Tuesday, September 20

What I'm Reading: September

Dear Mr. M by Herman Koch // I love the cover of this book! It definitely catches your eye. The story is based on a once celebrated writer named M. He had great success with a suspense novel based on a real-life disappearance of a history teacher who went missing one winter after having a brief affair with one of his students. This book catapulted M's career, but now it's fading. This book bounces around in alternating points of view, and the reader quickly learns that they don't know who to trust.

I was captivated by this novel. It was my first Herman Koch book, and I remember hearing that his book The Dinner was on the New York Times bestseller list. That always gives me more confidence to crack open a book by a (new to me) author. This book was masterfully crafted. Koch was able to fully immerse me in this story of "M" and the very tangled lives in the book. I give it two very large thumbs up for the suspenseful nature and interesting story.

Play with Fire by Bianca Juarez Olthoff // This is the first book from Bianca, and the first time I heard her name was when I picked up this book. From reading about her online, she's a popular speaker and teacher, with an Instagram following of 36K. The premise of the book is that God isn't waiting until you have more of anything (spouse, money, job, influence, etc) to use you. But more than that, she wants to remind us that God does indeed have plans for us. In her words, "He's whispering in the wind and speaking through the fire and shouting in silence the extraordinary dream He is birthing in you. His dream for you is far greater than the dream you have for yourself. It's not your identity or income or influence that will made this happen."

I'm a tough critic on Christian living books (lately it feels like the market is over-saturated and there's only so much we can be doing to better ourselves, our walk with God, etc. - it's gotten a bit overwhelming). While I loved the concept of this book, I wasn't able to connect with Bianca's writing style. There was something missing in it for me, and as a reader I didn't feel the power of her words on paper. There's a large part of me that absolutely hates writing that because there's nothing more powerful than Christian women standing together to support one another. Maybe it was part of my mindset the day I read this book? Maybe I was nursing some kind of life cynicism or perhaps it was just as simple as my focus being "off" that day? After doing more research about who Bianca is in real life and the great work she's doing through the A21 campaign and Propel Women, I can see what a faith-filled woman she is. And from what I gather, she is a powerhouse speaker. Perhaps if I had known more about her or had seen her speak, picking up this book would've been a different experience.

Disclaimer: The books this post were provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Also, affiliate links used. This means that if you purchase a book via the Amazon links, I'll receive a small percentage. Thank you for supporting my blog!

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