It was time for some Francis Chan.  It’s been awhile since we read Crazy Love.  That book was about our relationship with God.  This book is about our relationship with the Holy Spirit.  I had high hopes going in to it- expected to get my spiritual butt kicked yet again.

Maybe I set my expectations a little too high.  I think the kind of think Francis Chan was trying to do in this book just can’t be accomplished in 100-something pages of Christian Living literature.  It’s about actually living a Christian life, not about reading about it.  And he says that, many times, in the book.  How do you write/read a book about experiencing the Spirit in your life when the only way to really get it is to live with the Spirit in your life?  You can feel Chan’s tension in that throughout the book but somehow it still left me wanting.  Maybe (probably) that means I just need more Spirit in my life.

I chose the best/worst time to read this book.  I started a new job last week and have all the new girl sense of inadequacy + missing my old job’s sense of accomplishment I could get in a day.  This requires a lot more trust in the Spirit.  Which means I am needing to hear these words even more but also feel even moreso the emptiness of just reading words on a page.

It is also hard to divorce the evaluation of the “quantity of the Spirit in your life” from the “quantity of goodness that you are doing.”  Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be, but we should have the Holy Spirit in our lives even when we are not pouring out goodness left and right and also we are not to be frankly measured by our quantity of goodness.  Chan largely has you look at the lives of others (examples in the book and those we know in our lives) who are doing great things/being great people to see the Spirit alive.  I don’t know how else to do it either, but there is just something about looking at others to figure out how to do spiritual things that has definite pitfalls.  Unless I guess we are looking to Christ.

Basically, the premise of the book is that we don’t have a very strong sense of the Holy Spirit in our lives (at least in America) and we should cultivate that much more.  I believe this is true.  Maybe I just didn’t necessarily get there by reading the book.  And I guess I thought/hoped I would learn something intellectually from reading the book that would help me spiritually- maybe some hidden scripture that would open the floodgates of the Spirit’s presence…  But I don’t think it really said anything I hadn’t heard before.

I have also spent time with many people living in the Spirit since reading Crazy Love and these are stronger than reading any book.  But I also just said that looking to examples in people can be dangerous.  the conundrum.

This may be the longest review I have ever written!  3.5/5 stars (but probably deserves more…) (post by Meghan)



The last book of my reading tirade.  Just trying to stay up on my one book/month average and that 670 pager and boards got me behind!  So, as I mentioned this one was one with real pages and binding and all that literary greatness.  Except that’s about where the literary greatness of this book ended. 

I should’ve known from reading the back cover- this was definitely chic lit- but so many other books I have on the shelf are so weighty.  Good books I am sure, but not for the beach.  So I wanted superficial and got it.  Not a book of high moral standards- not trashy really, but just superficial.  I probably would’ve stopped reading if I wasn’t in FL and didn’t have anything else.

Molly Marx is the main character but the first scene is at her funeral.  She apparently is hanging out in this place called the Duration where she can watch the lives of those that were in her life and hear what they are thinking.  Every other chapter is a flashback to her real life that leads you up to her death.  There is an investigation under way to solve the mystery of her death, but I wouldn’t necessarily call this a mystery novel by any means.  The end, I thought, was stupid.  A tiny bit suspenseful, but poorly written.

If I haven’t talked you out of reading this book yet, 1/5 stars.  (post by meghan)


I was busy reading this last week because we went on vacation!  Lots of sun and sand in Marco Island, FL.  I actually read this book and the one I will post next (The Late, Lamented Molly Marx) at the same time because this one was on the kindle on the ipad but I didn’t want to take that to the beach.  The other book was a real, live book- which I hadn’t actually read in awhile so it was kind of nice 🙂

It’s hard not to compare this book to the other since I read them at the same time, but this one was better.  However, I just had read an amazing book (Cutting for Stone, see last post) and this one didn’t even come close to that.  But I was looking for light vacation reading and these could both fit in that category.

This is the story about a little girl who goes missing and it is basically a mystery to figure out who took her, where she is, etc.  It flashes from present time to about 20 years earlier in the life of the main character.  As more of the past is revealed you figure out what is going on in the present (at least you think you do).  In that sense, it is a page turner because you want to figure out those connections.  I think there were sort of a lot of characters and you juggle them from the past to present (but I was also reading two books at the same time… and they both did this- so it seemed like 4 times the characters to figure out!).  You are trying to keep straight who is related to who and who did what 20 years ago.

This isn’t a super light read like I mentioned (it is about a girl being taken) but a quick easy read nonetheless.  3.5/5 stars.  (post by meghan)


This book was really fabulous.  I would rank it up there with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is my favorite author.  It is written by a doctor and has a fair amount of medical stuff in it, but it is not written for health professionals by any means.

It follows the life story of a man born at a mission in Ethiopia where he lives until after finishing medical school when he leaves to go to America.  The thing is though, that it really isn’t about that at all.  It is just about life. It is full of all different kinds of relationships and Verghese does a superb job depicting all of the different personalities walking around in this book.

It is wonderfully written and I am already planning on reading it again at some point (which I have only ever done one other time in my life- that is really saying something!).  The one thing is that it is quite long (670 pages) and it did take me awhile to get through with a break to study for boards in the middle.

Goes without saying 5/5 stars! -and as a bonus is available from the library on the kindle in Marion County!  (post by Meghan)

I am so glad that I bought this book instead of borrowing because it is one of those books that I will return to read again and maybe again. It is beautifully written and inspiring. Stuck in the muddle of everyday life and raising 6 children, Ann Voskamp seeks to find the “something more” that we all ache for to find meaning in the mundane. Layer upon layer she finds that deepening her faith through a heart of thankfulness awakens her to the beauty of the here and no. She excellently explains her “aha” moments that begin to awaken her heart. The centerpiece of her book is “eucahristeo” which is really a lifestyle of giving thanks, even in the bad moments. She doesn’t pretend to have all of the answers, but she does delve into how we can gracefully get through the times of “bad things happening to good people.” Honestly, I love my day to day life right now, but this book made me love it even more. Beautiful book, would definitely recommend.

5/5 stars. (post by Becky J)

Another quick read here.  I’m sure many of you have heard of this book based on an actual lecture given by Randy Pausch a couple years back.  He was then suffering from pancreatic cancer (unfortunately, he has since passed) but he is sharing literally his last lecture.

He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon who taught about virtual reality.  He starts with realizing your childhood dreams and goes through his list and how he accomplished almost all of them, even the kind of out there ones.  He then talks about helping others realize their dreams, whether they are his students or his kids.  He also talks about values from his own childhood and just general inspiring things.

A great book for any dreamer, or someone who wants to be a better one!  And it did read pretty quick.  Or you could watch the actual lecture on youtube.  I think there might be just a little more in the book but they are pretty similar.

5/5 stars (post by Meghan)

I think this is also a young adult book.  It’s harder to know these things when you buy them on a Kindle.  This is sort of a high  school version on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  And yes, I only started it yesterday- I looked down and all of a sudden I had read over 100 pages.  It has some pictures and I think there are a lot of chapters that start over on a new page… I’m not that fast of a reader!

Anyway, this book is about a high school student who starts an anonymous website ranting on American culture- materialism, celebrity worship, consumerism, etc.  Things get a little out of control.  Considering it was written 10 years ago, I guess it came before the craze to “go green” that it depicts.  It is somewhat prophetic I guess in that way- in that the whole ranting kind of gets turned upside down- just like people will buy many myriad of things in an effort to “go green” which is a little against the point.

This book is nowhere near as much philosophical genius as others I have read (from Zen to various Donald Miller books) but it’s not a stupid Twilight book (sorry fans, but I have read (and finished) one as well…).  Does have a point.  So I’ll give it 4/5 stars. (post by Meghan)