It’s time for my monthly round up of books and other stuff I’ve been into over the last month. I really like recording lists and remembering what I’ve read. I’m not sure I have any great insights to offer about these things but I like the idea of a future me remembering them rather than forgetting. So. Eight days into March here’s what I’ve read/watched/listened to since the last of these posts:
Behind Closed Doors- BA Paris.
Another of those Girl on the Train and Gone Girl style reads. Fairly predictable and not as good as those others but still tense and one to read if you want total escape from the rest of the world for a few hours.
The Broken Way – Ann Voskamp.
Really helpful book reminding me that life doesn’t have to look sorted before I follow Jesus and that sacrifice is a Good Thing. Here are some of the quotes that hit home the most. A good one for this season of life we are in right now.
“Never be afraid of broken things – because Christ can redeem anything. When I’m no longer afraid of brokenness, I don’t have control or possess anything- dreams or plans or people or their perceptions. I can live surrendered, cruciform, given. This feels like freedom.”
“There is nothing to fear in the wilderness of suffering- it is the land where God woos. The crush of crisis is but a passage into communion with Christ.”
“The self is ultimately never really sacrificed in giving but our real self is ultimately found. In the sacrificial giving of ourselves we give ourselves back our real selves, the self we were made to be- blessed to bless, given to givenness, loved to love”
Sacrifice isn’t so much losing what you love but giving your love on to whom you love more. When you sacrifice for what you love you gain more of what you love. Love is a risk, that’s never a risk….
What matters is that in the act of loving we become more like the givenness of love himself. What matters most is not if our love makes other people change but that in loving we change. What matters is that in the sacrificing to love someone we become like Someone. Regardless of anything or anyone else changing, the success of loving is in how we change because we kept on loving… in sacrificing ourselves we are guaranteed to discover the depths of our best and realest selves”
Reasons to Stay Alive- Matt Haig.
Excellent journey through his depression, what helps, what doesn’t and some really good explanations of what he went through. It was really easy to read as well, which helps in times where getting out of bed seems a step too far. Reading it and Susan Calman’s book on depression last month has made me aware again that the experience is different for different people and we all have to find out what works for us and the people around us who are struggling. I’m thinking of maybe reading a book on depression a month. Any recommends for March?
Spectacles- Sue Perkins
I really enjoyed this. Mainly for her descriptions of life with her family and tales of uni days that sparked off my own nostalgia fest.
The Course of Love- Alain de Botton
A kind of part novel, part philosophical meandering about what love is really all about. It was very fascinating and insightful as to the reality that love is a thing to be worked on and worked out, rather than a feeling that comes and goes. I think every person in a couple should read and discuss it. I’m not sure I agreed with all of it but it sparked off many thoughts and much truth was spoken. Most telling of all was the chapter on sulking which made me think he’d had a secret camera in our house. I like this quote: “We should add that it is a privilege to be the recipient of a sulk: it means the other person respects and trusts us enough to think we should understand their unspoken hurt. It is one of the odder gifts of love.” Over all it was a book full of realistic, helpful, interesting stuff about the ordinary everyday life as a couple.
Faithful- Alice Hoffman.
Really can’t think of much to say about this. It was ok. Fairly readable story of a teenager growing up and figuring life out against the backdrop of having being involved in a car accident that left her best friend dead.
Wonder- RJ Palacio
Oh I loved this so so much. A tale told from different perspectives of a boy with a severe facial disfigurement going to school for the first time. A beautiful book that made me cry. It was also brilliant to see good parent/teenager relationships portrayed where they engaged with and talked to each other. It gave me hope for the years ahead.
The Muse- Jessie Burton
Intriguing novel set in two time periods and two country’s dealing with art, identity, is something of intrinsic worth and value or do you need to be appreciated for your work? Loved the way it made me think and be at peace with people not seeing what I do all the time.
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep- Joanna Cannon
A great book themed around whether we can really tell who the sheep and goats really are. Really well written, intriguing right up to the end and a lovely hot summer 70s vibe. One to challenge the assumptions we make about people.
We’ve also watched lots of films recently:
Bad Mums – Hilarious and much needed if you have children and mess up as much as I do.
London has Fallen– possibly the worst film I’ve seen for a while. But we don’t care cos they blew up London and America saved the day and there were guns and explosions and swearing. So much swearing. Yeah. A no brainer with the saving point of being short.
The Martian– simply brilliant sci fi joy. Matt Damon is left behind on Mars and has to somehow survive and get home. Of course we all know he makes it. He’s Matt Damon after all. But it holds great tension in all the right places and brought to life lots of sci fi books I read as a teenager. Lots of it looked just like the things I had imagined. I liked that.
Sully – Tom Hanks rocking as the pilot who successfully landed a plane in the Hudson River saving all 155 people on board. I never knew the fight he had to prove it was the right and only decision and it was an interesting portrait of an expert flyer proving his judgement was sound and dealing with the decisions he made.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.- I know we are late to this one, I blame the small ones. Not much to say other than I loved revisiting the Harry Potter world from a different perspective.
Passengers– Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence as the only two passengers awake on a space ship headed to set up a new colony. Watchable enough but not life changing.
As for music. I’d love to say I’ve discovered a whole load of new lovely music but I haven’t. Martyn Joseph’s Sanctuary Album still accompanies my weekend breakfast making routines. Ed Sheeran’s new one is on heavy rotate when the children aren’t moaning about their choice. Really, honestly, all we’ve listened to this month is an album friends gave to us for the boys. Awesome Cutlery. A kind of less cheesy English version of Colin Buchanan it’s a whole load of God songs that are fun and annoyingly catchy. Son1 has learnt all the lyrics and both boys can recite the amusing sketches in between the songs. If you are in the line for some more music with brilliant God stuff in it I can recommend heartily.
This is our favourite song. Mainly for the rhymes. We like rhymes. All the time.