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Reading Lately

My goal this year has been to read a book a month, and so far I am on track or exceeding that number (I have lost track of a few library books I read, ugh!). I thought I'd share a few thoughts on books I've read recently.



Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus
(I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from BookLook Bloggers)
by Nabeel Qureshi
4 1/2 stars ****

This was a fascinating account of a devout Muslim, Nabeel Qureshi, finding Jesus and his strenuous path to acceptance. I have had the pleasure of hearing Nabeel speak with Dr. Ravi Zacharias, both great thinkers with great hearts. Nabeel's serious, intellectual struggles are thoroughly explored, a great read for those who have a theology background. I did want the "Wow" moments to stand on their own instead of being bogged down in lengthy explanations sometimes. 

I stayed up waaaaaay past my bedtime to finish this one, though, a good sign. The second I was done with this book a friend nabbed it from me to borrow, another good sign.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone, just beware that it’s a bit intellectual and not light reading for the beach by any means. That doesn’t mean you should shy away—instead, jump right in. Learn how to better pray and make friendships that open doors. Nabeel, while an incredibly smart writer, is also warm and welcoming and won’t leave you hanging as a reader. In the end, Nabeel has to come to grips with what he is studying and what God is laying on his heart…despite the consequences that still haunt him. What a story! 




The Wal-Mart Effect
by Charles Fishman
5 stars *****

This was another fascinating read...an upsetting and thoroughly interesting discussion of our current (ok, in 2006, when the book was written) economic climate and the double-edged sword we've created. I've read Sam Walton's biography (the founder of Wal-mart) and it's interesting to me how the two books paint vastly different pictures of Walmart. I think with Walmart the intentions are good (Save money! If we streamline everything then we save money which saves you money!) but the execution is blind and with little regard for the businesses and people that make Walmart work. This book is well-researched, fair, honest and direct. It really comes down to this: What are you willing to sacrifice to save a bit of money at Walmart? This book might help you realize you aren't willing to sacrifice anything to shop at Walmart. I highly recommend everyone read this book.







A Year Without Made in China
by Sara Bongiorni
2 stars **

I had such high hopes for this--a real journalistic-homey combination of practical knowledge, research and personal experiences. In reality, the book falls quite short indeed. It was far too self-pitying and she didn't follow her own rules for the experiment well at all. It's the same story told a bunch of different ways. It's a story I would have been happy to have read about in the Wall Street Journal for about 20 minutes of my time, tucked in the back of my mind, and carried on with my life, checking labels more often than normal to see where things were made. I skimmed the middle section of this book because it was so dull and poorly written. I learned a few little tidbits: sneakers for little boys and lamps are rarely if ever made in the USA anymore. But this wasn't a "Made in USA" experiment, which would have been a much more interesting experiment in my opinion. Not worth picking up.






L.L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon
by Leon Gorman
4 1/2 stars ****

Only pick this book up if you're interested in the detailed business workings of L.L. Bean. If not, you'll be bored to tears, at least after the first few chapters that are more personal. But if so, you'll find the tale of modernizing L.L. Bean a fascinating and worthwhile journey. Leon Gorman is L.L. Bean's grandson and he ran the company from his grandfather's death in the 1960s until the new millennium. His staunchly-held beliefs that the business was built on principle and not profits helped keep the L.L. Bean mystique alive, and indeed, to keep it thriving through several economic slumps and losses of identity amidst crises.








Limitless Life: You are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future
(I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from BookLook Bloggers)
by Derwin L. Gray
3 stars ***

Derwin Gray is a former NFL linebacker-turned-Pastor, which is a great starting point for those coming to this book from a football perspective and realizing it is really a spiritual-life-application book. Pastor Gray talks about how we are more than our labels and that Jesus gives us freedom from labels. I found the writing stilted at first, which made it hard for me to get to the meat of the book. Then I found a few troublesome spots with theology (a more prosperity gospel-centered theme). However, I persevered with the book, picking it up in between other reads. I found some good themes in here, but felt that if you don't know how to separate the chaff from the grain this book might not be an ideal starting point. However, if you are an established Christian struggling with sin and labels in your life (selfish, addict, abused/abuser, etc.) this may be a great book to help you break free from the cycle. I appreciate Pastor Gray's convictions and his belief that pain and suffering show us how big and great our God is. I loved this line: "No matter where we go, who we know, and what possessions we have for show, our souls are still eternally thirsty until we drink living water." And these powerful words: "People may have given up on you, but Jesus has not." If this book speaks to you, pick it up and I will pray it helps you find victory. And if it doesn't speak to you, at least take those words to heart: People may have given up on you, but Jesus has not. Amen!


What have you been reading lately? Did you have any reading goals for the year? I'd love to know!



Happy reading!
xo

Natalie

3 comments:

Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough said...

Perfect timing! I need me some good new reads and some of these are right up my alley. :) Thanks for the reviews, m'dear!

Maddy said...

Love the reviews! Was so hopeful when I saw "A Year Without Made in China" but glad to know it's not what I was seeking. Enjoy your week!

Natalie said...

@Stephanie: Yay!

@Maddy: I knoooow, I was so hoping it would be a lot more than it was. She kept trying to find things at the big box stores and didn't think "outside the box" at ALL. Overall very disappointing, but I hope there's another one like it we'll stumble across. If you find it, let me know!

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