Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey was a book that was recommended to me by a friend. I found this book interesting, enjoyable, and encouraging. At a time when I find myself questioning my place within the church and discouraged by the way women are often treated by leaders and followers in the church, this book acts as a bit of a balm to the wounded soul.
The word “feminist” gets a bad rep these days. Too much of a stigma is attached to the word these days. Heck, I had a few people question me when they saw the title of the book I was reading, saying “What are you reading? Looks like trash to me.” I’d like to plead this book’s case, please don’t disregard it based on the title. This is a good book, one that’s definitely worth the read. In Jesus Feminist, Bessey offers a freedom call for all who want to realize their gifts and potential in the kingdom of God. Bessey uses a thoughtful review of biblical teaching and church practices to share how following Jesus made a feminist out of her.
Many people like to refer to a few verses, taken out of context, written by Paul to make their case against women having any sort of leadership role in the church. Some go as far as to suggest that we should be completely silent in the church….. Yes, it’s 2018 and people still believe that. But as Bessey points out, Jesus spoke to women directly, instead of through their male-headship standards and contrary to the order of the day. She uses superb examples of Jesus engaging, interacting, and working through/with women. The Samaritan woman at the well, Mary Magdalene being the first witness to Jesus’ resurrection, and Mary and Martha being a select few. Bessey backs up her claims with biblical and sound theological evidence.
I very much enjoyed reading Jesus Feminist and found it incredibly encouraging. This book encouraged me to press on and stand my ground. I would recommend this to all Christian women. It’s a good read.
I give it a 7/10.
I came across Anneli Rufus’ Party of One: The Loner’s Manifesto through Amazon’s recommendation feature which is based on your previous purchases. I’m glad I did, it was certainly worth the read. As an extreme introvert, loner, I just knew I had to give this book a chance.
Party of One, a long-overdue argument in defense of the loner, then and now, finds Rufus defending all the loners in the world who get a bad name simply for preferring to be by themselves. Assembling evidence from every arena of culture, such as art, film, pop culture, and advertising, as well as interviews with experts and loners worldwide, Rufus rebuts the prevailing notion that aloneness is indistinguishable from loneliness, the fallacy that all of those who are alone don't want to be, and wouldn't be, if only they knew how.
The book has quite a few good points and quotes that can be pulled for one’s personal use and research, but overall, I agree with Publisher Weekly’s review when it says that Rufus’ book “feels as if too much random information has been cut-and-pasted together.” It was hard to pinpoint the underlying message of the book or the motive for the book’s existence. It felt like the author might have been trying too hard, but it is unclear as to what she was trying for. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy reading it for the most part, though I admit quite a few parts were rather dry reading. I think the book would have worked better had it been divided up into little column sized pieces, released one at a time in smaller doses.
What I liked about Party of One in particular were the Introduction, Art, Literature, and Film chapters. I found those the most interesting and enjoyable to read, and actually quite fascinating. I wish the whole book was as interesting as those chapters. I also appreciated the descriptions and reasons Rufus provided for loners and why loners are the way they are. I was able to pull a few to add to my growing toolbox for when I have to explain/defend my loner self to others. For instance, in the introduction Rufus explains, “We do not require company, the opposite in varying degrees, it bores us, drains us, makes our eyes glaze over,” and then “We are the ones who know how to entertain ourselves. How to learn without taking a class. How to contemplate and how to create.”
Though my favorite quote used in the book didn’t come from Rufus herself, but from Franz Kafka, “I have always had this fear of people, not actually of the people themselves, but of their intrusion.” It pretty much sums up my feelings towards people perfectly. Gems like this one and others are what makes reading this book worthwhile. I would recommend it for that reason, but only to people willing to mine it like a stream for gold, in the sense that you’ll have to dig through a lot of debris to get to the small nuggets.
I give it a 5/10.
Karen Witemeyer has released a brand new novel, More Than Meets The Eye, which serves as the start of a new series called A Patchwork Family. The first thing about the book that caught my attention was the beautiful cover which features a young woman that matches the heroine’s description, right down to the different colored eyes (one blue and one brown). The colors also come into play with the lettering colors in the title, “More” is in blue and “Eye” is in brown. It really fits the book. The second thing that hit me was the Prologue. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but be warned, tears for days! It’s beautifully done and hooks the reader immediately.
More Than Meets The Eye is an excellent start to a brand new series and I am all for it. I haven’t met a Witemeyer series that I didn’t love. I find the concept behind this series fresh and unique. A patchwork family made up of three children (now adults) who were orphaned and banded together to make their own family in order to survive in the world isn’t a concept you come across often. This first installment in the series introduces Evangeline, Zach, and Seth “Hamilton”.
Evangeline has a very interesting and unique quality, her mismatched eyes, one blue and one brown. She grows up doing her best to hide them as most people either think she’s some sort of freak, a witch, or the devil’s spawn. She was orphaned at a young age and has had to fight hard for her place in the world, against nonstop rejection. Along the way she meets Seth and Zach, both orphans themselves. Both had traits that also made them unwanted, Seth was always a sickly child and Zach had a dark, cold demeanor. Through tragedy, they band together and decide to make their own family. They work together and look out for each other.
15 years later, the three have carved out a good life for themselves living on a farm in Pecan Gap, Texas. But not all is what it seems. Seeking justice against the man who stole his father’s land and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his family’s troubles. Only instead of finding a ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself, with an unusual family to boot. Logan soon finds out that Hamilton’s family is a bit odd, but enchanting at the same time…. Particularly his sister, Evangeline.
I have always admired Karen’s writing style. She has a true talent for spinning stories with earthy characters, an intriguing plot, and superb dialogue. I love the way she handles the dialogue in her books. She adds a great deal of wit and funny sarcasm to her stories. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed out loud at the exchange between certain characters. I particularly enjoyed the exchanges between Logan and Zach, and Logan and Evangeline in this book. You can’t help but feel that you are right there with the characters, hearing their voices and seeing their facial expressions. Part of this is just a superb talent for writing dialogue, and the other part is her beautiful crafting of the characters themselves. Evangeline has become one of my favorite heroines, and of course what’s not to like about Logan? Karen gives her characters very human flaws and quirks, which is yet another thing I enjoy about Karen’s writing.
I also love the fact that Karen weaves great Christian values and Biblical lessons into her books. The message of justice vs. vengeance and the importance of forgiveness were strong throughout More Than Meets The Eye. That’s not to say it’s overtly strong to the point where non-Christians wouldn’t enjoy the book. Karen handles the whole thing with care and respect.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book. Wonderful story, lovable and relatable characters, and a plot that won’t let you put it down until you’ve reached the end. Karen Witemeyer has another hit on her hands…. But then again, she hasn’t had a miss yet. ;)
PS: I sincerely hope we haven't seen the last of Zach Hamilton! Here's hoping the next installment at least features him if it isn't based around him.. ;)
I give it a 10/10.
Grab the book here!
Liz Austin. Bibliophile. Writer. Book hoarder. I would rather be reading....