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books

At other places, Books + Stories
On the importance of reading fiction; or, yes read your book!
May 4, 2017 at 9:07 am 1

Is reading a "guilty pleasure" or is it something more? Can reading fiction actually inform what we love and how we act?

  I'd love for you to read my latest piece for The Well, where I give you permission (as if you needed it) to pick up a book. Rather than scrolling through our Facebook or Instagram feeds, reading really does enable us to be more human. Here's a snippet: 
When the twin towers fell on September 11, I was an ocean away in England. I was spending most of every waking hour studying and reading medieval literature, but now my thoughts felt jumbled, and I wondered: did my academic work mean anything when terrorists attacked my homeland? Wasn’t studying — reading, really — superfluous, privileged, esoteric? Does reading matter when the world feels like it’s falling apart?
 
Reading fiction gives us a ticket to step outside the world of the marketplace where meaning is derived from economic transactions. When we immerse ourselves in good writing, we stake a claim that beauty matters. Instead of buying something online with a click of a button or turning the television on and off, I must engage my mind and heart in a book. A book becomes more than simply an escape or a pretty object to put on your shelf that makes you appear learned. It is more than a product. When we engage with the world of the novel, we place worth in beauty, grace, and the promise of transformation. When we read, we say that meaning is more than money and that money can be used in service to good art.
  Read the rest here.  I'd love to hear your thoughts. How has reading changed you? What are your own practices of reading? Do you read more fiction or non-fiction? 
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Books + Stories
Red Lips & Lady Danger: Sneak Peek of Everbloom!
April 26, 2017 at 8:38 am 0

What does it mean to grow up biracial in America?

What does it mean to wear red lipstick and use beauty as rebellion?

What does it mean to be fully made in the image of God and not be a poster child for the white majority?

What does it look like to do it all with grace and fire in your bones?

  Alia Joy is a gorgeous writer and a dear friend. She writes for (in)courage, GraceTable, and the Mudroom, and other various and sundry places around web. You do not want to miss her voice. You can connect with Alia on her website and Twitter.  

Here's an exclusive first peek of her essay in Everbloom:


Red Lips, Holy Rebellion, and Lady Danger

By Alia Joy

 
Oh, honey, you are much too yellowcomplected for red, plus red draws attention to your teeth. I always tell my customers to work with what they’ve got. For you Orientals, I always say stick with your eyes, they’re so . . . exotic.” She purses her lips at me, her fuchsia lipstick bleeding into the tiny wrinkles along her mouth. She tells me which parts are worthy of being seen and which parts aren’t. I leave the makeup counter with mascara. I spend my twenties wearing colorless ChapStick and lip balm because my teeth don’t line up white and brilliant. I don’t line up white and brilliant. I learn to smile with my mouth pressed shut. When I was a girl, I had never seen an Asian American model. There were no shows featuring prominent Asian American actors. There were hardly any books about Asian American characters. Our leaders were white, our television shows were white, our neighborhood was white. To be white was to belong, to be beautiful, to be someone who could smile with her whole mouth and open it and be heard. But I was just a girl. I hadn’t yet learned that I could own my story, that it could help me become someone. ... These days I don’t listen to the women at the makeup counter. I choose my color. MAC makes my favorite red lipstick. I twist it from the bullet, and it rises up in brazen scarlet and smears across my lips. Lady Danger on my lips is holy rebellion. I smack them together and lean into the mirror. I see all of me. I am a biracial Asian American woman, and I am beautiful; I am worthy of being seen. The strength to believe it is something I fight for every day. These lips were created to speak truth. I’ve got fire on my lips, blazing red. This holy rebellion says, I will be seen. I’m learning to harness my voice even when it strangles in my throat, because these things need saying. ...
You will want to read the rest!!

Pick up a copy today at Amazon, or enter to win my giveaway!

 
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Books + Stories
Kindle Deals on Some of my Favorites! Just today!
November 28, 2016 at 3:35 pm 2
It's cold out and who couldn't use a lovely book to curl up with in front of the fire? These are some of my favorite reads (or on my to-read list) and wanted you to know about them! From what I can tell the crazy Kindle deals are only good today.

fallingfree2

Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted by Shannan Martin

$2.99 Kindle // $12.67 Paperback Shannan is the real deal. She laughs like she can't hold it back. She's thoughtful, smart, and deeply broken (like all good people are) and I'm encouraged to see how God has shaped her life's path. Great prose. Perfect for: Those who don't want to live "normal" lives but aren't sure how to step out in faith.  

The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp

$4.99 on Kindle // $13.79 Hardback I listened to a wonderful podcast with Ann Voskamp all about her book and brokenness and being connected to her land. I really think that the type of leadership Ann offers could help center a lot of the messiness of evangelical celebrity. This is one I'm snagging! Perfect for: Fans of Voskamp, women who need to know that not being perfect is how God uses us.  

Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Isolation, Judgment and Fear by Scott Sauls

$8.57 Kindle // $9.02 Paperback (not a huge Kindle deal, but a great price on the paperback!) I reviewed Sauls' book for The Englewood Review of Books. Quite simply it's such an important for people of faith in this moment in time. Grab a few copies and read it with your friends (and make some friends who are different from you). The format is great to digest in smaller chunks. Perfect for: The Christian who is tempted to live in polarized spheres but wants to change.  

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

$4.99 Kindle // $15.87 Hardback (40% off!) If you haven't already fallen in love with this HGTV designer duo, then this will clinch it. This is totally on my list. I'm such a sucker for design, a love story, and the story of underdogs.  

The Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen

$9.99 Kindle // $8.79 Paperback (Look at that paperback discount!) This is on my list because I love a compilation book full of good writing. That's like less than a dollar for an essay. Cheaper than coffee and lasts longer! Add it to your list. Perfect for: the person who loves good writing but can't be nailed down.
befriend There's bunches and bunches more like: Where'd you go, Bernadette? ($2.99), the latest Pat Conroy novel ($1.99) and Nicholas Sparks' latest, Two by Two ($3.99); Amy Poehler's hysterical memoir ($3.99), and Shauna Niequist's Present Over Perfect ($4.99).   I'll be back later this season with some other favorites, but for now, take note and grab these deals before they leave!   *post contains affiliate links, which enable me to write and run this site.

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