One of the best things about 2017 is that I've been prioritizing reading - and it has been amazing to feel a little more like "myself" that way, after several years of not really reading much at all. Ah, I have so missed it! I'm learning that even if I make through one chapter a day - or less, like even just a page or two, as often is the case in this crazy season of motherhood! - it is much better than NOTHING. And it all adds up a lot more quickly than I expect. :)
So I was excited to say "Yes" when Handlebar Publishing asked if I would be interested in reviewing a couple books for them this fall. Here are my thoughts on these titles, both by Frederick Buechner:
The Remarkable Ordinary
"How to Stop, Look, and Listen to Life"
A Crazy, Holy Grace
"The Healing Power of Pain and Memory"
Both books are very similar in style and content, so I'm just reviewing them together. On the positive side, Mr. Buechner has a very beautiful and poetic way of writing at times, and there were sections that I wanted to highlight or copy down as quotes. The books are a collection of essays and unpublished lectures, so they remind me of the type of stories you might hear if you sat down with a grandparent and asked them to share about their life. He writes about different experiences and memories, and what he learned from them.
The essay and lecture format has its downside, though, in that there is a good bit of overlap in the stories - not only between the two books, as might be somewhat expected, but also between chapters of the same book. So it held my attention pretty well for the first few chapters, but then I found myself skimming as the same stories came up again. The writing often came off as disjointed and unfocused - something that would be much benefitted by editing. I found some sections quite confusing, especially the chapters where Mr. Buechner holds imaginary conversations with his deceased Grandmother. And I was disappointed to see some mentions of unorthodox theological viewpoints, including a great deal of ambiguity regarding the gospel and an apparent endorsement of evolution.
For these reasons, I cannot endorse these books - though that is a shame because there really are some beautiful little literary gems tucked throughout the chapters.
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