Summertime is movie time, and I recently talked my husband into paying good money to go see The Hustle starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson. Don’t come at me Hatha-haters, I think she is alright. The main reason I wanted to see it, however, is that it was marketed as a remake of the 1988 cult classic Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Steve Martin and Michael Caine. I love Steve Martin and I LOVED this movie, which Rotten Tomatoes certifies at 89% fresh. Now, I don’t always agree with the Rotten Tomatoes critics, so I was undeterred by it’s paltry 15% rotten rating of new flick.
I should have been deterred. Rebel Wilson, who I think can be charming, has built her career thus far on the cheap and easy laugh. My husband hates that type. But he loves me. Bless him. So he endured what was, mercifully, a short cinematic disappointment. The stars, frankly, lacked charisma and the whole thing fell short of the wit and appeal of the original. I know, I know. Remakes are never as good as the original. Except sometimes they are. I loved The Fugitive (ok a TV show remake, but still a remake), the new Aladdin (critics didn’t really agree with me), Ocean’s 11, The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Hairspray! Even my beloved Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a remake of a 1964 movie called Bedtime Story.
As much as I love a good movie (let’s face it, even a mediocre one will do), I think I still prefer reading for both entertainment and enlightenment. I post here often about my latest literary conquests, as I devour novels and comedic tomes as well as biographies, memoirs, and other forms of non-fiction. Perhaps my favorite, though, are contemporary works written about the Christian faith. By studying the stories and research of others, my beliefs are often strengthened, encouraged and challenged. Some of my recent favorites are:
The Louder Song: Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament by Aubrey Sampson
Winning the Heart of Your Child: 9 Keys to Building a Positive Lifelong Relationship with Your Kids by Mike Berry
Stolen Jesus: A Unconventional Search for the Real Savior by Jami Amerine
Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science by Drew Dyck
It’s a Love Story: From Happily to Ever After by Lincee Ray
Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think? by Jonathan Martin
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in the Need Change Helping People in Need of Change by Paul David Tripp
A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkel
All very different and, in my estimation, excellent works.
I’m not cutting back on my reading habit. I wouldn’t know how! But I want to make sure I’m discerning and seeking God’s voice above all others. I read recently (yes, in one of my books – the last one in my list) that, “Christian is the greatest of all possible nouns and the lamest of all possible adjectives. it’s meant to describe a person, not a thing.” A person can be a Christian. A book, song or movie cannot. And just because someone is a Christian doesn’t mean their art has merit for me. Many Christians have wildly differing views of theology. So what is a blue stocking to do?
- Give weight to the source of a recommendation. Not everything labeled “Christian” is worth your time, money and intellectual energy. When someone I know and trust likes a book, I’m much more likely to pick it up than if I see a review in a magazine.
- Hold what you are reading up against scripture. Does it jive with what you know to be true of God’s character and His commands? If you aren’t sure about something, research it. Pray about it. Ask a pastor, friend or mentor for their take.
- Don’t just skim over scripture references. Look them up. Read commentary on them or reference the Blue Letter Bible (by app or online) for information on the meaning of words in the original language. Are the verses used in the appropriate context? Double check me too!
- Use good books to compliment your study, but focus your study on the Bible. God’s holy word. That is the true meat. Our daily bread. Everything else is gravy.
Sharing is caring! If you liked this post, do me the huge honor of sharing it to your favorite social media accounts. And if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, subscribe!
And look up these great writers I link up with every week:
InstaEncouragements, Literacy Musing Mondays, Hello…Monday,
Dream Team link up, The Good. The Random. The Fun.
BloggerClubUK, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith,
GraceFull Tuesday Link-Up, Different Dream,
Let’s Have Coffee, Welcome Wednesday, Recharge Wednesday,
Worth Beyond Rubies, #TellHisStory Link Up, Porch Stories,
Encouraging Word Wednesday, Tune In Thursday,
Stories of Hope, Moments of Hope, IHeart Verse Link Party,
A Blogging Good Time, Fresh Market Friday, Feature Friday Time,
Friendship Friday Blog Hop, Faith on Fire, Traffic Jam Weekend,
Faith ‘n Friends, Dancing with Jesus, Grace & Truth, Booknificent
Lastly, my posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase anything from one of these links, I will receive a few pennies to help offset the cost of this website at no additional charge to you. Thank you in advance for your help.
Martha J Orlando says
Thanks for all the recommendations here, Lauren! Yes, inspirational books can truly be just that – inspirational – but we must measure everything we read against God’s Word.
You are welcome, Martha. Thank you for being a faithful reader.
I thought The Hustle was funny!
It did have it’s moments. But if you haven’t seen the Steve Martin version, check it out!
Your list is impressive, Lauren! Give me a good detective fiction yarn or Maeve Binchy and I’ll see you in a week! (: Have you seen The SEcond Mountain? I’ve read quotes! I like quotes. I find I can finish them.
I have not seen the Second Mountain. I will have to look into it. And quotes? HaHahaha!
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is one of my favorite movies of all time. When my father was dying from cancer, we rented funny movies and brought the grandkids over to watch them with him. This was one I can specifically remember him laughing at. It gets 100% for that reason from this reviewer! I won’t bother with the remake, though. Thanks for the warning.
It is so funny. And what a sweet memory. Thanks for sharing it, Laurie.
I’ve seen trailers for that movie and thought it would be fun, I know not to bother watching it now, what a shame it’s not as funny as it looks to be!
I would love to get into reading more Christian books like the ones you recommended – I find it so hard to get time to read though. luckily my bible app ensure I read a little bit of the bible each day before the craziness of toddlers begins, so I get some time with God then!
Hope that you are having a lovely weekend 🙂
If you have toddlers, you are definitely in a hard-to-read, shower, rest, whatever phase. There will be time for books later! Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Katherines Corner says
I’m not a huge fan of the type of movies she tends to be in. But I do like a good comedy and those you listed are on my make me smile list too. Thank you for the list of books to inspire and thank you for stopping by Katherines Corner. Hugs!
My pleasure, Katherine. Thanks for the return visit.
Sophie Holmes says
It’s always a disappointment when a film doesn’t live up to expectation. I always find if I read a book before the film then the film is always a disappointment. #Globalbloggers
I usually agree on the book vs movie, Sophie.
Stacey Pardoe says
Lauren, this is so thorough, and I love how you concluded with some words of truth and pointed us back to the Bible! Thank you for this! I’m always encouraged and glean some helpful and inspiring words from your space here. Thank you for being faithful to the call to write!
Your kind words mean so much to me Stacey. I love visiting your page as well.
Donna Reidland says
Wonderful post, Lauren. My husband and I enjoy a good story, too, but as you said nothing is like the original. The book of Genesis alone is better than the most well-written fiction.
I also smiled as I read your movie review. We loved the Steve Martin movie, too!
Thank you, Donna.
Dee | Grammy's Grid says
Thanks so much for linking up your post at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 3!
Thank you for always being a gracious host, Dee.
Susan Landry says
Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels is one I’ve been meaning to see for years…need to get at that! Love your book recommendations and thoughts on being intentional in reading habits. I’m with you, and it can get easy to feel like I am in Scripture when what I’m really doing is reading ‘about’ Scripture.
You definitely should see it, Susan. Thanks so much for stopping in.
Patsy Burnette says
I have not read this Paul Tripp book, Lauren. Adding it to my reading list. Thanks!
Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
I think it should be required reading for all church members.
Lisa notes says
I feel bad when I pick a movie that my husband is tentative about, but agrees to go, and then it turns out to be a failure. ha But that happens. I prefer reading anyway! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your book recommendations. I always enjoy seeing those.
I wish I could say this was the first time I drug my husband to a movie we didn’t like!
Barbara Harper says
I haven’t seen either version of that movie. Thanks for letting me know which was best. 🙂 I think generally I prefer reading to watching, too. One favorite nonfiction book for me this summer was Suffering Is Never for Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot.
I agree about giving more weight to a recommendation of someone I know and trust. I’ve learned the hard way that not everyone has the same standards of what’s ok, so I’ve learned not to trust some recommendations.
I agree, too, about evaluating Christian or secular movies through the lens of God’s truth.
I haven’t read that EE book. I will have to look into it. Thank you, Barbara.
Dee | Grammy's Grid says
Thanks so much for linking up your post at the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 42!
Thank you, Dee.