Books & Screens

Winter ’18 Books & Screens Review

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~C.S. Lewis

Hey, friends! It’s winter and that probably means you’re spending SO MUCH MORE time inside than you usually do. If you need some book, TV, music, podcast and movie recommendations, here are my favorites from the past few months.

1. OF MESS & MOXIE By Jen Hatmaker

I really love Jen’s writing. This is a great read if you want something you can pick up, read a chapter then let it be for a few weeks and still pick up where you left off no problem.

This book is full of laughter and grace – reminding you to not take yourself too seriously while still dealing with the messiness of life.

If you love the book, Jen is also doing a Moxie Matters tour and coming to Minneapolis next month!

2. SEARCHING FOR SUNDAY

I already raved about this book in December but had to include it on this list. I love the way she ties her journey with the Church to the Bible and the history and traditions of the Church. Such a beautiful reminder and such an honest look at the complexity of God’s Church full of broken but beloved people.

3. GOD HAS A NAME

I’ve been a Christian for a long time. I grew up in the Church memorizing Bible verses and went to Bible college to learn theology and Biblical interpretation. This background sometimes leaves me feeling like God’s Word is stale and that I know it all already. This book was a great reminder of how very wrong I am. I learned SO much about what God tells us about himself in Exodus 34:6-7 and how that applies to me and the world I live in.

1. OPRAH’S SUPERSOUL CONVERSATIONS PODCAST

Ever since the Golden Globes, everyone’s been talking about Oprah. And rightfully, so, right? She’s amazing. I’ve really been enjoying her Supersoul Conversations podcast. She talks about spirituality with well-known people from all walks of life and beliefs. I’ve really enjoyed learning about other belief systems in this conversational format.

Here are my 3 favorite interviews from the past few months:

2. DIRTY JOHN

VERY different than Supersoul Conversations (probably on the very opposite side of the spectrum) is the podcast Dirty John. This is a story about a family in which the mother begins dating a guy that the kids are not so sure of. Each episode you learn more and more about John and the family and I don’t want to give any more away but definitely keep listening to through the last episode. At the end I was like, “WHAT? That really happened? This is a true story?” Yes. Yes, it did and is. Give it a listen.

3. A MURDER ON ORCHARD STREET

This is also a true story. It’s about a murder that took place many years ago that is still unsolved. It appears that the podcast was created in an effort to raise awareness so that those with information about the murder might come forward.  It’s not solved at the end which is very much real life, but not to my liking since I’m conditioned to want my stories all tied up at the end :). The episodes are shorter (20-30 minutes) which is nice and the whole series is released so it’s easy to binge.

1. SPOTIFY WINTER PLAYLIST

Here’s what I’ve been listening to on Spotify this winter:

 

2. REPUTATION – TAYLOR SWIFT

Although I’m really sad that the “old Taylor is dead” I just can’t quit her. I’m still loving her new album but not as much as some of her past ones. My favorite songs from the album are …Are You Ready for It, Don’t Blame Me, Gorgeous, Getaway Car and New Year’s Day.

For those of you who also loved the Old Taylor, I’ve been told Kelsea Ballerini’s new album Unapologetically is very similar to that style and AMAZING. I like what I’ve heard of it so far.

3. HOPE HYMNS VOLUME 3

This is the newest album from my church’s worship band and I’m loving it! They take traditional hymns and give them a more modern edgy twist. My favorites from the album are Standing on the Promises, Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above, How Firm a Foundation and He Leadeth Me.

1. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

I know that there have been mixed reviews on this one, but since I’m not a Star Wars purist in any way, I really enjoyed it! There’s an amazing scene in the middle of the movie with Rey and Kylo (you’ll know it when you see it) and the ending had a fun twist and climax as well.

I enjoyed reading the behind the scenes drama with the directors (this director went in a completely different direction from the one the first director had set up and now that first director will do the third movie and probably do something completely different than the second director intended) and I would love to know the storylines that were abandoned in the shake-up.

2. 3 BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Funny story- my coworkers and I went to this for our office Christmas party and let me tell you, this is not a happy-go-lucky Christmas movie! It is super depressing and the whole time I wanted to yell at the characters, “What are you doing? You are messing everything up!” But it’s a great look at what grief and trauma can do to a person and how our actions affect the community around us.

It had me thinking about it for days after and it’s getting a lot of award season buzz. Frances McDormand is amazing and my money is on her to win the Best Actress Oscar just like she won the Golden Globe in that category.

3. THOR RAGNAROK

This was a super fun movie. Lots of laughs and action. I think Thor is my favorite Avenger and it was fun to follow his storyline and see the set up for the next Avengers movie. (P.S.- watch through the end of the credits :))

Here are my favorite mid-season finales:

1. THE BLACKLIST

YOU GUYS. I love this show and this mid-season finale was so intense and amazing. It’s on Netflix if you want to start the show from the beginning. They also always have amazing music on the show that usually ends up on my Spotify playlist.

2. THE WALKING DEAD

There was a HUGE surprise in this mid-season finale! I’ll leave it at that. This series is also on Netflix if you want to start from the beginning.

3. SCANDAL

It’s the last season of Scandal and I think it’s time. I’m starting to not like how dark some of the characters are getting. This mid-season finale definitely capitalizes on that. I’m excited to see if there’s redemption for my favorite characters. Also on Netflix :).

And a bonus recommendation:

4. Black Mirror, Season 4

I love this series! It’s like The Twilight Zone only futuristic. Each episode is standalone and it always gives me something interesting to think about. They are a little dark and definitely don’t start with Episode 1 of Season 1 – just trust me, you can skip that one. My favorite episodes from Season 4 were USS Callister, Hang the DJ and Black Museum.

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