This is one of those books where I love the story, but I didn't care for the writing of it. There are certainly some really beautiful and tender momenThis is one of those books where I love the story, but I didn't care for the writing of it. There are certainly some really beautiful and tender moments in here, as well as some honest reflection that allows the reader deep into Larissa's heart. I am grateful for her willingness to share her story because she does not have to let us into her world and heart.
But -- the book was hard to read. Not as in emotionally hard, although there are pull-at-the heartstrings moments. The challenge with this book, for me, was in two areas.
1. Timeline -- Larissa uses a common technique of mixing past and present, which can be very effective at keeping readers engaged and pushing forward in their reading. But in order for this to be done well, there must be significant clues to the reader that this is happening. Chapter breaks, larger than usual paragraph breakers, dates, and transitional words and phrases are necessary. Unfortunately, they are frequently missing (at least in the e-book version I read). Thus, I would move from a moment where the family was celebrating that Ian took a few bites of food immediately into him talking about walking. More than once I had to look back to see if I was missing a page or if I had missed something to clue me into the fact that this was happening. These clues were all too often missing.
2. Incomplete Story -- I recognize that Larissa does not owe us her story. She did not have to tell it, but when she decided to be open about her story, she also opened herself to a lot of curiosity about her life and decisions. I left this book with so many unanswered questions that I felt immensely dissatisfied. I was sharing the story with my husband who kept asking me questions to which my answer was, "I have no idea. She didn't talk about that." For example, I wondered about her family, I wondered about her relationship with her Mother-in-law, I wondered why they moved, I wondered how she came to have other family members living with them . . . it went on and on and on. It felt like she was telling this story to people who already knew these answers.
As with many of the books that I have been disappointed with this year, I wish there had been better organization and more specific details in the story. For potential writers who want to share their lives with a wider audience, please remember that your readers have not lived with you all your lives and if your story is interesting or unique, you may be called upon to tell us more than you might feel comfortable with sharing....more
One star? Five Stars? Oh, I have no idea. I've settled on three, but I'm not even certain that this right. The book sets out to help people find theirOne star? Five Stars? Oh, I have no idea. I've settled on three, but I'm not even certain that this right. The book sets out to help people find their purpose and then provide the encouragement to follow that -- but I felt throughout the the book that the author had a secondary, that often times fronted to a primary purpose, of telling his readers about his coffee business in Rwanda. And frankly, this was where the book got really good. I loved hearing the stories about the work he was engaged in and the people he met. There was a beautiful story in here about forgiveness that I will likely never forget. But in between these lovely moments, were sections where I felt like I was listening to a poorly organized sermon. I found myself wishing that Golden had set out to write a memoir instead of a Christian self-help book.
The most difficult part of this book is what call his tendency to maybeize decisions -- as in maybe you could do this or perhaps you could do this or maybe this might be better. I completely understand that it is difficult to give advice to people about their calling because callings are unique. But it wasn't helpful nor even interesting to have lists of maybe this, maybe that. I work with students everyday who can't figure out their calling and often have a great deal of angst about this. Giving them a whole bunch of maybes is not only not helpful, but also can produce a fair amount of anxiety.
I also took issue with his assumption that everyone has inklings and that these inklings should be followed, often at great cost (like moving, quitting a job, taking out a loan). He even has a six step plan for dealing with these inklings, which I am sure for those who get them might be useful, but for someone whose brain doesn't work this way, I found it a little strange to be told repeatedly that I should follow them.
Finally, I felt like Golden tried to do too much. He gave advice for so much more than finding ones calling -- really it was more about living the spiritual life. For a reader who is looking to discover their calling, this book is too much of everything else and not enough on what might be involved in finding this for those who really have no idea what it is that makes them come alive.
This is an excellent collection of blog posts written by Kara Tippetts of Mundane Faithfulness collected and published after her death. Readers who caThis is an excellent collection of blog posts written by Kara Tippetts of Mundane Faithfulness collected and published after her death. Readers who came to know Kara through her previous books, but have not read her blog, may appreciate this collection of some of the best of her work. It makes her writing accessible for those who are not blog readers and allows those of us who came to know Kara only as she was dying a chance to know better how she lived in the middle of her long goodbye.
Kara's writing, like her life and death, is beautiful and honest. She stays faithful to to her truth and her people. She presents a philosophy of life that can be appreciated both by those who know the end of their life is near and those who do not. As I read through this collection of blog posts, I felt a deep longing to live a better life in the midst of my own mundane, everyday existence. I don't know how long my good-bye is, but I do know that I want my own life to be beautiful to those who happen to be a part of it. Kara's book is a great encouragement to do that, no matter what the source of our challenges might be.
I had the privilege of reading an ARC copy of this book, thanks to Netgalley and David C. Cook. I don't know if the final copy will have this or not, but I did find myself longing for dated posts. I can understand why it may not be included, but I would have found it helpful to know how much time transpired between some of the posts....more
#1 -- I am so glad I can finally say I have read this book. Someone recommended it to me in 1993 and I finally read it!
#2 -- It is such a good book --#1 -- I am so glad I can finally say I have read this book. Someone recommended it to me in 1993 and I finally read it!
#2 -- It is such a good book -- like really -- I understand the hype. I'm a little overwhelmed with holocaust literature at the moment and feeling a little melancholy about mankind, but this book encourages me to find meaning in my everyday, ordinary existence. And I can't say that I ever really enjoy reading about the horrific things humans do to each other, I appreciated the way Frankl uses his experiences to explain his psychological viewpoint. His stories illustrate his theoretical framework in a way that is rather unforgettable.
#3 -- This needs to be required reading.
That's all. Just read it. All of it. And don't wait 13 years like I did.
I enjoyed reading Hudson's take on Christianity and the church in the places she visited. I found her coffee metaphor to be a little tiresome at timesI enjoyed reading Hudson's take on Christianity and the church in the places she visited. I found her coffee metaphor to be a little tiresome at times, but it was only a small portion of the book, so it was easy to overlook.
What she did really well was share her experience of visiting these places. She provides a wonderful glimpse into the lives of people who worship in parts of the world many of her readers will never have a chance to visit....more
I've always enjoyed Church history, so this book was fun to read in that regard. It was an interesting approach to understanding the world in which thI've always enjoyed Church history, so this book was fun to read in that regard. It was an interesting approach to understanding the world in which the Christian Church was conceived. I don't think I fully appreciated how counter-cultural the early Christians were and the degree to which they influenced the culture I currently live in. This book did a nice job of explaining the contribution of the early church to the way we live our lives today. It was highly readable, interesting, and at the end, immensely practical. Initially I did not appreciate what I felt were tacked on, practical tips for Christians today, but I can understand why Aquilina felt that this was a necessary addition to his book. For some readers, having the author provide a "so-what" can be enormously helpful.
I did love his comments about immigrants and how Christians should be at the forefront of loving the sojourner in our country. My own community struggles with this and there were several passages of this book I wanted to beg my community to read and discuss.
One issue (and it may be because I was reading an e-copy and this may have been missing from my version), but I would have liked to have seen more references in the book. There were a few times when I wanted to find the primary source of historical events and I didn't see this for everything I read. Even a list of helpful historical books would have been a nice addition -- because for me this book piqued my interest in reading more and I'm not sure where to head next....more
This was a great read about an area of the world that is near and dear to my heart. I have never been to Bhutan, nor do I know anyone who has, but isThis was a great read about an area of the world that is near and dear to my heart. I have never been to Bhutan, nor do I know anyone who has, but is proximity to Nepal and India made the stories in this book feel oddly familiar. I loved the way Leaming structured this book. Instead of a travel narrative or memoir, she structures her stories around practices that have enhanced her life, giving specific examples about this practices from her life in Bhutan and in Nashville, TN. Ultimately, this book made me want to do what it takes to life a better, more joy-filled life with those around me, whether that is at home with my family, at work with my students, or in my travels across the globe. ...more
I loved the idea behind this book, as well as the insights about St. Francis. I felt less lonely when I read this book and more connected to those whoI loved the idea behind this book, as well as the insights about St. Francis. I felt less lonely when I read this book and more connected to those who are disillusioned with the religion of their youth. This is a book best read slowly (which I did not) and perhaps in a setting where it could be discussed with others. I'd like to read more about St. Francis as it seems he and I may have been kindred spirits, at least at some time in my life. I may be a bit to cynical these days.
What I didn't like -- and what almost got this book 2 stars or less was the unbelievable flow of the narrative. I get that Cron was attempting to tell his readers about Francis through a modern-day story, but it was just a bit too neat for my tastes. Life is far messier and this felt just a bit too hopeful for me (see -- my cynicism is showing). But I did love learning about Francis and seeing the possibility for his life and teachings to change a life. And for that, this book is worth a slow reread at some point again in my life....more
The first part about cognitive blending drags on a bit too long, but the second part of this book on positive thinking could prove to be life changingThe first part about cognitive blending drags on a bit too long, but the second part of this book on positive thinking could prove to be life changing for some people. I finished this book eager to be fully present in life, to live this life as a full and active participant, each and every moment....more
"If my time in the wilderness taught me anything, it is that faith in God has both a center and an edge and that each is necessary for the soul's heal"If my time in the wilderness taught me anything, it is that faith in God has both a center and an edge and that each is necessary for the soul's health. If I developed a complaint during my time in the wilderness, it was that Mother Church lavished so much more attention on those at the center than on those at the edge."
It is moments from this book like this one that make this one of my favorite books. As a person who has spent much of her adult life on the edge of her faith, I know full well the deep and abiding loneliness that is found there. Those of us living on those edges need to find fellow edge-walkers and I have found that in Barbara Brown Taylor. Her experiences with faith and church are different from my own -- and that's okay. She has lived out her faith in a way that I have not -- but I have found in her that common yearning -- I have always felt the ache, the call to the spiritual. I can't walk away from it no matter how hard I have tried. I feel like I met a friend in this honest, heart-felt book.
And then there is this -- a call to more from the Church:
"Might it be time for people of good faith to allow that God's map is vast, with room on it for both a center and an edge? While the center may be the place where the stories of the faith are preserved, the edge is the place where the best of them happened."
This book provides that expansion of the map for me. I highly recommend this book for people like me -- who are in the faith, who often believe in spite of themselves -- who have deep and abiding doubts about God coupled with deep and abiding pulls towards God. This is a safe book and a read that readers like me will likely find very comforting....more