In my mind, the rainy, chilly days of autumn are the perfect time to curl up under a cozy blanket with a cup of tea or coffee and a good book. I’ve been reading a bunch this fall, to the point that when Jason came home to a clean house yesterday, his only comment was, “Did you not read today?” Whoops!
But if the house has suffered the last several weeks, at least I’ve discovered some great books in the process. Here are a few of the titles I felt strongly about the past few months:
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
All you need to know about this book can be summed up in this quote from page 143: “I have waited my whole life to walk through a secret passage built into a bookshelf.” If you feel the same way, you should read this book.
A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman
This might be the most life-changing book I’ve read this year. I’ve been mulling over Emily’s words for several weeks now, and they are still impacting me in profound ways. Did you know that when Paul says “you are God’s workmanship” in Ephesians 2:10, the Greek word that’s translated as “workmanship” is the same word from which we derive the English word “poem”? Neither did I. And that knowledge is changing the way I want to live my life. If I could buy a copy of this book for every one I know, I would.
Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose
I haven’t done this much thinking about how word choice, sentence structure, and pacing contribute to how a story affects us since my lit classes in college. Great read for any book lover or aspiring writer. Thanks to Shauna Niequist for recommending this one.
Seven Sacred Pauses by Macrina Weiderkehr
I read this because it’s the basis for one of the chapters of Jen Hatmaker’s 7. I was a little disappointed by it; it was a lot more inter-faith than I expected. I love my church denomination, and I agree with its theology, but I don’t think we have the corner on heaven, and I think we can learn things from the way other Christians practice their faith, even those in the Catholic or Orthodox churches. However I’m leery of anyone who holds up the words of Ghandi or Buddha or Muhammed as being equal to those in the pages of Scripture for the purposes of prayerful meditation. In the end, I valued Jen Hatmaker’s cliffsnotes version of this book much more than the book itself, and I would not recommend it.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
This conclusion to the Divergent series was action-packed, heart-wrenching, and beautiful. It raised a lot of questions about what happens when we start labeling certain groups of people as “less than” others for things over which they have no control, and what it means to be fully human. Great book. I’m more excited than ever for the Divergent movie!
Multiply by Francis Chan
I have to confess: I’m only two chapters into this book, but I already know it will be one of my favorites. I’ve been wanting to read it for awhile, but is isn’t really designed to be read individually; it’s designed for two (or more) people to go through together, as a tool for discipleship. So I have been waiting for an opportunity to lead someone through it, and a few weeks ago, a young woman in our church gave her heart to Christ. We’ve been meeting for the last few weeks to discuss her growth in Christ and to go through this book. I’m already amazed at the way this book gets immediately right to the heart of what it means to follow Jesus, and the way the Holy Spirit is using it to challenge, teach, and correct over issues I would have been hesitant to broach myself. Also, as someone who has led and attended a lot of Bible studies, going over material one-on-one with someone has been paradigm-shifting for me. I am loving the way we get to be transparent with each other and have time to really hear each other out. It’s changing everything I thought I knew about discipleship. As people who claim to follow Jesus, we must be inviting others to follow him. And when we do that, this book is an excellent tool for helping them grow in Christ. (Also, to make it accessible to more people, the entire text of this book is available for free on the Multiply Movement website.)