2017 Books · Christian · july2017reading

One by One: Welcoming the Singles in Your Church

singles

*I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I finished this book weeks ago, but I find myself thinking about it all of the time.  I’m a single, 34 year old Christian woman who is deeply involved at my church.  I love my church, I love the Body of Christ, and I love my friends, most of whom go to my church and are strong believers.  That being said, in my late 20’s, I stopped going to church for several years.  It wasn’t that I didn’t love the Lord or suddenly became an atheist.  I wasn’t having a crisis of faith.  I simply felt completely out of place among people who previously were like family to me.

Suddenly, my tight-knit group of friends who surrounded me every Sunday and Wednesday night were nowhere to be found.  I walked into my favorite building in the world every Sunday morning feeling insecure and unwanted for the first time.  It was a huge adjustment to suddenly realize that I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my friends anymore because they were in the “married” section of the church.

On the surface, this book could come across as slightly bitter.  The author spends a majority of the book explaining what it is like to be single in the Evangelical church and how many things could be done differently to better help us.  I struggle with sharing these things with others because I don’t want to come across as bitter either.  Because despite the inadequacy of the church in this area, I’m quite happy.  I have friends that I love (married and single), a career I’m passionate about, and a relationship with the Lord that sustains me.  However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be honest about how we feel the church treats us.

Reading this book felt like reading a personality description of Melancholies or INFJs (both of which describe me perfectly).  It hit the nail on the head so often that I felt instantly understood.  I can’t say that applied to every single part of the book, but often enough that I felt a great deal of solidary for the author.

One thing the book touches on that resonated so strongly with me is that many, many pastors and Christians believe that to be married is to strengthen your relationship with the Lord in a way that being single can’t do.  Therefore, many single adult Christians are viewed as never having grown up and spiritually immature.  They are also treated as “less than” probably with no intention of doing so, but the truth of the matter is that the church believes people aren’t complete until they are married.

One thing that I wish so much married families in the church would do is to involve more single people in their lives.  Invite that single person to your house for dinner, let them play basketball with your kids, take an interest in their lives.  Singles just want to feel like they belong, in a world where they are often segregated to the side or lumped in with college students.  Jesus was single.  And I think He would be greatly disappointed by how His church behaves toward other singles.

(By the way, four years ago I came back to church and decided that even though it wasn’t perfect, I needed it.  And I’m very grateful for it.)

2017 Books · junereading · Quick Lit

June Reading

Super late on this but better late than never. 😉

Lost

The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett

This was a tough one for me.  It wasn’t bad.  It just didn’t wow me.  It had such a great premise – historical mystery, romance, libraries, and even coding (which my little mathematical heart just loved).  But it didn’t come together for me in a terribly exciting way.  I also thought that the main character, Arthur, was a little too curmudgeonly.  I liked that he loved old things and hated technology but it caused the romance to seem a little like an old man dating a young lady, so I kept picturing Arthur around 30 years old instead of 40.

Dimple

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

SO cute!  Indian teenagers whose parents want an arranged married for them.  I’ve heard some critiques that Dimple is really unlikeable and to a certain extent, I would agree, but I think that Rishi was just so over-the-top adorable and wonderful that it made her seem a little harsh.  Overall, I really liked this.

twitter

Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

Incredibly interesting.  But it mostly left me with a huge sense of happiness that I was not involved in Twitter.  Those people were cutthroat.  It was basically Game of Thrones without all of the actual murder.  I don’t know if it’s worth being a billionaire to screw over other people all of the time.  Worth reading.

scarlet

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

The second book in the Lunar Chronicles.  I thought it was much better than the first.  Instead of focusing just on Scarlet and Wolf, the story would switch back and forth between all of the characters, including those in Cinder.  The best part was the introduction of a lovable, charismatic thief named Thorne (who becomes the love interest in the third and best book).

every

Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue

Blah.  Definitely my least favorite of the month.  I thought it was going to be a cute little romantic beach read.  Instead it was a bizarre stalker/girl loves horses book.  I’d pass on this one.

2017 Books · may2017reading · Quick Lit

May Reading

The month of May brought with it the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide!  So, so excited when this comes out every year.  I am going to try to get through as many as I can this summer.  My load was still a little light this month so I am going to try to kick into higher gear for June.

Victoria

This book was looooong.  However, I really liked it!  I am a huge fan of the PBS series Victoria and also the movie, The Young Victoria.  Ok, I’m a huge fan of Albert in both of those.  I just try really hard to forget about the fact that they were cousins (ick!) and focus on how sweet their love story was.  This book was incredibly interesting and I found out so much I didn’t know, both about Victoria and the time period she reigned.

Beartown

Hands down, this will be one of my favorite books of the year.  The writing is nothing short of brilliant and the story profoundly moved me.  If you don’t like sports or hockey, still give this book a try.  It’s about so much more than hockey, and the parts that are, are extremely interesting.  You will cheer, you will cry, and you will still be thinking about this book weeks later.

The Dry

Another MMD pick.  This quiet thriller was really good.  Not stay up until the middle of the night to see who the murder is kind of good, but I still really enjoyed it.  It’s easy to read and the setting is wonderful.  It adds so much to the story, which begins with a man going home to the funeral of his childhood best friend, accused of murdering his wife and son.  Compelling stuff.

Cinder

This one was a re-read for me because I’d like to read the whole series and last time I stopped after the first book.  It was much like I remembered it – a cute, cheesy YA fantasy book.  It didn’t blow me away but it did make me want to read the next one which I hear is much better.

Check out what others are reading on Modern Mrs. Darcy!

 

2017 Books · may2017reading

Beartown

Beartown

I stayed up until 12:30am last night to finish this book.  It was partly because it was due back to the library this morning but mostly because I couldn’t put it down.  The writing was brilliant.  It went from breaking my heart to making me laugh to moving me profoundly every chapter.  Disclaimer: the subject matter is tough.  I don’t think it’s too big of a spoiler alert to let you know that a girl is attacked and that triggers a ripple effect to the entire town.  However, the book is so much more than that.

I’ve never been a big fan of sports.  My dad passed away when I was 10, I don’t have any brothers, and my boyfriends have never been obsessed with it.  So, when everyone else is attending sporting events, I’m hanging out with friends or settling down with a good book.  That being said, I still loved the descriptions of hockey and the people that play it in this book.  I got as swept up as the crowd when the team would score an improbable goal.  I saw all the good it did to people, and I saw all the bad it did to people.  It’s a book about unity, loyalty, courage, and doing what’s right when you know it will cost you possibly everything.  I loved this book and I will be thinking about it for a long time.

5 Stars

2017 Books · april2017reading · Quick Lit

April Reading

Unfortunately, my reading took a major hit in April so this round-up will be rather short.  Looking forward to a hopefully slower summer so I can catch up on lots of good reading. 🙂

Speak Love

I actually read this over about four months with a group of teenage girls that I teach at my church.  Every Friday night, they piled into my living room to eat cheese dip and cookies and talk about what they learned from this book.  It quickly became one of the highlights of my week.  I thought this book was perfect for teenagers.  Annie has a down to earth writing style that is instantly relatable, but she also packs lots of truths in.  I got a lot out of it myself, and it served as a great starting point to talk about some hard issues my girls deal with.

the Wife

This seems to be one of those books that you either love or just feel ehhhhhh about.  I fell into the later category.  It wasn’t that the book was bad; it just didn’t wow me.  Even now thinking back about it, I can’t remember any characters that I particularly loved.  The ending was good but not overwhelmingly so.  Confession – I am not a huge fan of this time period (1920s).  Some people absolutely love the glitz and glam of showgirls and mobsters, but I’m just not one of them.

Radium

I loved this book!  Meticulously researched, it tells the story of the young women hired to paint clocks that glow in the dark because of radium.  At the time, they were told it was good for them… until they all started to die horrific deaths.  It was hard to read, because of both the trauma they went through and the inability of their employers to take any responsibility whatsoever.  However, it is an important book, and the beauty of the women’s strength will stay with me a long time.

Life Intended

Technically I finished this one at the beginning of May, but I’m throwing it in because my reading life was so paltry last month!  This was a sweet and somewhat predictable book.  It deals with the grief of losing someone in a way that was sad but not overly depressing.  It more focuses on what you do with your life when it doesn’t turn out the way you planned.  This would make a great beach read.

What I'm Loving

What I’m Loving

I’m stealing this idea from other bloggers because I just love it!  Every week, I’ll try to list things I’m currently obsessed with.  Not only is it a fun idea but it also causes me to reflect on good thing that I’m enjoying in my life right now.

Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road CD

Ellie

I am not exaggerating when I say that this CD by Ellie Holcomb is on constant repeat these days.  Not only is the music enjoyable to listen to, but her lyrics are amazing.   I’ve been going through a difficult season of working through something that happened to me a few years ago, and her songs speak to my soul.  So, so good.  “He Will”, “Wonderfully Made”, and “You Love Me Best” are particular favorites.

The Great British Baking Show

250px-The_Great_British_Bake_Off_title

I discovered this show on Netflix about a week ago and flew through the first season with my mom.  The funny thing is that I actually hate reading food memoirs and I hate cooking, but this adorable show is so fun.  The contestants are charming (and so nice!) and the foods they cook are so un-American that I’m fascinated.  There’s drama (apparently #justiceforiain was an actual trending hashtag in Britain when it aired), there’s tears (people are crying over custard and I literally feel my heart hurt for them), and there’s friendship (can Richard be my best friend??).  I’m just starting Season 2 and already missing the contestants from Season 1 but I’m sure the new group will find a place in my heart too.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty

Sigh.  I don’t know if it’s possible for me to have loved this more.  I am a die-hard fan of the cartoon version and seeing it come to life on screen was just SO GOOD.  Emma Watson and Dan Stevens (ahh Matthew Crawley, you’re always handsome to me!) were amazing and Luke Evans did a fantastic job as Gaston.  The music was in my head for days, and I may or may not have gone to see it a second time the very next day.  My only regret is that it took me so long to get around to seeing it.

2017 Books · april2017reading

The Radium Girls

Radium

Y’all.  This beautiful book caused my jaw to drop no less than ten times as I was reading it, and then at the end, I was curled in the fetal position sobbing like a baby.  (That may be a slight exaggeration but seriously, I was crying pretty hard.)  I knew nothing about this when I picked up the book.  I heard about it on two different podcasts and thought it sounded interesting so I requested an advance copy from NetGalley.  This is one of the most remarkable books I have ever read.  It focuses on hundreds of women who were dial painters in the early 1900s and used radium in the paint.  They were told it was completely safe and even good for them, only to be exposed to significant amounts of radioactivity that caused horrific deaths for most of them.  They literally put radium in their mouths.  What these women went through was pretty unbelievable and yet their employers denied for decades that they did anything to cause their symptoms.  I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

What I Liked: It is meticulously researched yet it reads like a novel; it is incredibly interesting; there is a section on a husband and wife that is the most heartbreaking picture of love and devotion I may have ever read; and I’m happy to know an important part of history that I didn’t previously.

What I Didn’t Like: Some of the description of what the girls went through was graphic and disturbing to read but it really needed to be in the book in order to understand it.

5 Stars