I’m back with Round 2 of Jordan Reads Things! Better late than never, right? I didn’t read quite as much in October (all the launch teams are over! PTL!) But I did read a few things/started a few books I wanted to share here:
Y’all. John did it AGAIN with this one. My life is better for reading this book.
I read this one in about 10ish days– took a little longer than normally I’d read a fiction book because life. But when I was able to read it, I could NOT put it down. The story was odd but fascinating. It was fast-paced but drawn out. I loved all the different relationships in this book, and the way Green had characters interact with each other.
I’ll share the Amazon synopsis because this book is hard to describe:
“Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.”
What the book doesn’t outright say: Aza has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and is trying to live her life in spite of being stuck in an ever-spiraling spiral of her own thoughts. She lives in constant fear of getting sick, and in the book, you see her interactions with her own brain, her rabbit trail of thoughts that play constantly in her head.
In a lot of ways, Green makes Aza’s thoughts their own character, as Aza dialogues with her brain and tries to fight against the voices.
There were so many times I read Aza’s words or thoughts and said: this is me. This is my struggle, personified in a book. Finally, someone that thinks like me.
I don’t have OCD (or haven’t been diagnosed with it), but I struggle with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and a lot of Aza’s experiences mirror mine. So many of the descriptions John uses to illustrate Aza’s struggles and innermost thoughts echo a lot of mine as well. It’s nice to see a character that I fully related to. John has shared that the book stems a lot from his own personal struggle with OCD, and I’m so grateful he used his platform to shine a light on mental health and normalized things like therapy and meds.
When I finished the book, I literally sighed. It was just good. I felt satisfied with the book and how it ended. Definitely a must-read.
(I loved this one so much I wrote about it for The Mighty. )
“I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness. It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense.”
“True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”
Dance Stand Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground by Jess Connolly
I feel like I’ve been talking about this book for months, and it’s finally here! Y’all. It is so good. And SO needed. It was not an easy, light-hearted read– it was full of hard truths and honesty from Jess, saddled alongside Bible study that really transformed my thinking. I’d never really thought about holiness in an intense way until this book– I’ve always been a rule-follower, but holy? I thought that was reserved for special Jesus-y people. But it’s not. Grace and holiness are already in us because of Jesus– and Jess talks to us about ways we can live out this grace and holy life in our world. She uses her real-life wrestling with these topics and her passion for scripture studying to help us understand grace, holiness, and mission in a whole new light. So much wisdom. So much truth. And Jess is a Bible teacher at heart, so there is some awesome Bible study wedged into each chapter– and has an awesome Study Guide +DVD to correlate with the book filled with more Bible study. It’s a study unlike any I’ve seen, and I really want to get a group to do it with me! (any local friends, holler at me!).
DSR is not a fluffy, feel-good read. It is a book our hearts are needing, longing for. It really opened my eyes to what holiness is and isn’t, and what we as women of God GET to do as we dance in abundant grace, stand our holy ground, and run on the mission God has set before us.
I hope this book helps us understand holiness not as something far-reaching and scary, but as something we get to live in RIGHT NOW because of the grace of Jesus. Living life striving for grace and not living in the holiness God has called us to leaves us feeling like something’s missing, that there has to be MORE to this life than this. DSR illustrates the missing piece of the puzzle.
I’m still wrestling with a lot of the thoughts in this book, and have some writings stirring up from it. It was a must-need for me, and I think it could be for other people too. Definitely worth checking out!
“The great news of the Gospel is that as women of God, we never have to walk into a room praying someone saved us a seat.”
“I don’t want to ask other humans to fill up the gaps in my soul. Rather, I want to be taking the soul answer to them: Jesus. If we’re going to change the world and stop being changed by it, we’re going to have to acknowledge that we already belong, we already have a place, and we’re already accepted. Not by humans or community or the kind gals we do life with, but by Jesus.”
I wrote an extensive review here, but I’ll share again: A beautiful Bible inside and out, with scripture prints, maps, and charts that are as useful as they are stunning. The devotionals in it are timely and well-written, like the ones from their site. The CSB translation is new but really simple and easy to read. I love this Bible! It’s become my go-to for my nightly studies. It’s a beautiful addition to my life.
Not finished with this one (because 100 days!), but as I’ve written before, I looove me some Annie. Her thoughts on bravery have stirred me and helped me grow so much since first reading Let’s All Be Brave back in 2014 (back when I was in the middle of my mental breakdown). Her books feel like I’m sitting across from her in a coffee shop, and she is laugh out loud funny mixed perfectly with amazingly honest and thoughtful. Devotionals are my favorite thing in the world (it’s pretty much the kind of book I want to write/publish someday), and I am so far loving this one. it’s challenging me in all the best ways and is so lovingly written.
If you need a shot of bravery in your every day, pick this one up. I’ll report back after the 100 days with a full review 🙂
That’s it for October reads! (2 weeks late, oops). I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Reading People in November (I’ve been combing my way through it slowly because it’s rich in wisdom!). I haven’t started a new fiction book yet, but I need one. (Suggestions welcome). Until then, happy reading!
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