What Books Are You Reading in 2019?

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Network readers! I'd love to know: What books have you been reading recently? What books are you hoping to read? 

Let's share in the comments below. I'll get us started. 

And guess what? This post includes a giveaway! Post a comment below and in one month (on May 1) I'll use a tool to randomly select a winner to receive a $15 Amazon gift card. Have fun! 

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I read Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner back in February and it has really stuck with me. Erin is a great storyteller and I learned so much from her humble real life stories of pursuing success and validation in ways the world values (she even had an HGTV show) to being intentionally slow and purposeful in all her decisions. 

Her metaphor of quieting the lion (the lion being things we chase such as beauty, success, reputation) was fascinating. 

I also read Brave Love by Lisa Leonard and would highly recommend for her honest story-telling. 

I hope to read Max Lucado's Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World and The Gospel Comes with a House Key sometime this spring/summer. 

I just read a few great ones:

- Where'd You Go Bernadette? A vacation read, strictly for pleasure, but fun nonetheless.

-Born a Crime by Trevor Noah - a great autobiography about growing up in apartheid South Africa

-Becoming by Michelle Obama - I'm currently in the middle of this one, but love seeing the personal side of such well-known political figures. So often we forget that those we put in the public eye are real people, too.

Next on my list:

-On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (author of The Hate U Give)

Community Builder

I read "Where'd You Go Bernadette?" and enjoyed it, too. Like you said, fun.

I listened to the audio book of "Born a Crime" and iti was great! My husband and I both listened as we were on a road trip. Trevor Noah reads it himself.

And I agree with "Becoming" being good.

I better read your other one, "On the Come Up," seems like we are on the same track!

I have read "American Omens" by Travis Thrasher.  This is a very good book that depicts a future where belief is dangerous, faith is deemed hatred, and a group of powerful elite keeps watch, the Reckoner has come to wake up America.

 I plan to read "Second Forgetting: Remembering the Power of the Gospel during Alzheimer's Disease" by Benjamin Mast. I have a brother developing the disease and want to find resources to help me relate to him in a helpful and hopeful way.

Also now reading one of Lee Childs books, "61 Hours" for more mystery!

Community Builder

I have been slightly obsessed by Wendell Berry. I've read "Andy Catlett: Early Travels," "Jayber Crow," "Hannah Coulter," "A Place in Time," and am reading out of two of his poetry collections. So, so good!! I also started listening to a podcast about him and his writings - "The Membership." Great for geeking out on Wendell Berry.

I read "Shameless" by Nadia Bolz-Weber. Really thought-provoking.  She tells many stories of people who have been harmed by the church’s teachings of abstinence, denying your sexuality, and blaming women for men’s adultery and other sinful acts. While remaining avidly Lutheran, believing in the gospel stories, including Jesus’ resurrection, she finds a different way of looking at the Bible’s teachings about sexuality.

Also read two by Nicholas Wolterstorff. What an incredible man. I read "Lament for a Son" and his memoir "In This World of Wonders: Memoir of a Life in Learning." "Lament for a Son" is raw grief. Somehow in spite of the sadness and grief, it is is comforting and strengthening. The memoir is full of stories and thoughts. Easy to read but deep at the same time. He is also leading a CALL 5-week seminar at Calvin and I am listening and viewing that through the live streaming Calvin has. Makes you thankful for technology!

A book I hope to read is "The Universal Christ" by Richard Rohr. I listened to an interview he did on the podcast "The Liturgists" and I think it may be life-changing for me. I am thinking and questioning and reading and listening to more because what he says intrigues me deeply.

Participant

I couldn't help but respond!   Back in 1971 I discovered Berry.  Oh my goodness.  When my daughter was being born in '71 I read A Place On Earth to my wife while she was in labor.  then just a few months later, trying to adjust to our move from log cabin to the city, I discovered Long Legged House.  Incredibly significant for me at that moment.     Thirty-eight years later we lost our daughter to cancer, and I read Nick's Lament for a Son.  So, so important to my wife and me.   I wish you well with your reading and your blogging!  (I have tried Rohr in several iterations, but find him usually too new-agey for me, though on occasion very helpful. 

  

Community Builder

Thank you for replying, Karl. I have "Long Legged House" in my pile of books to be read. (Tsundoku is the Japanese word for those, did you know?) I'm so sorry about the loss of your daughter. I can relate to the importance of "Lament for a Son." 

I tried a different book by Rohr, "Falling Upward," and found It hard to get through. I just wasn't glomming on to the topic, although a good friend had told me how insightful and good he thought it was. Almost the opposite of new agey. I thought that his interview gave me a lot to think about. He does take a different perspective on God, love, religion, almost everything.  I like thinking about what he says and mulling over the questions and thoughts it brings up. If you're interested, the interview is 2 podcast sessions here: http://www.theliturgists.com/podcast/2019/3/24/the-universal-christ-with...

Well wishes to you, too. Thank you.

Participant

Dallas Willard's Renovation of the Heart.  Yes is sometimes dense, and sometimes wordy, but what an incredible book on sanctification and how we receive it as a gift AND how we respond with intentionality and discipline.  

Recently God gave me a new experience -- a heart attack. It not only drained me of energy but also left me without zest for living, dispirited. That in turn let me to question my faith and relationship to God. Is my depression a sign I do not trust God? I reread Paul Tournier, who wrote: “Christian faith does not involve repressing one’s anxiety in order to appear strong. On the contrary, it means recognizing one’s weakness, accepting the inward truth about oneself, confessing one’s anxiety, and still to believe; that is to say that the Christian puts his trust not in his own strength, but in the grace of God. I believe that there is more peace to be found in the acceptance of human anxiety than in the hope for a life or an old age freed from anxiety.”

All Tournier’s writings contain rich spiritual discernment, but I was particularly helped by his Adventure of Living and his Learning to Grow Old.

In addition, I again deeply benefitted from reading Marilynne Robinson’s triology Gilead, Home and Lila. Her presentation of Christianity is profoundly winsome.

Participant

I just finished reading Unplanned about Abby Johnson, former director of Planned Parenthood clinic, who got out of the abortion industry and joined the pro-life ranks...powerful book that shows humanity on both sides of the issue; a worthwhile movie too!!

I am reading Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff.  He will be speaking at the GEMS Conference in Grand Rapids, MI in July (which I am attending).  I already read Love Does by Bob Goff, so I knew that this book would be challenging me in loving everybody - living out love, not just saying it.  Very good so far.

Participant

Dawn, I started reading Everybody Always by Bob Goff last weekend! So good! He will be speaking at the GEMS Celebration Dinner on September 16, 2019 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. EVERYONE is invited! Check it out here: https://gemsgc.org/events/celebration-dinner/ Dawn, see you at Conference! And hope to see you at the Celebration Dinner, too! Lenae Bulthuis, GEMS Training & Club Development Manager 

Participant

Sharing reads? My favorite! Just finished Are My Kids on Track?--The 12 Emotional, Social and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach by Sissy Goff, David Thomas, Melissa Trevathan. An equipping read for parents, grandparents, and anyone involved in children's ministry. And I'm halfway through another great read, You Are What You Love by James K.A. Smith. 

Participant

I was challenged earlier this year to step out of my typical reading of all things non-fiction, and grab a novel. Someone loaned me a bound collection of HG Wells' novels. I through three of the six and have to say it is refreshing. I'll probably be good for the rest of the year though. :)

I'm also reading Ian Morgan Cron's book "The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery." Fascinating information, particularly for someone working with a variety of people in a church setting.

This year I've also finished "Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter," by Randall Balmer, and Carey Nieuwhof's recent release, "Didn't See It Coming."

My list of books I plan to read this year is long. 

Currently reading Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego, The 100, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (first time!).

Community Builder

As Kingfishers Catch Fire: A Conversation on the Ways of God Formed by the Words of God, by Eugene Peterson. This is a collection of sermons by one of my favorite Christian preachers/authors (who died last year). There are 7 groups of 7 sermons (so 49 in all). Since January I've read several sermons each weekend when I have more devotional time in the morning (since I don't have to get ready to go to work). I love Eugene's Peterson's writing and this collection, like all of his work, is inspiring, challenging, and just plain good!

I'm also reading The Lord and His Prayer by N.T. Wright. (Tom Wright). I love his writing, too, and this book on the Lord's Prayer is less dense than some of his other writing.

Calm, Not Busy, by Kivi Leroux Miller - a book geared to those who work in nonprofit communications. (many good tips).

And then there are the many non-serious fiction mysteries or thrillers that I read constantly.

 

Community Builder

Diane, these sound good! Somehow I got on a mailing list and received a free online course of NT Wright and the Lord's prayer. Not sure if everyone can get it free or what, but the course is here: https://www.udemy.com/share/100Xt3B0sYeFdSQn4=/  if you want to check it out.

I love Eugene Peterson, too. The book of his sermons sounds great. We lost a treasure when he passed away, but I'm glad to have his legacy of writing.

While I might be a bit obsessed with reading... then again, it might simply be the lack of anything worthwhile to watch on television... among the top on my list this year, at least in regards to fiction, was the book: The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers. Rivers does a great job capturing the love and redemption that are found in the lives of others around us. It is always interesting to see how life transformation happens when we love God by loving others. Included in this book was also the idea that things aren't always better for someone else, despite outward appearances. With a few plot twists, a decent backstory, and a touch of great workmanship and writing, The Masterpiece stands out as one of the best books I've read this year.   

I am currently reading (and enjoying a lot) Living in Color by Randy Woodley. I enjoy his writing and he is also a great speaker too. I recently read Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle and it was an inspiring book of redemptive love towards a group of hard to love people, gang members and criminals. He now has a follow up called Barking to the Choir which is on my to read list now for sure. If you are interested in restorative justice practices at all, I would highly recommend his book.

I enjoyed reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  One of the best descriptive writer I have ever read.  Wonderful use of language and a pretty good story, too.

I've just completed Focus on Sustainability: A Nonprofit's Journey  by Dennis McMillian.   I serve on a board with a delightful combination of members who founded our organization thirty years ago and others who have just recently heard of our vision and mission so our still learning who we are.   I intend to use this book in the coming year as a discussion point in our quarterly meetings.  

 

Community Builder

I just finished Three Things about Elsie, which I loved. It's kind of a mystery story that takes place in a retirement home, and it has many wonderful insights about how we treat the elderly, what it means to live a meaningful life, and the ripple effect of the things we do in daily life. 

I recently read Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing by Andy Crouch. A beautifully written book on how all can find abundant life in the unlikely mixture of strength and weakness -- just as we see in Jesus' life on earth.

I'm on the 4th in a series of 5 books "The Chronicles of the Kings" by Lynn Austin. They're excellent historical fiction based on Old Testament kings.

I've had opportunity to read a sneak preview of Paul Swets' upcoming little book, The Coming Glory:  Hope Now for Life After Death. In it Paul beautifully presents the biblical promises about eternity and how to prepare for a glory beyond compare.  He sees the end of our earthly lives in terms of a natural departure, leaving one place to go to another. He addresses concerns and questions that most of us have facing the reality of death, whether our own or that of a loved one. There is comfort and hope for the journey, and Paul shows how one can know for certain that the astounding good news of heaven is for them. It will be released on June 18, 2019.

Admin

Thanks to everyone who shared which books they are reading this year! These are truly my favorite kinds of posts.

The winner of the giveaway is Lyn Van Tol from Covenant Life Church of Grand Haven. Congrats Lyn! I'll be in touch tomorrow.