Books are an escape, therapy, and education for me.
And January was apparently the month for escape, therapy, and education. I’ve never read as much in 31 days as those that have just passed. We had a small blizzard over one weekend that canceled all plans and I read 7.5 books in three days. What. Is that insane? Yes. The answer is a firm yes.
Here’s my list (in no particular order).
I would love to hear what you’ve been reading!
“We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure time, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, ‘Bring the books’ — join in the cry.” -Charles Spurgeon
The Life of Susannah Spurgeon by Charles Ray
Susannah Spurgeon has become one of my heroes and is my new literary BFF (she just doesn’t know it). This biography from Banner of Truth was wonderful and I highly recommend it.
Free Grace and Dying Love by Susannah Spurgeon
This collection of SS’s daily devotionals was part of a two-pack deal with the above biography. It ministered to my heart in ways I cannot fully express to you. My new BFF is a beautiful, compelling writer who paints words with colors of wisdom, insight, and encouragement. She’s one of the rare jewels that can wrap hard, convicting truth with the sincerest of comforts that humbles you but leaves you more grateful than you came. I want to be like her when I grow up. You should read this book.
Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do by Paul Tripp
I listened to this as an audiobook and would love to own the hardcopy to return to again and again. It was so great.
A Meal With Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table by Tim Chester
Though it got a little dry toward the end, this is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. I would love for every believer to read this. Tim Chester writes, “Our guests matter more than our hospitality.” Yes and amen.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Thanks to my sweet mum who raised me and my sister on these movies, I loved Anne before I read this. I love her more now.
“When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.” -Anne Shirley
A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and A Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18 by Joseph Loconte
Fascinating. Telling. Moving. I really enjoyed this as an audiobook and would probably love it more in hardcopy.
Steadfast Love: The Response of God to the Cries of Our Heart by Lauren Chandler
Call me a mystic if you like, but I’m firmly persuaded God appoints the times and seasons for when we are to read certain books. Sometimes you pick up a book and you’re like, “Nah, not feeling this. Not the time.” And sometimes you pick one up and it bites your heart like Mike Tyson going at Evander Holyfield. What I’m trying to say is this was my season for Steadfast Love. I bought it at a conference a couple years ago with every intention to read it when we got home but I kept putting it off. For whatever reason (read: the Lord), I picked it up one day last month knowing it was time. And, boy, was it time. God used this book to prepare me for some cataclysmic heart shifts in ways I didn’t know I needed or could endure. I will forever be grateful for the story God wrote in and through Lauren Chandler and for the way He used her to stabilize my heart in one of the fiercest battles its ever faced.
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
One of my favorite quotes from this classic, which I listened to as an audiobook:
“By willingly renouncing self-defense, the Christian affirms his absolute adherence to Jesus, and his freedom from the tyranny of his own ego. The exclusiveness of this adherence is the only power which can overcome evil.”
Love Her Wild by Atticus
Is it illegal to read whole books in a bookstore? If so, this is my confession. I read this entire book in one sitting while seated in an aisle at Books-A-Million, in case you were wondering how weird I was.
His section of “wild” poems were my favorite. One such poem:
“So many of us
are starving for life
and have no idea
until the end
when we look back
and see the
Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI’s Story of Courage and Faith by
The journalist in me wants to fact check this whole book. The main guy felt too heroic, too good to be true. “Show me some faults so I know you’re believable,” that’s what I said the whole time. If it’s true, which the authors claim it to be, it’s a great story. But I have doubts.
Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
My sister and I laughed until we cried during parts of this. Other parts felt like Ellen was trying too hard to be funny? But it was a super quick and fun read that I enjoyed.
The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
Though I’m not a feminist and it was darker than I expected, I really enjoyed the depth and range of emotions in this book of poetry. And her genius references to Harry Potter were spellbinding. (Get it?)
True Feelings: God’s Gracious and Glorious Purpose for Our Emotions by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Mahaney Whitacre
I didn’t want to like this book, but I did. It was freeing and life giving and helpful, and I’m grateful for it.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“All grown ups were children once… but only few of them remember it.”
It was long to read aloud, but those who endure to the end shall be saved and we made it. It kind of got a little weird toward the end? But overall I liked it quite a bit.
Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges
I did not like this book. The end.
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