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-Hardcover
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 – March 2019

Wow. I actually just typed ‘March 2019’. That my friends… is a colossal moment. xD I’m half-joking, but also sort of serious. How are we already into the third month of this year?! It feels like no time at all since New Years… And now, as of today, as I am 18 years old, I think I can officially say that time is passing far too quick and I am getting far too old. xD Wow that was a confusing sentence… You must pardon any incohesiveness yes that is now officially a word on my part in this blog post. It’s getting rather late where I live and it’s been a long, full day of celebrating with family and friends! All good things – but now I’m tired… Man it’s hard work being an adult! πŸ˜› Anyways, I’ll quit rambling and get onto the subject of today’s blog post – reading! Specifically, what I find myself reading as this third month of the year rolls around… I’ve pulled four books I’d like to highlight for y’all – I hope that you enjoy getting a wee peek into my reading life! πŸ™‚Β 

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Romantic Outlaws
Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter Mary Shelley – by Charlotte Gordon

I had fully intended to finish this book before I turned 18. I have been making my way, albeit rather slowly, through this 600+ page tome of a book all through February, and I told myself that I would finish it before my birthday. Alack and alas, it was not to be… I have about 60 pages to go still. However, despite that very random and slightly disappointing fact (I decided that making a birthday cake and sleeping was more important than finishing it, hehe xD) – I am hugely enjoying reading through this book! I just read Frankenstein a few weeks ago for my British Novels class, and because of that I was inspired to learn more about its author – Mary Shelley. I stumbled upon this book, promptly ordered it from the library and dove in! And what a book it is! It is huge and goes into great depth on the lives of the famous Mary Shelley, and her slightly less famous but nonetheless very influential mother, Mary Wollstonecraft. I have learnt so much from this book, and I wish all biographies were this interesting and well-researched/written! Yes, probably being a very curious lover of history has helped in my enjoyment of this book, but it truly has been such a fascinating read, and I’m very much looking forward to finishing it! (also you’ll note that this is a non-fiction book – I’m keeping good on my promise/goal that I shared in this blog post!)

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L'Abri
L’Abri – by Edith Schaeffer

This is book #9 in my Mum and I’s reading streak. Actually for this past month our reading streak has been opened up to anther member, as one of my very dear friends who has been visiting from the US has been joining us. This was a slight wild card of a choice in a book, but it’s turned out to be a very good wild card! It tells the story of the beginnings of L’Abri – a simple chalet in the Swiss Mountains filled with a family who had a heart to reach people for Christ. The Schaeffer family began a ministry that brought people into their home so that they could ask questions about faith, specifically the Christian faith. This book is full of stories that have God’s fingerprints all over them, as the Schaeffers saw God answering prayer after prayer to bring the ministry of L’Abri into existence. It’s been really encouraging and interesting so far, and I’m looking forward to finishing it on Monday (the day we’re scheduled to finish it xD).

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WH
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

Let’s move on to some fiction now, shall we? After all, what is a blog post on here without some mention of fiction. πŸ˜€ This book is another book that I’m required to read for my British Novels course. And despite it being required reading, I’m actually really enjoying it… It’s very dramatic… Dark, wild moors and dark, wild men and unrequited loves and thirsts for revenge… Pretty high on the SUBLIME meter I’d say, and a rather good example of Gothic and Romantic Literature (hehe look at me spouting off all my newly-acquired knowledge from my Brit-Nov class xD). But in all seriousness, the plot is very intriguing and I’m very much enjoying learning about all the history behind the author and literary era! And currently I’m very curious about the ending… I’ve still got about 1/4 of the book left, but I now have to wait another week according to my syllabus to finish it…. I’ll try and hold myself back from reading ahead. πŸ˜€

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spitfire
Miss Spitfire – by Sarah Miller

For my last book to highlight, I’ve chosen this one – a historical fiction/biography of Annie Sullivan, the teacher of the famed Hellen Keller. I’m currently going through this book with my book club I’m leading at least I hope I still am after the slightly traumatizing reading we had last week of Hellen Keller in her worst state. This is the second time I’ve read this book and I’m still just as fascinated with the story as I was the first time. I can’t imagine trying to break into the mind of a human being who has no concept of sounds or words or the meanings of those words or sounds. Yet this was the monumental task that Annie had with Helen Keller, and watching her tackle this in the book is absolutely fascinating to watch… I remember being very thought-provoked yes this is another new word I’ve now made up at the end of this book, and I’m hoping some good discussions in my book club will spring forth as a result of reading this book.

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Right, that brings us to the end of this week’s blog post… It’s slightly less informal than usual, but you can blame that on the newly-adult-brain I now have, as well as the more likely suspect of being extremely tired. I’ll see y’all next week! πŸ˜€Β 

Poem – The Madness of Memory

Hello my friends! It’s Saturday, albeit rather late on my side of the continent… πŸ˜€ I’ve had a very busy couple of days jaunting about London with a dear friend of mine who is over for a month. In the past three days we managed to cover most of London (at least it sure felt like it! :D) and walk like 50,000+ steps in the doing so. But it was hugely enjoyable and sunny, and despite the fact that Big Ben is completely covered in scaffolding (cue the sobs), the history of the place was quite intoxicating. I don’t think I would like to live in a big city like that, but I do quite like visiting it! And I do think I need to go back in the not too distant future, because there is so much left to explore! Seriously, it’s insane the amount of things to do in that city… My friend and I did a large sweep of all the famous places, but my oh my, there is just so much more…!Β 

Anyways, today I’m going to be sharing with you a poem I wrote after reading the book Frankenstein. It’s a very thought provoking book… although rather disturbing. In case you haven’t read it, the brief summary is this: Man decides to make a creature from dead body parts. But man is horrified by the creature once he gives it life and abandons it. Over the course of time said creature becomes less and less of a creature and more and more of a monster as he is continually rejected by all humankind. Eventually man and monster meet, man fully and finally rejects monster, and then monster decides to emotionally torture man by killing everyone he loves until the man finally dies. Cheerful, right? Although it is very creepy in parts, it is very, very thought-provoking, and I found myself rather fascinated by the moral conundrum the story creates. Anyways, I ended up writing a poem based on the climax of the book and I’m going to share it with you today. If you haven’t yet read Frankenstein and wish to abstain from any spoilers, do not continue reading. The poem is a rather large spoiler. πŸ˜€ I hope you’ll enjoy it, and perhaps if you haven’t yet read this book, maybe you’ll be inspired to go pick it up and give it a read through. It’s a very accessible, readable book, and it is great for inspiring deep thought on moral issues!Β 

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Memory brings with it madness
Far too often now
Darkness drowning out the light
In the terror of the night

I remember
The sky was blue
And the water bluer
As we rowed across the water
Mountains looming like sentinels
Blocking out the sun
As we sat close to one another
Fear lapping at our heels

I remember
Holding her hand
As the light faded
Smiling at the close of day
And we walked together in silence
Each wrapped in the spiderweb of
Thought and hearts beating together
As the shadows deepened

I remember
Walking in the dim
Pistols drawn
Waiting for whoever
Whatever to come
Waiting to see the shadow loom dark
Waiting to hear the voice utter death
Waiting to finally grapple with my creation
My monster
My doom

I remember
Silence
Thick darkness
And then a scream
That pierced my heart through
With a sudden knowledge
That all was for naught
Oh the noise
It echoed in the darkness
Shrill and long and loud
And I trembled with fear

I remember
The frenzied rush
The hot fear that bubbled in my chest
The door opening
And her still form lying there
The warmth draining from her body
As the shadows grew in strength
The night grew cold
And I knew all was lost

I remember
The faint, mocking laughter
Of a creature once again the victor
And then I remember
No more

And now memory again brings madness
The darkness has fallen once again
And I have lost my final fight
Against the terrors of the night

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That’s it for today! I’ll see y’all next week! πŸ˜‰

Have you read Frankenstein before? What do you think of it? And have you been to London – if so, what’s your favourite thing to do there? Let’s chat in the comments! πŸ™‚Β