It’s a short stack this time around, but I’m actively reading each of these wonderful books.
(Note: I usually edit out that blue desk lamp. I didn’t this time around because I decided it is a mark of honor. When we retire from the military, I will get a beautiful bedside lamp–maybe even one that doesn’t sear the Wonder Hub’s eyeballs–but until then, this is the only thing that survives our moves.)
So without further ado (Such a great word, ado. Let’s all work together to bring this back to the modern lexicon, okay? Okay.), from the top down…
Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. I received this as a going-away gift from a sweet friend in Virginia. It is a book of short, daily messages, written in the first person voice of none other than the Son of God. To you. Each day’s note includes the scripture references upon which it is based, and the tone is so tender, so personal, and so spot on that it frequently brings me to tears.
Today is February 14, Valentine’s Day. Being me, I read the note dated Feb. 15. Here it is:
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell. The Wonder Hub gave me this book for Christmas. I first read about this, the latest of Gladwell’s books, in The Costco Connection, one of my favorite monthly book mags. Next, I noticed that Relevant magazine had an interview with Gladwell entitled, “How I Rediscovered Faith.” You know me, and even if I hadn’t already been an avid Gladwell fan, I would have grabbed this book. It’s been a fascinating read, as Gladwell lays out an intriguing argument for questioning our assumptions about from where power and strength truly come. Parents and teachers of kids with dyslexia will want to read this, as well as those of us who are preparing children for college. Fascinating.
Left to Tell, by Immacullée Ilibagiza. Someone dear to my heart sent this for my birthday. I’ve only recently dug into the meat of the story, although I read Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s foreword immediately after opening the package. I have to be honest and tell you that it left a sour taste in my mouth. I know I’m writing about the book here, and not Dr. Dyer’s foreword, but I hope you’ll permit me just a few lines to explain why I do not agree with his view of the universe.
1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” John 1:1-3
2. “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the One who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” Galatians 1:6-9 (emphasis mine)
So. I put the book down after reading the foreword, in part because it credited Ms. Ilibagiza’s “Inner Beingness” for the impossible details of her survival, rather than giving credit to the Lover of her soul (Isaiah 25:4, Psalm 62: 1-2, 1-8). Another, larger reason for setting this book aside was simply this: it’s a book about the survivor of the Rwandan Holocaust. There is no way around heartache here. And friends? I’m staring at a plate full of heartache just now. I didn’t think I could swallow Ms. Ilibagiza’s in addition to my own.
I have started the story. It’s written with a sweet innocence I would imagine was Ms. Ilibagiza’s birthright, long before the onset of the genocide that killed her entire family. I will finish it. I will.
This Star Won’t Go Out, by Esther Earl, with Lori and Wayne Earl.
Gosh, people. I saw this at Costco one morning while I was wandering around bored out of my mind. The tire dudes (seriously, dudes) were putting much-needed snow tires on the Wonder Hub’s vehicle. I was not in need of one hundred rolls of toilet paper, or an all-beef hotdog. It was too early for the sample stations and the place was eerily quiet. Generally, I can spend a good half hour picking idyllically through the books before choosing one to take home with me. On this day, it took seconds. Being a John Green fan (that is, a lover of YA fiction who is taking in and expelling oxygen), I knew of Esther Earl, to whom he dedicated The Fault in Our Stars, but I did not know of this book. THIS book.
Are you thinking what I think you’re thinking? Do you know (as I did) that Esther is dead? Are you wondering why I might have trouble reading one book because of its proximity to heartache, but not another? I’ve given it a fair amount of thought myself, and I believe it is this: if this were a book about a girl with cancer, written by her parents, siblings, and friends, I would pass it right over. Ack. My heart couldn’t handle it. This, though. This is Esther’s words, Esther’s life (as well as the words of people who were touched by Esther). Esther was a writer. Posthumously, her words are reaching people, changing lives. What more could any writer ask for? What writer could pass that over?
Not this one.
That’s it, friends. Go forth and read!