Tag Archives: Non-Fiction

Review: Just Mercy

Just Mercy

Just Mercy
By Bryan Stevenson
Spiegel & Grau, 9780812984965, August 2015, 368pp.

The Short of It:

Haven’t seen the movie yet but the book will be one that I remember for a long, long time.

The Rest of It:

A long time ago, I was listening to a podcast and one of the people being interviewed mentioned Just Mercy as a book she would never forget. I immediately made a note to read it and then decided to pitch it for my book club to discuss. But then there was a school shooting and the meeting had to be rescheduled. Sad, but true.

So it should come as no surprise that Just Mercy is scheduled for this month’s discussion, right smack in the middle of a pandemic. I knew enough about the book to know that the topic is a heavy one. Bryan Stevenson’s fight to address Capital Punishment and how it affects minorities, the poverty stricken, and even young children, did not seem like a topic I could handle during quarantine but I didn’t want to postpone the discussion again so I dug in.

Very glad I did.

This is a book that everyone needs to read. Young, old, in school, out of school. I was expecting a very depressing read but this memoir, to my surprise, was not depressing at all. I found it to be full of hope. Stevenson’s passion for his clients and the way he often went above and beyond what is expected of a lawyer lifted me up in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Honestly, Stevenson is a form of superhero I can get behind. He is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and even that sounds formidable and it is.

His memoir covers many cases and challenges but centers around one particular client, Walter McMillan. McMillian had a solid alibi for his whereabouts the day a young woman was killed but it didn’t matter because the town needed a suspect and so the accusations stacked against Walter. How? Corruption, racism, people not wanting to be wrong.

When they say some people wear capes, I agree. Some do. Checkout Stevenson’s TED Talk and you’ll see what I mean.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Present Over Perfect (Audio)

Present Over Perfect

Present Over Perfect (Audio)
By Shauna Niequist
Zondervan on Brilliance Audio, 9781531832056, August 2016

The Short of It:

Are you a perfectionist? Do you try to keep all the balls in the air at the same time? Do you have trouble saying no? This book focuses on being present over perfect. Perfection is highly overrated and if you are like me and fail at it miserably, you will find much to relate to in this audio book.

The Rest of It:

What’s funny is that if you ask the people around me, they will say that I’m not failing at all. Because, on the outside, I look like I have it all together. I know this because I’ve been told this. I’ve even been referred to as a Stepford Mom and if that person happens to be reading, PLEASE do not be upset over it. I secretly enjoyed the comment and it has stayed with me for years. I mean, it was kind of a compliment, at least to my perfection-striving self.

Those who know me will also say that for years I’ve been trying to simplify and that my calendar is always a work-in-progress. Lord, I try. I try to cook real food, learn things, spend time with my family but I spend a lot of time driving back and forth, or holed up in a parking lot waiting for something to end.

A good friend gifted me this book on Audible and it could have been written by me. I could relate to every, single story within it. Present Over Perfect is a book of observations. Each chapter is an observation of what Niequist dealt with as she was trying to focus on being present with those around her, and not so perfect. Listening to this book was like a soothing balm to my soul.

My word for the year is Gather and because I am a perfectionist by nature, the idea of inviting people into my home when things are less than perfect is very uncomfortable for me but Niequist addresses that and of course everything she says makes perfect sense. While waiting for perfection that will never come, my home remains closed off to the people I’ve been trying to invite in. Ironic, no?

If you enjoy self-reflection and struggle with perfection, you will find yourself nodding to much of what Niequist details here. She comes across as gentle, but genuine. I’m so glad my friend gifted it to me!

Source: Gifted to me by a friend!
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.