As the floods of motherhood often threaten to overwhelm me, reading and writing have been some of the ways that I’ve maintained my own sense of self. Reading has been a life-long passion of mine, so I’m always on the hunt for a good book. I love seeing what others are reading, so I thought I would share my own bookshelf for the month of January.
I started out the new year by finishing up this biography of Lincoln, written by his law partner, William H. Herndon. After seeing the movie, Lincoln, several weeks ago, I asked my dad, my resident Lincoln expert, what I should read to get a good overview of Lincoln’s life, and this was his recommendation. Admittedly, Herndon may not be the best writer, but I appreciated his perspective since he spent so much time with Lincoln before his presidency. He focuses on Lincoln as a young man and attorney; I wished he had spent more time on Lincoln as president, but I enjoyed reading a cohesive book about Lincoln’s earlier life.
I then dove into Sara Barton‘s book on women and the church. I found her approach gracious and refreshing. Sara graduated from the same university that I did, though she was a few years ahead of me. Reading her work felt very familiar, like I had found an unknown sister. I loved the way she tackled what can be a very prickly issue with grace and truth. Part of me wants to slip this book to everyone in our church leadership. Sara is someone I admire and wish I could know personally.
A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband “Master”
It was interesting to read this book by Rachel Held Evans right after finishing Sara’s book. Their approaches are vastly different, but they come to very similar conclusions about what the bible says about women. Rachel’s story of following the bible literally for a year is humorous, and I appreciated her sincerity as she interviewed women who practice their faith in starkly different ways. I liked the book, but I would guess that a lot of people I know would be offended by Rachel’s approach. I don’t know why, because she tackles the issue with respect and honesty, but her book seems to have set off quite a reaction from the evangelical establishment, including Lifeway’s refusal to carry it. Weird. Anyway, I would encourage anyone who is hesitant, to read Rachel’s book with an open mind and a soft heart. I really appreciated it.
After all of that nonfiction, I was ready to return to my true love, the novel. I received some surprising feedback from my post about the film (over 500 “likes” so far, crazy), and as my brother and I were discussing the movie and my post, I realized that to truly appreciate the depth of the story, I need to reread Victor Hugo’s great work. So, I’m diving back in. So far, I’m loving it. Maybe my eighteen-year-old self just wasn’t quite ready for this kind of depth. I’m pretty sure this will take me the rest of the month. It’s long!
So, what are you reading?