Lauren Casper » Embracing the Story

on the bookshelf lately

I come from a family of readers. Dad, mom, sister, brother, me…. every single one of us is perfectly content to sit and read for hours on end. We spent many happy summer afternoons in the public library, eventually leaving with a tall pile each. Back then I was a fiction girl. I just loved to escape into another world while sitting in the comfort of my bedroom. Little Women remains my all time favorite piece of literature. But these days I’m more of a non fiction reader, looking for things to inspire, educate, motivate, and move me to action. I’ve found some gems in my reading years and this summer has been no exception.

1. Anything: the prayer that unlocked my God and my soul, by Jennie Allen.

I absolutely loved this book and was super excited when it was announced as the book for our women’s summer book club meeting/pool party. My favorite books are the ones read with a highlighter and pen in hand. I’m not afraid to mark up my books and this one got a lot of stars, underlined passages, and little notes in the margins. Jennie’s writing style and personality are very similar to mine so I immediately felt a connection to her through the book. A couple of my favorite lines from the book…

To me, there is something mysteriously troubling and intriguing in Africa. It represents everything we are not in America. They are suffering and yet content. Hungry and yet grateful. Broken and yet strong. This represents everything we live afraid of losing.” p.57

“From his eternal perspective, it’s tolerable to allow our temporary dreams to fall apart. But we seize more of God when he seizes us through our broken dreams. ” p. 61

2. Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith, by Jen Hatmaker.

This book surprised me. Jen and I are not cut from the same personality cloth. Not one little bit. As she says in the book, “I have a tendency to select friends who are… firecrackers. Because my giant personality can cannibalize an introvert, most of my friends are loud and insensitive, just like me.” And there we have it. I’m pretty sure my friends wouldn’t use words like “firecracker” “loud” and “insensitive” to describe me. Her personality really shines through in her writing (like most authors who are also bloggers) and sometimes I’m rubbed the wrong way by that. Sometimes I want to call her up and say, “can you please drop the sarcasm and just be a little kinder?” But Β just because our personalities don’t mesh does not mean she doesn’t have valuable things to share. I appreciated the struggle she expressed in her book. I could relate to the battle within and the search for how God really meant this Christian walk to be lived. My surprise came from how much I really liked this book and how it moved me. It made me think long and hard about how I do things and why I do them. Even though she scares me a little, I really do like Jen.

3. Love Does, by Bob Goff.

Where to start? This will likely go down as one of my all time favorite books. I actually still have a few chapters left but it’s already made an incredible impact on me. I don’t know what to say other than please read this. The stories are hilarious and inspiring. The way Bob lives his life, the way he loves, and the way he puts it all into action is just beautiful. A few of my favorite lines so far…

Something happens when you feel ownership. You no longer act like a spectator or consumer, because you’re an owner. Faith is at its best when it’s that way too. It’s best lived when it’s owned.” (from the introduction)

What I’ve noticed, though, is that almost every time I type in the word love, it gets changed to the word live. It’s a reminder to me of one of the things I learned from Doug about following Jesus. I learned that fully loving and fully living are not only synonymous but the kind of life that Jesus invited us to be a part of.” p.16

These days, the view of God I hold onto isn’t Him being mad because I’ve missed the mark. It’s the one of Him seen through a bloody eye, scooping me into His arms, getting blood all over His shirt, and carrying me away to get healed.” p.108

I have a few more books on my list to get me through the rest of the summer. What have you been reading this summer?

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