Monday, December 16, 2013

What I've Been Reading This Year

When I first began blogging some years ago, one of the things that I liked about it was finding good books as I read what other bloggers I followed read. I was always glad to see when a favorite blogger would either post a list of books they were reading or had enjoyed or when they would write about books along the way.  In that spirit, I started keeping a list on my blog of books I read during the year, plus it's fun for me to look back over the year and remember what I've read, too. So, even though I have a dedicated page for my reading list, I thought I'd do a post here as the year is winding down and share what I've been reading. I did not add the Bible in my reading list, but I could have, since it's a convinced habit of mine to read it daily, so I didn't add it in my list of 'other' books, but of course it would be the one I recommend most highly of all. Read it first, then any other book, especially in the theological/devotional category. When someone asks how to discern what's good or not in the multitude of books out there in the Christian bookstores, my advice is, "Read the Bible first! Know it well and by it discern all the other stuff. The better you know the Bible, the better you'll be able to discern if any other theological or devotional book is biblical or not."Speaking of reading the Bible, before I move on to my list, I read this post just today about daily Bible reading, and the part where he discusses things that can sidetrack our actual reading of the Bible was excellent.

As to the list now, feel free to share any books you've read that you've enjoyed recently, too! I'm always looking for good books.

January 2013:
  • Les Miserables (F) - Victor Hugo. I'm obviously reading a translation of this book since I don't know French, and I'm reading it on my Nook (actually started in December, but I'm so early in the book, I'll count it with January's reading). Really liking it so far. I've heard such good things about this being a great story about law vs. grace and about redemption, that I'm greatly looking forward to reading this. Drew and I went to see the movie and really liked it. It IS a great story about redemption and law vs. grace. Now I want to see the musical live sometime. I have a feeling I won't be updating this list for a while. It's a LONG book. 
Februrary 2013:
  • Still reading Les Miserables
  • The Gospel According to Jesus (NF) - John MacArthur. 
  • Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You are Saved (NF) - J.D. Greear. Highly recommended!
March 2013:
  • Still reading Les Miserables, about 75% finished as March begins.
April 2013:
  • The Inner Circle (F) - Brad Melzer
  • Kinsey and Me Stories (F) - Sue Grafton
  • Crucifying Morality (NF) - RW Glenn. Recommended!
  • The Forgotten (F) - David Baldacci. One of my favorite authors, did not disappoint.
May 2013:

  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel (F) - Diane Setterfield. I really enjoyed this. It's reminiscent of the Jane Eyre type of gothic novel.
  • The Gospel is For Christians (NF) - Mitchell Chase. RECOMMENDED
June 2013
  • The Woman in White (F) - Wilkie Collins. I discovered this as a free book on Kindle and it's the first I've read by this 19th century author. It won't be the last - I enjoyed it.
  • The Misremembered Man (F) - Christina McKenna. I discovered this through the Kindle Daily Deal one day, and I very much enjoyed the book. It's one of those that had a perfect ending and it left me crying and satisfied at the end, a story that I'll remember.
  • What Does it Mean to Be Born Again? (NF) - RC Sproul. From the Critical Questions series. 
July 2013
  • What is Faith? (NF) -  RC Sproul. From the Critical Questions series.
  • The Moonstone (F) - Wilkie Collins
August 2013
  • All of Grace (NF) - Charles Spurgeon. Highly recommend!
  • A is for Alibi (F) - Sue Grafton.
September 2013
  • Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (NF) - Francis Chan
  • The Testament (F) - John Grisham. I loved this book. 
  • When You Reach Me (F) - Rebecca Stead. I really liked this one, too. 
October 2013
  • B is for Burglar (F) - Sue Grafton.
  • The Giver (F) - Lois Lowry.  My son had to read this for school, and I decided to read it, too, to know what they were discussing. It lead to good discussions at home, and we enjoyed it. We also discovered the other three books in the series and I devoured them all.
  • Gathering Blue (F) - Lois Lowry.
  • Messenger (F) - Lois Lowry.
  • Son (F) - Lois Lowry.
  • Tower of Babel (NF) - Bodie Hodge. This was very interesting, though at times a bit technical, overall, I found it fascinating.
November 2013
  • Face of Betrayal (A Triple Threat Novel) (F) - Lis Wiehl with April Henry. I enjoyed this one, and will probably look for more in the series.
  • In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life (NF) - Sinclair Ferguson. Recommended. This was not a fast read, because I read nonfiction differently than I do fiction. I am very much appreciating authors and preachers who are helping me to think through and apply a gospel-centered understanding of life. So encouraging.
  • Risked (The Missing series) (F) - Margaret Peterson Haddix. This is a series my 7th grade son and I are both enjoying reading, and we are anxiously awaiting the next installment, which hasn't been published yet.
December 2013
  • The Gravity of Birds (F) - Tracy Guzeman. I really liked this book. One of the side benefits from my Kindle is the daily and monthly deals. I've found several books I've enjoyed that I never would have stumbled across had I not clicked on the deals once in a while. This was one, and I very much enjoyed not only the story but the writing as well. It's a gift to be able to write a story well. A good story coupled with good writing is a treasure to read. 
  • Strange Fire (NF) - John MacArthur. Necessary discussion that is causing quite a stir, but I'm thankful for it.
  • Crucifying Morality (NF) - RW Glenn. This was a reread, since a small group of friends met together with me to read and discuss this book over about 2 months or so. I recommend reading this and really thinking about the premise that Jesus IS the Beatitudes. Best read not as rules for living, but rather a picture of what a life that has understood the gospel of grace will increasingly look like as you are conformed to the image of Christ. I cannot tell you how freeing it is to finally begin to understand grace and grace-centered, gospel-centered living and thinking, and this author (in this book as well as the sermons I'm listening to as I've subscribed to his Sunday sermons from the church where he pastors) has been instrumental in helping me learn to think biblically about the gospel-centered life.
  • The Darkest Path (F) - Jeff Hirsch. I just started this one, but I'm adding it to the list for 2013 because most likely I'll finish it before December is out. I'm reading this because my 7th grade son read it and wants to discuss it with me, so he begged me to read it. 
  • 11/22/63 (F) - Stephen King. I am not a Stephen King reader, normally. In fact, I don't know that I've ever read any of his books. I tend to stay away from things that I know would encourage nightmares, since I am very prone to them, and his brand of thriller is something I think would probably be that for me. But I found this through the Kindle daily deals and the premise looked so interesting and from what I read it seems different from the scarier books, so I'm giving it a try. It's another one I've only just started but will probably finish, so I've added it to the 2013 list, too. 

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