Thursday, June 14, 2018

Read This Book Because You Must . . .



Our summertime bookbags are often filled with light and airy fiction, easy-to-page-through magazines, and a random accumulation of recommended volumes stacked in teetering piles around our living spaces.  That's all good ... in fact, I've been going there myself these days and loving every minute of it.

But I'm going out on a limb to say that if you read only one book this summer, may it be Kate's powerful real life story.

Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved

Right off the top I'm telling you that this might end up being my favorite book of the year.

*

Stunning, raw, tragic, with wisps of humor and wisdom that refuse to be quenched, author Kate Bowler gently extends her hand to the reader as she walks through the valley of the shadow of searing loss and the unspeakable diagnosis of Stage IV cancer at the age of 35 ... in the midst of caring for those she adores, forging ahead with the beloved work she's been called to do, and wrestling with broken-hearted faith.

There's something about the author's writing that is absolutely compelling ... I can't put my finger on it but I can tell you that I was totally immersed in the cadence of her words for three hours without ever thinking of getting off my chair.

It was like curling up on the sofa crying with a beloved friend, captivated and mesmerized by the sound of her voice, the enormity of her sorrow, the interwoven hope.

And if that weren't enough, this Duke Divinity School professor tucks in Absolutely Never Say This To People Experiencing Terrible Times: A Short List and Give This A Go at the end of the book for all of us that might be prone to responding to tragedy by doing nothing ... or saying the most ridiculously hurtful things.

Read this because you must.  Read this because you can't not go there.

*

Listen to a wrenching snippet right here.

Kate's website is certainly worth your time - it's right there.

Read her New York Times Op-Ed piece, Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me, on 'the irony of being an expert in health, wealth and happiness while being ill.'

This is an A+ pick for your book club, friends.  Yes, yes.



*

i've just got to share
this book with
Anne  .  Mary  .  Holley

36 comments:

  1. Well, gosh, Linda. I just listened to the audio sample, and...well.

    It'll be interesting to read this, as a parallel to my own journey.

    But I don't think 'everything happens for a reason' is a lie. The reason may be too big, glorious, and terrible for our comprehension, but I do think we can see parts of its dim and enormous outline.

    Perhaps I'm here to write the truth I see, that happiness is a choice, and that grace abounds...and those knowings I could only find when I could not longer chase after graces of my own making, and my own choosing.

    And God will indeed get you through it...in Flecker's words (from 'The Gates Of Damascus'):

    "And God shall make thy body pure, and give thee knowledge to endure
    this ghost-life's piercing phantom pain, and bring thee out to life again."

    He has for me.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2018/06/your-dying-spouse-484-right-here-right.html

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    1. I'm not sure if you're up for reading these days, but I'm guessing you would most certainly resonate with Kate's story, Andrew. I'm guessing it will be in your library system ...

      It's not a lengthy tome. Give it a whirl if you can. I think you might appreciate where she's going with her words.

      Bless you, man ...

      Delete
  2. The title alone has my attention and admiration. I do like healthy doses of reality and I don't mean the kind masquerading as such on television. Thanks for the favorable mention.

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    1. Debby, hi! Oh that word 'reality' certainly has morphed into a new and unexpected meaning when paired with TV.

      And yes, I hear what you're saying about the title in and of itself. Would more of our faith-laced conversations be void of masks ...

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  3. Thanks so much for the recommendation, Linda. It does sound like a difficult read emotionally, but worth every word, from what you've written here.
    Blessings!

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    1. When all is said and done, it's the true stories that win our hearts and stay with us long after the cover is closed ...

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  4. This does sound compelling. I've put it on my wishlist. Thanks for the links as well - I enjoyed her NYT piece.

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    1. Yes, Barbara, it was captivating, wasn't it ...

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  5. I'm adding this to my list right now, Linda. Love that hearty recommendation. You've convinced me already. :)

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    1. As always, I look forward to your review, Lisa!

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  6. That deck looks mighty familiar....

    I read Kate’s article but I couldn’t grasp where she was going. For or against prosperity gospel. I do think her writing style.

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    1. Carol ... those hours we had talking quietly overlooking the bay will be some of my best 2018 summer memories, friend. I miss you already.

      Kate has done an extensive scholarly review of the history of the prosperity gospel. I'm picking up her book Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel from the library today.

      We'll talk ...

      ;-}

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  7. Ordering it now. Thanks for the rec.
    Blessings!

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    1. I'd love to hear your take on it when you're done, Lulu ...

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  8. I've heard many good things about this book from my friend. Your post has increased my curiosity to explore it. Thanks for this wonderful review.

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    1. Oh, I'm glad, Stephanie. Just tryin' to spread the word ...

      Thanks for being here!

      Delete
  9. I listened to this on audiobook last week and absolutely adored it (and cried my heart out). I agree with you; her writing is compelling, thought-provoking, but also at times hilarious!

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    1. Oh the audiobook must be too powerful, Ellie. I'm sure it would have done me in ...

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  10. I sent Kate Bowler an email from her 'contact' page, and got a nice reply. She seems like a pretty cool lady.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2018/06/your-dying-spouse-485-healed-heart-fmf.html

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    1. Oh, I love that you reached out to Kate, Andrew.

      And that she took the time to reply is such a beautiful grace. Thank you for letting us know.

      You have both made my day ...

      ;-}

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  11. I have been wondering how this book was and so I think I'll add it to my library list. I have read several of these types of memoirs and always am reminded of something or learn something from them.

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    1. I'm with you, Stacie ... memoirs are becoming more compelling to me in recent years ... nothing beats a true story.

      Nothing.

      Thanks for taking a few minutes tonight to say 'hi.' I so appreciate it!

      Delete
  12. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda. Blessings to you.

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    1. I'm enjoying getting to know your heart through your posts, Boma. Running into you has been one of this past month's graces.

      Blessings ...

      Delete
  13. Sounds like a welcome break from the self-help books and the fairy tale endings where all the endings get tied up with a bow!
    Thanks for the heads up!

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    1. Absolutely. Even in its stark tragedy, there's something alive and fresh and vital in Kate's story.

      Would love to read your review on this, Michele!

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  14. In 3 months it will be 9 years since my daughter died at the age of 32. I might be able to read this now. I'll have to check it out.

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    1. Debbie, I am so very sorry for your loss. Words are insufficient ... yet I hope that somehow, Kate's story will let you know that you are not alone.

      Bless you.

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  15. Hi Linda! This definitely looks like a must read. Thanks so much for the recommendation. I absolutely love those books that make me unable to leave my chair for hours. Adding this to my list now! I hope you're enjoying summer. Reading is one of my favorite activities this season. Sitting on my patio under the umbrella with a good book is where I'm parked at least an hour every day.

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    1. I'm with you, Candace. Summer and reading go hand and hand. And yet when I think of those winter months, I'd say the same thing.

      ;-}

      So glad to see you, friend ...

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  16. Color me intrigued. I am currently working on a project about being a friend through the tough times. May need to check this out for research. Thanks for the rec. Visiting you from holley gerth's link up. laurensparks.net

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    1. Lauren, hi. Would love to hear more about your project!

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  17. Thanks for the recommendation, Linda. There's quite a long hold line on this book at my local library, and now that I've read your thoughts, I'm looking forward to checking it out myself. :-)

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    1. No wonder there's a line out the door.

      Would love to read your thoughts after you finish, Lois ...

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  18. Linda, this sounds like an incredible book! My TBR list is quite long right now, but I'm adding it. Because we all face those things that break our hearts, and we walk alongside others who have, who are, or who will face circumstances that drop them to the ground.

    Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Ah, Jeanne, you are so right that it's out of our own horrendous experiences and the graces we received while in the pit that we are able to be present to others who encounter heartbreak.

      Yes, yes.

      That's redemption, isn't it ...

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