5 Non-Fiction Highlights from 2020

Greetings! It’s Saturday again, and I’m back, as promised, to share 5 of my non-fiction highlights from 2020. I’m really excited about theses ones, so let’s just jump in! Feel free to check out my previous posts on my 2020 reading recap and my 2020 fiction highlights if you want to get some background info on this post. πŸ˜‰

Continue reading “5 Non-Fiction Highlights from 2020”

Top 5 Non-Fiction Reads of 2019

Hello! I’m back this week with some mini-reviews of my top 5 non-fiction reads of 2019. I actually read a lot more non-fiction in 2019, something that I’m really happy about. And I read some really, really impactful books! I’m excited to share some of them with you today. πŸ™‚

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gay girl good god
Gay Girl, Good God – Jackie Hill Perry

This book is incredible. It’s the autobiography of the author’s journey from being an atheistic lesbian, to a woman totally gripped by the reality of a good God and his gracious Gospel. I personally really resonated with the writing style – it’s lyrical and rich and tells such a beautiful story. This book deals with heavy topics in a much-needed manner, and it’s incredibly refreshing. I would 100% recommend this book to pretty much everyone – but particularly to anyone who is looking to grapple with the issues of sexuality in today’s world.

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book girl
Book Girl – Sarah Clarkson

2019 was the year that I discovered literary non-fiction. By that, I mean books that talk about books. This discovery made my bookworm heart extremely happy. This is one such book, and a very delightful one at that. I think my original Goodreads review does it the most justice…

This book… how do I even describe it? It’s like sitting down with a kindred spirit at the end of a long hard week and being able to share our hearts together… This was just such a heart-warming, refreshing read, with so much wisdom and joy and beauty packed between the pages to be gleaned! As a reader, as a woman, as a writer – my heart needed this book. It came to me at a moment where I was feeling spiritually and creatively low. But as I journeyed through the pages, I felt that my heart and soul were being gently nudged awake, pushed towards Christ, and being given the permission once again to dream and revel in the wonder of story. This book is a gem, and I know I will be coming back to it again and again.”

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the hole in our gospel
The Hole in our Gospel – Richard Stearns

This book isn’t an easy one to read. But it contains a message that I think very important for the western Church of this day and age to hear and take to heart. The premise of this book is this: if the Gospel is really transforming lives, then why aren’t we seeing more social justice and global change around the world? If Christ has transformed our hearts, the life we live should be radically different from the rest of the world. This book is a call to action – an incredibly convicting one. Definitely worth a read, and probably a reread (particularly if you fit into the catagory of middle/upper-class, western Christianity).

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Romantic Outlaws – Charlotte Gordon

Judging from my review of Frankenstein that I shared last week, you might not be suprised that I read this book. After digging into Frankenstein, I found myself fascinated by the life of its author, Mary Shelley. I discovered this (huge!) tome of a book and gladly dived in. I was well rewarded – this is one of the most fascinating biographies I have ever read! It does not live up to the reputation that most biographies have of being dry and dull. This almost reads like fiction, it’s that well written. I found the lives of Mary Shelley, and her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, absolutely riveting. This book is a very in-depth, well-researched look into their lives. So if you find history/Frankenstein/romantic authors interesting, you really do need to get this book and read it!

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answering jihad
Answering Jihad – Nabeel Qureshi

This is another one of those books that deals with an incredibly relevant and divisive topic – the issue of Islamic jihad. I know I have talked about this author, Nabeel Qureshi, before on this blog. He was a devout Muslim that became a Christian, and has since written three incredibly helpful books on different topics regarding Islam and Christianity. With the increasing instances of Islamic terror attacks happening around the world, it’s hard to know how to interact with this topic from a Christian perspective. This book is the answer to that dilemma.Β Here is a summarizing quote from my (excessively long :D) review on Goodreads:

“I came away from this book having learnt so much about the history of jihad and Islam, and ready to formulate my own beliefs on how I, as a Christian, should be responding to the Islamic extremism that is growing in prevalence today. Qureshi does not fear-monger, nor does he bash Muslims. Instead he gives the facts with love, acknowledging the violent roots of Islam, while underlining the importance of loving and accepting Muslims into our communities.”Β 

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So those were my top 5 non-fiction reads of 2019! I hope you find these reviews helpful as you travel on your own personal reading journey. πŸ˜‰

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? And what were some of your favourite non-fiction reads of last year? I’d love to chat in the comments!Β 

What I’m Reading – August 2019

Hello everyone! I’m back after a crazy 50 hour work week (yes, 50 hours) and a day of seeing people (73 today to be exact xD). I’m exhausted but life is good… I leave for university in the States in just over a week, and now that my work is behind me, I need to start packing. And saying goodbye. And other fun things like that. πŸ˜€ Today I had an open house and was bowled over by the amount of people that came to spend some time with me before I left. 73?! Crazy. But I’m so incredibly grateful for all those friendships… It’s definitely not going to be easy to say goodbye. Humans aren’t made to say goodbye after all. Thank goodness for exciting future plans and the ability to come back home though!

Anyways, today I want to share with you a couple of books that I’m currently reading (or wanting to finish/start soon). It’s definitely hard trying to find free moments in amongst that chaos to do some reading. But a bookworm is never truly foiled by life, right? For example, this past week I was doing 10 hour work days, but on my 30 minute lunch break I would read! You’ve gotta get that time in somehow! So here are some books that I’m currently reading…

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bookworm

Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading – Lucy Mangan

Ok so this is the book that I’ve been devouring on my lunch breaks over the past week. I’m generally a nosy/curious person, so I’ve really enjoyed reading this book which is basically a window into a fellow booklover’s life and memories. πŸ˜€ Though I don’t agree with every bookish opinion that the author holds, on the whole this has been a delightful way of reminding myself of why I love reading. It also has given me a long list of books I want to reread/buy, which is both a good thing for my bookworm heart and a bad thing for my ‘broke college student’ bank account. πŸ˜€

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screwtape letters

The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis

This is the current (and final :() book that my Mum and I are reading for our reading streak together. We’re currently on day 373 of reading together every day, and I will freely admit that my heart breaks a tiny bit when I remember that this streak will be concluded by the end of this month when I start university. But what a book to finish on! Lewis is seriously on fire in this book. He is witty, clear and very pointed, and I’m finding something to ponder in basically every chapter we read. This is definitely an impactful book and I’m looking forward to reading more of it!

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the-hole-in-our-gospel

The Hole in Our Gospel – Richard Stearns

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I got about halfway through this book way back in May and then just quit. The reason being that I started it on holiday, but once I got back home school ramped up hugely and I put it down and never picked it up again. Not good! I’m determined to finish this book before I leave for uni. One of the reasons being that I don’t want to have to carry it across the ocean with me (#limitedluggagespace). But the more important reason is that it is an incredibly impactful book with an important message and I really want to finish it! So here is my public declaration that I’m going to. Hold me to it, peeps. πŸ˜‰

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The-Good-God_Mike_Reevies

The Good God – Michael Reeves

I was inspired to pick this book up for two reasons: chatting about it (along with other important theological books) with a friend + the fact that my church is going through it in our small groups this summer. And man alive is this book amazing. It’s so easy to forget the huge impact that the Trinity has on the Christian faith, and this book is a wake up call to that fact. It’s been so good to be reminded of the foundations of my faith and just the impact that Trinity has on how Christianity works. It’s astounding if you dig into it! I’m really looking forward to reading more of this book, and this is one book I’ll definitely be bringing with me to uni!Β 

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Welp, that’s my list… And can we just take a minute to appreciate a very important fact…..Β 

3/4Β  of these books are non-fiction!Β 

Yes, I, the pro fiction devourer, am currently reading only one fiction book. Who kidnapped story-loving Hannah and replaced her with a non-fiction reading clone? πŸ˜€ But hey, I’m not complaining. It’s good to be actively working towards my goal of reading more non-fiction books this year. And I love reading such a wide variety of non-fiction! I think it’s good for me, and I’m grateful for the ability to widen my reading scope.Β 

Okey-doke, I’m off to read for a bit before I crash into my bed – gotta find time to read when you can, after all. πŸ˜‰ I’ll be back here next week!Β 

 

 

 

4 Books That Made Me Cry

Greetings, and happy October to you all! I can’t say I’m exactly thrilled about the onset of cold, dreary and drizzly weather… But hey, when you live in England, you don’t exactly have a choice, haha! πŸ˜€ One good thing about this weather is that it has set me thinking about books. You see, when you can’t go out of the house because it’s tipping it down, what else is there to do except read?? Well there is that whole do school like 24/7 because life is crazy busy and it’s Senior year thing but anyways. Now I haven’t been doing a whole lot of reading in the past day or two, but I was thinking yesterday about all the good books I’ve read this year, and I realized something… I have actually broken my track record of not crying in books like three times in the past ten months. Crazy I know.

Now let me just say that I’m not the type of person that you will come across sobbing in a corner holding a book to my chest and wailing over the beauty and pathos contained within its pages. Nope. I feel very deeply when I read emotional books, but I hardly ever cry over them. In fact, until this past year, I can only remember one book that I’ve cried over. But somehow this year something has changed – perhaps it’s part of getting old or something. πŸ˜€ Anyways, today I thought I would share with you the only four books that have made me cry. Not cry like sobbing for hours in my bedroom, but rather cry like choking over a huge lump in my throat at 1 am while my heart constricts painfully, my eyes leak and I reel with emotion… Because let me tell you, these are good books.Β 

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// The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis //

“The rising of the sun had made everything look so different – all the colours and shadows were changed – that for a moment they didn’t see the important thing. Then they did. The Stone Table was broken into two pieces by a great crack that ran down it from end to end; and there was no Aslan.”

You might be suprised to hear that I actually cried while reading this children’s classic. Yes, I did. This is the first book that I ever remember crying at. It was during Chapter XV: A Deeper Magic Before Time – The utter despair of the children and the darkness of the night was heartrending, but then to have it followed by the golden rise of the dawn and of Aslan was just so beautiful and such a beautiful demonstration of hope – well, I couldn’t help myself. This book still holds a special place in my heart because of the beautiful truths it conveys through the story.Β 

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safely home

// Safely Home – Randy Alcorn //Β 

β€œWhen men know they cannot hope in a country, in a political belief, or in themselves, they become free to hope in God.”

This book rocked my world. And I’m pretty sure it will rock yours too. It opened my eyes, it challenged me, it squeezed my heart with empathy and sorrow. Ultimately, it made me look at God in a totally different way. I read this book in about 24 hours, absolutely enamoured with the story and the ending…. ohhhh the ending. It is gorgeous and heart-tugging and I read it sniffing back tears. Read my full review here.

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a-man-called-ove-

// A Man Called Ove – Fredrik Backman //

“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding onto words like ‘if'”

There are some books that just surprise you out of nowhere with their charm – this book is one of them. The characters are impossible not to love, even if one is the most grumpy old man you’ll probably ever meet. This book’s writing style won’t blow you out of the water, but the characters and their stories will. I loved them like they were real by the end of it and thoroughly wished I could meet them in real life. This is a book charged with emotion, and I cried happy tears at the end. Read my full review here.

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the light between oceans

// A Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman //

“When he wakes sometimes from dark dreams of broken cradles, and compasses without bearings, he pushes the unease down, lets the daylight contradict it. And isolation lulls him with the music of the lie.”

This book is possibly the most intense book I’ve read this past year – maybe even in my whole life. Just remembering the story now is bringing up such a huge swell of emotions for me. It was incredibly, painfully beautiful. The writing is absolutely stunning, and the plot was… I don’t even have words to describe how beautiful and sad it was. I finished this book at 1 am by the light of a flashlight with tears slipping down my cheeks as I struggled to take in the intensity of the emotions this book brought up in me. It took me a while to recover from this book, it was that good.Β  Read my full review on Goodreads here.

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Let’s chat! Are you the type to cry while reading emotional books, or are you more of the type to read dry eyed while dying inside? What books, if any, have made you cry?

Books I Read on Holiday – Mini-reviews!

Hello! I’ve just returned home from a week-long family holiday by the sea, and I’m excited to share with you a bookish blog post! I did a lot of reading this past week, seeing as I was on holiday and all that. So I thought it would be fun to give some mini-reviews on the books I read/finished while on holiday. I hope you enjoy getting a peek into my recent reading life! πŸ™‚

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Here, have a random artsy picture I took on the beach… #thebeachismyhappyplace πŸ˜€

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the staircase
The Staircase – Ann Rinaldi – 3/5 stars

A kinda weird, but interesting historical fiction book about a girl abandoned at a convent during the 1800s. It was fine, but some parts were just a bit… odd. I probably won’t reread it.

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The House on Mango Street – Sandra Cisneros – 4/5 stars

Written in short vignettes, this book was beautiful and gripping. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and most of the content.Β 

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nurturing the nations
Nurturing the Nations – Darrow L. Miller – 5/5 stars

I finished reading this book with my Mum this week. It was a perceptive and incredibly helpful look into the treatment and role of women. I really appreciated the Biblical insight the author gave and will definitely be going back for reference in the future. Highly recommended!

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inside out and back again
Inside Out & Back Again – Thanhha Lai – 4/5 stars

I’ve been absolutely loving delving into the world of free-verse poetry novels recently. This book was beautifully written and I learnt a lot about the Vietnam War. Definitely recommended to any reader who loves poetry and/or history!!

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the wednesday wars
The Wednesday Wars – Gary D. Schmidt – 5/5 stars

Reread this book for the second time in preparation for a book club I’m going to lead on it. I found it even more funny than my first time through it, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent reading it! I’m actually looking forward to reading it for the 3rd time with my book club soon. #it’sthatgood

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Through Gates of Splendour – Elisabeth Elliot – 5/5 stars

Warning: this book might change your life. My family finished reading it aloud together this week, and man… it’s incredible. It details the stories of five men who were martyred in Ecuador in 1956. Their lives of faith are beautiful and stunning and arresting. Highly, highly recommended. Seriously, go read this book.Β 

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silas marner
Silas Marner – George Eliot – 4/5 stars

A lovely story about the power of greed vs the power of love. I was suprised by how dramatic and gripping this book was, considering it was written over 150 years ago. It just goes to show that sometimes the ‘oldies’ are the best!

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just patty
Just Patty – Jean Webster – 4/5 stars

I discovered this book randomly on my kindle and then tore through it in 24 hours, thoroughly amused by the adventures of Patty and her comrades. It’s a book in the like of ‘What Katy Did at School’ but original enough so as not to seem like a repeat. Jean Webster is a lovely ‘old-timey’ author and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever read by her.Β 

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when patty went to college
When Patty Went to College – Jean Webster – 4/5 stars

I read this book straight through on the car trip home today. It’s another book full of the escapades of the irrepressible and darling Patty. Refreshingly wholesome and just plain sweet and funny. A perfect ‘long-car-trip-read’!

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jerry
Jerry – Jean Webster – 4/5 stars

This is the last Jean Webster book I have on kindle that I hadn’t read yet. Full of amusing, love-lorn, masquerading characters, this is another sweet, charming read. I must say I do enjoy Jean Webster’s writing – there’s something so hilarious and so cute about it!

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I know this has been a relatively long blog post, so thanks for sticking with me through it! πŸ˜€ To finish off, I’ll give you a few pictures from our holiday by the sea, and then that’ll be all from me for the next week… Thanks for reading!!Β 

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The view from the front of our house!

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Siblings by the sea. ❀

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Sunrise this morning. Ah, the beauty did my heart good!