I used to think I was a writer who reads.
False. I’m a reader who writes. I stuff myself with the words of others (mostly Scripture) then those same words are recalibrated and rearranged and flow out much easier (but still not easily) than trying to write from an empty word tank.
And, while we’re chatting about words and writing, may I just admit how ridiculous it feels to call myself a writer? Sitting on an airplane recently, the passenger next to me asked what I did. “I’m, uh, a writer,” I said with a swallow. It feels shallow and hollow and self-promoting, as though I feel I have something to offer that no one else does. But that’s simply not the case. I’m a product of all I have read and this month’s intake has been necessary and refining in both word consumption and production. (For more on my love of words and writing: The One Where I Talk About Writing.)
Sometimes people comment on how much I read and guilt swirls in my stomach from reading so much and too fast to properly drain each book of its wisdom and delight, but absorbing words, however fast or slow, is the only way I can a) survive and b) even attempt to string together coherent sentences or paragraphs or articles that might spark joy and hope in others.
So, here are the books that filled my word tank this month (listed in the order they were read). What’s filling yours?
Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior by Kimberly Wagner
Let the following thoughts be prefaced by the fact that I’m not a huge fan of books geared only toward women. I believe they are necessary but I don’t like how they’re typically fluffed up and flowery. Can we just stop with all that already? Just give us Jesus. Give us the truth. Give us the Gospel. And it doesn’t need to be daintily packaged in a pastel-painted purse. ANYWAY, for that reason, though it served its purpose, this book was not my favorite.
Let it also be stated that I am prone to introspection and constant performance analysis. This book enhanced my propensity for both by (necessarily) addressing ways women crush men, especially their husbands. I had to read this book very slowly (it’s taken almost a year to get through) because I would get so discouraged and feel so guilty about all the ways I would ruin my might-never-happen marriage. I’m serious. I know I’m ridiculous. The book was okay, I just struggled with keeping my eyes on Christ not my performance.
12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke
Phenomenal. Read it right now.
Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture by David Murray
Following 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You, I immediately started listening to this goldmine from David Murray. It was the best book to follow Reinke’s. I listened to this within three days, bought a hard copy to read it in print, and got the audiobook of his wife’s version for women (I didn’t realize the book was geared toward men, when I first started reading it).
This book is so beneficial, not only for the souls of those in ministry but for their further equipping to better help the souls of those to whom they minister.
Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands by Shona and David Murray
This was a winner as well. I think I might have liked Reset better, but I highly recommend men and women to listen to both. It will help us better care for each other.
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
This is book No. 3 in the Anne of Green Gables series and it was so great. When those last few pages came—oh my word, my heart exploded through my tear ducts. Bless.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
This is on pretty much every writer’s “must read” list and I now see why. I’m thankful for Anne Lamott’s ownership of her own voice and the way she inspires others to use theirs. Eleven of my favorite quotes from the book are posted here.
The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
This book is like Michael Jordan—it lives up to the hype. Read it. I’ll be returning to it again before the end of the year. It is a treasure chest of wonder and I want to quote the entire thing right here but you should just read it for yourself.
All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Beautifully written. Beautifully read. I listened to this Pulitzer Prize Winner as an audiobook and, while I think it would be better in print, it was still beautiful.