Nov 30, 2015

#COLLABOREADS // Non-fiction

I've heard of this fun online reading club that Rachel from  and Amber have been hosting for the past several months called #COLLABOREADS, and I was excited to jump on board this month! The idea is that each month there is a theme (non-fiction, thriller, back-to-school, etc). You find a book that fits that theme, read it during that month, then review it using several elements (how was it riveting, what was the plot line, what does the book remind you of, and was the design of the book an eye-catcher?). Then, link-up with Rachel and Amber and check out other book-lover's reviews. It's an awesome way to learn about new books & meet new book-lovin' bloggers. 
This month's #COLLABOREADS theme was a non-fiction read. This is a pretty broad theme and since I was just finishing up 7 Women by Eric Metaxas, I thought it would be a perfect fit! 

7 Women: And the Secret of Their Greatness 
by Eric Metaxas
Seven mini-biographies of seven extraordinary women who loved God and loved people. It was an excellent read and inspired me in many ways! Joan of Arc, Hannah More, Maria Skobtsova, Corrie Ten Boom, Rosa Parks, and Mother Teresa each are world-changers, followed the call on their lives, and courageously trusted God even in the most difficult circumstances. 
Riveting
What part of the book could you NOT get enough of?  I loved learning about these seven women and how their boldness, compassion, bravery, and intelligence were rooted in their deep love for Jesus. Each of them was different and so admirable in her own way, so I enjoyed reading every one of the mini-biographies. 
Elements
How did you relate to/care for the characters? I can't say I related to them too much because they just seemed like superwomen to me, but at the same time, Metaxas made sure to include portions in each of the biographies that showed that the women felt insignificant, scared, and lonely some of the time, which made them more relatable rather than being out-of-reach heroes that I could only admire and not relate to. I cared for each of them because I now have a deep respect for each of them. I knew of a few of the women (mostly Corrie Ten Boom from her autobiography The Hiding Place) but one was completely new (Saint Maria of Paris). 
What's your thought on the plot line and twists and turns? Since this was a series of stories within a story (and I use "story" loosely since they are all true accounts), this would be hard to generalize since each of their lives had a myriad of twists and turns. Joan of Arc's unfair and unlawful imprisonment angered me, Hannah More's switch from more "secular" fun writings to purposeful poems and playwrights on the abolition of slavery was inspiring. Rosa Park's early run-in with the same bus driver she would one day defy by refusing to give up her spot for a white man, Mother Teresa's decision to step away from her beloved Loreto Convent to start her own ministry living and working among the poorest of the poor, and Corrie Ten Boom's courage to protect Jews in Nazi-Occupied Holland  all made the book really hard to put down.  
Associate
What other books are like this one? I love biographies of Christian women who sacrificed pleasures and comfort to serve and defend the impoverished, sick, and forgotten. Corrie Ten Boom's mini-biography in 7 Women definitely reminded me of her own biography, The Hiding Place.  Mother Teresa's biography reminded me of Elisabeth Elliot's biography on Amy Carmichael, A Chance To Die. Amy served in India from 1901 until her death in 1950. She formed the Dohnavur Fellowship, mainly focusing on rescuing children from sex slavery and providing a safe home and education. 
Design
You know you judged this book by the cover. What did you think of it? How did it relate to the contents of the novel? And the font and layout of the pages? The big orange 7 is eye-catching on the cover. And I really like that there is a grey-scale photo of each of the seven women on the cover. The photos seem faded from the color and are cropped to form stripes for the cover, so some of the faces are not clearly recognizable, but I got super excited when I recognized Mother Teresa and Corrie Ten Boom the first time the book came in the mail. The font of the pages was readable and non-pretentious. I liked that each biography started with a small image of the woman and her date of birth and death. It was a quick intro that helped me switch gears from the previous biography a few pages prior. 
Stars
How many out of five do you give this book? 5 out of 5 starts, for sure!
Would you recommend this book to a friend? YES! I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about these amazing women as well as the "secret of their greatness" (Metaxas' subtitle)

12 comments:

  1. It's so funny to me that I LOVE reading memoirs, but I rarely read biographies. Maybe I'm afraid they'll be too dry? 7 Women sounds amazing though! It would serve me well to know more about such influential women---and I love that the author chose to focus on women from such different time periods and backgrounds! It sounds like it's definitely worth going on the TBR list.

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    1. Yes, I love that the women are from different time periods as well as different cultural backgrounds! The length of the biographies also keeps them from being dry! I love biographies as well as memoirs! Any memoirs you recommend?

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  2. This looks like a great read! I love learning about the histories of strong female leaders, and will definitely have to pick this up soon to read. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks, Cara! It's a great read and so inspiring to learn about such courageous and compassionate women! Let me know what you think if you read it!

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  3. I love reading biographies! This sounds like a winner for sure!! I have only heard of about half of them so I would love to read more about each of them. Definitely going on my to-read list!

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    1. I love biographies as well! I heard about several of them too (Corrie ten Boom is my hero) but evenso, it didn't seem redundant or boring. Metexas has a way of writing biographies that keeps them from being dry or archaic. He shows their faults as well as their courage. I loved the book!!

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  4. Hi super precious girl who I want to know more about IMMEDIATELY! So thankful you've joined and THE BEAUTIFUL voice and perspective you bring is REFRESHMENT. All the kinds of welcome to you. :)

    I am SO MUCH in the same boat as Ashley in that I'm a lover of memoir. There's an eloquence and literary freedom there that doesn't seem to be as able to translate over into biography... But maybe that's just because I pick the driest pieces to try and tackle! This one sounds wondrous because it covers so many women instead of 200 pages dedicated to ALL the details of one person's life. :)

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    1. Hi Amber! Thank you for those extra sweet words of encouragement!! You brought a huge smile to my face!

      I agree that memoirs are usually more full of literary freedom and passion than biographies, but I think there are a few authors who can really tap into the beauty of telling other people's stories in a way that pays tribute to them, faults and all. Metaxas is awesome at this. I didn't feel any of the 7 biographies were dry at all. He is a gifted writer and comes off as more like a storyteller rather than a lecturer or someone who wikipedia'd 7 women. I definitely think its a great biography!

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  5. I want to read this book immediately! Reading about other women's walk with God is so inspiring. Adding to my Goodreads list now!

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    1. I agree! I LOVE reading about inspirational, courageous women! Let me know what you think once you read it!

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  6. I love memoirs and biographies, so I am definitely adding this one to my list to read! Looks like a great one. Thanks for your awesome review!

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    1. Me too!! I think you will really love it!

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I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice