Twitterature (April 2013 Edition)

twitterature monthly reading linkup short reviews
Welcome to the Twitterature link-up! For the lowdown, head over here, or try this Cliff Notes version: this is the place to share short, casual reviews of books you’ve been reading.

Here’s what I’ve been reading


Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, Shauna Niequist

Some people adored @sniequist’s second. I think it’s uneven. I recommend you go straight to Bread and Wine, where her voice is strong and clear.

where'd you go

Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, Maria Semple

Hated it. I didn’t abandon it because I thought it might be a good #summerreading pick for those who loved Gone Girl. No way. #pass

help thanks wow

Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Anne Lamott

My reading strategy: dog-ear the pages that speak to me, that I need to remember. This is my copy of Help, Thanks, Wow. #sogood #readit.

my ideal bookshelf

My Ideal Bookshelf, Thessaly La Force and Jane Mount

Dozens of culture-makers share the books that shaped them. Keep this beautiful book on your coffee table.  #YouAreWhatYouRead #NerdyPick

surprised by oxford

Surprised By Oxford: A Memoir, Carolyn Weber

I liked it, but I was hoping to *love* it. Beautiful book, but lengthy dialogue didn’t ring true. 3.5 stars. #readitanyway #faithmemoir



The next Twitterature link-up will be on Wednesday, May 15. Subscribe now for updates!
twitterature monthly reading linkup short reviews

This post contains my affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Modern Mrs Darcy!

more posts you might enjoy


Leave A Comment
  1. That’s disappointing to hear about Bittersweet. After loving Bread & Wine so much, I was really excited to go back and read her previous two. I also had high hopes for Surprised by Oxford, and was hoping to read that you loved it.

    But I’m happy to hear such good things about My Ideal Bookshelf – I’ve wondered about it, but kept hesitating because those types of books can be so inconsistent for me. I’ve also had Help, Thanks, Wow, on my TBR list for ages but it’s been languishing there without much hope of being bumped up high enough to actually get read. Your comments have rescued it. 😉

    • Anne says:

      You should read Bittersweet. I know you loved Bread and Wine, and it will be interesting for you to see the seeds of that book in Bittersweet. I said it was uneven, but the places where it really shines are the places Shauna chose to explore further in Bread and Wine.

  2. Kerry says:

    I love Anne Lamott, Love the ideal bookshelf, I appreciate the heads up on other books. Another Christian writer I like is Jennifer Hatmaker, she is amazing. Our book club read her book 7 — and then we did something, purged our houses onto an outdoor basketball court and raised enough money to buy a home for children rescued from the sex trade. It’s that kind of amazing book. An older Christian author that everyone should read is The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I am a passionate bookworm and read across all genres but when I saw you mentioned Anne Lamott, I had to share these two books so special to me.

    • Anne says:

      I was just going to ask if it was your book! (It pays to read the comment all the way to the end, huh?)

      Tell us more about it here, would you? Please?

      • melyssa says:

        Aw, you’re sweet to ask! I’m a horrible salewoman so when I don’t have to push too hard, I get warm and fuzzy feelings. Here’s the synopsis from the jacket: “Sonnet Gray has problems, and not just those of a typical 18 year old. Her family is one of the Lost; time travelers who have no power over their journeys. Hopelessly old fashioned and yet more modern than most girls, Sonnet speaks several languages and takes care of her motley crew back home by working in a coffee shop and playing guitar. Over time, the Lost leave behind those they love and pick up new characters along the way. In twenty-first century America, Sonnet meets Emme, a Lost young woman with a questionable line of work, Luke, a mysterious photographer, and Israel, a young doctor . But no one can take the place of Sonnet’s sister, Rose, who was left behind as a baby in the fifteenth century. The ghost of her beckons from each time and place; but what’s real and what isn’t? Is Rose Gray trying to contact her before it’s too late?

        A ghost story with a sci-fi, Gothic romance twist, Shadows Gray will keep you up at night, wondering: is the redemptive power of love enough to change history?”

        Think of it as romantic suspense for the YA crowd (and those of us who still feel like a YA). Sequel is out too, and I’m even more proud of it, though you have to read this one first of course. 🙂

  3. Amy says:

    Can you expand a little on Bittersweet being uneven? I have it on my shelf and while not in my immediate to-read pile, I’m keeping it around. However, I don’t want to waste me time and you know how I can’t not finish a book. I’d hate to start and then have to finish 🙂 Any pointers on a good audience for it?

    • Anne says:

      Sure, and also look at what I said to Sheila. Bittersweet is really good in some places, not so good in others. Have you read Bread and Wine? If you have (and you should, because it’s terrific) you’ll notice that Bittersweet is wonderful in the places where it’s most similar to Bread and Wine, the places where Shauna explores food and faith and relationships. It’s not as good when she tackles other subjects.

      Bread and Wine is almost like an expanded version of the best parts of Bittersweet. If you liked Bread and Wine, I’d read it. (And if you do come back and tell me if it was a good call!)

  4. Love this linkup post…as always 🙂 (I’m writing mine today). Bummer that you didn’t enjoy Bittersweet – I actually loved it. It was her first book – Cold Tangerines – that didn’t really knock my socks off. I read it b/c my mentor gave it to me, but it took awhile. 🙂 I completely agree with you though – Bread & Wine is her best book. (I felt like I could see the roots of B&W start to take shape in Bittersweet – she seems to allow herself to start to talk about food, and how she feels about it. 🙂 I loved Surprised By Oxford too, but I can see how you thought it wasn’t succinct–it took me awhile to finish it. I have Anne Lamott’s book ready to read as soon as I finish at least one on my reading stack. 🙂 I’ve also wanted to read the ‘Ideal Booshelf’ title as well, but didn’t know if it would be worth it – glad to hear you liked it – going to check it out!
    Thanks again for this book linkup – it’s wonderful! 🙂

    • Anne says:

      “I felt like I could see the roots of B&W start to take shape in Bittersweet – she seems to allow herself to start to talk about food, and how she feels about it.”

      Yes, exactly.

      The Ideal Bookshelf isn’t a book you sit down and read. It’s a book you browse, whenever you feel like it, in any order you choose. It’s a great one to come back to again and again.

  5. Angela says:

    I agree with you about “Surprised by Oxford.” I wanted so badly to love it too because I love spiritual memoirs, but I only liked it.

    “My Ideal Bookshelf” wasn’t that exciting for me because I only knew a few of the people sharing their books. I paged through it, but didn’t find it engaging.

    I’ll have to check out the new Anne Lamott book – I’ve loved some of hers and hated some of them, so we’ll see.
    Thanks for sharing your reads – you always make my library list longer. 🙂

  6. Erin says:

    We just read Bernadette for book club, and we all really enjoyed it! But we are a group of L.A. moms, so maybe it resonated more with us? You do have to suspend disbelief and get on board, but I loved the unpeeling of the plot through email. (This month we’re reading a Le Guin, and I know she’s a master, but man, it’s a slog!)

      • Erin says:

        Anne, we didn’t read GG for book club, but I’ve read it. It was an interesting psychological thriller. Unfortunately for me I had heard SO much dithering about the ending that I pretty much guessed it. And I thought it fit, honestly. I totally recommend it as a fun, fast read that’ll keep you turning the pages! Another one I really enjoyed along those lines is Before I Go To Sleep by Watson.

  7. I’m adding My Ideal Bookshelf to my Amazon Wish List. If I had a coffee table, those are the kinds of books I would want on it (maybe I should get a coffee table first). I gleaned so much from Help, Thanks, Wow. Anne rambled on quite a bit, but I can’t help but just love her to pieces. She’s so brutally honest and engaging, and she says things that just absolutely resonate with me. I loved when she talked about “showing up” the most. God sends broken people to those who are hurting and in a big mess. We just have to show up when he calls us to that. I’ve been repeating this to myself a lot lately, “I don’t know what to say, but I can show up.”

  8. Meg Evans says:

    Bittersweet is in my queue, and Bread & Wine is on my amazon wishlist. So is Surprised by Oxford (on the wishlist). I read Gone Girl–couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see what would happen next, but the ending just left me feeling . . . sick? It stayed with me for days. I even tried to imagine whether an alternate ending would ring true with the characters. Anyway, I’m in no rush to start the Bernadette book. Help, Thanks, Wow I read a few months ago. I think if I started highlighting the passages that spoke to me, the whole book would be highlighter yellow! And I think I’m going to have to add My Ideal Bookshelf to my wishlist–or at least search the library.

  9. Katie says:

    I just snagged “My Ideal Bookshelf” from the library and ruined the pretty display they had it in. Oops. Love the concept; glad to hear you liked it.

    On the same library trip I saw and paged through “Help. Thanks. Wow.” because I knew I had read someone’s review of it and couldn’t remember if it had been negative or positive. After perusing a few passages, I realized it didn’t matter what others thought: it was very much not my style. Blech.

    I need to add “Surprised by Oxford” to my library holds list instead of just my want-to-read list. Everyone seems to say it’s lukewarm but still worth trying, so I will.

    • Anne says:

      Hey, to each her own. If a certain book isn’t your style, you have plenty of other options to choose from. 🙂

      That’s funny about Surprised by Oxford: my impression is that everyone is raving about it! Read it and come back and tell me what you think. 🙂

      • Katie says:

        In this season of my life, I can’t stand sentimentality. Perhaps it’s a hangover on it from having a small baby? There’s too much preciousness IRL right now; everyone gushing over babies and how quickly they grow and all the pressure to be having lots of Big Feelings about this when I’m really not a feelings person. I’ve been very into math and science books lately and choking on Faith and Life Reading.

        Off to add Oxford to my library list….

      • Katie says:

        You said over at Jessica’s blog that TDH’s monologues didn’t ring true; that’s exactly the problem with the book. Everyone in there talks like they’re reading an essay, not like people actually talk. If it had been fiction, I might have abandoned the book over that flaw; as it was, it definitely detracted from the authenticity of the memoir.

        I decided Weber intended the book to be as much Christian apologetics as memoir, and you could definitely tell she’s more used to academic than personal writing. That said, I found it so engrossing that I finished it in less than twenty-four hours. I think I would have been disappointed if I had gone in expecting to love it, but since I approached it with tempered expectations, I kind of ended up loving it.

        • Anne says:

          Katie, I love the pendulum-thing we’ve got going on here. My expectations were high, so I was disappointed, but yours were low because of me, so you weren’t. 🙂

          “Everyone in there talks like they’re reading an essay, not like people actually talk.”

          Yes, that’s a great description.

          “I decided Weber intended the book to be as much Christian apologetics as memoir, and you could definitely tell she’s more used to academic than personal writing.”

          And yes, thanks for articulating it like this. That’s exactly why it fell short for me: I wanted to read memoir, not apologetics. This description perfectly captures the feel of the book.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.