Reading is fun and talking about reading is fun. Whenever I read a book review, it motivates me to cuddle up with a new book and get lost in it! Today I am sitting down to discuss three books that I have read in the past months: Child in the Manger by Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and One with Christ by Hudson Taylor. Read on to find out more about this BOTM.
I’m ashamed to say that the title ‘BOTM’ or ‘Book Of The Month’ doesn’t really suit this blog post. In this case, it is more appropriate to name it ‘Books Of Five Months’. Yikes! Where has the time gone?! And how is it possible that I only read three books in the past months?! I have the tendency to shout: ‘It was the books’ fault!’. But it really wasn’t. These books are good reads and I am excited to tell you about them.
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Child in the Manger by Sinclair B. Ferguson
In case you missed the fact that it has taken me a long time to finish these books, the title and subject of this book slap-bang reminds you of it. I started reading this book at the beginning of December. The previous year I followed a bible study plan which was all about the real meaning of Christmas. It was really lovely and it encouraged me to look at the Christmas period in the right way: with immense gratitude. Last December I wanted to switch things up and read a book instead. The beauty of Nathan’s love of books is that all I had to do was look through our own little library!
Ferguson begins the book by saying that Christmas means different things to different people. On the one hand, it often means holidays, parties, family gatherings, presents, meals together, music, and special events. On the other hand, it can mean unwanted pressure, an increased sense of loneliness, family squabbles, and crowded shops. It is the best time for some people, but the worst of times for others. It is also immensely commercialized. A lot of companies depend on the income they make during Christmas.
Just leaving it at that would be a big mistake, because it completely misses what Christmas is actually about. When googling Christmas the following definition of Christmas comes up: the annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Ferguson writes about the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ of us celebrating Christmas. He does this in a very detailed and orderly way. Firstly, he tells us who Jesus is and, with keeping that in mind, what it meant for Him to come down to earth for us in order to die for our sins. Ferguson then goes on to describe the circumstances and details of Christ’s birth. It taught me a lot about why things actually happened the way they did and what certain things meant.
The way Ferguson describes the background and circumstances of the people involved in the Christmas story made people like Mary and the Magi much more real and accessible to me. After that, the book goes through Jesus’ life on earth and His death. More importantly, Ferguson discusses what His death meant for us. There is one fragment of text that really struck me from this book and I don’t think I will ever forget it.
‘The Saviour had been laid in a borrowed manger, and now sometime later, he is in a borrowed house. Later on, he will be lifted up on a cross that had been reserved for the execution of someone else – Barabbas, an armed bandit. Even in his death his grave clothes and resting place were all intended for someone else.’ p. 176.
That text once again reminder me how much Jesus humbled himself for us. It blew my mind.
Child in the Manger is an excellent book. I wouldn’t call it a light read. Every time I returned to the book, I needed a little moment to see where I was. I really needed to grasp the context again in order to understand what I was reading.
Buy the book HERE*.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I have a little confession to make… this is the third time that I have read this book; twice in Dutch, and now, for the very first time, in English. It is such a good book and when I started it I’d never expected just how much of a hot topic the issues addressed in the book would be right now!
The story takes place in Jackson, Mississippi 1962. The three main characters are Aibileen, a black ‘help’ who’s raising her seventeenth white child while working through the grief of losing her own son; Minni, a very sassy black help who is Aibileen’s best friend; and Miss Skeeter, a white college graduate who’s back in her parental home and wants to find out why her beloved maid has disappeared.
Throughout the book, you become more and more aware of the wicked and strange differences between the lives of the white and the black people. The black people are treated very badly and you see Skeeters’ awareness of this intensify through the pages. She becomes friends with Aibileen and Minny and tries to help them. The book is so well-written and one of its main strengths is the detail in which it is written – you can’t help but imagine it all: the houses, the characters, and of course the smell of Minny’s food. I highly recommend this book!
Buy this book HERE*.
One with Christ by Hudson Taylor
This is a brilliant short book that dives into one specific book of the Bible: the Song of Songs or the Song of Solomon. Now I have to admit, Song of Songs wasn’t exactly my favorite book in the Bible. I didn’t really understand it since it seems to be just a romantic account following the courtship of a historical bridegroom and bride. It was a little bit too poetical for me. But then a friend of ours recommended this book and I am glad I read it. This book goes through the Song of Songs almost verse by verse and suggests that you could interpret it in a very different way: the relationship between the bridegroom and his bride could also be seen as the relationship between the Church and Christ.
While reading the book I got the impression that some verses can actually apply to the relationship between a Christian and Christ as well, which was lovely to meditate on. Sometimes I had to stop and think for a second because I did find certain explanations a bit tricky to grasp. Taylor does, however, explain it in a clear and concise way. After having read this book I appreciate Song of Songs so much more!
Buy this book HERE*.
What are you reading at the moment, and do you think you will have a go at any of these books? As always, I’d love to hear what you think!