Booklist, May-August 2015

Because I love reading about what other people are reading, and because I got some good feedback on my last booklist post, I’m continuing the series. I think this is a series I will keep going as long as I can, if for no other reason than that it simply keeps me accountable to read. Now, I am a reader and always have been. But in the chaos of my day-to-day life, sometimes it’s much easier to sit down with a magazine or Facebook or a TV show, something that requires no long-term or mental commitment, than to sit down with a book that I will have to actually think about and return to in the near future. But I want to keep making that commitment. Books have been my friends, my mentors, my teachers. They force growth in me when it’s more comfortable to remain stagnant.

So, for anyone who is interested, here are the titles that were in my hands this summer: 

These are both Bible studies, not necessarily books you would sit down and read straight through. They are set up with five lessons per week, one for six weeks and one for eight. I actually went through them simultaneously, one with a group and one with a friend. I highly recommend them–whether you can find someone to go through them with you or whether you go through them alone. Who among us does not struggle to tame the tongue? Conversation Peace is filled with Scripture and practical tips and convicting truths that will help you take steps to getting your tongue under control. True Woman 101: Divine Design is a Bible study put out by Revive Our Hearts, a ministry very dear to my heart. It teaches us about the way God designed gender and what that means for men and women as distinct individuals. It is solid, on-point teaching, although it may not agree with popular culture. But God’s word is clear on this issue, and I am thankful for these two women who boldly proclaim the truth. You may be challenged, but you won’t be disappointed if you go through this study.

This book had been on my wish list for a few years, so I was thrilled to find it in my Ambassador kit from Revive Our Hearts. A relatively quick read, it both affirmed and challenged me as I give my life to mothering my treasures. It is filled with great insights on the value of motherhood, and should be on the reading list of every mom who desires to fully embrace her role.

This was given to me at Ambassador training. It was written by the founder of Life Action Ministries, the parent organization of Revive Our Hearts, and compiled and published after his death. It is a call to revival, and filled with stories of actual revival that broke out in individuals, churches, and towns during his travels with Life Action. Slightly repetitive at times, but inspiring. I felt excited as I read it, and spurred on to beg God to bring revival in my own heart, my own church, my own town, my own country.

Like so many fans of To Kill a Mockingbird, I waited anxiously for the release of Go Set a Watchman, the newly discovered, long-lost first novel by Harper Lee. And like many, I read the articles the week before the release, when the news hit that Atticus Finch was a racist. I regretted reading those articles; it stripped some of the pleasure from reading the book. I read through it twice to try to forget the articles and form my own opinions. And I came away liking it a little more than so many others. It does read a little choppy. There’s not a ton of plot. But…keeping in mind the times in which it was written, it probably would have been pushing the envelope to go even the tiny bit that it did. For example, the only reason Atticus joined the Klan was to see who was under the masks, to keep an eye on them. Also, she scrapped it on the advice of her editor and went on to write Mockingbird. Everyone acted like Atticus Finch turned into a racist after the events in Mockingbird. Not the case. He turned into the Atticus we all loved after she scrapped the Atticus in Watchman. The progression there is important. So..was it as good as Mockingbird. Definitely not. But am I throwing my beat-up copy of Mockingbird away? No way. It still holds its spot as the only secular book on my small shelf of favorites.

This is the first book off of Abigail’s 7th grade booklist that I read with her. It’s a retelling of the story of Cupid and Psyche, which I confess, I didn’t know in the first place. I enjoyed reading it–it’s kind of a different genre for me but  I liked it. Abigail liked it as well. We both benefited from the notes in her textbook that helped us understand some things we didn’t get just from our reading. If you are at all interested in the myths of gods and goddesses, or if you just want a bit of a challenge, check it out.

Another book that had been on my list for awhile. Since Jen Wilkin is one of the main speakers at Revive ’15 next week, I figured it was time to go on and read this one. And it is fantastic. I talk with so many women who say they don’t know how to study the Bible themselves. This book will help you learn how. Simple, practical, and well-written. Add it to your list, and tune in to the live stream next week to hear her teach in person.

And finally, Clay and I both listened to this one on audio, but there were so many things we wanted to refer to again, so he finally just bought the print version as well. So so good. But don’t read it if you want to stick with this status quo. And don’t get distracted by thinking this is a marriage book. This is a book every Christian needs to read. It’s way more about surrendering your life for the kingdom than it is about marriage. We have been constantly evaluating our activities and habits and time and money to see if there are any changes we need to make to be more effective for the kingdom, and this book was very beneficial to help us think through these things. Should be required reading for all believers.

So those are the books that got my limited reading time this summer. Already in the middle of my first fall book, one that I’m reading with highlighter in hand. Hope this list gives you some fresh new titles to add to your list.

What are you reading these days? I’d love to hear! Leave me some comments with some good titles!

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