The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

This book traces the life of Cora, a young woman who is born into slavery and later escapes north, but cannot escape her past. Whitehead just won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, with the committee calling his book, “…a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.” I highly recommend it.

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright

Dan and I read this book together and it took us forever to finish it. But we finally did. While I didn’t agree with all his conclusions, I particularly loved the second half of the book where Wright applies his theology to the here and now. Wright encourages the church to live on mission by bringing the future hope into present reality. I may or may not have teared up during the final pages.

“When the church is seen to move straight from worship of the God we see in Jesus to making a difference and effecting much-needed change in the real world; when it becomes clear that the people who feast at Jesus’s table are the ones in the forefront of work to eliminate hunger and famine; when people realize that those who pray for the Spirit to work in and through them are the people who seem to have extra resources of love and patience in caring for those whose lives are damaged, bruised and shamed, then it is not only natural to speak of Jesus himself and to encourage others to worship him for themselves and to find out what belonging to his family is all about but it is also natural for people, however irreligious they may think of themselves as being, to recognize that something is going on that they want to be part of (267).”

As Soon As I Fell by Kay Bruner

In many ways Kay Bruner and her husband had reached the pinnacle of perceived evangelical holiness: they were Bible translators in the middle of nowhere bringing the written Word to people without it. Yet there was so much going on in their hearts and lives than others (or perhaps even they) were aware of. In this memoir, we follow the Bruners through their adventures overseas, the heartache of depression, porn, broken relationships, and the healing only found through love and grace.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada has spent her entire childhood hidden away, neglected, and abused due to her mother’s embarrassment over her club foot. But when children are evacuated from London at the beginning of WWII, Ada runs away and joins her brother in the countryside where they learn what it means to be truly safe, loved, and cared for. This YA book shows what it’s like when reality is skewed and love must be learned. It’s a great read.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Since I had never read Wuthering Heights, nor seen the movie, I was quite surprised by the tenor of this novel. I was expecting something much more along the lines of Jane Eyre or an Austin novel. But Emily Brontë’s work is part love, part horror story complete with torture, unlawful imprisonment, and love triangles. While this isn’t my favorite piece of classic literature, I’m glad I read it…if for no other reason than being able to understand references to it.

The Brontë Plot by Katherine Reay

Lucy Alling sells rare books and dabbles in interior design. But some questionable ethics lead her on a journey to discover who she really is, how the past affects the present, and the ultimate importance of truth. As is characteristic of Reay, the Brontë plot is full of references to classics which I always find enjoyable. While her books are classified as Christian fiction, they aren’t obnoxiously preachy, though there are a few awkward sentences where it seems like she’s trying a bit too hard. Overall a good read.

Linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

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