Anytime a book can produce a visceral or physical reaction in me I’m hooked.
Maybe I’m overly emotional, but quite often while reading a really good book I find myself laughing, crying, or amen-ing out loud.
I think it’s fascinating that books can produce such powerful reactions and tangible growth in me.
But I recently realized that I had been failing lately at making margin in my life to experience these feelings while reading.
One of my loose New Year’s resolutions is to read more books. So as a way to keep myself accountable to this AND to share some wonderful book recommendations with you, I am going to start posting about the books I read each month!
All That’s Good, by Hannah Anderson: This was the first book I read in 2019 and I absolutely loved it. It was also the first Hannah Anderson book I’ve read and I fell in love with her style of writing: she is encouraging yet convicting, captivating yet not sacrificing of deep theological truth. Her words are clear and direct the reader to self-reflection and growth. This book specifically is a great tool for developing discernment. I’m excited to check out other Hannah Anderson books this year!
The Road Back to You, by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile: Everyone I know has been talking about the enneagram, so I finally caved and decided to learn more about it so I could have a semi-intelligent conversation about the topic. Turns out, after reading the whole book, I still don’t know what type I am (9w1? 6w7? who knows). But regardless, this book greatly increased my understanding of people who think, hurt, and feel differently than I do. So as a tool to develop empathy for others, I highly recommend this book.
The Storytelling Edge, by Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow: I started reading this book for work, as a way to help me grow in my ability to tell compelling stories of what God is doing through our ministry. But I wasn’t prepared for how wonderfully engaging and helpful it would be – every few paragraphs I would yell to my coworkers, “guys, this is so good!” For anyone looking to grow in their ability to write, tell stories, or build an audience for your business, I would definitely recommend reading this book.
You Are What You Love, by James K. A. Smith: Matthew read this book twice in 2018 and mentioned it in a few sermons, so I just HAD to read it. This book provides not only a necessary perspective shift, but also guidance for necessary and helpful habit shifts. Smith asserts that our daily practices and liturgies “aren’t just things we do, but things that do something to us,” a concept that made me rethink how the way I spend my time speaks to what I love most. SO GOOD. READ IT.
Gay Girl, Good God, by Jackie Hill Perry: first thing, if you choose to read this book I would HIGHLY recommend listening to the audiobook version! Jackie reads the book herself and she injects the words with such intensity and beauty – it’s like listening to powerful spoken word poetry the whole time. This book is engaging, with powerful Gospel story-telling and an incredible handling of Scripture and truth. She speaks to her personal testimony and the complexities of homosexuality and faith, while clearly explaining the Gospel as the only good thing. I laughed. I cried. I amen-ed. And I definitely want to read it [listen to it] again.
Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling: you may judge me, but towards the end of 2018 I decided to reread the Harry Potter series. Don’t ask me how many times I’ve read and re-read them… Sometimes you just need a book you can lose yourself in. All I have to say is that if you haven’t read these books DO IT NOW. As a child, reading these books is what made me fall in love with stories and with reading.
That’s all for now! I hope to post again next month to share my February reads.
If you have any book suggestions for me PLEASE share them!