Welcome to my annual Reader’s Journal post! Here you will find a list of the books that I read this year with my top 5 highlighted. I think I am surprised that I didn’t read more books, what with the pandemic and all. My list does not include my Bible reading, The Cloud of Witness, Charlotte Mason’s 6 Volumes, or school books. Let me know if you have any opinions about these titles. If you post your list, feel free to link in the comments. I would love to see what you enjoyed this year.
- Kohila – The Shaping of an Indian Nurse by Amy Carmichael
Amy Carmichael was a missionary from Ireland to the temple children of India, establishing the Dohnavur Fellowship in 1901 and Kohila was one of those rescued children who grew up to follow Christ and serve at the Fellowship. I have written about the connection between Charlotte and Amy in the past. But THIS book, this book was what I wish I had read first! Here we have principle #1 of Charlotte’s – “Children are born persons” – put into action in a stunning way! You will see so clearly how Amy applied this principle in a different culture where it stands in such stark contrast to the norm, a beautiful theology of children as image bearers. She includes quotes from Charlotte and other PNEU leaders throughout. If you read this book, you will understand what it means to sacrifice for the children’s sake. (And for my LER peeps, this book was going to be Maria Bell’s selection for the Tom Wright Book Giveaway!)
2. The Return of the Prodigal Son – Anniversary Edition by Henri Nouwen
This book is a master class in picture study. It is Nouwen’s spiritual journey after a brief initial encounter with Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son. If you’ve ever wondered what good picture study might do for your students, this book will leave no doubt that when we work in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, He may work deeply in their hearts over the course of many years, as Henri’s story attests.
3. Live Not By Lies by Rod Dreher
This book arrived on my doorstep (thank you to Kate Powell!) the day after I had been talking with a friend from Hungary who described to me that she saw so many similarities between the current state of affairs in the U.S. and the communist country she escaped as a child. It was disconcerting. Dreher’s book painted the exact same picture with deft storytelling that my friend described. This book tries to not be too alarmist, but once you see all the parallels to the totalitarianism of Eastern Europe, you can’t help but be concerned about the soft totalitarianism all around us. He highlights the role of Christians under these regimes in the past and gives some guidance, particularly from Alexander Solzhenitsyn who urged Westerners to “live not by lies”. In fact, our Truth, Beauty, Goodness community will be reading this as a Citizenship/Geography (Eastern Europe) selection this winter. This interview will enlighten you more about the book.
4. Shakespeare’s Restless World – Portrait of an Era by Neil MacGregor
I just LOVED this book! If you are a Shakespeare geek, you will too. I kept thinking as I read along, “This is such an interesting history book and I just love how he ties in Shakespeare with each artifact!” Well, duh (see the title), but my point is that I would be swept away by his descriptions and stories and then tickled by the Shakespeare connections. It helped clarify so many aspects of the Shakespearean world for me, using words and scenes from the many plays I am already familiar with. I looked forward to each new chapter.
5. In Every Corner Sing by Malcolm Guite
Every night after writing in my 5-year journal and reading about a name of Jesus, I would read an essay from this collection. These are from Guite’s “delectable column that appears on the back page of the Church Times each week.” I love how he writes and have learned so much about essay writing from his magnificent prose and poetry. His musings were part of my sacred pause at the end of each day. In fact, I am now reading the next collection, Heaven in Ordinary.
And here’s the rest of my reading list for 2019. An “*” means I highly recommend it and it just missed making the top picks!
6. Finding Our Voice by Jeannie Kendall
7. The Book of Waking Up by Seth Haines
8. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
9. CM* Christian Meditation by Edmund P. Clowney
10, Emma by Jane Austen (reread)*
11. Half Broke Horses by Jannette Walls
12. Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading – Finding and Losing Myself in Books by Maureen Corrigan*
13. The Benedict Option by Rod Dreher
14. Gentlemen from England by Maud & Delos Lovelace
15. Saint Catherine of Siena and Her Times by Margaret Roberts
16. Portage: A Family, A Canoe, and the Search For The Good Life by Sue Leaf
17. Minnesota’s Geologist: The Life of Newton Horace Winchell by Sue Leaf*
18. The Cross Timbers – Memories of a North Texas Boyhood by Edward Everett Dale
19. Like Dew Your Youth by Eugene Peterson*
20. This Too Shall Last – Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers by K.J. Ramsey*
21. Hope in the Age of Addiction by Dodd and James
22. Women of the Word – How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and our Minds by Jen Wilken*
23. Worthy – Celebrating the Value of Women by Fitzpatrick and Schumacher
24. Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper
Past lists of reading goodness: