This month includes a couple works of fiction and a few spiritual books related to parenting. There is also a cookbook that I can’t stop talking about. Here are my bite size reviews for January.
Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
This novel created so much hype I’m not sure I could have avoided reading it if I tried. The magic I felt reading To Kill a Mockingbird had everything to do with Scout’s charming, naive world being tainted by real life. There was hope, though, because her father, Atticus, fought (as a lawyer) for what was right in the racially charged South. Well, in Go Set a Watchman, the dark reality that peppered TKM seems to be all that’s left. The plot moves really slow, and I’m not sure what to attribute that to. There are snapshots of linguistic delight, though, and for these alone, I recommend it.
This cookbook starts off educating the reader on how food feeds your brain and contributes to brain function, mood, mental clarity and memory. She then includes a culinary pharmacy where she breaks down the 80+ foods and how they specifically contribute to your mental well-being. The recipes include main dishes, desserts, dressings, and drinks. You’ll want it as a reference for all the wonderful food combinations, but the first section will teach you a great deal about the way food affects your mind.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
I loved Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, and anticipated greatness from what I gathered was her far more well-known novel, White Teeth. The storyline centers on two unlikely friends who fought together in World War II and their families. It takes place in England but has a very worldly feel to it because of the various religious and cultural references included. It simultaneously harmonizes and reveals great dissonance between different cultures, but mainly focuses on Islam and Jehovah’s Witnesses. The author is brilliant, insightful and eloquent, but there were long passages that dragged on and were hard to read.
Real Moms, Real Jesus: Meet the Friend Who Understands by Jill Savage
I knew nothing about this book until a friend from church asked if I’d be willing to read through it with her and a few other moms. I told her I’d read anything with anyone. We’ve met once so far, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy the book. The book works well in small groups and has discussion questions and ice breakers for each chapter. Even though scripture tells us Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses, we tend to brush off this idea as moms. Some of us question whether He really knows what it means to be a mom. I recently heard Tim Keller preach on John 3 and spiritual birth and he pointed out that Jesus is essentially our spiritual mother because He brings about the new birth. When we follow that idea, we can appreciate what Jill Savage writes even more
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson
I elected to review this book for Crossway, so you can expect that when I finish it. So far it lays the foundation of Christian parenting and ensures readers understand core doctrine as it relates to creation, the fall, and redemption. The mother-daughter combo is neat to read, and I appreciate that Elyse Fitzpatrick, an author I frequently read, actually raised her kids the opposite of how they are encouraging others to. I think she would agree that she erred on the side of performance based Christianity. We are only in the early stages, but I suspect it’s super easy to do when teaching a child to obey.
So what about you? What are you reading this month?