Saturday, August 12, 2023

Porch #104 πŸ“š 3 memoirs that celebrate resilience (+ bonus read)

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Hey all my book-lovin' companions ~

We touched on resilience a few weeks back (read here) and that got me thinking of some memorable memoirs with that theme.  Last month, we talked about Beth Moore's riveting story.  This week I'm sharing three more ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ titles that are well worth the investment of your valued time.

And I'm throwing in an excellent bonus read if you need a bit of coaching for your own resilience quest.

What a way to begin wrapping up your own personal summer reading season, entering the world of others who have much to teach us, courtesy of their own vulnerability, suffering, and yes, resilience.

So settle on in and put your feet up.  We've got a whole lot to explore and talk through.  I hope you enjoy.


Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved
Kate Bowler
Stunning, 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 the 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.

Bonus points for this Duke Divinity School professor's Absolutely Never Say This To People Experiencing Terrible Times: A Short List and Give This A Go at the end of the book. 

Five years after publishing this New York Times Bestseller, Kate is still going strong with a powerful outreach and a much-needed empathetic influence.  Her 2021 follow-up book is outstanding as well - No Cure for Being Human: (And Other Truths I Need to Hear).  Her kind, perceptive, hard-won wisdom is priceless.

Educated: A Memoir
Tara Westover
This New York Times Bestseller is an absolutely raw, devastating, yet hope-filled work.  This brilliant author's riveting, unbelievable storyline is never the less true, her writing style completely captivating.  You'll be rooting for her every step of the way, you'll marvel at the choices she makes and the obstacles she overcomes as an isolated child of survivalists, kept out of school, and a victim of violence.  Her slow and steady rise to the top makes for top-notch reading.

More than once I simply closed the book to catch my breath and process the reality of her life in those fragile, formative years.  Talk about resilience.

Four years after publication, this interview is a welcome update.

($11.70 SALE PRICE!!)


Where the Light Fell: A Memoir
Philip Yancey
This book was one of my three favorite reads two years ago.  If you ever read Philip Yancey, this unsettling powerhouse of a saga will enlarge and enrich everything you've gleaned from his work over the decades.  There are no words to fully describe this heart-wrenching memoir which the author says took many years to write.  As you read, you'll understand why.  

'Yancey dives into his family origins, taking us on an evocative journey from the backwoods of the Bible Belt to the bustling streets of Philadelphia; from trailer parks to church sanctuaries; from family oddballs to fire-and-brimstone preachers and childhood awakenings through nature, music, and literature.  In time, the weight of religious and family pressure sent both sons on opposite paths—one toward healing from the impact of what he calls a “toxic faith,” the other into a self-destructive spiral.'

This season finds the author living with Parkinson's Disease.  I'm delighted to see him engaging with the media with his signature warmth and quiet wisdom as he brings salt and light into a volatile world.  

Meanwhile, I love this little clip of conversation with Kate Bowler.

 ($4.99 SALE PRICE!!)


Gordon MacDonald
Three years ago, I pulled this book off my office bookshelf for one reason only.  I was turning 65 and I was not a happy camper.  

That timely re-read was a powerful attitude adjuster, reorienting me toward future possibilities instead of wasting time wringing my hands over more candles on my cake.  

(note to self: it's time for yet another review, girl ... put this on that must-read pile)

MacDonald writes, 'In the great race of life, there are some Christ-followers who stand out from all the rest ... They seem to possess these spiritual qualities: 
* They are committed to finishing strong

* They are inspired by a big-picture view of life

* They run free of the weight of the past

* They run confidently, trained to go the distance

*They run in the company of a 'happy few'

If you're feeling kind of aimless and without a clear purpose, grab this little volume.  Good stuff if you're yearning for a pastoral coach to speak truth into your life.  
($8.49 SALE PRICE!!)

We're here for booktalk, where the conversation that follows is always the best part.  I'd love to hear what pages you're turning as the end of summer peeks around the corner.

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  1. It all does happen for a reason,
    though reason may not be clear,
    and denying this is treason
    to the God I hold so dear.
    It's said His ways are not our own,
    that there's a plan that we can't see,
    so I'll put down complaint-line phone
    to take a closer look at me.
    Is my sense of the unfair
    based on earthly worldly dreams,
    without the slightest hint of care
    as to what it really means
    to God's hope and eyes and soul
    that points me toward what makes me whole?

    1. Andrew, this is a good reminder for all of us to put down that complaint-line phone. Too many of us dwell there unnecessarily. And oh what we've missed along the way.

      Let's hear it for a spirit of gratitude ... and looking to the One who's already numbered our days.

  2. Along the same line as Educated (in other words memoirs I needed to sit back and breathe and just marvel at these strong, resilient kids!) are The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls and I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy (horrible title I know but after reading I could sympathize with her completely).

    1. Yes, The Glass Castle was one of the first books our book club back in NY read. I remember it impacted me deeply ...

  3. These all look interesting and if the other two are as good as Educated, which I really found fascinating, then they are good indeed.

    1. Hope your weekend includes some relaxing bookish moments, Jeanie ...

  4. I'd heard of the other two, but not Educated. I just started Elisabeth Eliot: A Life by Lucy S. R. Austen and I'm right in the middle of Ladies of the Lake, a novel by Cathy Gohlke.

    1. I just finished Ladies of the Lake. It was a light and easy read.

  5. Dear Linda, thank you for all you do here. I appreciate you so much, sweet friend.πŸ™❤

    1. I'm glad to kick off the week with you, Cheryl!

  6. Hi Linda! I found your list intriguing. thanks for the suggestions. I have been reading my "fool" head off due to sermon subject matter. I'm sorry if I repeat myself on some of them. I preached two months on fear/anxiety/worry/depression so I saturated myself with books on that. One of the best was Attacking Anxiety by Shawn Alexander. On another subject I read "Into the Wilds" and "The Roar Within" by Brent Alan Henderson. They are books on men being men of God. I just finished "Correct, Not Politically Correct" by Frank Turek. I also read "Loving My (LGBTQ) Neighbors" by Stanton. "How (Not To) Read the Bible by Dan Kimball was a great read! I suggest "Sober Cycle" by Sherry Hoppen, a book about alcoholism recovery. For my Encounter Time in the morning I took my time reading Cheryl Smith's two books on "Homespun Devotions! I highly recommend them, especially for her easy, down home writing. I'm sorry I took so much space. I read more due to sermon subject matter but left many of them out. :) (Good thing huh?)

    1. I love that you preached for two months on fear/anxiety/worry/depression, Bill. God's Word has much to say about where we find ourselves right now, and those biblical heros have struggled with the same things we do even though they lived in another time and place.

      And yes, yes, to Cheryl's Homespun Devotions series. I'm a fan, too. Sometimes, that easy down-home style of writing is exactly what hits home for us.

      Have a good week, friend. I hope you enjoy some kind of day off or Sabbath rest in there.

  7. Just finished reading Russell Moore’s memoir-ish book—even though I had said to myself that I didn’t want to read it.

    Your list is just so enticing.

    1. Interesting when we reach for a book we're not that all sure about and find when all is said and done that it was worth the investment of our time and energy ...

  8. All of these recommendations sound great, Linda! I've struggled to find very much time for reading this summer but I'm hoping to get back into it more now.

  9. If you have not used the John Eldridge Resilent part of his free Pause App, I highly recommend it. I used it when he first released his book Resilient and I have used it multiple times since.♥️

    * subscriber text response

    1. Thanks for letting us know about his book! It somehow slipped by me and it looks perfect for where many find themselves in 2023 -

      'Drawing on wisdom from Scripture and Christian tradition, and illustrated throughout with powerful, true stories of grit ...
      Recover from the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic
      Tap into the river of life that God promises his people
      Learn to be patient with yourself--genuine recovery from spiritual and emotional trauma takes time and intentionality
      Create a plan to foster resilience in your day-to-day life
      Discover deep wells of freedom and strength through Christ who lives within us'

  10. I have put Educated on hold at the library. That one sounds very interesting. Hope you have a week that includes some quiet reading time - happy Monday:)

    1. It's simply fascinating. I'd love to hear what you think ...

  11. I've been enjoying being able to find time to read though probably in the fall I might get too busy to sit down and read.

    1. Sounds like you and Lesley have had the same kind of summer!

  12. Thank you, as always, for introducing us to books we may otherwise miss. I have such great respect for Phillip Yancey--may have to get his memoir. Also have appreciated Gordon MacDonald over the years. The book you mention sounds perfect for the season of life we're living (although I'm several years ahead of you). There's much to celebrate about these days of retirement!

    1. You're right, there IS much to celebrate! Those mercies are new every morning, aren't they, Nancy. So grateful ...

  13. Our book club read Educated and Beth Moore's memoir. We tend to like memoir! :) We also read fiction. I recently finished Say Yes by Scott Erickson. I've had it for over a year, and finally read it! Very good, and could see myself pulling it off the book shelf again when, like you reaching for your book on resilience, I reach another milestone age!

  14. Love your list. And i smiled that you too pulled an old favorite from your book shelf like I have been doing this summer too.!!

    1. Yep, my next read has been moving from desk to dresser to night table, gathering far too much dust. Looks like she's next in line!

  15. Did you know there are more books in the world than people? If books were made of ice cream we'd be up to our necks in it and not able to move. Global warming would become global freezing.

    What do you prefer? Books or ice cream?

    God bless.

    1. Oh now that's a HARD, tricky question, Victor. I'm not sure I can answer that. I'll put it to a vote here soon, ok?!

  16. I'm happy to say I've read all three of those memoirs too, Linda! And agree with you that they're all wonderful.

    1. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of those titles came from you, Lisa ...

  17. I read The Glass Castle a few years ago too. Beth Moore's memoir is on my TBR pile. I love when you share recommendations. I'm still in my reading funk. But I have been putting recommendations in my Amazon list and phurchasing a few at a time. I mean I'm reading it's just not like everyone else who reads multiple books per month— Sigh...

    Thank you bunches for sharing these recommendations with Sweet Tea & Friends this month. I value & treasure you sweet friend.

    1. Hey girl, be kind to yourself! Reading one quality book a month is a worthy goal! Trying to cram multiple titles into your valuable time is futile and highly overrated. Really.