Books Read - 2011-2021

Now that I've discovered the new Pages widget here on Blogger, I thought it might be fun to share what I'm reading as I read it.

I know it isn't technically 2011 just yet, but it will be on Saturday, so I'll just start a little early and say this is my list for 2011.  I plan on adding to this throughout the year as I read books. I may or may not add comments about the books as we go, and this isn't necessarily an endorsement of any book but just a list of what I'm reading, and I'll note if it's Fiction (F) or Non-fiction (NF) also.  The Bible heads up the list every month so I'll list it here, because it is the most important book and before I read anything else each day it is my practice to read from the Bible first.

End of December 2010/January 2011:

  • Jayber Crow - Wendell Berry (F)
  • Atheism Remix - R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (NF)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J. K. Rowling (F) - reading this aloud with the boys.
  • The Disappearance of God - R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (NF)
  • Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross - edited by Nancy Guthrie (NF)
  • Brothers No More - William F. Buckley, Jr. (F)
  • Fall of Giants - Ken Follett (F)  Looking forward to this one.  Drew got it for me (and himself, truth be told) for Christmas because we really enjoyed Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.  *****So, now that I'm almost finished, I'll say I very much enjoy the story and the historical fiction and desperately wish Mr. Follet could have not been quite so explicit in the details of the sex lives of his characters. I understand that he's showing us how far many of them fell and the kind of trouble it wrought in their lives, but still, that, to me, would give me serious pause for recommending what was otherwise a good book.  Sadly, because of that, I probably won't read the rest of the series when it comes out.  And that's too bad, because, like I said, the story was good.
February 2011:
  • Leading Little Ones to God - Marian M. Schoolland (NF) - reading with all three kids in the evenings
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling (F) - reading aloud with the boys
  • Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross - edited by Nancy Guthrie (NF) - Carrying over from January, I've been reading this one as a devotional, so taking my time with it.
  • Fall of Giants - Ken Follett (F) - Also carrying over from January; very long book.  See note from last month.  
  • Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis (NF)
  • Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery (F) One of my all time favorites, reading again for the countless time. Looking forward to reading it with my little girl when she's just a little older.
March 2011:
  • Leading Little Ones to God - Marian M. Schoolland (NF) - Still working through this one with all three kids. 
  • The 39 Clues, Book One: The Maze of Bones - Rick Riordan (F) - The boys have been really interested in reading this Scholastic series so I decided to read them also along with them. So far pretty interesting as far as middle reader kind of books go. We'll see how the rest of the series is. I'm already a little lost with the interactive web game that seems to be part of the experience. Maybe I should go check it out before the boys get there.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling (F) - Reading aloud is slow going with Upward basketball games and trumpet lessons and homework and Wednesday night church in the evenings, so we don't get to read every night, but we really enjoy our read aloud times. I'm glad they aren't too cool to still enjoy it. 
  • The 39 Clues, Book Two: One False Note - Gordon Korman (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Three: The Sword Thief - Peter Lerangis (F) Thumbs up: story; Thumbs down: use of God's name in vain. Funny, they must think if you don't capitalize 'god' then it's not offensive. Wrong. None of the others did it....why did this author feel the need to? One of the drawbacks to having multiple authors write the series, I guess.
  • The 39 Clues, Book Four: Beyond the Grave - Jude Watson (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Five: The Black Circle - Patrick Carman (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Six: In Too Deep - Jude Watson (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Seven: The Viper's Nest - Peter Lerangis (F)
  • Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan (F) I am actually reading an edition of this classic allegory of the Christian life that has modernized the language while retaining as much of Bunyan's style and form as possible. 
  • The 39 Clues, Book Eight: The Emperor's Code - Gordon Korman (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Nine: Storm Warning - Linda Sue Park (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Ten: Into the Gauntlet - Margaret Peterson Haddix (one of my favorite authors for middle grade readers, by the way - should be a good one) (F)
  • The 39 Clues Black Book of Secrets - Forward by Rick Riordan (F)
April 2011
  • Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan (F). Carrying over from last month.
  • Valley of Dry Bones - Priscilla Royal (F). Didn't end up finishing this one after all. If a fiction book doesn't grip my attention by the first few chapters, I don't always feel it's worth it to continue. It wasn't bad, just not that interesting to me.
  • The Crocodile Bird - Ruth Rendell (F)
  • Deliver Us From Evil - David Baldacci (F) - One of my favorite authors.
  • Soul Depths and Soul Heights - Octavius Winslow (NF)
  • Sutter's Cross - W. Dale Cramer (F)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling (F) Another read-aloud with the boys. we've been pretty busy lately, but the boys have been begging to get back to it. We really enjoy our read-aloud time. I'm glad they haven't yet outgrown it. Maybe they won't.....
  • The 39 Clues, Book Eleven: Vespers Rising - Various authors (F)
May 2011
May looks empty so far, but that's because I'm still working on The New Pilgrim's Progress and Soul Depths and Soul Heights from last month, and I want to finish those before I start anything else. I'll add more when I get on to new stuff....
  • Slave - John MacArthur (NF).
June 2011
  • This Body of Death - Elizabeth George (F). I started this last month but didn't finish and don't want to list it twice, so I'll just put it here. May wasn't as empty as it looks, but still a slow reading month for me. This is the latest in her Thomas Lynley series, which is a favorite of mine. With No One as Witness in the series left me crying for days after I read it. Good characterization and intriguing stories mark these books, though, as crime novels, Ms. George holds nothing back with regard to the language and subject matter her detectives deal with, so it's probably not for everyone.
  • Christianity and Liberalism - J. Gresham Machen (NF). Reading along with Tim Challies' reading the classics reading group. I didn't get the first chapter read before June 2, so I'm playing a bit of catch up, but I don't think I'll have a hard time getting caught up.
  • Slave - John MacArthur (NF). Carrying over from last month. I tend to get too many books going at once.
  • Pendragon series, Book One: The Merchant of Death - D. J. MacHale (F). My oldest son discovered these and wanted to read them. I didn't know anything about them, and I reluctantly said he could, but I wanted to read them, too....just in case I needed to talk to him about anything. So far I'm finding this one interesting. I usually do find the books my son likes interesting. We seem to like the same kind of fiction. 
  • Pendragon series, Book Two: The Lost City of Faar - D.J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series, Book Three: The Never War - D.J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series: Book Four: The Reality Bug - D.J. MacHale (F).
July 2011
  • Pendragon series: Book Five: Black Water - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series: Book Six: The Rivers of Zadaa - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series: Book Seven: The Quillan Games - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • The Egypt Game - Zilpha Keatley Snyder (F). Summer reading assignment that my son has to read before the first week of school (cannot believe school starts August 3!Soooo not ready for them to go back yet!). I didn't like some reviews I read of it, so I read the book, too. I did find some worldview things I needed to discuss with my boy, but I guess it wasn't as bad as the review I read made it seem, but I'm still not sure I see why it was picked for an accelerated English class for 7th graders. Doesn't seem very 'accelerated' for a kid who reads The Lord of the Rings and enjoys it. Anywho.....
  • Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope - Trevin Wax (NF). Very, very much recommend this one. In fact, I will probably read it again and again. Refreshing reminder of what the true gospel is and how it impacts and transforms believers, and a sobering look at subtle counterfeits that creep in and to which I have found myself to be prone to allow to slowly take hold at times. May I continually preach the gospel to myself and my family and stay true to my Lord and Savior Jesus Messiah King. I want to be so gripped with the gospel of grace with my heart so full of gratitude to the Savior that I will faithfully live a life worthy of the calling He has placed on me when He made me His own. And I pray for my church that we would be a people so gripped with the gospel of grace that we as a body of believers will live that life of gratitude to our King that would lead us to be a glimpse of the restored heaven and earth as we live in true, biblical community, truly forgiving and loving each other and having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace and sharing that good news in our community and world.
  • Pendragon series: Book Eight: The Pilgrims of Rayne - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series: Book Nine: Raven Rise - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendgragon series: Book Ten: The Soldiers of Halla - D.J. MacHale (F). Wow. Had I read the whole series first, I probably would have said, "No," to my kids reading it. The twinges I was having as I read the first books are confirmed in the last as the whole worldview is spelled out. Very humanistic, gnostic, New Age, yin-yang life-force balance view of the universe and mankind and the after-life. I did NOT like this. Much to talk about with the kids now that I have allowed them to read it. Knowing the truth - that God is, and that He is the Creator and we do answer to Him and there is 'right' and 'wrong', and that the only hope we have is to repent and bow before Him, trusting in Christ alone, this book series saddened me and left me depressed. Because I know so many people who, though they wouldn't describe it as vividly as what was fictionalized in the book series, think of spirituality in very eerily similar terms to what is presented in the series. 'Spiritual,' triumph of the human spirit as supreme, that is what most people think matters most. Here's a quote that sums up some of the book and was depressing to me: "We proved that the power of the human spirit is supreme. It will always triumph, no matter what the adversity. There are no simple answers in life. There is good and bad in everyone and everything. No decision is made without consequence. No road taken that doesn't lead to another. What's important is that those roads always be left open, for there's no telling what wonder they might lead to." Taken along with all that is said and 'taught'  throughout the book(s) it leads to a heart-breaking and impoverished worldview.  
  • Holiness (Abridged) - J. C. Ryle (NF). I am quite sure this is the best book I've read in a long time, and I know I'll be reading it again. I found it very thought-provoking, saturated with the gospel, and deeply encouraging. I found myself often stopping to think and pray over what I was reading, and found great encouragement to grow in love for Christ Jesus my Savior. I don't think I can recommend it highly enough. It is seldom that I find a book I can recommend without qualification or hesitation, but this is most definitely one. 
August 2011
  • King Raven Trilogy: Hood - Stephen Lawhead (F). Liked it!
  • King Raven Trilogy: Scarlet - Stephen Lawhead (F). Like it also, but taking a break so I can read the next book on this list.
  • The Help - Kathryn Stockett (F). Really liking this so far. A few of my friends said they are reading the book and want to go to the movie next week, did I want to join them? I decided that, yes, I do. So I got the book for my Nook and am having a hard time putting it down. It's one of those books that will stick with you. In one way it's an easy read in that I get so involved in it I almost forget I'm reading, but in makes me heart sick. It is a very good book.
  • A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World - Paul Miller (NF). Reading this via the Kindle app on my phone. Liking it very much.
September 2011
  • King Raven Trilogy: Tuck - Stephen Lawhead (F).
  • The Princess Bride - William Goldman (F). 
  • Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling (F). Reading aloud with the kids. 
October 2011
  • Heat Wave - "Richard Castle" (F). Blah. TV series "Castle" is much better than this first book that was written to go along with the series. I'll skip the rest of the books but stick with the TV series, which I do like.
  • Found, first book in the Missing series - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F). Yet another fiction series my son was reading that I found interesting also. Very much enjoying this series. You get history mixed with the science fiction of time travel. Well done. I have liked everything I've read by this author very much.  
  • Sent, second book in the Missing series - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F). 
  • Sabotaged, third book in the Missing series - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F).
  • Torn, fourth book in the Missing series - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F).  - I can already tell we'll be anxiously awaiting publication of the fifth book.....
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling (F). Still reading aloud with the kids. It takes us a while to get through our read alouds since we don't get to read every night. It's been especially hard to have time this past few months with football practice, gymnastics, homework, AWANA, etc. and etc. 
  • Double Identity - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F). I know it's really an older kids' book, but I enjoy this author, and picked this one up while looking for books for my son at the library. 
  • The Eleventh Plague - Jeff Hirsch (F). Planning to write a post on my thoughts. Liked this book. It's kind of like The Road, but with more hope.
  • The First Counsel - Brad Meltzer (F).
November 2011
  • The Zero Game - Brad Meltzer (F).
  • God's Wisdom in Proverbs - Dan Phillips (NF).
  • Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer - John Grisham (F). - Really like this legal thriller for kids. 
  • Theodore Boone, The Abduction - John Grisham (F).
  • The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (F). Liked it, and am really enjoying discussing it with my oldest son as he's reading the books, too. He needs to hurry up and finish Book 2 as Book 1 left me hanging and I want to continue.....
December 2011
  • Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (F). 
  • Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins (F). Wow. The whole series is powerful and very well-written. I cried for the last 124 pages of this book, and I find I'm needing a little time to process the ending. Ms. Collins does an outstanding job of taking a fictional setting and making it very believable. Her characters behave just as people would if growing up in such a situation. The ending is emotionally draining, but satisfying, too. I don't think it really could have ended any other way and still been believable. I like that you're left with hope in the midst of the trauma, though. Very well done. I have had excellent opportunities to talk to my son about things I'm sure the author didn't have in mind, too, such as how much the people in the story needed the gospel and how empty a world without it truly is, and what I think the author did intend to convey in how evil and repressive a totalitarian view of government is and how the desire for power is corrupting and many things like that. Quite an accurate picture of human nature is explored in the series, which is why it's so believable.
  • The World-Tilting Gospel: Embracing a Biblical Worldview and Hanging on Tight - Dan Phillips (NF). Recommended! 
  • The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht (F). Good book, strange, but good.
January 2012:

  • The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers: A King's Ransom (F) - Jude Watson. I started reading this series with the boys and this is the latest installment. It didn't hold my attention as well as the others, not sure if I'll be as interested in the rest of the series or not. The boys seem to like it.
  • The Limit (F) - Kristen Landon (F). I liked this one. It's another that I found through my oldest son. Definitely a book geared toward teenagers, with a chilling premise. It makes you really want to think carefully about the dangers of materialistic and unthinking uses of credit. The book is about a world where "kids are being taken away to workhouses if their families exceed the financial debt limit imposed by the government." Believable characters and a scenario that I think isn't really all that far-fetched - wouldn't be too hard to imagine a world where such things could happen. 
  • Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (NF) - Edited by Nancy Guthrie. This is a collection of writings pondering the cross. I've read it before, but I find it encouraging and helpful to read again.
  • A Journey in Grace: A Theological Novel (F) - Richard Belcher. I'm not sure this should really be classified as fiction, though it's a fictional story that seeks to teach true theology. Here's the first paragraph from the back cover: "This is the story of a young pastor with a typical twentieth century theology and his pursuit of a burning theological question which was triggered in his first experience with a pulpit search committee. He cannot and does not rest until he has answered the challenge of the question, "Young man, are you a Calvinist?"My dad loaned me this book back in October when we were visiting my parents, and I'm finally getting to reading it. I'm only in chapter 3 so far, and I find it fascinating. I am greatly looking forward to continuing to read. Thanks, Dad, and I'm sorry for taking so long with it! I do appreciate how readable it is and how I can see it will help me to think about the 'Doctrines of Grace' biblically and in a way I can understand. I can already tell it's going to be an excellent read. I'll update my comments here when I finish. **Now that I've finished - This was obviously not written to be a great novel, but as a vehicle to teach doctrinal truths, and as such, it succeeds well. I really liked this little book and appreciate having read it.
  • The Fifth Witness (F) - Michael Connelly. Yet another book by this author I enjoyed, though I have to add a language caution.
February 2012:
  • The Poisonwood Bible (F) - Barbara Kingsolver. Very, very well written, very, very sad on many levels. I enjoyed it, but it certainly made me think and even pray for wisdom and understanding as I read.
  • The Pawn (F) - Steven James.
  • The Third Twin (F) - Ken Follett. Liked the story, didn't like the language usage and suggestive subject matter. Too much sex detail, in other words. Wouldn't have minded a little more discretion. Made me decide this was my last attempt to read this author, as I've noticed this in other books I've read. 
  • I forgot to update much in Februrary, so I can't remember if I read any other good books this month or not. :-/
March 2012: 
  • Trackers (F) - Deon Meyer. Didn't end up finishing this one. Just couldn't get into it, and following right after the Follett book, too much language again. It probably was a good story, just couldn't get into it.
  • The 39 Clues: The Dead of Night (F) - Peter Lerangis. 
  • Radical (NF) - David Platt. Challenging.....
  • The Mill River Recluse (F) - Darcie Chan.
  • Zone One (F) - Colson Whitehead. Didn't finish. Did. Not. Like. It. Turned out to be a sort of zombie apocalypsish sort of thing. Read a little of the first part, got grossed out, did something I NEVER do - flipped to the end and read to see how it ended to decide if it was worth it to me to slog through, decided, nope, wasn't going to slog through for that ending. I'm sure someone who read the whole thing and likes it will take me to task and say I missed something important or blah, blah, blah. I didn't like it enough to find out. Took it back to the library and began reading something I'm enjoying much better. See next item on the list:
  • The House at Riverton (F) - Kate Morton. Really enjoying this one - not finished as I list it. It reminds me much of Downton Abbey - and we all know how much I like that show!
April 2012
  • Levi's Will (F)- W. Dale Cramer. I very much enjoyed this one. For all my griping about Christian fiction, this was one I truly liked. 
  • V is for Vengence (F) - Sue Grafton. 
  • Worship (NF) - John MacArthur. Another challenging read that I'm thankful to have found.
May 2012
  • Last Light (F) - Terri Blackstock. Another Christian fiction book that I very much enjoyed. 
June 2012
  • Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (NF) - Ross Douthat. Though I don't agree with the author in everything, I found this to be a sobering, somewhat depressingly accurate overview of the rise of heresy and decline of orthodox Christianity in America. Very interesting read. Made me think a lot, and pray a lot and do a lot of soul searching of my own. 
  • The Always War (F) - Margaret Peterson Haddix. Liked this one, and read it in a day after a trip to the library with the kids. I like this author of young adult fiction.
  • Fahrenheit 451 (F) - Ray Bradbury.
  • Only Time Will Tell (F) - Jeffrey Archer. Another really good book from one of my favorite authors. Enjoyed it so much I'm going to the library the day I finished it to find the second book in the series.
July 2012
  • Don't Call it a Comeback (NF) - Various Authors from The Gospel Coalition, Ed. by Kevin DeYoung.  Very much liked this one. I am appreciating reading gospel-saturated books that help me firm up my understanding of the gospel and what gospel-centered worship looks like and should be and how the gospel impacts all of life. The gospel is not just the ABC's of Christianity or the entry point, the gospel is everything. For too much of my life I have not really understood that well enough.
  • A Test of Wills (F) - Charles Todd.
  • Hour Game (F) - David Baldacci.
  • The Sixth Man (F) David Baldacci
August 2012
  • Satan in St. Mary's (F) - P.C. Doherty.
  • The Religion of the Founding Fathers (NF) - David L. Holmes.  Very interesting read. All the reclaim America people who say that the Founding Fathers were orthodox in their Christian beliefs and founded this nation as a Christian nation are, sadly, rewriting history. No doubt they were influenced by Christian morals, but many of the Founding Fathers actually held to some form of Christian Deism - not outright Deism, but not really orthodoxy, either. 
September 2012
  • Forgot to update much this month, but I'm pretty sure all I've read has been Atlas Shrugged (F) by Ayn Rand. I posted about it on October 1 if you want a few thoughts on it. As of October 2, I haven't finished it but hope to soon. It's long and September was a busy month so not a lot of time left for reading. 
October 2012
  • The Explicit Gospel (NF) - Matt Chandler. ** Recommended**
November 2012
  • Game Changer (F) - Margaret Peterson Haddix.   As with everything else I've read by this author, I liked this one and recommended it to my boys, as it's written for their age-range. 
  • The Associate (F) - John Grisham.
December 2012
  • The Litigators (F) - John Grisham
  • Caught (F) - Margaret Peterson Haddix. This is the fifth in the Missing series, and I enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next book, which I believe is due out in September 2013. 

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
  • The Forgotten (F) - David Baldacci
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.
  • Risked (The Missing series) (F) - Margaret Peterson Haddix.
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. 
  • 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. They are not rules for living, but 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. 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 not he 2013 list, too. 
A friend of ours that we met when we lived in St. Louis is hosting a challenge to read 25 books this year, and if we can't include more than 5 re-reads in the list. I was invited to join the Facebook group and I was excited about it, because this way I get to see what other people are reading, too, and hopefully get some suggestions for good reads, which I'm always hunting to find. At first, I thought 25 seemed a little daunting as a goal, but then I realized that's basically just two books a month, and just now as I was getting ready to clean up this page and move my 2013 reading list to the archive page and start this page for the current year, I counted what I'd read over the past several years, and I saw that even last year, which admittedly was a slower reading year than some for me, I managed to read 32 books without even setting a goal, so I think 25 is probably doable this year. Especially since I'm planning to spend less time on Facebook in general (except to post in the book group, I suppose), because I'm finding FB to be a grand time waster on many levels.

Anyway, I do feel the need to clarify something for the one or two people who may still read this sorry excuse for a blog anymore, and that is that just because I have a book on my list, it doesn't mean I necessarily endorse it. It just means I read it. I generally will note books I did really enjoy and feel good about recommending, and I also try to note books that I might want to put a caution on, but, as I said, just because it's in the list doesn't mean it's recommended for sure. I find book recommendations to be a tricky thing sometimes, because we all have differing tastes and understandings of what we like to read.

So, with that noted, I'll begin my list for 2014:

January 2014:

  • 11/22/63 - Stephen King (F). I had this at the end of 2013's list because I actually started right at the end of December, but since I've joined this challenge to read 25 books at least and since I read most of this in January, I'm counting it as my first book for 2014. Maybe that means to be technically honest I should make sure I read at least one extra book, but, really, the challenge is to get us reading and sharing with the group what we read, so, here we are. As to this book itself, I really enjoyed the story. Time travel stories are fascinating to me, and King addresses the 'Butterfly Effect' throughout this interesting story, and I just find that interesting and mind-bending. It did get me thinking about the time travel genre in general, in terms of worldview implications. In general, for time travel to make sense, the underlying assumptions have to be either evolutionary or that we are ruled by some blind force or generic, unfeeling 'universe' or 'fate'. However, as a Christian, I know that God is sovereign, and that He is Lord even over time, and that there is nothing outside His control. So, for that reason, I believe time travel may 'work' in a fictional book, but only with care to never forget what is true, but it is totally a fictional concept. I believe we are created to be in time, and we will never be able to travel through time the way the people in some of the science fiction books and TV shows (Dr. Who, which has a decidedly evolutionary worldview, so we enjoy with caution) that I enjoy, and I watch and read these things with my discernment on. Time happens just as God intends, and we would never be able to 'change' the past, but it is interesting to read how secular people wrestle through the implications of changing the past or even if it would be possible, and I find it fascinating that in almost every instance of time travel books/shows/movies I've experienced, there are severe consequences when people mess around with the past. The only time travel books I've read where the author seems to have some belief in God are the Margaret Peterson Haddix Missing books, and, again, I read with caution, but it does lend itself to interesting discussions with my boys who are also reading those books. The key to reading time travel books is to totally understand you are reading fiction. I say all that because the book I mention as my second book read this year has really helped me to think carefully about what I read. Overall, I liked this book and would recommend it more highly except that in good conscience I have to note some language concerns and some subject matter concerns. I haven't read any other Stephen King novels because I am wary of the horror genre in general. I'm prone to nightmares, so I try to steer clear of things that feed that. However as I read the reviews on this, it seemed that it didn't fit the type of novel I assumed he usually writes, and that was right. I didn't find this scary in the horror sense or nightmare inducing. And the language and such and violence, for me, were not a major stumbling block as it wasn't as in-your-face as some books I've not been able to finish for that reason. I don't automatically dismiss a book for those things, but I am careful about it. In fact, the second book I'm reading deals with worldview and pop culture and how to engage with pop culture as a Christian, and I'm finding it a very, very fascinating read, so I can't wait to say more about it once I finish it. Back to this book, I think I'd recommend it with caution, remembering that recommending doesn't mean I agree with everything in it. You know your own temptations and limitations, so be forewarned there is some bad language and some living situations that aren't really what we would promote, but overall I did like this book. 
  • Popologetics - Ted Turnau (NF). Here's what I said about this on my Facebook page the day I finished it (with some minor edits): I just finished a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. My brother and sister-in-law gave it to me for Christmas, and I have to say it's one of the few nonfiction books I've read that I had a hard time putting down. "Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective" by Ted Turnau. I LOVE this book and highly recommend it. I resonated with it because his approach is very much how I look at popular culture and it helped me to think through and deepen my understanding of how to engage with books I read, movies I watch, Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of popular culture with a gospel-centered mindset, thinking it through biblically, and with an eye for witnessing and sharing Christianity with friends and neighbors by finding the grace and the idolatry, knocking down the idols, in popular culture and exploring how the gospel applies. I really appreciated the fact that he sees popular culture choices as more complex than simply pulling out and avoiding everything or counting numbers of cuss words or violent instances, and he presents a very thoughtful and gospel-honoring approach to how to think through the popular culture we live in, rather than simply floating along with it. I tend to read and watch everything through my Christian/biblical filter and really enjoy finding what's good and what's not good in them and discussing them with a gospel-centered mindset. In fact, now that my boys are old enough to be watching 'older' types of movies and books, this type of approach has been really helpful as we discuss themes and ideas woven throughout the books and movies, etc. that they encounter. We've had some great discussions, and this book is a wonderful tool for helping me think through worldview implications in the pop culture even more, with an eye toward recognizing what's good and also toward recognizing hidden idolatries and deceptions in underlying world views. I especially appreciated his discussion about postmodernism and its fallacies in part 2. Thanks, T and L, this was by far one of the best Christmas presents I received this year. Y'all really spoke my heart language with this gift!
  • "Another Jesus" Calling - Warren B. Smith (NF). The subtitle of this book tells you what it's about: "How False Christs Are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer." I got this book for my Kindle because I had heard the author on the Janet Mefferd show discussing it, and I've been concerned about the book "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young for a long time now. SOOOOOOO many of my friends quote from that book uncritically and it is ALL over the Christian bookstores and catalogues in various forms, and I find it disturbing that something so questionable is just accepted as ok just because it's marketed by the Christian bookstores. This author raises serious and thoughtful questions about the book that I very much recommend at least hearing and thinking about. One thing I don't understand is how defensive people get if you even mention that caution should be taken about this (and other) books or teachers (Beth Moore, for example, hello?) that are so prominently displayed just about everywhere. Why do we cling so hard to 'devotional' books that kind of mention the Bible or may use a Bible verse taken out of context to make us unquestioningly  accept its non-inspired devotional for the day as biblical, but are unsatisfied with the actual Bible? These days, I am extremely wary of 'devotionals'. In fact, I'm wary of the Christian bookstore and pop-Christian culture and Christian books (especially fiction ones) in general. Pretty much if it's popular, I'm immediately wary and sense the need to check it out carefully. I think things that are 'Christian' but steeped in bad or questionable theology are actually more dangerous than secular books/movies that we know aren't written from a Christian perspective because with the secular things we KNOW we need to discern, but with something that's prominently displayed in Christian bookstores or websites or by Christian friends, we seem to let our guard down. But bad theology baptized as 'good' is way more dangerous to my way of thinking. We have been given the Word of God in the Bible - why are we not as defensive about steeping our thinking in that and reading it and knowing it. Why do we run to this or that author to tell us about the Bible but we don't spend MORE time reading the actual Bible? EVERYTHING we read or experience needs to be examined and tested through the lens of the Bible. THAT is the Word God gave us. THAT is the book we must defend above all others. So, yes, I recommend this critique of what is a widely popular 'devotional' book. Please read it if you are someone who has "Jesus Calling" or know someone who likes it.
  • Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue - Matthew C. Mitchell (NF).  Highly recommended. See my brief review.
  • Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese (F). This was so well-written with such richly drawn characters that I often forgot I was reading as I was swept along with the story. 
  • Alone Yet Not Alone: Their Faith Became Their Freedom - Tracy Leininger Craven (F). This is a great story, the writing seemed a little clunky at times to me, but I think it was written for kids, but I very much liked the story and want to see the movie.
February 2014
  • Unintended Consequences - Marti Green (F). A legal thriller that I enjoyed ok. 
  • Spiritual Warfare: A Balanced and Biblical Perspective - Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura (NF). I really appreciated this book. I've encountered some strange ideas about spiritual warfare, especially in Christian fiction books dealing with the topic, and this book was a breath of fresh air. It does what it sets out to do with the subtitle and presents a Biblical and balanced perspective, using Ephesians 6:10-20 as its text. I found it very helpful, and would definitely recommend.
  • Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? - Keith A. Mathison (NF). My dad gave me this because of some questions I was asking him as I read my Bible. For most of my growing up in Evangelicalism, I wasn't even aware that there was any other way to think about eschatology and history and prophecy than the 'left behind' dispensationalist view, which was pretty much all I'd ever heard, but I did know that as I was reading the Bible, things I'd been taught and heard most of my life didn't seem to match up with what I was reading. Now I've got some more thinking and pondering and studying to do, but I appreciated this book very much for helping me to begin thinking it through.
  • Eleven - Patricia Reilly Giff (F). Because I'm the mother of a tween who loves to read, I often get book suggestions from Amazon for that age group. This book is one of those, but the story sounded so interesting I went to the library and checked it out. Though it's written for a younger audience than even my son's avid reader level, I really liked the story.
  • The Racketeer - John Grisham (F). Grisham is one of my very favorite authors and he didn't disappoint with this one. I liked all the twists and turns.
  • God's Wisdom in Proverbs - Dan Phillips (NF). Excellent study in how to effectively read and study and teach the book of Proverbs. 
March 2014
  • The Orphan Master's Son - Adam Johnson (F). Wow. Powerful story. This is one that will stay with me. I don't know how accurate his portrayal of North Korea is, but I suspect it's quite a good idea of what such an oppressive regime is like to live under. Terrifying.
  • The Medea Complex - Rachel Florence Roberts (F). Story was interesting, but the misspellings, punctuation errors, and other grammar errors in the the Kindle version were very distracting to me. But I was able to borrow it for free, so I suppose I can't complain too much about a free book.
  • How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home - Derek W.H. Thomas (NF). This is excellent. It's a look at Romans 8 and I very much recommend it.
  • Sycamore Row - John Grisham (F). I've liked John Grisham since I read A Time To Kill during stolen free time that should have been spent studying during college, but I have to say I've really enjoyed seeing his maturing as a writer. I like his newer things even more, and this was no exception. I liked this book very much.
  • A Time of Departing - Ray Yungen (NF). This was a disturbing discussion of the subtle ways the so-called "New Age" spirituality is creeping into the evangelical church. I wish more people would be alerted to this danger. It is real and not good.
April 2014
  • Divergent - Veronica Roth (F). I've mentioned before that I enjoy dystopian fiction for some reason. I really liked this one, better than The Hunger Games, maybe. We'll see after I read the rest of the trilogy. But I did find it hard to put down and had to hurry and finish it during spring break so we could go see the movie, which was very close to the book, so I enjoyed that, too. I'm working on the second book now.
  • For Many Shall Come in My Name - Ray Yungen (NF). I'm not sure I could stress enough how important the warning in this book is. Like the book I read earlier by this author it is a look at how New Age spirituality is taking over every part of society these days. It's not just for the fringe elements anymore, and the author makes a compelling case for meditation (of the 'spiritual' or 'New Age' type) being a vehicle for a world religion and for the fulfillment of many coming in the name of Christ or claiming to be Christ. I really wish more of my friends were aware of this and could see that things they think are innocent are really not and are opening them up to deception. Like I said, I think it would be hard to overstate the seriousness of the situation and the warning.
  • Insurgent - Veronica Roth (F). Second book in the Divergent Trilogy. Interesting story, and I am interested to see where she goes with it in the third book.
  • Allegiant - Veronica Roth (F). What a disappointment. This book so ruined the rest of the trilogy for me that I wouldn't recommend the series. It's not so much what happens to a main character that bothered me, but the fact that it seemed avoidable in the context of the story and what she sacrifices herself to accomplish doesn't seem to fit her character in my opinion. Something she thinks is wrong for one group to do is right for her to do, and that came across as unethical and regrettable and out of character to me. I've read the author's reasons for why she wrote the ending, and I'm trying not to be overly critical, but I wish the sacrifice could have seemed more unavoidable to me. It just seems that there could have been another way. I would have understood it better if I'd felt the sacrifice wasn't a bit hollow. Another of my favorite characters acts so out of character during this last book as to be unrecognizable and makes choices that he just wouldn't have made had he been the person he was in the first two books that it made the whole book feel wrong to me. Overall a disappointing and frustrating ending to a series that I had enjoyed up until I read the final book. What could have been a powerful ending dealing with the subject of sacrifice and grief ended up feeling hollow and unnecessary and even wrong to me. I read a review of the book that, though full of spoilers - so don't read if you don't want spoilers, very much echoes exactly what I found wrong with the book. Anyway, overall, this final book spoiled it for me, and I sadly don't recommend the series.  It's totally up to the author how she wanted to end her series, and she can write it however she wants, but I would have loved a completely different ending, or at least a more satisfying one. I think the idea of sacrifice was important, and that part of the ending is actually very fitting for the book and the character, I just felt that the story didn't convince me the character's sacrifice was as necessary as we're supposed to think, since there were other ways the situation could have been handled, and I felt that what she sacrificed herself to accomplish was just as wrong as what she was attempting to stop. If I had believed what she accomplished through her sacrifice was right, I think I would have found the ending more satisfying, but ultimately it was just as morally and ethically wrong as what the 'evil' people were going to do.  Here's a link to the review I mentioned that I read on Amazon, and I agree with the major points.
  • Found: God's Will - John MacArthur (NF). I really needed this book. Recommended.
  • Safely Home - Randy Alcorn (F). I mostly liked this one. I get a little uncomfortable with some of Alcorn's speculating about Heaven, but the storyline about the persecuted Christians in China I very much was glad I got to read. Overall, I liked this book. A friend of mine who knows me rather well in the Facebook book group asked me what I thought about this one after I said I had read it, because, as she said, it's not one she would have recommended for me, knowing me as she does. I told her she was right - there are some things about it that made me uncomfortable, but overall, I'm glad I read it.
  • Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection - Thabiti Anyabwile (NF). I really liked this one.
  • A Land More Kind Than Home - Wiley Cash (F). I very much liked this. It's well-written, with a somewhat eerie feel that makes for a good Appalachian novel. I'll be looking for more by this author. 
May 2014
  • All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture - Ken Myers (NF) This was excellent. Lots to think through and process, and reinforces for me how vital the need to choose wisely and intentionally as I interact with popular culture and to think and recognize how very much it affects how I think and even feel. Highly recommend this.
  • Satan Cast Out: A Study in Biblical Demonology - Frederick S. Leahy (NF). This was a good, helpful, biblical view this topic. I found it especially interesting in light of the books I've been reading and what I've been learning about the New Age/New Thought/Contemplative thinking that is infiltrating and taking over our culture and churches.
  • The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America- Candy Gunther Brown (NF). Eye-opening, and I highly recommend this. Again, I cannot stress enough how important I believe it is for Christians to be aware of the world views and assumptions behind practices they often do not take enough care to investigate before participating in. Here's the blog post I wrote after reading this book. 
    June 2014
    • The Dead Secret - Wilkie Collins (F).
    • Last Light - Terri Blackstock (F). I don't always like much Christian fiction, but I did like this one, and I'm enjoying the rest of the series, too. 
    July 2014
    • Night Light - Terri Blackstock (F).
    • True Light - Terri Blackstock (F).
    • Dawn's Light - Terri Blackstock (F). I loved this series. And I don't say that about Christian fiction very often, but this one was really good.
    • The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare (F). I very much liked this book. I remember seeing this offered in book orders as a kid and very rigidly wouldn't even consider it because it had witch in the title. Surely it must be bad, that's what all the culture warrior Christian leaders said about so many things all the time. I have come to realize that there are different types of discernment, and not all is helpful. There's the knee-jerk kind that assumes something is bad because of a word here and there without really looking at the thing, and then there's real discernment that learns to not make snap assumptions based on little knowledge and to appreciate what is actually good and to recognize what is truly bad. That kind is a lot harder. I've known a lot of the knee-jerk kind in my time, and I would have missed out on a great book here had I never learned the difference. We Christians shouldn't be the people always know for what we're against, and we need to be more intelligent and thoughtful in our critiques. I'm glad someone on the book group I belong to on Facebook read this and liked it and listed it, because that was how I came to read it this time. It was nothing like my self-righteous, legalistic self way back then had thought it would be, and had I been mature enough to actually look past that word in the title I would have known that. Now I do. 
    • The Gospel Call and True Conversion - Paul Washer (NF). I highly recommend this and the other book in the series, which I am reading now. I accidentally read them out of order, as this one is actually the second book, but both are excellent. 
    August 2014
    • The Gospel's Power and Message - Paul Washer (NF). I recommend this one also, now that I've finished it.
    • Timebound: The CHRONOS Files, Book 1 - Rysa Walker (F). I found this one through Kindle deals. It's young adult fiction, but I enjoyed it. I seem to be drawn toward time travel stories, even though they kind of hurt my head. :-) This one is written well enough I found it easy to suspend disbelief and go with the story, and I found it interesting how the author kept the varying timelines and story lines organized. I have enough unanswered questions and I'm interested enough in the answers that I want to read the next book, and it's a little hard to wait for it since it's on preorder at the Kindle store - it doesn't release until October. I may have to preorder it. Until then I'm reading a novella the author wrote that fills in a little of the backstory from the first book. 
    September 2014
    • Time's Echo: A CHRONOS Files Novella - Rysa Walker (F). 
    • True for You, But Not for Me: Overcoming Objections to Christian Faith - Paul Copan (NF).
    • The Missing: Revealed - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F). This is the seventh in The Missing series, and my 8th-grade son and I have very much enjoyed the series from one of our favorite authors. We were glad when this one was released this month, as we've been following the series from the beginning.
    • Kindred - Ocatvia E. Butler (F). My 10th-grade son had to read this for summer reading for school this year, and he wanted me to read it and discuss it with him, so I waited until they were done with it in class and I just finished it. I read it in two days. It was quite interesting and we've had some good discussion. It wasn't what I expected, in a good way. Funny enough, it's another time travel story, in a way, though really, the time travel was more a device to explore slavery in the South from a modern black woman's perspective, and I found it a good, thought-provoking read. It's a book that will stay with me, I think.
    • Jesus Unmasked - Todd Friel (NF). This is very good. Todd Friel takes a look at the types and shadows of the Old Testament that all point to Jesus. It is excellent, and very readable. Recommended!
    • How to Bring Your Children to Christ....& Keep Them There: Avoiding the Tragedy of False Conversion - Ray Comfort (NF)
    October 2014

    • The Hole in Our Holiness - Kevin DeYoung (NF). This is a great book. I will be thinking over what I've read for a long time. If I could only recommend three of the non-fiction books I've read this year (besides the Bible), this would be on that list. I really wish all my friends and family who profess Christianity would read and seriously ponder the truth taught here. DeYoung does a great job of discussing and describing justification and sanctification and how we are saved, called, and redeemed to holiness. 
    • Right Ho, Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse (F). The dialogue is funny in a British humor kind of way, and that's what drives these stories, since not really a whole lot happens, but it was funny, anyway. Nice for a bit of lighter reading after some of the weightier things I've been reading.  
    • Stepping Heavenward - Elizabeth Prentiss (F). This is a reread. I don't know how many times I've read this book, but I love it more each time. It's a treasure. One of my very favorite books.
    November 2014
    • Expository Listening - Ken Ramey (NF). Very, very good. 
    • John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace - Jonathan Aitken (NF). I very much enjoyed this book. John Newton is a fascinating man, who never forgot the amazing grace God had shown him and how God had so transformed him by His grace through Jesus Christ, and I'm glad I got to read about him here.
    December 2014
    • Unfriend Yourself: Three Days to Detox, Discern, and Decide About Social Media - Kyle Tennant (NF). I'm not trying to overstate things, but this may be the most important little book I've read this year, personally. I found it on my son's nightstand while I was straightening up in his room the other day, and he said it's something his small group from church had worked through together. Wow. It's funny, too, because just the night before I had been saying that I was thinking about logging out of Facebook until after Christmas because I just felt I needed a break from it. I devoured the book on Thursday afternoon and found that MUCH of what he discusses brutally honestly addresses what I've felt for a long time is unhelpful and in many cases even sinful in how I use Facebook. I am now in the midst of going back and re-reading it, a chapter a day from Friday through Sunday as it's actually designed, and staying logged off Facebook completely for these three days to detox and assess my use of Facebook. I needed this book. I needed the time to reassess how and why I use social media, especially at what has been a very lonely time in my life, moving here to Ohio for just a year. This book could probably benefit every Christian who uses Facebook a lot. I would HIGHLY recommend it to any of my Christian friends who are active on social media. While it's a short book, so it necessarily can't go into extreme depth of the subject, this is a much needed pondering - how, or even should, I be using social media? He doesn't actually end up calling for leaving Facebook, after all. In the end, he is just asking that we think through how and why we use it and to be careful that if we choose to use it, we use it as a tool, not let it control us, and certainly not think that substituting online networking can ever truly replace real, face-to-face communion and community. My take: Facebook can be a helpful tool for keeping in touch with friends, especially when you move often as we do, but it can also be a danger if we get too involved with endless self-promotion, all-day scrolling and speculating and knowing too much personal information about people we probably aren't all that close to in real life, and forget that these online 'friendships' can't offer what real, face-to-face relationships do, and as long as we don't get dragged into thinking all our inane thoughts and activities are worthy of shouting online all day long. As with any technology, Facebook can offer some good, but we need to guard our hearts and be careful how we use it.
    • Time's Edge (The Chronos Files, Book 2) - Rysa Walker (F).
    • The Blessing Way (Navajo Mysteries, Book 1) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • Dance Hall of the Dead (Navajo Mysteries, Book 2) Tony Hillerman (F).
    • A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity- William Wilberforce (NF). This was difficult to read, but once I got into the old-fashioned sentence structure and language, what he is saying could very well have been written about our church culture among professing Christians in America today. Very thought-provoking and worth the read, even if it isn't the easiest thing I read this year.


    January 2015

    • Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me - Kevin DeYoung (NF). Very good book.
    • Listening Woman (Navajo Mysteries, Book 3) - Tony Hillerman (F). Enjoying this series.
    • Name Above All Names - Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson (NF). This was excellent. So much I'm still thinking about and I am very glad I read this one. On Sunday as I worshiped at church I was brought to tears thinking about what I'd just read about Jesus standing with His people when we worship and offering our worship, making it acceptable to the Father. That has changed how I sing and worship when we gather together in a profound way, causing me to think much more carefully and richly and deeply about worship. 
    • Risky Undertaking - Mark de Castrique (F). My brother-in-law happens to know this author and gave me a signed copy of this book for Christmas, which is a very thoughtful gift knowing how much I love to read. I enjoyed this one and will look for more by this author. 
    • Standing Strong: How to Resist the Enemy of Your Soul - John MacArthur (NF).
    • People of Darkness (Navajo Mysteries, Book 4) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Dark Wind (Navajo Mysteries, Book 5) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • Be Right (Romans): How to Be Right with God, Yourself, and Others (The BE Series Commentary) - Warren W. Wiersbe (NF).
    February 2015
    • The Ghostway (Navajo Mysteries, Book 6) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • Law & Liberty: A Biblical Look at Legalism - General Editor Dr. Don Kistler. This was very good.
    • Light at Rat Pond - Richard Newberry (F).
    • The Most Misused Verses in the Bible: Surprising Ways God's Word is Misunderstood - Eric J. Bargerhuff (NF). 
    • Skinwalkers (Navajo Mysteries, Book 7) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    March 2015

    • The Maze Runner - James Dashner (F). One of the benefits of being mom to teenage boys is reading books I probably wouldn't have even known about otherwise. I read this one because one of my boys is reading the series and I try to keep tabs on what they're reading. As I told a friend who asked if I liked it, I think 'like' is too strong a word for how I feel about this one. It was interesting, but frustrating and pretty violent. I'm starting the second one, but not really enjoying it very much so far, and it won't be making onto any lists of favorites for me, I don't think. 
    • Knowing the Truth About Jesus the Messiah - John Ankerberg and John Weldon (NF).
    • The Scorch Trials - James Dashner (F).
    • The Death Cure - James Dashner (F).
    • A Thief of Time (Navajo Mysteries, Book 8) - Tony Hillerman (F)
    • The Kill Order - James Dashner (F). 
    April 2015
    • Alas, Babylon - Pat Frank (F).
    • The Biography of Robert Murray M'Cheyne - Andrew Bonar (NF). This was excellent. I was in tears at the end, such an encouraging and convicting life. May I strive to love Jesus and long for holiness even half as much.
    • Beneath Bone Lake - Colleen Thompson (F). Probably wouldn't recommend this one. I took a gamble on this as a Kindle free borrow through Amazon Prime, and the story itself was interesting enough, but some of the language I thought unnecessary. This isn't my usual choice in genre, but from the reviews I thought it might be ok. It was ok, but won't be a favorite and I probably won't choose more from this author. Just not my thing, but interesting enough that when I came across the things I found somewhat objectionable or unnecessary, I was far enough into the story that I wanted to finish it.
    • If I Should Die Before I Wake: What's Beyond This Life? - K. Scott Oliphint and Sinclair B. Ferguson (NF). I very much liked this. It is biblical and well-written, and as our family is in the process of grieving the death of a young cousin and praying for her family daily as they walk this difficult road, I found this book quite encouraging and comforting. 
    • Talking God (Navajo Mysteries, Book 9) - Tony Hillerman (F). Another good one in this series that I'm continuing to read my way through.
    • The Transforming Power of the Gospel - Jerry Bridges (NF). 
    May 2015
    • A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Iriving (F). This was a reread, and I'm glad I did. I liked it when I read it years ago, but I understood it much better and liked it better this time. It is very well-written and quite a story. I had to sit and cry for a bit when I finished it.
    • Coyote Waits (Navajo Mysteries, Book 10) - Tony Hillerman (F). I'm very much enjoying this series.
    • Trail of Broken Wings - Sajal Badani (F). This was good, but very sad.
    • The Lincoln Lawyer - Michael Connelly (F). Connelly is one of my favorite crime/detective fiction writers. Plus, he's a University of Florida graduate. Go Gators!
    June 2015
    • Galatians for You (God's Word for You) - Timothy Keller (NF).
    • Sacred Clowns (Navajo Mysteries, Book 11) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Fallen Man (Navajo Mysteries, Book 12) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • Who is Jesus (Crucial Questions Series) - R.C. Sproul (NF).
    • The First Eagle (Navajo Mysteries, Book 13) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • A Murder is Announced (A Miss Marple Mystery) - Agatha Christie (F).
    July 2015

    • Hunting Badger (Navajo Mysteries, Book 14) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Forgotten Trinity - James White (NF).
    August 2015
    • To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (F). This was a re-read (don't know how many times I've read this book!) because I thought I wanted to read the new sequel that's just been published, but after reading some reviews, I decided I don't want to read it after all.
    • Loving Jesus More - Phil Ryken (NF). This was very good. I found it through Truth for Life, and I very much recommend it.
    • Amazing Grace - Eric Metaxas (NF). William Wilberforce is one of my heroes, and this was a great biography.  I was in tears at the end.
    September 2015
    • The Wailing Wind (Navajo Mysteries, Book 15) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Secret They Kept - Juliet D. Jones (F). Honestly, sorry to say not one of my favorites this year. I saw it promoted on a band moms website I follow, and since I am a band mom thought I'd try it when I found I could read it free on Kindle. It has the bones of an ok story, but it suffered from poor editing and inexperienced writing.
    • The New Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan, with notes updated text and notes by Judith E. Markham and Warren Wiersbe (F). This was a re-read of a favorite. 
    • The Sinister Pig (Navajo Mysteries, Book 16) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    October 2015
    • Skeleton Man (Navajo Mysteries, Book 17) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Shape Shifter (Navajo Mysteries, Book 18) - Tony Hillerman (F). I very much have enjoyed this series. This was the last book Mr. Hillerman wrote in the series before he died, and his daughter took up the series later.
    November 2015
    • Depression: Looking Up From the Stubborn Darkness - Edward T. Welch (NF). I very much needed this one. I found it extremely helpful, especially as I was surprised by a slip into what I think must be minor depression this year. I will be keeping this one on my shelf for future reference. It is biblical and wise and practical counsel.
    • Spider Woman's Daughter (Navajo Mysteries, Book 19) - Anne Hillerman (F). It will take a little getting used to Ms. Hillerman's different style of writing, but I think she did a nice job taking over this series.
    December 2015
    • Judge Not - Todd Friel (NF).
    • The Short Drop - Matthew FitzSimmons (F).
    • The Red Harlequin - Book 1 Of Masks and Chromes - Roberto Ricci (F).
    January 2016

    • Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 (The Poldark Saga) - Winston Graham (F). I'm greatly enjoying this series, and I like the PBS adaptation too. 
    • Beauty for Ashes - Jasper Rains (F). This was written by a dear friend of ours from St. Louis. It's his first book, and he is planning to use the proceeds to help fund their international adoption. You can find it on Amazon. :-)
    • Name Above All Names - Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson (NF).
    • The Other Worldview: Exposing Christianity's Greatest Threat - Peter Jones (NF).
    • Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790 (The Poldark Saga Book 2) - Winston Graham (F).
    February 2016
    • 50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning From Spiritual Giants of the Faith - Warren Wiersbe (NF).
    • This Dark Road to Mercy - Wiley Cash (F)
    • Jeremy Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1791-1792 (The Poldark Saga, Book 3) - Winston Graham (F).
    • The House at Riverton - Kate Morton (F)
    March 2016
    • Warleggan: A Novel of Cornwall, 1792-1793 (The Poldark Saga, Book 4) - Winston Graham (F)
    • Rock With Wings (Leaphorn and Chee Mysteries, Book 20) - Anne Hillman (F)
    • The Distant Hours - Kate Morton (F)
    April 2016
    • The Black Moon, 1794-1795 (Poldark Saga, Book 5) - Winston Graham (F)
    • Keeping Your Kids on God's Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith - Natasha Crain (NF)
    • The Escape - David Baldacci (F)
    • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert - Rosaria Butterfield (NF)
    May 2016
    • The Four Swans: An Novel of Cornwall 1795-1797 (Poldark Book 6) - Winston Graham (F)
    • Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue - Matthew C. Mitchell (NF) This was a reread because I felt the need for the refresher. Once again, I still highly recommend this one.
    June 2016
    • The Angry Tide: A Novel of Cornwall 1798-1799 (Poldark Book 7) - Winston Graham (F)
    • The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton (F). Kate Morton has become one of my favorite authors, and this may just be my favorite book of hers that I've read. Every one of them leaves me needing a moment to sit for a moment before going back to real life once I finish. 
    • The Hole in Our Holiness - Kevin DeYoung (NF) This is a reread, and I appreciate just as much as I did the first time I read it.
    • War Brides - Helen Bryan (F) I got this one free from a Kindle promotion and actually chose it by accident. I did not expect to enjoy it as the description did not capture my interest. I ended up enjoying it very much. 
    July 2016
    • The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro (F). What a subtly written, and poignantly sad story. Ishiguro masters the art of "Show, don't tell," as much of the beautifully unfolded story of regret is told between the lines, in what is not said. Very well-written, and the narrator's sense of painful regret stays with me as I put the book away. 
    • Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (F). This was depressing, and I didn't like it as well as his first book, though it was interesting.
    • The Stranger From the Sea: A Novel of Cornwall 1810-1811 (Poldark Book 8) - Winston Graham (F)
    August 2016
    • Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate - Jerry Bridges (NF)
    • Does Prayer Change Things (Crucial Questions Series) - RC Sprout (NF)
    • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling (F)
    • Through the Dark Clouds Shining: A Saga of Families and the Great War - A. R. Homer (F)
    • The Heiress of Linn Hagh (The Detective Lavender Mysteries Book 1)  - Karen Charleton (F)
    • The New Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan, with notes updated text and notes by Judith E. Markham and Warren Wiersbe (F). This was a re-read of a favorite. 
    September 2016
    • Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race. Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations That Divide Us - Benjamin Watson (NF)  This is a great book. I recommend it highly. He is saying hard things, but things that need saying and ultimately this is an encouraging book, finding our only hope in the gospel of Christ. Many tears as I read this, and praying for wisdom to think and act in light of the truth and to learn to see things through others' perspectives. 
    • The Miller's Dance: A Novel of Cornwall 1812-1813 (Poldark Book 9) - Winston Graham (F).
    November 2016
    • The Loving Cup: A Novel of Cornwall 1813-1815 (Poldark Book 10) - Winston Graham (F).
    • The Twisted Sword: A Novel of Cornwall 1815 (Poldark Book 11) - Winston Graham (F). This, to me, was probably the saddest book of the series. I cried a lot.
    December 2016
    • Bella Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall 1818-1820 (Poldark Book 12) - Winston Graham (F). It's always a little said to say good-bye to characters you've grown to like when you finish a long series, and this one took me pretty much the whole year to finish, so there is some of that for me. However, the ending is satisfying, and since I read these with other books interspersed along the way, maybe not as sad about saying good-bye as I always am at the end of, say, The Lord of the Rings. I definitely recommend this series, though the last book is probably my least favorite of them all and the 11th is the saddest. 
    • Loving Jesus More - Philip Ryken (NF). This was a reread, but good again.
    • The Sans Pareil Mystery (The Detective Lavender Mysteries, Book 2) - Karen Charlton (F).
    • Sisters One, Two, Three - Nancy Star (F). I got this one free with Kindle Prime, and I'm always a little wary of the free books, because many times I find them to be not well edited or just not as good. This was a pleasant surprise. I really liked this one - it's sad, but well-written, and hopeful at the same time.  Good story, and I'm glad I chose it for my monthly free book.

    January 2017

    • Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union With Christ - Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (NF) This is such a wonderful book. She has helped me to think well about the power of the gospel and to glorify God as I do. I highly recommend this and her first book, as well
    • We Have Lost the President - Paul Matthews (F) This was a quirky little book I borrowed for free on my Kindle. It was ok, but not terribly memorable and I don't feel the need to read further in the series. 
    • Chosen by God - R.C. Sproul (NF) This was a reread, but so very good. It's important to read good, theological books, and this is definitely that. Recommended. 
    • No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God - Aimee Byrd (NF) I liked this book, especially the chapters on being discerning with what we read and listen to. I think it is a necessary addition to the discussions that led to her writing of it. Recommended. 
    • A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley, Book 1) - Elizabeth George (F). I've read this one before quite a while ago, but I see she has written several more since I last read the series, and I wanted to reread. I like this series, but I believe I should probably caution it does get a bit rough with language and such - it is a secular detective/murder mystery type of series. 
    February 2017
    • Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, Book 2) - Elizabeth George (F). See comment on Book 1 from the series.
    • World Religions and Cults: Counterfeits of Christianity - Bodie Hodge and Roger Patterson (NF) This is very much written from a conservative, Bible-believing Christian worldview, and I found it quite helpful. It is the first volume in the series, and I intend to try to read the next volumes at some point, too. 
    • Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, Book 3) - Elizabeth George (F)
    • What is the Trinity? (Crucial Questions Series) - R. C. Sproul (NF) These little booklets are a very helpful series for understanding doctrines of the Faith. 
    • A Suitable Vengeance (Inspector Lynley, Book 4) - Elizabeth George (F)
    March 2017
    • Eric Liddell: Pure Gold - David McCasland (NF). I like to read biographies, and this one was such a great example of a life well-lived. It was encouraging to read of Eric Liddell's deep love for Jesus and his care and compassion for people.  
    •  In Fairleigh Field: A Novel of World War II - Rhys Bowen (F).
    April 2017
    • For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley, Book 5) - Elizabeth George (F)
    • Loving Me: The Hidden Agenda of Self-Esteem - Rick Thomas (NF)  This was very short, but I found it quite helpful, full of biblical wisdom in retraining our thinking away from the worldly wisdom of the self-esteem bent of our culture. We do not need to think more about ourselves, but less - we need to be thinking more about GOD. Highly recommend. 
    May 2017
    • Missing Joseph (Inspector Lynley, Book 6) - Elizabeth George (F).
    • The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine In Christian America - Candy Gunther Brown (NF).
    June 2017
    • The Religious Beliefs of America's Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution - Gregg L. Frazer (NF)
    • Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley, Book 7) - Elizabeth George (F).
    • Honest Evangelism: How to talk about Jesus even when it's tough - Rico Tice (NF) Excellent book and I pray I will take it to heart and cross the "pain line" and learn to be bold in a way I have not been before. 
    July 2017
    • What is Faith? (Crucial Questions Series) - R.C. Sproul (NF)
    • In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley, Book 8) - Elizabeth George (F)
    August 2017
    • Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley, Book 9) - Elizabeth George (F)
    • Reset for Parents - Todd Friel (NF). I loved this book. I wish I could have read it before our children were born, but I'm thankful that by God's grace, much of what Todd discusses we sort of fell into doing some of the time, but I do wish we had been more intentional through the years. I think this would be an excellent book to give as a gift to young or expecting parents. Quite practical and biblically based.
    • The Prestige - Christopher Priest (F). I very much enjoyed this one. I may want to look into other books this author has written.
    September 2017
    • The Naturalist - Andrew Mayne (F).
    • In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (Inspector Lynley, Book 10) - Elizabeth George (F). I didn't end up finishing this, and I am not planning on continuing the series. Though I had read this before and had made it further in the series and was just rereading so I could look at newer books in the series that I have not read, I've decided not to continue with it.  I just got to the point where the description of the depravity of some of the characters in the cases the detectives were investigating was something I no longer want to spend my time reading about and filling my mind with. It just got to be too much for me. Moving on.
    October 2017
    • The Twelfth Imam (The Twelfth Imam Series, Book 1) - Joel C. Rosenburg (F).
    November 2017
    • Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity - Rebekah Merkle (NF).
    • The Tehran Initiative (The Twelfth Imam Series, Book 2) - Joel C. Rosenburg (F).
    December 2017
    • The Damascus Countdown (The Twelfth Imam Series, Book3) - Joel C. Rosenburg (F).
    • Internet Inferno: A Contemporary Warning and Reminder Regarding this Ancient Truth - "The Tongue is a Fire, the Very World of Iniquity, and is Set on Fire by Hell" James 3:6 - Michael John Beasely (NF).
    • The Circle - Dave Eggers (F). This one was disturbing and a good commentary on how dangerously dependent we as a society are becoming on social media. It's made me want to share much less and spend much less time interacting on social media, something I've thought a lot about in recent years. It does seem we are destroying things that we don't really want to lose  and developing scary new ways of interacting that are not good for us in this new era of living online. Caution: language and some subject matter.
    • The Holiness of God (NF) - R.C. Sproul. Very highly recommend.
    • How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds - Alan Jacobs (NF).
    January 2018

    • From the Resurrection to his Return: Living Faithfully in the Last Days - D.A. Carson (NF)
    • East of Eden - John Steinbeck (F)
    • A Specter of Justice - Mark De Castrique (F). My brother-in-law gave me an autographed copy of this book for Christmas, written by a friend of his. I enjoyed it very much and plan to look for more in the series.
    • Wonder - R.J. Palacio (F). Wow, this is such a great book. I cried so often while reading it - sad and happy tears. My daughter's cousin gave it to her for Christmas last year and she loved it and has talked and talked about it and wants to see the movie, and she begged me to read it, so I just finished it, and it is just so good. We're planning to go see the movie tomorrow. :-) The writing is so good and I love how the story is told from the perspective of several characters, and very believably. I love the message of not only choosing kindness, but going beyond and  choosing to be even kinder than necessary. Highly recommended.
    • Who is the Holy Spirit? (Crucial Questions Series) - R.C. Sproul (NF)
    • Foundation - Isaac Asimov (F)
    February 2018
    • Can I Be Sure I'm Saved (Crucial Questions Series) - R. C. Sproul (NF)
    • Foundation and Empire - Isaac Asimov (F)
    • Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems - J. D. Greear (NF).  Recommended! I very much appreciated this book.
    March 2018
    • Second Foundation - Isaac Asimov (F)
    • The Cold Dish: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 1) - Craig Johnson (F)
    April 2018
    • Growing Up Christian - Karl Gaustein with Mark Jacobsen (NF). This is a great tool to use for discipling our children who are growing up as 'church kids' to help us to help them to recognize the blessings and dangers in growing up 'Christian.' It is very helpful at encouraging them to examine themselves to be sure they truly understand the gospel and are in the faith, rather than merely mimicking their parents' faith. Very much recommended.
    • Death Without Company: A Walt Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 2) - Craig Johnson (F).  I've found a new favorite series. Some language caution (a couple of characters can at times be a bit salty in their language). Interesting and believable characters, humor, intriguing stories.
    • Race and Economics - Walter E. Williams (NF). 
    • Christy - Catherine Marshall (F).  I loved this book!
    • Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J.D. Vance (NF).  This is such a good book, sad, poignant, but somewhat hopeful. I have so many thoughts I wish I could discuss with someone after reading this, I'm going to have to call my mom. I see many similarities, yet many differences to things she has told me about her family and grandparents and great-grandparents.  To some extent, the 'hillbillies' are my ancestors, too, though there are differences to mom's and dad's stories that are significant. One thing that made me angry while reading, though, is that the Christianity that is pictured is more cultural than Christian. While I know I'm reading through the author's lens and it's possible that in his youth and struggles he just missed the larger message, it seems that even when he went to church he was more inundated with outward things and changes rather than the actual gospel message. We all need the gospel, not mere separation from the world, but we need to know reconciliation with God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This is what changes us and grants us true hope. I agree with a lot of the cultural issues discussed and analyzed so well and insightfully in the book, they are real and need to be addressed, but I'm angry and saddened at the shallow Christianity presented in many churches that preach Americanism on one hand and focus on separating from the world but seem to miss the point ultimately in preaching true gospel salvation. Our identity needs to be in Christ, we need to be following HIM, we need Him and His righteousness to save us from ourselves. It isn't enough to have our own version of Christianity apart from any church but remaining in our deep-seated, individualistic, I'll-do-it-my-way pride,  nor is to legalistically change outward behavior and stop watching movies, listening to certain music,  and fill our minds reading Left Behind books and steeping ourselves in the evangelical subculture while seeing the devil behind everything else. That is not Christianity. Christianity is dying to ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Christ. It is to see Jesus as more precious and worthy than anything else in life. I have so much more I'm thinking, but this isn't the place to share it, and I need time to think. I really am glad I read this book. 
    • Kindness Goes Unpunished: A Walt Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 3) - Craig Johnson (F).
    May 2018
    • Another Man's Moccasins: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 4) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • The Alice Network: A Novel - Kate Quinn (F).
    • The Dark Horse: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 5) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different From Us (and why that's a good thing) - Jen Wilkin (NF). Recommended!
    • Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology - Leah Remini (NF). 
    • Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God - Athena Dean Holtz (NF). 
    • Junkyard Dogs: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 6) - Craig Johnson (F).
    June 2018
    • The Quest for Cosmic Justice - Thomas Sowell (NF). Wow.  I would love to see this as recommended reading for every high school senior.  Very well thought out and written. 
    • Hell is Empty: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 7) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Memory Man - David Baldacci (F).
    July 2018
    • The Last Mile (Memory Man Series Book 2) - David Baldacci (F).
    • As the Crow Flies: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Book 8) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Believe Me - JP Delaney (F).
    August 2018
    • Watchfulness - Brian G. Hedges (NF). Recommended! I took my time reading this short little book because it is packed with wisdom and I want to remember, not just read it, put it down, and move on to other things, but to take to heart what I've read. 
    • The Things You Find in Rockpools - Gregg Dunnett (F).
    • A Serpent's Tooth: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 9) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Divorce Horse (Longmire Short Story) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Christmas in Absaroka County: Walt Longmire Christmas Stories - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Messenger: A Walt Longmire Story - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices - Thomas Brooks (NF).
    September 2018
    • Pushing Brilliance (Kyle Achilles, Book 1) - Tim Tigner (F).
    • Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng (F). Having lived in Shaker Heights, OH for a year, I enjoyed this book. Definitely captures the feel of living in Shaker Heights.  Some things I liked, many I did not. 
    • The Storyteller's Secret - Sejal Badani (F). I loved this book. 
    October 2018
    • Any Other Name (Walt Longmire Books Book 10) - Craig Johnson (F)
    • Gilead - Marilynne Robinson (F). Beautifully written, I loved this.
    • Wait for Signs:Twelve Longmire Stories - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Made For His Pleasure - Alistair Begg (NF). This is the book I will be recommending to anyone I can.  Such an encouraging book! How I want to love and serve Jesus more. 
    November 2018
    • Them: Why We Hate Each Other - And How to Heal - Ben Sasse (NF). HIGHLY recommend.  How I long for more voices like Ben Sasse to speak into the current public discourse. Whether you agree with him on policy or not, what he says about regaining a sense of being fellow countrymen, good neighbors who invest in community, and recognizing and honoring the dignity of all people, even those with whom we disagree, is a refreshing and MUCH needed corrective to the current mess that we find ourselves in. 
    • Sing!: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church - Keith and Kristyn Getty (NF).
    • Black Rednecks and White Liberals - Thomas Sowell (NF). One of the premier thinkers of our day. He really ought to be required reading for those who want to talk about 'social justice.' 
    • Frankenstein - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (F). My high school senior was reading this for English and I realized I don't remember if I've actually read the original book or not, so now I have. Didn't really like it all that much. 
    • 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You - Tony Reinke (NF). This is probably one of the most useful and important books I've read this year. I would go so far as to say I HIGHLY recommend this to any Christian who has a smartphone or engages at all with social media. Truly well written and thought-provoking, on a topic that is vital that we think well and deeply about - how to use smartphones and social media wisely and to God's glory and not get lost in the trivial and idolatrous, examining carefully our habits and motivations in this area.  This is a warning and a message that is desperately needed today. I've been thinking a great deal for some time about how and why I use social media, and I found this a refreshing and much needed discussion. I'm going to put this in front of all three of my kids and insist that they read it thoughtfully.
    December 2018
    • The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart (F). I bought this for my daughter after a recommendation from several friends, and it's very good. I hope she will listen to me and try it - I think she will enjoy it.
    • Dry Bones: A Walt Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries, Book 11) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Home - Marilynne Robinson (F).
    • The Highwayman: A Longmire Mystery - Craig Johnson (F).

    January 2019

    • Lila - Marilynne Robinson (F). Probably my least favorite of the three books in the Gilead trilogy, but I still liked it. 
    • Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng (F). I have come to enjoy this author, especially now that I know she grew up in Shaker Heights, OH, where we lived for a year.  I probably don't agree with her a whole lot politically, and that's ok, as I can see since I've followed her on Twitter, but she is, nonetheless, a great writer. If I only ever read authors I completely agreed with, my reading would be dull and my thinking shallow, and I have enjoyed both of her books and hope to see more from her in the future.
    • Jesus Wins: The Good News of the End Times - Dayton Hartman (NF). This was an encouraging little book. Tim Challies wrote a review and that's what sparked my interest. 
    • A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving (F).
    February 2019
    • Girls of Glass - Brianna Labuskes (F).
    • The Western Star ( A Longmire Mystery) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Gay Girl, Good God - Jackie Hill Perry (NF). Wow, this was good. God is so good, and what a testimony to His immense grace and love and goodness.  I found a rich deepening in my desire to fully believe in the power of God to save through His gospel, and save to the uttermost, even when things may seem impossible from my limited perspective, as I pray for others and for my own heart as I read this. 
    March 2019
    • Depth of Winter (A Longmire Mystery) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Danger in the Shadows (O'Malley Book 0) - Dee Henderson (F).  I'm not a huge fan of Christian fiction, as I've said, but this was ok.  I saw this listed by some friends as having liked the series and thought I'd try it.  I liked it ok, but I don't think I'll continue the series.  I have my qualms, still, but won't go into depth with my criticisms here, except that I was discouraged when I looked up the author's webpage to try to find out a little about her and she links to books  (nonfiction) by authors that I find very troubling (Bill Johnson, for one). I had been bothered by how shallow the discussions about 'God' and prayer were, though better than some Christian fiction I've read (Jesus is never mentioned, gospel belief is assumed, but sort of shallow in portrayal in my opinion, etc.), considering how much opportunity there was imbedded in the story itself to go much more in depth with that. And I guess I'm just not a huge fan of romance novels in general. Sorry, I don't mean to be critical.  I don't expect novels to be heavy on theology, but it just felt shallow to me, when, given the subject matter, it could have been richer. On her webpage she talks about more recent books having a deeper discussion of theological things, but after seeing who she links to as recommendations, I think I'm wary. 
    • 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You - Tony Reinke (NF). Because of something I'm working on, I read this again. I was reminded why I recommended it so strongly the first time.  I think maybe it's one I would benefit to revisit every year, to be honest. 
    April 2019
    • Dune - Frank Herbert (F). A classic. I read it because my boys were reading it and, though I'm pretty sure I read it a long time ago, I couldn't remember much of it. I don't need to read the rest of the series.  It was ok, but, I'd rather move on and read something else. You can definitely see how much of Star Wars is taken from it, though. 
    • Respectable Sins - Jerry Bridges (NF). Our women's Bible study this year from September through April at church was based on this book, with a study guide written by our pastor's wife and the curriculum committee form our church. As we were working through the study, I began to realize a lot of the book sounded very familiar, and I checked my Kindle, and, sure enough, I had read it a few years ago. I got much more from it this time around, though, taking all these months to slowly work through it and through the homework, because I had to take the time to think and digest.  My biggest take away is how much I know recognize throughout the day as a sinful attitude or thought that I didn't before, and how very many of them I am still so prone to. But God's mercy is so great, and I am thankful! And the chapter on Ungodliness has stuck with me, because that just seems to be the pervasive sin underneath all the others.  Now that we've done this in depth study, I want to keep the book out and re-read it periodically.  I do not want to forget. 
    • I Was Anastasia - Ariel Lawhon (F).  I liked this one.
    • The Screwtape Letters - C. S. Lewis (F).
    May 2019
    • Absolute Power - David Baldacci (F).
    • The Clockmaker's Daughter - Kate Morton (F). Kate Morton has become one of my favorite authors, and I've enjoyed everything I've read from her.  This book is no exception.  I loved it, and I loved the characters. Beautifully written, and sad, but in a satisfying sort of way. 
    • Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus - Nabeel Qureshi (NF). This is the best book I've read yet this year.  Such a powerful testimony. 
    • Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn (F).  Did not finish and cannot recommend.  The language and other stuff were awful, I did not like the characters (probably not supposed to), figured out the big mid-book plot twist before it was revealed, and just don't want to spend more time and mental energy filling my brain with the atrocious language and stuff. I did something I almost never do and found a plot summary to see if I even would have liked the ending. Doesn't look like it, so good call on not finishing. Just not my cup of tea.
    • Pray Big: Learn to Pray Like an Apostle - Alistair Begg (NF).  This was very good, one I will read more than once to keep it fresh in my mind. 
    June 2019
    • Hinds Feet on High Places - Hannah Gurnard (F).
    • The Apostles' Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits - R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (NF).
    • The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1) - Bernard Cornwell (F).  I really liked this one. Looking forward to reading the rest of this series.  
    • Total Control - David Baldacci (F).
    • The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2) - Bernard Cornwell (F). 
    July 2109
    • Secret Undertaking - Mark de Castrique (F).
    • Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) - Bernard Cornwell (F). Due to our move to Virginia, July was a slower than usual reading month, but I liked both of these books.
    August 2019
    • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling (F).  Wanted to read these again, and while waiting for a library book I have on hold, I thought I'd start the series again. 
    • Spiritual Depression - D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (NF). I kept starting this and then putting it down for several weeks until I finally decided I needed to read it and quit waiting until I felt like reading it.  I'm so glad I did.  I very much needed this at this season of my life.  I'm keeping it on my Kindle for rereading as needed when that darkness looms again. It's a great discussion of right thinking about Christian living. I highly recommend it. 
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling (F).
    • Sword Song (The Saxon Stories, #4) - Bernard Cornwell (F).
    • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling (F).
    September 2019
    • Putting Amazing Back into Grace - Michael Horton (NF).  I very much liked this one. I could relate to so much of what he described growing up evangelical and struggling with assurance of salvation.  Having a biblical view of grace and salvation has been such a blessing. 
    • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J. K. Rowling (F).
    • The Hand of God: Finding His Care in All Circumstances - Alistair Begg (NF).
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling (F).
    • The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (F).  This was very good, well-written and moving. 

    October 2019
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince  - J. K. Rowling (F).
    • Unlikely Converts: Improbable Stories of Faith and What They Teach Us About Evangelism - Randy Newman (NF).  This may be one of my favorite books I've read this year.  It is encouraging me to pray more passionately and I want to change - to be more open to opening my my heart and my mouth and really engaging with people. 
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J. K. Rowling (F).
    • Beyond Authority and Submission: Women and Men in Marriage, Church, and Society - Rachel Green Miller (NF).
    • An Equal Justice - Chad Zunker (F).
    November 2019
    • The Winner - David Baldacci (F).
    • The Burning Land (The Saxon Stories, #5) - Bernard Cornwell (F).
    • Empire Falls - Richard Russo (F).
    • What Angels Wish They Knew: The Basics of True Christianity - Alistair Begg (NF).
    December 2019

    • The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up A Generation For Failure - Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt (NF)
    • The Simple Truth - David Baldacci (F).
    • Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation  - Dennis E. Johnson (NF).  This was very good. 
    • Saving Faith - David Baldacci (F).


    January 2020
    • In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life - Sinclair B. Ferguson (NF).
    • Land of Wolves (Walt Longmire) - Craig Johnson (F).
    • Long Before Luther: Tracing the Heart of the Gospel From Christ to the Reformation - Nathan Busenitz (NF).  On Sunday evenings, our pastor will often recommend books to us, and this is one of them. In discussions with Catholics about the Reformation you often hear it said that the reformers were teaching something new when they insisted upon the doctrine of justification by faith alone.  Busenitz does an excellent job of tracing the doctine all the way from Christ to the writings of early church fathers and on to thinkers in the medieval church. Where those thinkers were basing their writing in scripture, this doctrine was clearly not an innovation at the time of Martin Luther. My favorite part of the book is the appendix where he shares "100 selected quotes from church history highlighting salvation by grace alone and the truth that believers are justified solely  through faith in Christ, apart from works."
    • The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage - Robert Lindsey (NF).
    • The Cyber Effect: An Expert in Cyberpsychology Explains How Technology Is Shaping Our Children, Our Behavior, and Our Values - and What We Can Do About it - Mary Aiken (NF). I have to admit, this one disturbed me a bit.  The author highlights some very necessary conversations we, as a society, need to be having about technology. I found myself feeling a bit overwhelmed and kind of discouraged at the magnitude of the unregulated social experiment we are effectively performing with all our smartphones and internet saturation. I'd say this is an important read for anyone who spends any time at all navigating social media and cyberspace, and especially for those of us raising children in this new and sometimes terrifying environment.  Sometimes I find myself wishing we could turn back time and go offline, but that's unrealistic - the ship has sailed and now we need to take some long and hard looks at how to navigate this world we're in and protect our kids and arm them with wisdom as best we can.  Cyber technology IS affecting us, whether we want to admit it or not. 
    • Wish You Well - David Baldacci (F).  I loved this one.
    • The Names of the Dead - Kevin Wignall (F).
    February 2020
    • The Pact - Robert Patrick Lewis (F).  I borrowed this for free with my Amazon Prime account because my Kindle kept offering it as a suggestion and it had reviews that made it sound exciting. I didn't finish or even get real far with this one.  I didn't hate it, per se, I just wasn't ever drawn in enough to care much about the people or what was about to happen to them. For such an exciting premise, the writing was kind of bland. It's pretty obviously a self-published sort of thing and really could have benefited from a good editor. Annoying grammatical errors and plot devices and such that a good editor would have helped the author to tighten up.  Characters were flat and unrealistic scenarios (like why did he just drive off and leave the nanny who obviously understood his need for preparedness and took care of his kids and the supplies and was worried herself, never to be mentioned again? Why not take her with them? Did he not care about her? Besides, then she would have been there to help watch the young kids who he kind of just leaves alone in their room for extended periods of time. Sure. Where is the ex-wife, why are they divorced, how did he get custody of these young children, does he care nothing about the mother of his children that she's not mentioned as a fleshed-out person, and he just leaves the nanny and apparently the ex-wife behind to face the horrors that are coming? How in the world did he get out of Los Angeles with no traffic, no mass panic ensuing if internet and phones are out and they're under mysterious attack?) Maybe it would have gotten better if I had kept on, but after about 20% into the book, I just didn't buy into it, got tired of all the "brother, bro" special forces blah, blah, blah telling, telling, telling about family and brotherhood ("show, don't tell!"), and while it has the makings of an interesting story, it just isn't written in a compelling enough way for me to want to spend the time reading it. 
    • The Pursuit of Holiness - Jerry Bridges (NF).
    • Last Man Standing - David Baldacci (F).
    • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis (F).  I've read this more times than I can remember, but I love the series.  My daughter and I are reading them together in the evenings.  I love that she still enjoys spending time together to read aloud - you never get too old to enjoy sharing stories together like that.  
    • Death of Kings (The Saxon Stories, #6) - Bernard Cornwell (F).
    • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann (NF).  This was very interesting and, like most stories about our country's history with the Native American tribes, tragic, parts just downright evil, sad, and hard to read.  But, though hard to read, I think it's important that these stories be told and not forgotten. 
    • Stepping Heavenward - Elizabeth Prentiss (F).  This is one of my very favorite books, I don't know how many times I've read it, but I love it more each time.  I read it again every so often just because I like it so much.
    • Unveiling Grace: The Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church - Lynn K. Wilder (NF).
    March 2020
    • Split Second - David Baldacci (F).
    • The Turn of the Key - Ruth Ware (F).  Intense.  I couldn't put it down. 
    • The Faith of America's Presidents - Daniel J. Mount (NF).
    • The Black Echo - Michael Connelly (F). 
    • The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (F).
    • Prince Caspian - C. S. Lewis (F).
    • Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation - Brad Ricca (NF).
    • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek - Kim Michele Richardson (F). This was really good. Made me cry several times. Very interesting, historical fiction, and well-written - I cared very much about the characters.
    April 2020
    • Code Talker: The first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII - Chester Nez, Judith Schiess Avila (NF).
    • The Dutch House - Ann Patchett (F).  
    • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C. S. Lewis (F).
    • Need to Know: Your Guide to the Christian Life - Gary Millar (NF).
    • Hour Game - David Baldacci (F). 
    • The Silver Chair - C. S. Lewis (F). I'm reading these out loud to my daughter, and it's been so much fun.  There have been several times I had to stop reading for the tears.  I just love these books so much. 
    • The Letter for the King - Tonke Dragt (F). This was a serendipitous find. We were introduced to it when we stumbled across the Netflix Original series loosely based on it. We liked the series ok except for the obligatory plot device Netflix seems to always throw in that we don't care for, but when we saw it was based on a book we'd never heard of, we were intrigued.  It turns out that this book was originally published in the Netherlands in 1962 and translated from the Dutch into English in 2013. The Netflix story line veers pretty significantly from the book - basically it turns into a different story.  They basically used the very first part of the book, kept the names and places the same and changed the story fairly significantly. The book is delightful - definitely written as an older children's book, though as an adult I was able to enjoy it very much (which, according to a C. S. Lewis quote I love would make it a very good children's book indeed), and as a translation sometimes the language is a little stilted, but overall it is a good, clean story of chivalry, knights, honor, adventure, and friendship.  I enjoyed it enough I went ahead and bought the sequel to read also.  And, another serendipity is that now I've been introduced to Pushkin Children's Books, which has this on its About page on its website: "Pushkin Press was founded in 1997, and publishes novels, essays, memoirs, children's books - everything from timeless classics to the urgent and contemporary. Our books represent exciting, high-quality writing from around the world: we publish some of the twentieth century’s most widely acclaimed, brilliant authors such as Stefan Zweig, Marcel Aymé, Teffi, Antal Szerb, Gaito Gazdanov and Yasushi Inoue, as well as compelling and award-winning contemporary writers, including Andrés Neuman, Edith Pearlman, Eka Kurniawan and Ayelet Gundar-Goshen. Pushkin Press publishes the world's best stories, to be read and read again." That sounds interesting enough to investigate, I think. 
    • Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ - Russ Ramsey (NF).  I liked this very much, and I'm keeping it to read again in the future.
    • The Horse and His Boy - C. S. Lewis (F).
    • The Camel Club - David Baldacci (F).
    • The Magician's Nephew - C. S. Lewis (F).
    May 2020
    • All Things For Good - Thomas Watson (NF).
    • The Last Battle - C. S. Lewis (F).
    • The Guardians - John Grisham (F).
    • Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: How the Church Needs to Rediscover Her Purpose - Aimee Byrd (NF).
    • The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time series, #1) - Robert Jordan (F).
    • The Secrets of the Wild Wood - Tonke Dragt (F).
    • The Magician's Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society - edited by John G. West (NF). This was very good.  Some was a bit philosophical and a little hard for me to follow, but overall very interesting. I especially appreciated the last section on society, and I found the last chapter eye-opening, helping me to grasp why there seems to be such a polarization and disconnect with people today and why it is almost impossible to have a rational, calm discussion when we have differing views.  We truly are dealing with a vast difference in how we view the world, and it's rather frightening.  
    • An Unequal Defense - Chad Zunker (F).
    June 2020
    • The Collectors (The Camel Club, Book #2) - David Baldacci (F).
    • Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens (F).  I enjoyed this one. It's rare these days that I find a book I have a hard time putting down.  This was so well-written.
    • The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time Series, #2) - Robert Jordan (F).
    • Out of the Silent Planet - C. S. Lewis (F).
    July 2020
    • Mere Christianity - C. S. Lewis (NF).
    • Perelandra - C. S Lewis (F).
    • Just Mercy:A Story Justice and Redemption - Bryan Stevenson (NF). Recommended.
    • The Screwtape Letters - C. S. Lewis (F).
    • Beartown - Fredrik Backman (F).
    • The Nickel Boys - Colson Whitehead (F).  This was heart-wrenching to read, and so well-written, one of those books that will stick with me for a long time.  Recommended. 
    • That Hideous Strength - C. S. Lewis (F).
    • The Holiness of God - R.C. Sproul (NF). Highly recommended. 
    • Us Against You - Fredrik Backman (F).
    August 2020
    • The Bark of the Bog Owl (The Wilderking Trilogy, Book 1) - Jonathan Rogers (F).  I loved this! I can't wait to share it with my daughter.  I know she will love it too. I found this when our pastor wrote about it on the Cripplegate blog. You can read his recommendation here
    • 1984 - George Orwell (F).
    • God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel: How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies - Costi W. Hinn (NF). This was good.
    • Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom - David W. Blight (NF)
    • Ann Judson: A Missionary Life for Burma: A Biography, Including Selections From Her memoir and Letters - Sharon James (NF).  This was a beautiful account of a remarkable woman and a life well lived for the glory of Christ.  
    • The Secret of the Swamp King (The Wilderking Trilogy, Book 2) - Jonathan Rogers (F).
    • The Way of the Wilderking (The Wilderking Trilogy, Book 3) - Jonathan Rogers (F).
    September 2020

    • Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng (F).
    • The Song of Seven - Tonke Dragt (F).
    • Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters - Abigail Shrier (NF).
    • You're Not Enough (And That's Okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love - Allie Beth Stuckey (NF).
    • On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness  (The Wingfeather Saga, Book 1) - Andrew Peterson (F). This was so good! I love Andrew Peterson's music, and some time ago I learned that he had written these books for middle school aged kids, and I wanted to try them.  A few years ago, I bought the first one for my daughter for Christmas, but she didn't really get into it at the time and I got busy with other things and forgot about it. Then I saw that he was announcing that he had republished the series with new, beautiful illustrations and I remembered that I had wanted to read them, and I ordered the new version of the first book.  My daughter snatched it up first and LOVED it, so I ordered the second book and books three and four are also preordered for when they release in October.  I very much enjoyed this first book and can't wait to read the second one when my daughter finishes it. I love it when we find books we can read together and enjoy together like this.  
    • Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape From the Democrat Plantation - Candace Owens (NF).
    • Ichthus: Jesus Christ, God's Son, the Saviour - Sinclair B. Ferguson and Derek W. H. Thomas (NF).
    • North! Or Be Eaten (The Wingfeather Saga, Book 2) - Andrew Peterson (F).
    October 2020
    • The Monster in the Hollows (The Wingfeather Saga, Book 3) - Andrew Peterson (F).
    • The Warden and the Wolf King (The Wingfeather Saga, Book 4) - Andrew Peterson (F).  Wow.  This series was so good.
    • The Juvenilization of American Christianity - Thomas Bergler (NF). 
    November 2020
    • The Dragon Reborn (The Wheel of Time Series, #3) - Robert Jordan (F).
    • The Beekeeper's Promise - Fiona Valpy (F).
    • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon (F).
    • Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (F).
    • Show Me Your Glory: Understanding the Majestic Splendor of God - Steven J. Lawson (NF).
    December 2020
    • The Shadow Rising (The Wheel of Time Series, #4) - Robert Jordan (F). 
    • Echo Island - Jared C. Wilson (F).
    • The Christmas Train - David Baldacci (F).
    • Live Not By Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents - Rod Dreher (NF).  This was quite sobering and eye-opening, and I recommend it. 
    January 2021
    • Faith Alone - R.C. Sproul (NF).
    • The Fires of Heaven (The Wheel of Time Series, #5) - Robert Jordan (F).
    • Simple Genius - David Baldacci (F).
    • Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity - and Why This Harms Everybody - Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay (NF). Overall, I found this a helpful and critical look at Critical Theory and Postmodernism. Aside from the authors' rather obvious bias against deeply held religious belief, I even found much to appreciate in their proposed solution of a more liberal (in the classical sense of liberalism) approach to scholarship and discourse.  I wouldn't have lumped all people who hold a strong religious faith quite as solidly with other ideas they attribute to the far right (like white supremacy, for example), but I can overlook the bias and appreciate such a sentiment very well could stem from their own experiences, and I appreciate the intent, knowing my own beliefs and community as I do. And I have to think liberal-minded authors like these would appreciate the nuance and willingness to discuss and accept discussion on that. Overall I would recommend this book. 
    February 2021
    • The Power and the Glory - Graham Greene (F).
    • The Green Ember - S.D. Smith. Another great middle/high school book find! This was recommended by our pastor on The Cripplegate blog, the first of a four book series, and once again, I loved this.  Pretty much if Pastor Jesse recommends a book, I usually find that it's one I want to read.  We've found several good new book series in the past year that my daughter and I have thoroughly enjoyed, and I had bought this one for her for Christmas upon reading the recommendation. She has been so busy reading for school she hasn't had a chance yet to read it, but having just finished the first book, I know she's going to love this. I bought the second in the series last night at the church bookstore before choir practice, and I'll probably get the next two as well. I was hesitant at first, because it's about rabbits and I wasn't so sure about that, but, as I've heard it described it's not so much like Watership Down, but  more like the Narnia books or the Wingfeather Saga, which I'm still emotional about. Definitely an engaging adventure story and I'm looking forward to finding out what is next in the ongoing adventure with Picket and Heather. 
    • This Tender Land - William Kent Krueger (F). This is one of those novels that is so well-written you kind of lose yourself in the story.  I liked this very much.
    • The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution - Carl Truman (NF).
    March 2021
    • Lord of Chaos (The Wheel of Time, Book #6) - Robert Jordan (F).
    • A Children's Bible - Lydia Millet (F).  After waiting quite a few weeks for this on library hold, it was disappointing, but I really did not like this one. At least it didn't take long to read, so I didn't waste too much time with it.
    • The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity - Douglas Murray (NF).
    • The Cost of Discipleship - Dietrich Bonhoeffer (NF).
    April 2021
    • A Crown of Swords (The Wheel of Time, Book #7) - Robert Jordan (F).
    • Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy - Andy Ngo (NF).
    • The Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time, Book #8) - Robert Jordan (F).
    • Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith - Michael Reeves (NF).  I loved this book. I am so glad one of our pastors recommended it.  I needed to read this today, and it is really good.  I will be pondering and leaning into the love of God for a long time after reading this.
    May 2021
    • The Whole Truth - David Baldacci (F).
    • Anxious People - Fredrik Backman (F).  This is the third book I've read by this author and I just really like the way he writes. He has so much insight into the anxieties and insecurities we all can struggle with and such a compelling way of depicting relationships and friendship and the kindnesses that follow when we attempt to look beyond the surface to the things we want to say but can't always express, and start attempting to see people for who they really are, in the way he spins out the story.  I'm looking forward to reading more of his novels. 
    • Winter's Heart (The Wheel of Time, Book #9) - Robert Jordan (F).
    • The New Reformation: Finding Hope in the Fight for Ethnic Unity - Shai Linne (NF).
    June 2021
    • Panic Attack: Playing Politics With Science in the Fights Against COVID-19 - Nicole Saphier, MD (NF).
    • Crossroads of Twilight (The Wheel of Time, Book #10) - Robert Jordan (F).  The last couple of books in the series I've only given 3 stars (and the last one I almost gave 2 stars it was that boring and frustrating) because they've just been so slow-going in terms of moving the plot forward.  These really could have stood for some editing and making them move along a bit faster with less words, and in the last book there was a major character and plot development I really don't like and which has made me not like certain characters nearly as much as I would have,  but I've read far enough into the series that I want to know how it will end, so I guess I'm committed at this point.  The last half of this one did pick up the pace a bit to where I actually wanted to start the next book right away when I finished it (though I need to read a library book that I've had on hold for weeks and which finally came available first), and from reviews I've read, it seems that the next books will be better, especially the last three when Brandon Sanderson took over to finish the series after Robert Jordan passed away, so I'm not giving up yet.  
    • Ordinary Grace - William Kent Krueger (F).  Beautifully written. I very much liked this one.
    • Ember Falls (The Green Ember, Book 2) - S. D. Smith (F).
    • Ember Rising (The Green Ember, Book 3) - S. D. Smith (F).
    • Ember's End (The Green Ember, Book 4) - S.D. Smith (F).  I loved this series.  To think I would cry real tears over rabbits.  It's a beautiful story and truly engaging.  I would highly recommend these books. 
    July 2021
    • How Lucky - Will Leitch (F).
    • A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman (F). Backman is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. Another good one.
    • Hope…the Best of Things - Joni Eareckson Tada (NF).
    • The Nightwatchman - Louise Erdrich (F).
    August 2021
    • Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, Book #11) - Robert Jordan (F).
    • The Gathering Storm (The Wheel of Time, Book #12) - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (F).  As I've read in many reviews, this was indeed better than the last several books in the series as Brandon Sanderson took over the writing. He seems to focus less on the minutiae and unimportant details that took up too much of those last few books and gets down to moving the story along better, and I'm looking forward to reading the last several books in the series to see how it all wraps up. One of my sons keeps asking if it's worth starting the series, and I'm conflicted on how to answer. On the one hand, I've enjoyed the story, but it's a pretty big time investment - the books are all very long and there are 14 of them, and those middle books do drag quite a bit and all the other things I've not liked about the treatment of women, along with the disturbing overall worldview. However, Sanderson does a better job of toning some of the things I hated in the last book down and actually succeeds in subtly making a character I knew we were supposed to like but who I had a hard time liking as written by Jordan much more likable without drastically changing her character finally, and I'm glad for that. So, yeah, if you're willing to spend as much time as it takes and wade through several books that needed better editing to get to the good part, it's worth it, but not if you don't want to spend all that time on one series. There are so many good books out there to read - it's hard to justify it, in a way. As my other son and I were discussing, the problem with these epic fantasy series is that while the world-building and story may be interesting, they're just so long and there is so much else out there to read besides fantasy that it would be sad to limit yourself just to this genre. You miss out on so much other very beautiful and well-written literature if all you read is these long, epic fantasies. That's why I'm hesitating to read the next one he keeps telling me to read. I'll finish this series and then take a break to read some other things for a bit, I think, before I decide to take on another long fantasy series. 
    September 2021
    • The Plot - Jean Hanff Korelitz (F).
    • Towers of Midnight (The Wheel of Time, Book #13) - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (F).
    October 2021
    • A Memory of Light (The Wheel of Time, Book #14) - Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (F).  I think overall I liked this series ok, but it was just so long and drawn out that by the end I was too exhausted by it to be as emotionally impacted as I usually am at the end of a good series.  It was a satisfying ending for the world that the author created, but the overarching worldview of that world was one I didn't care for - too much like Eastern philosophy for my taste, with the idea of the need for the darkness balanced with the light and the idea that mankind will ultimately choose honor and light and good. The Creator/Light was much too impersonal and uninvolved with the outcome for the creation, though characters would often pray for the Light or the Creator to shelter someone, there was NO indication that there was any sort of loving or even involved creator to do that. It all hinged on the relentless turning of the Wheel of Time and endless cycles of rebirth similar to the concept of reincarnation and Eastern thought,  and and blind spinning of the pattern by the wheel, kind of like the impersonal idea of fate, and the hope that people would choose the light over the darkness. Anyway. I'm glad to have finished it. Not sure I'd give it a hearty recommendation since I don't really feel all that much enduring love for any of the characters or the story now that I've spent all this time reading it. So that's that. 
    • Britt-Marie Was Here - Fredrik Backman (F).
    November 2021
    • Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries, Book 1)- James Runcie (F).
    • The Unsaved Christian: Reaching Cultural Christianity With the Gospel - Dean Inserra (NF). Of the books I've read so far this year, this is one I very much recommend. It's an important message, convicting and challenging and necessary, especially as someone who lives and grew up in the so-called Bible-belt.  Highly recommended.
    • The Means - Douglas Brunt (F).
    • Pathway to Freedom: How God's Laws Guide Our Lives - Alistair Begg (NF).
    December 2021
    • One Faith No Longer: The Transformation of Christianity in Red and Blue America- George Yancey and Ashlee Quosigk (NF).   In his book Christianity and Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen made the argument that liberalism and Christianity are actually two different religions.  This study pretty well bears that out, making a convincing case that the differences in Progressive Christianity and Conservative Christianity are so profound that we are probably witnessing the divergence of the two into separate religious categories.  Interesting read, though if we have been paying attention in recent years, sadly it is not terribly surprising in its findings, to be honest.
    • Mystic River - Dennis Lehane (F).
    • My Last Name - Eric Schumacher (F).  This was a beautiful little story. I finished it in one afternoon, but it left me in sweet tears. 
    • Jack - Marilynne Robinson (F).
    • Cry, The Beloved Country - Alan Paton (F).
    • Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane (F).
    • Christians Get Depressed Too - David P. Murray (NF). Recommended.  This should probably be recommended reading for all Christians, especially if you know someone struggling with depression, or you are experiencing it yourself.  This short book is easy to read and very compassionate and practical, a realistic and helpful look at the complexity of depression.
    • Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making - Andrew Peterson (NF).  I really loved this book. Andrew Peterson is one of my very favorite singer/songwriter/authors, and this book is beautiful.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
    • Gospel Meditations for Christmas - Chris Anderson, Joe Tyrpak, & Michael Barrett (NF).