September was a crazy month.
Despite how eventful the 30 days were, quite a bit of time was open for reading and listening to books. Here’s what filled my heart’s bookshelves this past month. I’d love to know what’s filling yours.
“I am a part of everything that I have read.” -Theodore Roosevelt
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
One of my roommates from college recommended this. Extremely well-written and necessarily intense.
Feeding the Dragon: The True Story of the Little Girl Who Lived in the Library by Sharon Washington
This started out as a sweet little play that took an unexpected turn. I listened to the Audible version and the only word coming to mind to describe it was sweet, although I did expect a tad more emphasis on the library-residence part.
Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
I was laughing to the point of tears approximately a half page into this masterpiece. Highly recommend.
Emma by Jane Austen
After a few years of wrestling, I’ve finally and officially decided that Emma is my favorite Austen novel. I love the backbone and personality of Mr. Knightley (and wrote about him and a few other leading men and why we love them here) and the way he and Emma call each other out and make each other better. If you haven’t read this classic, do it, or listen to this audio version featuring the wonderful Emma Thompson.
The Power of Words and the Wonder of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor
I loved this book. With six different contributors (Paul David Tripp, Sinclair B. Ferguson, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Daniel Taylor, and Bob Kauflin) addressing six different aspects of words and speech, this book is deep and wide and full of sanctifying truth. The appendixes were amazing as well. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes (and these are just from the introduction!):
“Our day-by-day failure to use our tongue as we ought—for God’s glory and for the good of His people—comes from a functional rejection of Christ the Word. It is only as we look to Jesus, rejoicing in Him and in His atoning provision, that we are freed to walk—and talk—in His way.” -Justin Taylor
“Only when our hearts are ruled by love—marked by self-sacrifice for the redemptive good of others no matter what—will we overflow with wholesome words of love and grace.” -Justin Taylor
“[Daniel] Taylor argues that the best way to conceive of the Christian faith, and the faithful life, is to see yourself as a Character in the greatest story ever told—a story to be lived, and not merely a set of propositions to be believed.” -Justin Taylor
C. S. Lewis on the Christian Life: Becoming Truly Human in the Presence of God by Joe Rigney
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ll read anything Joe Rigney writes. This was a tedious read for me at first, very academic and no words were wasted, so I found myself slowlyyyyy trudging through it. However, the trudging soon became joyful plundering of Gospel depths and I am eternally grateful for Joe Rigney, C. S. Lewis, this book, and the one who gave it to me.
Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C. S. Lewis
It took me a minute to lock into this story but once that happened, oh my word, I loved it. What a stunning wordsmith is ol’ Clive. The only reason I read this was because in the last chapter of C. S. Lewis on the Christian Life, Joe Rigney said we needed to read it before finishing his book in order to avoid spoilers. And, since spoilers are one of the things I hate most in this world, I ordered Till We Have Faces and read it myself. Y’all. It’s so good. The following quote was and is hugely significant (read: convicting) for me , as my heart’s default is to fear love and the risk it involves, so, wow, the imagery of it being a defense against God.
“The nearest thing we have to a defense against them [the gods] (but there is no real defence) is to be very wide awake and sober and hard at work, to hear no music, never to look at earth or sky, and (above all) to love no one.”
In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls us to Reflect His Character by Jen Wilkin
J. Wilk is one of my pretend best friends (and she knows it) and, as with Joe Rigney, I will read anything she writes. She is an amazing gift to the church and I’m so grateful for how God has and is using her for His people, specifically the female population, teaching and equipping them to love Him and His Word with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. This book is phenomenal. Maybe her best work yet. Men and women alike would benefit hugely from this gem.
Growing in Gratitude: Rediscovering the Joy of a Thankful Heart by Mary Mohler
Super quick read. I love Al and Mary Mohler and, since they don’t know I exist and I can’t just go hang out with them and help Mary make pies and cakes, I must resign myself to reading their books. Though I deeply respect and admire Mary, one of my favorite quotes from the book came from her “favorite theologian,” her husband, Al:
“We need to recognize that gratitude is a deeply theological act when it’s rightly understood. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is a theology in microcosm. You come to understand an entire system of theology, an entire set of beliefs, by what the Christian believes about gratitude and this is thus the key to understanding what we really believe about God, what we really believe about ourselves, and what we really believe about the world we experience.” -Al Mohler
Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was and Who God Has Always Been by Jackie Hill Perry
This will undoubtedly be in my top three books of the year. I listened to the audiobook (read by JHP herself) twice this month and will probably listen to it again soon. Necessary—that’s the word to describe this book. Also: beautiful, convicting, encouraging, and Christ-exalting, just to name a few. I love Jesus and people more because of this absolute jewel of a book. So helpful. Read it right now.
Grace Under Fire: Letters of Faith in Times of War edited by Andrew Carroll
Letters are unquestionably one of the greatest forms of communication. This compilation of letters dating as far back as the Revolutionary War was simultaneously sobering and encouraging and if you like American history and learning about the people in the literal trenches of that history, then I think you’ll like this.