Book Club 2020

This year, one of my #20in20 goals was to read at least 12 books. So here I am trying to do my do-diligence and knock this goal out of the ballpark. During undergrad and then subsequently in PA school, I never really had the time to read for pleasure. I was either reading for class or studying. So on the other side of life after grad school, I’ve had the novel realization that reading CAN be fun and is a great escape.

Whether you’re reading something fictional, motivational, historical, or research-based, the act of reading gives you the opportunity to expand your mind and broaden your focus. You have the chance to step outside yourself for however long it takes you to read those 432 or 295 pages. It’s an exercise that we all need to do more of.

You Are the Girl for The Job – Jess Connolly

Your circumstances aren’t by happenstance. Your giftings are not a product of fate. Your calling is specific and has been meticulously fashioned by God himself. YOU ARE THE GIRL FOR THE JOB. As women, we tend to allow shame, comparison, and self-doubt to overwhelm us to the point that we become paralyzed. But this book is a beautiful reminder that whatever role you’ve been called to, whatever circumstances you’ve been placed in, God has the power to equip you for your good and his glory. You’ve been commissioned by God to do his work in this world. And your success is not dependent on your capabilities but rather on the power and capacity of God himself working in and through you. So lay aside your fears and walk confidently with God as you bravely do the work he’s recruited you to do!

Winter Garden – Kristin Hannah

I read “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah a couple years back and ever since have wanted to read more of her novels. This one in particular sheds light on the unique mother-daughter bond and how truly knowing your mother can teach you a lot about yourself. Many children grow up hearing fairytales and bedtime stories. But two sisters, Meredith and Nina, grew up hearing only one fairytale told by their Russian mother. It was the one connection they had to their mother throughout their childhood. However, when their father falls ill, on his deathbed he asks his wife to tell the special fairytale one last time. After year so coldness and disregard, their mother finally decided to share the true story of her war-torn life in Leningrad.
I absolutely loved this book. Read it in the winter and I think that truly added an extra dimension of bleakness. Your family’s story and struggles are a part of your story. Another Kristin Hannah success!

Something Needs to Change – David Platt

David Platt has been convicting my heart with gospel truth for almost a decade. His boldness and fervor for spreading the gospel to unreached people groups is inspiring. And this book encapsulates his week-long journey through the Himalayas eye-witnessing the deep physical and spiritual needs of the Nepali people.
If we believe the gospel to be true, we cannot turn a blind eye to the sin and suffering of this world. David Platt confronts the problems of westernized Christianity head-on. We can easily go through the motions of Sunday worship, Wednesday night bible studies, and the occasional outreach opportunity and miss the whole point of the gospel.
When we encounter deep physical and spiritual need in this world, it makes us reconsider our own faith walks. Are we truly living the gospel daily? Am I walking in the steps of Jesus? If not, something needs to change! Absolutely loved this book and the questions it posed for me in my own spiritual journey. The world is bigger than our tiny neck of the woods, and sometimes we have to step outside it to truly see the world with Jesus’ eyes.

Rhythms of Renewal – Rebekah Lyons

This book is BALM for the soul! Brimming with stories that exemplify what it looks like to live purposefully and peacefully in a world ridden with stress and anxiety.
Focusing on four vital rhythms [Rest, Restore, Connect, and Create], Rebekah Lyons explains how to recapture joy amidst the chaos of our day-to-day lives. Whatever season of life you’re currently walking through, know that God’s desire for you is FREEDOM! Freedom from stress. Freedom from fear. Freedom from distractions. Freedom from weariness.
If you’re struggling in this season of uncertainty and unrest (which we all are to some degree), I highly recommend grabbing this book.

Get Out of Your Head – Jennie Allen

I’m a recovering overthinker. And this book challenged me to stop the spiral of toxic thoughts once and for all. It all boils down to this truth: I HAVE A CHOICE. I can either believe the truth about who God is and who he’s created me to be OR I can believe the lies.
This book is the perfect balance of science and scripture. Prior to writing this, Jennie Allen did intensive research to try and understand human neuroscience and how it relates to our spirituality.
WE have the power to change our brains and overcome the obstacle of ourself with God’s help. WE CAN get out of our head! Highly recommend this book to anyone struggling with their emotions and thought life. Stop believing the enemy’s lies that you’re helpless, worthless, and unlovable. In Christ, you are capable, worthy, and loved.

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

Thought-provoking, uncomfortable, poignant, and gut-wrenching all at the same time. As I continue to learn and unlearn, this fictional account of racial injustice and police brutality felt all too real. I was instantly gripped and couldn’t put the book down.
The main character, Starr Carter, is a 16 year-old, black female who finds herself in the unique situation of being the key witness in the tragic murder of her childhood friend killed by a white police officer. She has a choice: she can either use her voice (the only weapon she has) or she can remain silent. In light of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the recent riots, protests, and racial justice reform, this book speaks into current events. It will shame, compel, convict, and correct you to seek justice within your own community. If you’re looking for a fictional read that will make you think, this is it.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People – Mahzarin R. Banaji

This book (written by tow psychologists) explores the hidden biases we carry in regards to race, age, gender, religion, social class, ethnicity, and sexuality. Using the Implicit Association Test, they uncover a lot of common stereotypes we hold and don’t even realize.
Heavy on the terminology, this book my not be your cup of tea if you’re looking for something easy or carefree. I enjoyed it for what it was though, it just took me some time to get through because of its content. Understanding how our brains work to create patterns and synthesize biases based on our experiences is truly intriguing. In light of all that’s happening in our world today, I highly recommend reading this book. In short spurts. So as not to burn out!

The Next Right Thing – Emily Freeman

Our days are wrought with decisions both small and large. And it can be overwhelming even cumbersome when we think of them all. But this book is a refreshing reminder to simply do the next right thing. Not all the things, the NEXT RIGHT thing!
This simple, soulful practice of taking it one decision at a time will help you in dealing with you family, vocation, friendships, spiritual walk, and overall personal health. Emily Freeman’s writing style is like a warm hug. It’s welcoming and encouraging. Her anecdotes and advice feel familiar and sincere, like those of a lifelong friend. If you’re in a season of waiting, uncertainty, transition, or indecision, this book is for you. She eloquently displays a life lived for Christ and has created a book full of wisdom for those struggling with decision fatigue.

Own Your Everyday – Jordan Lee Dooley

As women, we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves: to perform, to succeed, to produce. But what if we decided to live PURPOSEFULLY instead? To own today! Jordan Lee Dooley dives deep into how this simple mindset change has unlocked a life full of passion and more of God’s presence.
Far too often obstacles get in the way of us owning our everyday. Obstacles like perfectionism, comparison, disappointment, and distraction. Jordan shares personal accounts of how she has learned to overcome these obstacles with God’s help. Her candid, comforting writing style feels like a pep talk from an old friend. Her words are raw and approachable. If you find yourself struggling to find purpose or feeling limited by expectations set by society, your family, or even yourself, this book is for you. Allow God’s truth and Jordan’s words to help you own your everyday. And if you’re interested to hear more of her voice and story, Jordan also has a great podcast called “She” that’s worth a listen.

What books are you loving in 2020?

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