Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Number Three

I'm a little embarrassed about my third book of the year. It was a gift from my sister, and I'm wondering if someone else gave it to her. She's really not a reader, and not only was this one obviously read, it had been underlined, written in and dog-eared. That alone made me curious, and I thought I'd give it a chance. Now, you might be wondering what kind of book I'm a little hesitant to talk about reading. After all, I enjoy sci-fi, horror and romance -- just the good ones, but still. Most of the books in those categories are rarely seen as literature. Self help books never are.

In general I hate self help books, but that's what I read. I only had to read a few self help books years ago to get sick of over generalizations, platitudes, mind games and just flat out bad advice. I really gave them up completely until this one when I found that a highly recommended marriage advice book had been written by someone with multiple divorces. This next confession is even a little more difficult. I also don't really enjoy most Christian books. While the advice can sometimes be sound and the basis for the advice excellent, I haven't really found many contemporary Christian writers who really engage me. (One of the reasons why I keep returning to Lewis and Bonhoeffer who consistently challenge me.) I would really appreciate suggestions on good Christian writers.

So, my third book of the year fell into a category I despise from a category of writers I don't usually enjoy. The title is even more embarrassing -- How To Get A Date Worth Keeping. Can you just imagine how badly I'm blushing now? So, yes, I'm interested in dating again, but I read this for more than that reason. I went hermit for so long I've forgotten how to meet people and make friends, and I basically like people too much for that. I thought about it a bit and realized that making friends is really a bit like dating, thus I gave this book a chance.

What I liked about this book is that it completely avoided a lot of typical dating advice about how to make yourself into somebody who attracts people. The main points were about being your self and doing what it takes to be an emotionally healthy person of character. It was really all about taking responsibility for your own issues, having realistic expectations, setting clear boundaries and not playing games. It emphasized that the point of dating is really to meet and get to know people, not necessarily progress into a relationship. This was all good stuff that reaffirmed what was in my gut. It also emphasized that dating means you have to suck up the courage to actually meet people and give them a chance. The book had very clear eyed advice without being preachy. I was also surprised by a surprisingly mature discussion of sexuality in the chapter, Unleash Your Libido or Reel It In. I did feel this book was aimed at people who weren't emotionally much past the flush of teenage dating and realizing how different adult relationships can be. Years don't have to be a factor in this.

How To Get A Date Worth Keeping was written by Dr. Henry Cloud and published by Zondervan Books in 2005. On the cover, it says "Be Dating in Six Months or Your Money Back." Well, since this was a gift (and probably a re-gift at that), I won't be finding out if that's true or not, but I am planning on trying some of the advice -- primarily about taking the responsibility to get emotionally healthy and screwing up the courage to do things and go places where I can meet people again.

Despite this good stuff, I just had to slog my way through the book. I'm a fairly quick reader, and it took me over a week to get through a book of less than three hundred pages. In comparison, I'm almost two hundred pages into my next book, and I started it yesterday. There are parts of How To Get A Date Worth Keeping that just seem overly repetitive, and more than once, I caught myself going over some pages I'd already finished. So, it's not the best read, but it has good to stuff to say.

2 Comments:

Blogger david a holgate said...

Thanks for this thoughtful post, showing that good ideas (and good dates?) might show up in places where you wouldn't expect them.

January 16, 2010 3:23 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I often have that problem ("slogging through") with non-fiction. Often as dry as a text book but with worthy information to impart. The last several books I read and never finished were non--fiction...I'm a little embarrassed about that.

January 16, 2010 4:50 PM  

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