Booklist, October 2016

This month it hit me how close we are to the end of the year. I had some things going on during October and didn’t get to read as much as I had the previous few months, and now I’m eyeing the stack of “to be read” and the ever shrinking 2016 calendar, and starting to realize the truth of the saying: “So many books, so little time.”

All I can do is all I can do, and here’s what I did in October:

In the order they appear on the challenge list:

1. A book by or about a missionary: The Savage, My Kinsman, by Elisabeth Elliot. If I had read this one, it’s been so long ago that I don’t remember.  I loved reading it now, though. This story has fascinated and inspired me since I first read it early in college. This is the story of Elisabeth Elliott’s year of living with the people who killed her husband. Having read Steve Saint’s more recent books, I knew more of the story than this book told, but reading her experiences in her own words made the suspense come back. Her courage and obedience put most of us to shame. Any book of hers is recommended reading, in my opinion.

2. A novel that won the Pulitzer Prize: All the Lights We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. It’s been a long time since I ventured into secular fiction, with the exception of The Help (see below), Harry Potter (see last month), and To Kill a Mockingbird. This was recommended by someone I trust, and overall it didn’t disappoint. It took me awhile to get into it, but the story centers around the mystery and danger of France at the end of World War 2, and it eventually drew me in. Suspense, innocence, betrayal, love, fierce family loyalties, and courage beyond description are all present here, with nothing to give it more than a PG-13 rating. I’m glad I read it, and I am cautiously exploring more possibilities in secular fiction.

3. A book about worldview: The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. Third time to read this one, and it won’t be my last. It’s fiction, but I’m guessing it’s sadly realistic. I didn’t know where to fit it into the categories I had left, so I chose this one, and I don’t think it’s a stretch. Believing that white people and colored people should be “separate but equal” is indeed a worldview, and one that did great damage 50 years ago, and still continues to do damage today. The “equal” part of that creed was, of course, a joke, since they didn’t at all believe that black people were equal with them. It’s a bestseller because it’s entertaining and has funny parts and is masterfully written. It’s a book you should read because it helps shed light on the background behind current issues. 

4. A book targeted at the other gender: Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, by John Piper. I chose this one because this is a book that has been incredibly meaningful to my husband, and if I was going to read a book written for men, I figured I should choose one that will help me understand my husband better. This is also the first Piper book I’ve finished, and it came alive because I could hear his voice reading it to me in that unmistakable Piper passion. It is really good, made my heart sing with the longing that all pastors would pastor this way and that all churches would respond joyfully to such leadership. I can pray for my pastor-husband in a more informed way after reading this book.

5. A book about parenting: Raising Body-Confident Daughters, by Dannah Gresh. A very quick, very easy book full of fun ways to have heavy conversations with our daughters. Covering everything from deodorant to body image, I hope to use some of these ideas with my three young ladies in the next few months. I long for them to grow into womanhood free from the burden of shame over their bodies, and comfortable in their own skin, rejoicing that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. I love Dannah Gresh’s resources, that are all so helpful for moms who want to train their daughters to think counter-culturally about their own bodies. 

6. A book by a Presbyterian: Pat of Silver Bush, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This one didn’t make the picture because I read it early in the month and it was due back to the library. I actually read both of the Pat books but couldn’t find a category for the sequel. I LOVE Lucy Maud Montgomery books, and I hadn’t read the Pat books yet, so I really enjoyed a few days of relaxing reading in these beautiful novels.

7. A book about revival: When God Comes to Church, by Ray Ortlund. Not exactly sure what prompted me to go after this one, except that I serve with a revival-based ministry and we’ve spent most of this year praying for revival in our land and churches and homes, so this category caught my eye, and I found this book on my husband’s shelf. I had to discipline myself to keep going back to this one, but while I was reading it, it was so encouraging. The fact that God initiates revival, He comes down, even while His people are still in sin is exciting to me. I will constantly work on my own heart to try to make sure it is turned toward Him, but also pray that He will come down anyway and revive us while we are still far from Him. He can do it. I pray He will.

Two more months in 2016. I know I won’t get read all that I want to get read, but I’m excited to see what God has for me in the books I can still squeeze in!

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