What I'm Into Sept 2013 :: Sarah Bessey

books i read

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber. Like most alumni from the emergent movement of a decade ago, I’ve loved Nadia’s voice and prophetic life for years now. I was so looking forward to her book that I worried I’d make her a victim of impossibly high expectations. But Nadia’s book is even better than I could have imagined. Pastrix is profane, gritty, honest, real, and sacred. It makes me fall in love with both Jesus and the Church all over again. She’s a good cure for a cynic. A bad-ass and a regular pastor and mother all at once, she’s a much-needed voice for us today. I loved this book and underlined it mercilessly.

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider. This was an advanced reader copy and I loved it. I am drawn towards the practices of simple living while being equally intimidated by the adherents and my own love for coffeeshop Americanos and use of disposable diapers for our babies. But Tsh blends storytelling with ideas and inspiration, without devolving into “tips and tricks” or lists. She shares her own journey – filled with wisdom, I might add – and opens the door for the rest of us to set out on our lives.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I didn’t love it as much as What Alice Forgot, but it’s still a plain old good novel. And I love good page-turning novel.

Lost in a Good Book (Thursday Next #2) and The Well of Lost Plots (#3) by Jasper Fforde. I love this weird and hilarious series. I haven’t loved a postmodern novel since Douglas Coupland but these are up there, let me tell you. Fantastical, witty, hilarious, complex, and weird.

The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. Absolutely loved this book. This is one of my favourite stories in Scripture because I’ve always thought of it in terms of the Father, not the younger son. I have the utmost respect for Dr. Keller, and this slim book deserves status as a classic. Beautiful, moving, grace-filled, accessible, and so true.

When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey. I finally gave up on this one. I wanted to like it so much but I just couldn’t seem to get into the story, I’m afraid.

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander) by Diane Gabaldon. I started this series with a lot of hope but I’m afraid I’m crapping out on this one. Just not into it.

books on my nightstand right now

When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams

Prodigal Christianity: 10 Signposts into the Missional Frontier (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series) by David E. Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw

Things Your Mother Never Told You: A Woman’s Guide to Sexuality by Dr. Kim Gaines Eckert (this is an advanced review copy)

Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food by Rachel Marie Stone

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel by Neil Gaiman

television worth watching


Downton Abbey series 4 has started in the UK!

It’s been a good start to the series. Don’t worry – no spoilers here. But I think the ground-work has been laid for a good series and, let’s face it, no one ended up laying on the road bleeding from the ear so I’ll call that a win.

As discussed on my Facebook page, North American audiences CAN in fact watch Downton Abbey now. Here’s what you do: download the app TunnelBear to your computer. Turn it on and set it to the UK setting. Go to ITV Player and start streaming Downton. (Or, in my case on Sunday afternoons, every single episode of Relocation, Relocation ever made.) It may ask you for a post code, you can put in whatever UK post code you like.

I am probably the only person in the world who has never watched Breaking Bad and has zero interest in it. I am notoriously sensitive to violence on screen, I’m afraid. I know, it’s very uncool of me, but that’s the truth.

movies i’ve watched – in or out of the theatre

We received an advanced copy of Disney’s The Little Mermaid new-to-Blu-Ray Diamond edition this month. I loved that movie as a teenager, and it was fun to finally introduce it to Anne. Going back to my sensitivity to violence and fear, I tend to make her wait longer than most of her friends for certain movies and so, at seven, this was her first time watching it. It was such a fun afternoon together. Sometimes anticipation makes things even better.

in my ears

There is a new Gungor album out. And so I Am Mountain is pretty much it for a few weeks now.

best stuff i pinned

Grammar Grumble Mugs at The Literary Gift Company. I mean, seriously. “I am figuratively dying for a cuppa.” Best ever.

Jane Austen boxed postcards – yes, please.

So, friends, what about you?

What’s on your nightstand? What television show or movie or music has captured your imagination? 

linked up with Leigh for What I’m Into this month.

In which I have All The Feelings about conferences
In which our school in Haiti is OPEN!
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  • Beth Anne

    Keep going on Dragonfly in Amber. I felt the same way, like I was fizzling fast & I simply could not get through the story. GET THROUGH IT. About 2/3 of the way through, I couldn’t put it down & then Voyager (book 3) made it worth it.

    I’m secretly, horribly, terribly ashamed that I’ve been sucked down The Mortal Instruments rabbit hole. I’m on book two & trying to figure out how I can see the movie this weekend. LAME.

    • YES to what Beth Anne said about Dragonfly in Amber. See? Other people agree with me! Persevere.

    • I’m with you in The Mortal Instruments rabbit hole. I should warn you though: despite much preparation for the movie being mediocre at best, it is quite a disappointment. I imagine the screenplay writers took a bullet point list of the plot from the book, and then did what they wanted.

      But you know what? There is no shame in reading super light and mindless (teen) fiction as long as there are some not-so-mindless books mixed in every once and a while. 🙂

  • Kara Fleck

    figuratively dying for a cuppa – YES! That’s fantastic!

    Love what you said about Tsh and her writing and how she shares, eloquently I might add, from her own life but does so in a way that one feels like there’s so much room there for creating a personal definition of simplicity and meaning. She’s a good one, that Oxenreider.

    And, you know, one of mine is wearing a disposable diaper right now, if it helps you feel better 😉

  • R W

    Whaaaat? There’s a new Gungor album out? Okay, that news just made my day! Thanks! 🙂

  • Ok. Get ready. This is gonna be a doosey. I took notes, to remember the things I want to comment about. Ha!
    ~Pastrix — I’m so looking forward to reading this. I’m holding off on buying things at the moment, but gah that’s hard when the good things come along.
    ~Thursday Next — I LOVE THESE BOOKS! I love the wacadoo book world, and all of the delicious puns sprinkled in. I can say that I have a healthy fear of Mrs. Danvers now, thanks to Thursday.
    ~You mentioned two books that you’re crapping out on. I am trying to read Eight Girls taking Pictures. It has all the things I would love, early feminism + photography, but still, I’m struggling. I decided that there are only a limited # of books I can read in my lifetime, so I’m not wasting them on books I don’t really want to read. Too many of those already. I’m looking at you, Frank Peretti books.
    ~Ocean @ End of Land — Oh. My. I loved this one. I have the audiobook, and Neil Gaiman narrated. Really, really good.
    ~Downton — I’m enjoying the new season more than I thought I would.
    ~Gungor — My sis and I saw them last year (Ghosts upon the earth) and it was absolutely AMAZING. I listened to their release party earlier this week. Again with the no buying thing, GAAAAHHH!

    Now on to me! I’m listening to 11/22/63 by Stephen King. So good. It’s been on my list for a while, finally got around to listening to it. Fascinating.
    Let me just say that you must watch Derek if you have Netflix. Ricky Gervais is brilliantly brilliant, and the series is just that fabulous.
    I’m also reading your brilliant book. Taking my time and underlining the heck outta the thing.
    I want those mugs. I posted them on FB, hoping that my mom would get them for me for Christmas. Subtle, I know.
    I always look forward to these posts. I love getting new books/shows/things to put on my to-be-consumed list. 🙂

  • emmillerwrites

    Oh, I liked “When Mockingbirds Sing!” I don’t read very much fiction, though, so I imagine I am coming to it with a really odd set of expectations. What I really liked is that the characters’ faith wasn’t all tied up with a pretty bow. It was clear who Good Christian was. And it let you wrestle a bit with your own ideas about that.

    Arrrggghh, I forgot Gungor had a new album out! To Spotify, away!

  • carameredith.com

    You are not the only one who’s not into Breaking Bad. There are now two of us.

    • Alia_Joy

      Three. I’ve never seen it either. But Downton right now! OH yes, please.

      • carameredith.com

        We’re forming a club!

        • Same. I don’t even like a whole lot of tension or just plain action. Too much, and I overload and don’t even care if the characters survive or not. So I don’t do those kinds of shows much any more.

  • Anne Bogel

    I’d like to echo your feels on Breaking Bad. I don’t do violence. Not as a big principled stand, I just can’t handle it.

    I loved the trailer for When Mockingbirds Sing, so I’m glad to hear some feedback on it. And I accidentally abandoned The Husband’s Secret. I listened to half of it on audiobook during a road trip earlier this month, and just didn’t care enough to pick it back up again when I got home.

  • Abby Norman

    Have not touched breaking bad, too gritty. Dump the Outlander books, I wish I had earlier. And, I am inches from odering a set of those mugs for the HS English Department I work in. We need those.

    • Abby, you take back your words about Outlander!!! Or I’m going to drive down to Atlanta and make you. Wait. You’d probably like that.

      • Abby Norman

        That’s right, MAKE ME! (please?)

  • I have plans to read the first 5 books you mentioned. I finally read Eyre Affair last week and I am hooked on the weird world Fforde created. Just need to get caught up on my library books so I can request book 2! I understand why you want to drop Dragonfly in Amber- I still scratch my head over why she started where she did- but if you push through to book 3, I promise you won’t regret it. So cool that you have Kim Eckert’s new book- she’s my best friend’s sister-in-law! Small world, eh? I finished Ocean at the End of the Lane yesterday- so eerie, so captivating. I can’t stop thinking about it. Loving the new series of Downton!

    • “Just need to get caught up on my library books” is my never-ending problem Leigh. I’m glad we can be kindred spirits in our (over) use of the library.

      I’m so happy that both you and Sarah are enjoying Jasper Fforde! After months and months of a bookstore manager telling me I needed to read it, I finally picked up The Eyre Affair and was delighted.

      • Ha, when I checked it out the first time, the librarian was quite put out by the quote on the back of the book: “Everyone hates the ending of Jane Eyre.”

  • val

    A gift for you….truth.
    Our heavenly Father will NOT put any child of his into a hell fire no matter what their sins, whether they repent or not. Sin doesn’t scare God! He created it Isa 45:7 to teach us all the knowledge of good and evil Gen 3:22 for our eternal placement in his coming kingdom. Throwing a child of his into a hell fire has never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5. Anyone preaching a hell fire for any child of God has been deceived into teaching lies. The whole world has been believing in a god of hate murder and revenge (The devil Rev 12:9). The true word of God John 1:1 is now delivered Rev 12:5 here http://thegoodtale.blogspot.com/

    God chose a woman Rev 12 to be the prophet like unto Moses Num 12:3 and boldly like Elijah Matt 17:3, Acts 3:21-23, Luke 1:17. Those professing themselves to be Christians would be wise to hear all Acts 3:23 BEFORE making any judgment. The proof of what I tell you is in the hearing.
    The true Gospel is now delivered to you from the wilderness Rev 12:6 as a witness Matt 24:14. Prove ALL things 1 Thes 5:21. Satan has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9 until now. Turn your heart to the children of God for a better placement in God’s world Rev 21, Ezek 37:26. Now you can know the true God.

  • Adele Chapman

    Glad you enjoyed Prodigal God – it is the best. 🙂 I will have to get hold of Pastrix quickly, so many recommendations.

    I gave up on Downton long ago but, if by some miracle you think it drastically improves, let me know!
    PS I am a bit of a BB freak but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Normally I hate violence on telly too but somehow I can handle it with Walter White’s story because it’s more about exploring the consequences in devastating detail rather than the usual gratuitous attempts at entertainment.

  • Brandi-Lee

    I am reading the Harry Potter books for the first time. Loving it! Also picked up “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. Made me laugh and cry. 🙂

    On my nightstand: “Quiet” by Susan Cain.

    And I have to say, I am totally in the Breaking Bad camp! Definitely not for all audiences though. My husband convinced me! But I have also been wanting to watch Dowton Abbey (am I the only one that thought it was “Downtown Abbey” for the longest time??) OH I also watched Called the Midwife. Loved it!!

    • LOVE all the books you just mentioned. Ok. (I have decided to say that any time I’m talking about TFIOS.) 🙂 Call the Midwife is great too. Have you watched Miranda on Hulu? Miranda Hart’s (Chummy) comedy. Sarah mentioned it on twitter & I was hooked!

  • No, no, sister Sarah … your wee abbess doesn’t even know what Breaking Bad in about, so you are not alone there! 😉

  • I am not notoriously insensitive to violence on screen, so I am in the very large group of people who watched Breaking Bad (although I wouldn’t have started were it not for my husband’s love of the show).

    Happy to say that, after much hesitation, I have jumped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon, and I am loving it. I’ve only watched the first season (as GOODNESS the waiting time for the library copy is long), and am delighted. Thanks for being one of the many who recommended this show!

    And consider my imagination fully captured by All Sons & Daughters. Those people make some beautiful music.

  • Whitney Jenkins

    Sarah, if you haven’t already discovered them, give the band Of Monsters and Men a listen. It’s like crazy cross between Mumford, The Lumineers, maybe even a hint of The Cranberries. It’s my new find of the month. But, I will admit, I am usually 6 months behind everyone else….

  • Leigh

    You know, I just couldn’t do the Outlander series either. Gave it a good fair try, but no. I’m going to have to get Pastrix–seems like everyone’s recommending it lately.

  • I also have never seen Breaking Bad and have no interest! Yay for us!

    And I loved Eat with Joy so very much, I’m sure you’ll like it.
    I always love these posts, Sarah, just a little glimmer into daily life.

  • Breaking Bad is terrible in my opinion…your book selection, however, is not!

  • I liked Ocean at the End of the Lane. May not want it on your nightstand though, because it gave me some crazy dreams 🙂