional, as it was the order every time.

It also bothered me that specific sections felt like they were pushing an agenda… and yet, I don’t think they actually were. Most likely, it’s the tone implied upon reading. The sections in which they wrote about how they approached specific topics with different beliefs and opinions yet but found common ground was interesting, but as a reader I felt like that common ground was portrayed as “here’s where we landed and we both agree on this, so you should too.”

Again, I don’t think that’s the intention and the book as a whole certainly points to the opposite – they write that they aren’t trying to push their beliefs but instead listen and learn. And yet, multiple times I finished a chapter feeling like there was an unspoken agenda.

Overall, I’m glad that I read this book and will definitely suggest it to others even just for the “continue the conversation” sections, but I feel that it could have been a stronger book with better editing.

 

++++

 

Remember GodRemember God :: Annie F. Downs

My thoughts: As a long-time reader of Annie F. Downs, I can say without hesitation that Remember God is different than all of her other books — in a good way. Remember God takes the reader deeper and is an invitation into Annie’s life — the good, the great, the difficult and the regular.

Annie writes as a friend, sharing honestly and vulnerably throughout the pages. You won’t find cliche sentences in this book, and there’s no bow wrapping everything up at the end.

There are a few things, like The List, that felt a bit… uncomfortable? It’s hard to find the right word for it, really. I’ve seen other reviews saying that portion felt like entitlement and self-pity. I can see that. As an author myself, I understand the desire to be on The List. There’s something off-putting about the way Annie wrote about it, and yet I can’t quite put my finger on why it came across that way. Maybe it’s simply this: as a reader, I wanted to say “I’m sorry that happened, but there are so many great things happening and I wish you wouldn’t focus solely on the one negative because you’re missing so much. Is The List really what matters most? Is that where your value comes from?”

That being said, I’ve recommended this book many times. I appreciate the rawness with which Annie writes, and I respect Annie not only for inviting the reader into the messy middle but for refusing to wrap it all up with a bow.

 

PSA: I received these books in exchange for honest reviews. Affiliate links are used on this page.