Read It: Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller

:: entering 2013 I set myself a personal challenge: read one book each week this year; 52 in total. why? if you read well you write well. the essence of this series is about books I read + that you should read… thus, ‘Read It’ ::

Book #1: // Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself” pxii

Donald Miller released Blue Like Jazz (BLJ) in 2003. Over the past couple of years I’ve heard a lot about this book but never had a chance to read it, until now.

Reading it a decade after its release, I was pleasantly surprised to find that his words + thoughts still resounded deeply with me + remained relevant.

Despite exploring spiritual topics, the tagline “Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality” is exactly what it is – nonreligious. The chapter titles immediately release any pre-judged walls you may have built about this book. Example: ‘Faith: Penguin Sex’, ‘Redemption: The Sexy Carrots’, ‘Belief: The Birth of Cool’, + more. What’s even better is that once you read each of the chapters you realise that penguin sex + sexy carrots are the perfect chapter titles… including the book title.

“I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me.”

Miller spills personal stories throughout the pages with his close friends being the main thread. Each story is real, raw, + honest, telling of his journey through isolation + loneliness, being a commitment-phobe, doubting God + the purpose of life (even while being a bestselling Christian author), + religion.

BLJ is a series of essays + thoughts, + in 2012 it was turned into a film (which is a must watch). Having seen the movie prior to reading the book, the movie now makes so much more sense, as does the book. To see how this book of essays was transformed into a movie  is truly clever + outstanding.

[Blue Like Jazz movie poster]

“But the trouble with deep belief is that it costs us something. And there is something inside me, some selfish beast of a subtle thing that doesn’t like the truth at all because it carries responsibility, and if I actually believe these things I have to do something about them.”

BLJ is a New York Times Bestseller + has sold more than one million copies. It is a book that challenges the youth + twenty-something’s of the day (in early 2000 to now)

Your religion is irrelevant as to whether or not you should pick up this book + read it.


Because it explores what every human faces each day of their life: community, romance, life, money, love, belief, change, problems, + the list goes on.

BLJ will challenge everything you’ve ever believed, inspire, cause something to stir within the very core of your being, + make you giggle as you relate to Miller’s stories.

And perhaps the reason why his words still resound today is because he penned his truth, + it’s the truth that always prevails.

Being a ‘quote junkie’, here are a few more of my other favourite quotations from BLJ:

“And that’s when I realized that believing in God is as much like falling in love as it is making a decision. Love is both something that happens to you and something you decide upon.”

“Passion about nothing is like pouring gasoline in a car without wheels. It isn’t going to lead anybody anywhere.” 

// ‘Read It’ Rating: 4.5/5

Pick up a copy of Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality here