Books Lately

I was seriously going to stop doing book posts all together. There’s so much pressure in recommending a book! I think how much we enjoy a book largely depends on the time in our lives when we read it. I wonder about the books I read in high school and whether my feelings about them would flop reading them now. Definitely there are some books that will always speak to our souls or bring us enjoyment and those ones are worth re-reading.

I’ve noticed I read in spurts. I have times where I can devour more than a dozen books in a month (I know lots of people who read more than this!) and times where it takes me a month to read one book. This past summer I read Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers and completely hated it (she is very much a love it or hate it author for me). I found it so utterly stupid that I just felt like I needed a total break from reading.

After giving it some time, I took it back to the basics, perused my mom-in-law’s bookshelf and read an actual, turn-the-pages book (reading on my phone is so convenient that I don’t think I’ve picked up an actual book in more than a year {insert wide eyed emoji}). It was quite refreshing, to say the least. I’ve also been trying to read more books that have been recommended to me, instead of just putting it on my list and forgetting about it.

So, today, instead of telling you about books I didn’t like, I’m only telling you about books that I highly recommend. And if you read these books and hate them, please don’t hate me for recommending them. All of them were recommended to me and I’m glad those people shared these books with me (often times sharing the physical copy too!).

Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors

  • I tried reading Katie’s first book Kisses From Katie and couldn’t finish it. There was just so much I struggled with, but Ben encouraged me to try out her second book and I’m so glad I did. At the risk of sounding dramatic, this book has seriously changed my perspective. Katie is a Christian who moved to Africa shortly after high school with intentions to stay for a year and teach. But she felt the pull to stay and has since made her life there in the village-founding a ministry and adopting 13 children (all that is covered in her first book). In this book she recounts many of the trials she’s experienced since making this huge life change and how she’s wrestled with God to see the good when so much around her seems hopeless. It isn’t a binge book. While reading it, I told Ben that I felt like it was almost scripture study (which Katie does relate and expound many scriptures or scripture stories throughout the book). Usually a chapter was enough to lift me up (and make me cry) and point out ways in which I can be a better Christian. So many things struck my soul and helped start to heal places where my spirit had been struggling. It is a book about having faith, having that faith shaken (and maybe even lost) and struggling to build up the courage to have faith again.

Elmer Bair’s Story: 1899-1987 by Elmer O. Bair

  • This autobiography was meant mostly for posterity, but it really is just so interesting that it’s worth a read if you can get your hands on a copy (my dad has a copy though….soooo….). Elmer lived most his life in Colorado and some surrounding states and his line of work was…sheep herding! He’s not a writer so within chapters he jumps from story to story but it reads like he’s talking to you and he lead quite an exciting life out on the range. His experiences include running into outlaws and wild animals, and many of his stories made me laugh out loud. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and, though he had years of inactivity, he returned to church in his later years and, at the end of the book, shares some interesting stories regarding his work as a patriarch in the church.

Driven by Larry H. Miller with Doug Robinson

  • This is also a book about a Latter Day Saint man, but one who is much more widely recognized (especially in Utah, but on a recent trip to Albuquerque, I noticed there’s even a Larry H. Miller car dealership there! They’re everywhere!). Having grown up in Utah, I had definitely noticed the Miller car dealerships but I had no clue that Miller’s reach were so expansive (he built the now Vivint Smart Home Arena, owned the Jazz, and even built a world class auto racing track in Tooele-I had no idea Utah had a race track apart from the Bonneville Salt Flats {also, I know they’re totally different. I obviously don’t keep up on this sport. Either of these sports. Whatever}). This book read easily and was so interesting. I enjoyed that almost every chapter concluded with a note from Robinson, giving his own journalistic interpretation of what Miller had stated in the chapter. Miller obviously did so much with his life and it was fascinating to read about what drove him to accomplish all that he did. I think it’d be a great read for anyone but especially those living in Utah or those interested in business (I realize I fit into neither of these categories, but I still found the book to be great).

Battle Cry: A story of Hope and Encouragement by Jordyn Glaser

  • Similar to Daring to Hope this book is about finding hope and miracles even in incredibly difficult circumstances. And Jordyn even also ends up adopting although in completely different circumstances. Jordyn talks about how everyone has a story and how it’s important for us to share our story. Hers includes being born with a rare heart condition, having two highly complicated, at-risk pregnancies (both her babies had gastroschisis) and adopting two children. She shares the miracles alongside the struggles. The book is totally uplifting and wonderfully written, not to mention it’s a fairly quick read.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

  • This book (it’s also a movie, which I haven’t seen!) is about a young black girl living in between neighborhoods and seemingly in between lives. The kids in Starr’s suburban, mostly white school have no idea the kind of life she lives at home where most people are poor and gangs divide the neighborhood. Then one night Starr is witness to a friend being killed-shot by a white police officer even though he was unarmed. This YA book definitely deals with heavier issues but I think it’s incredibly relevant and not just about racism regarding blacks but racism regarding anyone, period. As a white girl having lived in places that are predominantly filled with white people, this book and other books like it are so important because hate (whether that’s based on race, heritage, religion, gender, etc.) isn’t always at the forefront of my mind, but these kinds of books help remind me that it’s an issue and one that needs to be resolved (in peaceable ways, like writing a book:). This book does have quite a bit of swearing, but, obviously, I still think people should read it.

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