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May reading list

A short list this month because I spent so much time on the road. I always think of travels as times to read more, not less, but I forget this doesn't really work when you are the responsible adult driving, and not the kid hanging out in the backseat with nothing to do but read.
1. Teaching True Love to a Sex-At-Thirteen Generation, Eric & Leslie Ludy
    I've heard about the Ludy's for years and thought it was time I read something of theirs. This one is billed as being for parents teaching a true and healthy view of sex, romance, and godliness to their children, but I found plenty of convicting and encouraging things for myself. I would definitely reread this if I someday have children. However. There's something about this book and almost all the others like it (Joshua Harris, John and Staci Eldridge, etc.) that I've read that rubs me the wrong way. It makes me squirm uncomfortably in the same way reading Lori Wick does. I don't even want to get in to the reasons why this might be - I'm not completely sure, and I don't want to offend anyone while I'm trying to figure it out. :)
2. Authentic Beauty, Leslie Ludy
    See above!
3. Heist Society, Ally Carter   
    After hearing this described as the "female version of Ocean's 11" I had high hopes - too high. I think if I had gone into with fewer expectations I would have enjoyed it more. It was fine for what it was, but I'd hoped for a little more depth and details, a little more of the dash and romance of crime.
4. Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl: wide-eyed wonder at God's spoken world, N. D. Wilson
    I loved this book so much. I can see how others could have quite different reactions, but I loved the unorthodox, almost chaotic style: it reflects the world we live in, God's world, a world that is like like a tilt-a-whirl you can't get off, but can find beauty and joyfully wild abandon in anyway, at least if you'll only open your eyes and see.
5. This Book is Overdue: how librarians and cybrarians can save us all, Marilyn Johnson
    I liked this book solely because I am a librarian, and I like reading about libraries and books and people who work in and with them. Other than that draw, the book is poorly organized, disjointed, and wanders rather pointlessly.
6. Odd Thomas, Dean Koontz
    I'd always heard that Koontz was a readalike for Stephen King (and he is), and since Stephen King creeps me out, I had also avoided Koontz. Actually, let me rephrase. Nothing so strong as "avoided" - I had never even given a thought to reading him at all. That changed because of reading the graphic novel prequel to Odd Thomas last month, where I discovered that ... Dean Koontz has a sense of humor! This book is still suspenseful, but somehow the humor saved it from being creepy or gruesome to me (I won't vouch for your experience, however.)

But OH, I flipped ahead to the end and found out about Stormy, and it made me so mad and sad! The best part of the whole book was Stormy and Odd's sweet, odd relationship, so ... I'm not sure how the rest of the books will be?
7. A Sweet and Bitter Providence, John Piper
    First time I've ever read Piper. I liked it! He has a pleasant way of writing, and of course it didn't hurt that the book of Ruth is one of my favorites.

Books from The Pile: one.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
I've only read one Ludy book (His Perfect Faithfulness), and think I understand what you're getting at. I loved the book, but at the same time it made me feel like I'd really missed out, because I hadn't done courting that way. I'm not entirely sure I felt judged, but I did feel like I hadn't done it the 'right' way. I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts once you get them sorted out :)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC)
It's partly that and partly that it's often so ... cheesy and sugar-sweet. As another person commented, "it feels like I've eaten to many pink cupcakes." It's not that I disagree with the points their trying to make (usually), but the way it's presented just makes me cringe.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
LOL, too many pink cupcakes - that makes me think of Stasi Eldridge's "Captivating." Granted, it did encourage me in some ways, but gosh, the sugar! And the movies...!!!
Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
That book made me want to scream, honestly. It was so much fluff and so little substance, even though the main points were good ones. Back your points up with some Scripture instead of pop culture, why don't you?!
Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:22 am (UTC)
Yeah, I agree with that too.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
I haven't ready any Ludy books, but have read other similar books and I think I know too what you're talking about. It's not that it's not admirable/right/what-have-you, it's almost as if they're saying, "OK. We have it all together. If you do not make it up to this standard you FAIL."

One reason why I don't like a lot of conservative Christian blogs. It feels like a brag fest about how holistic, chaste, and modest they can be. These are good things, but not when you rub it in someone else's face who maybe didn't get to experience that or are talking down to the Less Enlightened. *sigh*
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
it's almost as if they're saying, "OK. We have it all together. If you do not make it up to this standard you FAIL."

YES. That's the impression I get from so many of their books, especially Set-Apart Femininity (a recentish read). It just rubs me majorly the wrong way, in a way Elizabeth Elliot does. I want to like their books, but I just can't. EE really gets my goat, LOL.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
I've only read 2 EE books... Passion and Purity was probably the least annoying book of its kind that I've read although again it's like... okay, so you were perfect and made it to your wedding night a virgin. That's wonderful. But so much emphasis is put on that and not on how to form the character necessary to have that kind of moral stamina. (I had more appreciation for "Let Me Be a Woman").

Strikes me that if we spent more time indoctrinating our kids with lessons like, "No dessert until after you've eaten dinner" or "put your birthday money away and save it" or other similar anti-instant gratification things, they will be more able to handle dating, er, courtship and make it through unscathed. It's how we handle the little things that forms our ability to handle the big things.

LOL. I'm just so glad I'm not the only one who struggles with books like this, because I feel guilty admitting that I do indeed have problems with them.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
I pretty much love your whole comment, Jael!

(I know, it's so hard to criticize a "Christian" book because gee, look who's a horrible Christian to say such a thing about a CHRISTIAN BOOK. I'm convinced that we should be harder on Christian authors ... I mean, really, why excuse terrible writing on the grounds that "well, the moral of the story was good." Christian artists should be better than secular artists, not the other way around.)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
I have several EE books ready to read soon, so I'll be interested to see if I agree. :) I grew up listening to her radio show and I've always admired her and Jim's story, but never read any of the books. We'll see. ;)
Jun. 4th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
This whole thread is interesting. yay! :)

I've heard Leslie Ludy speak in person and I really appreciated her attitude and humility (in person, she really did not present it as You're Not a Good Christian If You Don't Do These; instead it was given with an attitude of I Wish I'd Done Things Differently In My Past And Thus Am Sharing With You).
But. I've read her Authentic Beauty and skimmed parts of When God Writes Your Love Story...and, yeah... the sugar just gets to be Way Too Much. Too much of the "dear reader" stuff. It's just... badly edited and not rigorous prose at all and I really have a short attention span for that type of thing.

All that said, though, and I am one of those who *love* Elisabeth Elliott's Passion and Purity. I don't feel like she's being preachy. I feel like she's being incredibly honest about struggles she had and (what's more important) completely honest about attitudes she sees in girls today, girls who think they're not complete unless they have a guy or unless their romance is going according to Their Own Fuzzy-Headed Schedule. Jim & Elisabeth had a completely untraditional courtship and she was forced to spend a lot of time re-examining priorities and attitudes in her own life. I love the way she encourages her readers to do the same with their own lives, whether or not they're in a relationship.

So, yeah, Marie... I'll be interested to see what you think of EE too. :)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
It's a really fine line between sharing what worked for you - or even what you believe to be the right and best way - and preaching to everyone else about how they should be Just Like You. =\ I absolutely believe the people writing these books mean well, but ... yeah. Well, anyway.

On the other hand, I've seen people who say "don't post about your reasons for how you [court/cloth diaper/homeschool/dress/homebirth/don't vaccinate] because it's all just annoying to people who don't think the same way you do." I had to laugh because I've always appreciated finding out WHY people do things, even if I don't come to the same conclusions they do.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:30 pm (UTC)
I agree that there's a fine line and I think Leslie Ludy is the sort of person who gives things her all. She's passionate and that comes through in her writing. Unfortunately, it also can make me feel that because I don't do A, B and C or only do A and don't do C, I'm not an awesome Christian like her and Eric. They mean extremely well, but sorry. I don't feel encouraged, I feel as though since I listen to secular music (hello Brad Paisley and Michael Buble!), watch movies and do other stuff that, while she does not outright condemn, she openly says isn't very good...well, I start to feel, as a friend put it recently, a "spiritual bump."

Plus, the fairy-tale schweetness can get sickening. :-P I'm ready for the Christian book market to get past the Disney princess stage. I mean, c'mon. Jesus is my savior. I don't want a romantic relationship with him, I want one with my guy (am I awful admitting to this?!). It makes me kind of uncomfortable to dwell on that one too much. God is so much more than a lover.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
Totally, totally, totally agree with your last paragraph, and I think that's what gets to me personally more than the judginess of the books. The whole "Jesus is my Prince" mentality strikes me as ... a bit too familiar when it comes to my Lord and Savior.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean about the Ludy's. Perhaps it is that they come across as a "one shoe fits all" when it comes to relationships? I think there is one thing that can be said about that. Relationships never happen in the way you think they will.;)
Jun. 2nd, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
That is SO true. :) There are guiding principles that can apply to us all, but everybody's story is different ... sometimes very, very different!
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Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
I think I totally just got on your soapbox a few comments up!
Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
I actually liked Wild At Heart much better than I did Captivating. It was still pretty cringe-worthy, but it seemed to rely more on - gasp! - Scripture and less on pop culture.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
Wild at Heart is such BS. Sorry, but it's true! I'm glad I married a man who is NOTHING like the caveman chest-thumpers that are written about in that book. UGH!!
Jun. 3rd, 2010 10:37 am (UTC)
What I'd like to do is have some guy friends read it and see what they think. After all, any book is just the author's perspective and can't speak or all or even most men ... I have no idea how well Wild At Heart relates to most men.
Jun. 4th, 2010 10:38 pm (UTC)
Haven't read Wild at Heart (the one by the Eldredges, right?) but I did read Captivating (someone gave us a copy and highly recommended it). Uhm. Let's just say that reading it made me want to completely avoid WaH. It had SO much schmaltz and junk! O Woman, Thou Art The Crown of Creation, Didst Thou Not Know It? Go Ye And Do Your Girl Stuff! Since God Made You Last, You Are Thus So Superior and Dazzling and Wonderful!

There were some interesting points in the book (yeah, girls want to be romanced) but you could get the same points in a much less offensive and time-consuming fashion.

Just....bleh. So much of that book was forgettable and the bits that weren't I rather wish were. :-P

I did actually like Josh Harris' Boy Meets Girl; it had some VERY helpful stuff as Mark and I started our relationship. Still, like all reading (and cooking), take with a grain of salt.
Jun. 7th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
I totally laughed when I got to the part where it advised women to stand looking over some breathtaking natural vista and throw up her hands and declare "God made all of this for ME!!!1!"

Conceited, much?

To the honest about Josh Harris, I only read I Kissed Dating Goodbye and that was a long time ago. I rather regret that whole "ooo, I'm so good 'cause I'm not going to date" phase now, which could explain my antipathy towards the book.
Jun. 2nd, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
I SO agree with you about the Ludy's, Joshua Harris, etc!
Jun. 11th, 2010 10:34 am (UTC)
OK. I think I'm the only guy that has replied up to this point. Since you didn't spell out for me exactly what your problem with the book is and I've never read this particular book my opinion doesn't carry much weight. HOWEVER, I have read books like this and judging from your "sugary" comments I think I get some of the reason for disliking it.
I would like to point out a few things about these types of books and their authors.

1) I totally agree with the comment that Christian authors should be held to a high standard of writing quality. Just because you are a Christian and writing a Christian book to a Christian audience is no excuse for poor quality.

2) I fully understand why some of these topics and books make you uncomfortable! I don't think that talking about sex, proper marriage, women's unique qualities, etc are exactly dinner table conversation. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a time and place for those things but I always appreciated it being more personal and deep than what you're going to get from one of these books. They always come across as shallow to me. Maybe I'm WAY out of touch but don't most Christian parents understand these things and tell them to their children today? I know mine always did and its something I appreciate. And lets be honest, is a hormonal teenager REALLY going to listen to what they read in a book? I mean all these principles are clearly spelled out in Scripture and yet teen pregnancy, unwed mothers, single parent families, divorce rates, etc are all extremely high in our society and are almost as equally high within the Church. Clearly if a book is all you needed the greatest book ever written would be more than enough to combat these things. Obviously there's more to it than that.

3) I think there are Christian principles and standards set forth in Scripture that are very clear and easy to understand. What is required is to uphold marriage as a sacred institution, for men to treat women with respect and to love them as Christ loved the church, and for women to love their husbands and serve as his help mate. That is what every individual in any marriage relationship is supposed to do. We live in a society that trashes those principles and values every day. The "free love" movement and "sex without consequences" lie that's propagated by the secular society is in direct opposition to Christian principles on the subject. Does that mean that people don't sin, don't fail, don't make mistakes? Of course we do, every day. But that's no excuse to do what you want either. There will be consequences, there will be heartache, and there will be problems because of every decision we make. I agree with the verse that says "flee temptation" and that is the best advice anyone can have when discussing these types of topics. You can't play with fire which I think is the best part of the message. Love and sex and everything that a married couple enjoys in their relationship is healthy and natural within those bounds. But those feelings are so strong that once you start down that path it is nearly impossible to turn around. I think the biggest lie we tell ourselves is, "its just fun" and "I can handle it". Believe me, very few if any can. And even if you could, is it the right thing to do? You know if what you're thinking, looking at, doing, etc with or towards another person is wrong. I may be naive in thinking that these principles are mostly known by Christians today but if they are not it just shows you the sadder truth that the Church today has completely failed with a large population of Christian followers.

That was longer than I wanted but hopefully it helps. I welcome any further discussion or criticism.
Jun. 11th, 2010 12:57 pm (UTC)
Pretty much agree with everything, except that 1) no, that's not why the books make me uncomfortable, :) and 2) I think proper views of sex and marriage need to be talked about MUCH more openly in Christian circles than they are. It is so frustrating to me to see how many Christian parents unintentially bring their children up in the mindset that sex is an embarrassing, "dirty" or shameful topic that one shouldn't talk about, shouldn't ask questions about... That is not healthy. And it leads to all kinds of problems that I won't go into here.

(edited for spelling :))

Edited at 2010-06-11 05:04 pm (UTC)
Jun. 11th, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
1) Like I said, you didn't say exactly so I don't really know. :)

2) I'm not sure what you mean by "openly". I think there is a time and place certainly and I don't think parents or children should be embarrassed for any reason. I feel like its the parents duty to be the primary educator of their child in lots of areas but particularly in this one. We may not disagree here but I do think that sex specifically is turned into something "dirty" and "shameful" in modern society because of how it is portrayed and presented. That's the part I have a problem with. A healthy discussion of the topic between parents and children is pretty much a requirement in my mind for proper parenting. Some of the hold over from Victorian England still permeates the church today and that attitude is not healthy in the Christian setting I'm describing. Certainly men and women both should be modest in their dress and behavior towards other people but between a married couple I don't think the same rules of modesty apply in private moments of intimacy. I'm trying to be delicate here without getting too involved but I hope you get my point.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )