Mini Book Reviews for February, March, and April

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

In February, I read Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Wow. This book was challenging on many levels, but it was definitely the type of book that you simply can’t stop reading. Kristof and WuDunn tell the stunning and heartbreaking stories of women around the world. The violence and oppression in their stories is vivid and difficult to face, but the authors also show the hope and beauty that these women create in the midst of it all. I struggled as I read the book with how to honor and respect the cultures in which these tragic stories of forced prostitution, rape, and inhumane treatment of women play out. I yearned to hear a more well-rounded perspective on their cultures. At the same time, I struggled with how to respond to the systems within cultures that allow this kind of oppression to happen on a daily basis. In some ways, I was left speechless, devastated to hear of the pain and more than amazed by the strength of women who flourish in the face of the pain. “But, where sin increased, grace abounded all the more “(Romans 5:20).



Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen
This is my go-to book when I need an “attitude adjustment” as a parent. It reminds me that I love my kids…that they are real people who need to connect, laugh, and feel loved. It gives me easy ideas for how to turn frustrating situations into light-hearted interactions. I don’t think I’ve tried one idea in the book that has flopped. I usually just read a few paragraphs or a few pages, and that is enough to give me fresh ideas and to reconnect me with my vision of the kind of parent I want to be. I highly recommend this book.

The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle

The fact that I even considered reading this book represents an answer to prayer, an act of humility, and a change of heart. And, I praise God for sending this resource my way. I actually learned about it through this blog, which was the beginning of God speaking to my heart in an unexpected way. In the end, the concepts in this book have had a huge impact on my marriage. Basically, the book gives very practical advice on how to let go of fear and control and to let your husband be who he is. Doyle gives many examples of how women communicate that feels controlling, disrespectful, or attacking to men. Of course, she explains that women are not fully responsible for marital stress, but the philosophy of the book is that you can only change yourself (thus, the changes your husband needs to make are up to him). I have found so much freedom and peace of mind from this new way of interacting. I feel empowered to take the time I need for myself and to trust my husband’s way of doing things (no matter how different they may be from mine). As Laura Doyle would say, “I have one of the good guys.” And, this book has helped me to embrace that truth in even the most mundane of daily interactions. And (in case you’re wondering), I think Josh, too, would say it’s made a huge positive impact on our marriage!


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