Isn’t it funny how reading can make you fall in love with writing all over again? Somehow the story and the cadence of words falling together one after the other makes you want to sit and write a story all your own.
These are the books I read from March through May and what I thought of each.
Ordinary: Sustainable Faith In a Radical, Restless World by Michael Horton
Christian Living, 211 pages.
Hmm… this book was tough for me. I went into it with all kinds of enthusiasm but something about the writing style really didn’t work for me. Even though I agree with much of what Horton says and believe this is an important topic for Christians to dig into, I found myself just trying to get through this one. I still recommend reading it, because like I said, it was mostly a stylistic thing for me, the message was sound and you may connect with the writing way better than I did.
Today’s ‘radical’ is tomorrow’s ‘ordinary.’ In most cases, impatience with the ordinary is at the root of our restlessness and rootlessness. We’re looking for something more to charge our lives with interest, meaning, and purpose. Instead of growing like a tree, we want to grow like a forest fire.Horton, p. 127
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin
Christian Living, 152 pages.
I really, really loved this book. Wilkin’s writing is deep and convicting but written in a relatable and enjoyable style. I was done with this book in just a day or two but have continued referring back to it as I learn to implement what I learned about studying the Bible on my own. A must read for anyone looking to dig deeper into God’s Word on their own or in a group study.
Does this mean that the Bible has nothing to say to us about who we are? Not at all. We just go about trying to answer that question in a backwards way. The Bible does tell us who we are and what we should do, but it does so through the lens of who God is. The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self always go hand in hand. In fact, there can be no true knowledge of self apart from the knowledge of God. … Seeing who he is shows me who I am in a true light.Wilkin, p.p. 26-27
On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books by Karen Swallow Prior
Literary Criticism, 236 pages
This is by far the best book I’ve read this year. A friend recommended it to me and the premise of learning how to think and live well by observing virtue and vice in literature caught my interest. I knew when I was already highlighting multiple quotations in the intro that this was going to be a winner and it did not disappoint. I don’t even know how to choose a favorite quote to share because I highlighted so much throughout the book! It’s not very often that I’m genuinely sad when a book is over but I could have read chapters and chapters more.
I put this book on my writing desk with the other books that have most deeply influenced by reading and writing and I fully intend to read it again each year. I’ll leave you with two short quotes just from the introduction:
We must imagine what virtue looks like in order to live virtuously.
Cultivating and exercising wisdom is harder than consulting a rule book.Swallow Prior, p.p. 26 & 28
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
Biography, 208 pages (5 hour listen).
Last month, Darren and I drove the entire East Coast from Florida to Maine so a couple of audio books were a necessity as you might imagine! The Magnolia Story was the perfect listen to pass the hours. Read by Chip and Joanna, you feel like you’re sitting around drinking coffee with the Gaines and laughing about all the crazy things these two have done to get to where they are today. Darren and I were both laughing out loud and crazy inspired by the Gaines’ vision and courage. I don’t have a quote to share since I was listening not reading but I definitely recommend.
The Wheat Princess by Jean Webster
Fiction, 340 pages.
Jean Webster has been my favorite author ever since I read Daddy-Long-Legs back in high school. Every now and then, I like to reread her books and fall in love with her story telling and humor all over again. Webster’s books sit on my writing desk as well and she is likely the most influential voice in my love for words and the development of my own writing style.
The Wheat Princess is a novel about an American girl in Italy and the transformation she goes through while there. Written over a hundred years ago, the language is beautiful and the story charming.
Heretofore she had been so sure of herself; so ready to judge every one from her own standpoint, but Italy was suddenly making her feel very young.Webster, p.p 48-49
That’s it for spring. I’m excited to dive into a new stack of books over the summer. What are you reading? And what do you recommend? My favorite book so far this year was recommended when I asked for suggestions so let me know what books you’re loving!