What's On My Shelf (Feb 2023)
The last month of cozy winter reading! (I know, I'm a little optimistic here on the Canadian prairies)
My book stack continues to dwindle, then grow, like the snow pile in the parking lot behind us, it gets hauled away, then more snow comes and it gets piled into a mountain again.
But, where do I find book ideas for my stack?
You may be surprised, but I don't usually scour the internet looking for books. I read blogs and writer's email newsletters, and when they share something they've enjoyed (and it sounds interesting to me) I'll add it. Or Goodreads friends who write reviews and make recommendations. I also grab early release titles from Netgalley and from The Good Book Company, as part of a blog reviewer program.
The topics I'm most interested are usually related to questions floating around in my thoughts and prayers, or in areas I know God is prodding me to grow. It's always encouraging to find words that teach and convict me, knowing God placed them on the authors heart to share for such a time as this.
Most of the fiction I read comes from my church and local library, since those are the places I'll most easily find what I'm looking for. When it comes to Christian living books, I'll wait to grab them on a kindle deal. To find these I follow Tim Challies' Kindle Deals for Christians and Gospel ebooks.
Hope that gives you some ideas as you think about your own book stack.
What's on your shelf these days??
* Trembling Faith: How a Distressed Prophet Helps Us Trust God in a Chaotic World by Taylor Turkington
The world is not as it should be.
Your friend's daughter is diagnosed with leukaemia, your brother struggling with mental health can't get the help he needs, a veteran is denied his benefits, tragedy hits close to home.
Every morning the world seems to deteriorate one headline at a time.
Have you felt the frustration of injustice? The deep sorrow of suffering? The powerlessness to make a difference?
It's in these moments the little book of Habakkuk models for us how we can talk to God in our agony without losing our head or our hope. Read my full review here. (4 stars)
* 5 Puritan Women: Portraits of Faith and Love by Jenny-Lyn Klerk
These women model for us how our spiritual practices impact our homes - both our physical and spiritual ones. I don't always find biographies easy to read, but these were engagingly written and a joy to discover. Find my full review HERE. (5 stars)
* Life With Jesus: A Discipleship Course for Every Christian by Tim Chester
Here you have a 12 week discipleship resource you can use with your spouse, your adult/teenage Sunday school class, your small group, or your neighbours. Every chapter focuses on one aspect of the Christian life and begins with a short scenario, a question or scenario you likely encounter during your week. Next there's a passage of Scripture to study with a handful of questions for reflection, then a section or two with teaching and a couple more questions. The chapter ends with action points to consider for our head, our heart, and our hands.
It's pretty simple. Gather some people together and work through topics of spiritual growth in the Christian life, digging a little deeper, reflecting a little more. It's an opportunity to follow Christ by fellowshipping with others, digging into the Word and seeking His grace in prayer as He builds more of Himself into us each day. Read my full review HERE. (5 stars)
Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners by Dane Ortlund
So much of our approach to living a holy Christian life is "just do better." We strive and focus on ourselves and what we can do to change. While this can be a heartfelt desire on our part, it places the focus on ourselves and our behaviour instead of on where and from whom real change happens. Spiritual growth takes place in the deep places of our heart as we learn to trust and rely more deeply on Christ. This book is an invitation to reflect on what and how you know your Saviour and a challenge to go deeper. It's humbling to acknowledge how much we rely on ourselves-which was a big conviction for me - but wildly amazing to recognize the gift of grace of knowing Jesus more. (5 stars)
* Along A Breton Shore by Arlem Hawks
Set during the French Revolution, is the contrast of a soldier set to defend the new republic with gusto and a young hopeful woman trying to survive amidst the oppression. When his orders are to dispose of her, he can't do it and must face the consequences.
He's been hardened by war and doesn't remember the last time he was shown compassion. She can't figure out why he'd save her, so she decides to rescue him. They go on the run together, opposite as hot and cold, but in getting to know each other their fondness grows. Decisions about their future will depend on reconciling hurts from the past, if they can face them.(5 stars)
* After the Shadows by Amanda Cabot
Her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, leaves her nothing and she returns to her childhood home to be scorned by her sister and face the death of her parents. No simple story here. Her compassionate heart won't turn people away and after an elderly widows home burns to the ground she invites her to stay, along with the new schoolmaster and his son.
The mystery of her father's death plagues her. So as healing begins in all their lives, a killer in their midst lurks on. Emotion and suspense are entwined throughout this story and it makes for a great read!
One of the themes in this story is learning to hope again after tragedy. Another is, God's love for every life. (4 stars)
Read this action packed story in one sitting (because it was a weekend at the cabin...and I could :) ) All Lynette Eason fans will enjoy this one. Security specialist meets veteran operator and his working dog, but with the dog's special skills someone wants him, badly. (4 stars)
This is a collection of 4 novellas. If you've read these authors before you know these short stories won't disappoint. I found encouragement in the characters, men and women who learned to trust and depend on God through tough circumstances they faced. While yes they're fictional, they invite us to face our own trials, facing grief and sorrow, being taken advantage of, caring for our wayward sibling the best way we know how, and through compounding losses, to turn and cry out to God and step forward in faith that He is there and listening. (5 stars)
About the Bible
The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story
I read this for one of my seminary classes, but before you think, "oh wait I can't read that", I just wanna say it's not complicated and takes you on a journey from Genesis to Revelation, pointing out themes that are carried on throughout Scripture.
21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous People a Reality by Bob Joseph
I read this as part of this year's reading challenge for a book about current issues. The information was insightful and shocking, there's much I didn't know about the Indian Act and how it continues to influence Indigenous peoples across our nation. It's a short book and I appreciated his comments at the end about points toward ongoing reconciliation. I think reading books on issues helps us become better listeners.
Thanks for checking out this book stack! I'm on the hunt for another category of my reading challenge, could you help me out and share below, a book that changed your life?? I appreciate your recommendations!!