Reading Roundup September {2017} | Enduring All Things

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reading Roundup September {2017}

Guys, after reading a ton last month, I didn't do so well this month. I am not usually a digital book kind of person but the only books I read this month, I read on my phone whenever I had time. That just goes to show how little "real" reading I did in September. (By "real" reading I mean taking the time to actually sit down and read a physical book for pleasure).

Oh and one of the books in this post I actually read last month. But I finished it after my Reading Roundup post went live so I'm including it in this month's post.

Anyway, I am part of the launch teams for both of these books so I got a digital copy from each of the authors for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Scarlet Virgins: When Sex Replaces Salvation by Rebecca Lemke

So this was a book written by blogger, Rebecca Lemke, about the effect purity culture has had on her life. In the book, Rebecca takes a look at where our purity culture has come from, how it is a response to the American Sexual Revolution, and how the motivation behind it really isn't all bad. But the book goes on to say that the church and our culture has gone too far in the other direction. That history is a pendulum swinging back and forth between "hedonism and legalism," going too far each time. Rebecca shares accounts from her own life and tries to explain the harm that purity culture does to our youth. She also offers ideas for a better way to teach kids about sex and purity.

When Rebecca first asked me to join her launch team, admittedly, I was a bit hesitant. I have certainly been affected by purity culture, but not to the extent that some of my peers have. As I mentioned in this post, I had some great role models in my youth that helped me learn the why behind modesty and who emphasized that sex with your spouse is a wonderful gift from God. However, I know that was not the case for many young girls my age who grew up in the church.

So I wasn't sure how much I would be able to relate to this book. I wasn't sure how mad it would make me. I just wasn't sure I would enjoy it. Not that it's really a book that's meant to be enjoyed. (Read: It did made me mad. Mad about the things Rebecca experienced, the things people have said. But not mad at Rebecca herself for blaming and bashing like I thought I might be).

Anyway, I digress. I definitely recommend this book to... well really to anybody. But especially to all millennial women. Whether you grew up in a religious household or not, I guarantee you were exposed to purity culture in some way or another, as Rebecca points out in her book. I also really recommend this book to parents of girls. Or really parents in general. Especially if you have teenagers right now.

I really appreciated how Rebecca sort of defended the motives behind purity culture. And she made a distinction between "the purity movement (spurred initially by high teen pregnancy rates) that simply encourages men and women to handle their God-given sexuality responsibility - which is commendable - and the legalistic ugly stepsister known as 'Purity Culture'." The Scarlet Virgins, p.12.

So much literature that I've seen on the topic simply bashes purity culture calling its perpetrators "bigots" and "hypocrites" and "pharisees" and the like. Don't get me wrong. Some of them are these things. But I think a lot of parents and spiritual leaders are innocent in their motives and are simply victims of the pendulum swing of culture just as the teens they influence. I really appreciated that Rebecca addressed this in her book.

Anyway, I've already written too much but just know this was a powerful book and I do recommend it! You can read Rebecca's blog here. And you can get the book on amazon here.

*Side note, while we're on the 'Purity Culture' topic. Sheila Gregoire and her daughters have put together a video course to help with teaching young women about puberty, sex, and purity. You can check out the course(s) right here. (affiliate link)

Laugh It Up! by Candace Payne

If you don't know who Candace Payne is, she's the Chewbacca Mom. If you don't know who the Chewbacca Mom is, you've been living under a rock for the past year. Or at least you've been living somewhere without the internet. But somehow you're reading this.

Anyway, I digress. When I found out Candace had written a book and it was called Laugh It Up! I knew I had to read it. I so admire Chewbacca Mom's joy and I loved her heart, from what I had seen. So when she extended an application to be a part of the launch team for her book, I jumped in and applied! I was so honored to be selected!

So yes, I received a digital copy of the book for free (before it was available to the public) and I ordered a physical copy at a highly discounted price (which I will also get early) in exchange for a blog review and social media buzz. Laugh it Up! will be released on November 7th. You can preorder now

Wow. The beginning of this book was all fun and games and laughter. But around chapter 4 it gets pretty serious. Candace has faced a lot in her life. Just like most people. And she's come through some hard times with Joy by her side. There are so many things here that I can relate to. Each chapter of this book tells another part of Candace's story and how she let something steal her joy and how she either overcame it or is working to overcome it.

Believe it or not, I found a way to relate to each chapter and each entity that pushes Joy aside: Shame. Comparison. Fear. Pride. Discontentment. (just to name a few). This is a book I will keep around and pick up often when I need a little refresher for the pain of whatever I'm going through. 

The chapter about her marriage: Saying Never, Meaning Always really hit home in particular. I identified with her insecurities so much. Why is it so difficult to trust the man who promised to love me forever? Well because our society and my (and Candace's) past experiences tell us otherwise. Because Shame and Comparison have entered our minds and are very resistant to being thrown out.

But I don't want to give away any more specifics.

We all need joy in our life. Joy is different from happiness. It is a permanent entity, not reliant on circumstances. But we let other things take over and we forget about the joy. I also love that while yes, Candace is a Christian, she doesn't impose her beliefs on the reader. In fact, I don't think she even markets this book as a Christian book at all. While scripture talks about most of what she addresses in her book, and she does mention a couple verses and hymns, she doesn't spend a lot of time there because non-Christians need to experience Joy as well.

I recommend this book to literally anybody and everybody! Oh and I should mention that it is safe for readers of all ages as many sensitive details are left out. So feel free to read it with your kids or as a family.

What have you read this month? Link up below!
Thanks for reading!

P.S. Next month, I hope to read Muddling Through Again by Lee Haugen Long, Frankenstein, and at least one book from the Cormoran Strike series. I'm stating that here (as well as in my monthly goals) for some semblance of accountability. I really want to read more!

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