I didn't realize I'd read my way through so many books in the last couple months! A few of these were real page-turners, so it's understandable. If you are buying a Mother's Day gift for a reader, you'll find lots of good suggestions on this list. Really, though, they're great reading anytime! Readers, I'd encourage you to visit often next week. I'm sharing about my seven favorite faith-based books over on Facebook - one book at a time. I'm also going to be writing a post about that one time some FRIENDS of mine wrote pieces for a wonderful anthology called Everbloom. Spring is here and everything's coming up books!
Made Well: Finding Wholeness In The Everyday Sacred Moments (by Jenny Simmons)
I didn't realize it until I started reading this, but the author was a singer with Addison Road. The band's song, "What Do I Know Of Holy" is one of my absolute favorites. Apparently, she can sing and write. This book takes you back to her childhood, on the road with the band, and into her life with family and friends as well. Through some great storytelling, she examines grief, hurting and healing. Really beautiful.
Next Door As It Is In Heaven: Living Out God's Kingdom In Your Neighborhood (by Lance Ford & Brad Brisco)
In this book, we read about everyday faith from two guys who have careers in churchwork and neighborhood ministries. It's full of examples, biblical truth and sound advice - mainly to quit trying so hard. Being an intentionally good neighbor is an excellent way to show you are a Christian. Here's one quote:
With genuine, biblical hospitality, the focus is not on us as the host. Instead, it is on our guest. Our concern is not on the appearance of our home, but on the needs and concerns of those invited into our homes.
The New City Catechism Devotional: God's Truth For Our Hearts And Minds (The Gospel Coalition) (by Collin Hansen & Timothy J. Keller)
Recently, a woman asked a question in a Facebook community - What ideas can you share about ways to teach our children the creeds and catechisms of our faith? I wish I'd known about this book when she asked that question.
For those of you who don't know, these catechisms are questions and answers about the Christian faith that some traditions memorize in order to better understand the basics. Question #1 from the Heidelberg Catechism (and my favorite and the only one I really know and I only have the first part memorized): Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death? A. That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. This book presents readers with 52 questions and answers, alongside Scripture relevant to the teaching. Then, a contemporary pastor writes a short devotional and prayer relating to the truth. This is an excellent book for parents who want to implement catechism teaching into their faith training. Or for anyone looking for further meaning behind why we learn these catechisms. PS This book comes out at the end of this month.
English Gardens: The Crooked Path Of Growing Toward Faith (by Andrea Lucado)
For those of us who read and write about the church, we hear about Millennials all the time. This book doesn't tell us about that generation, it's written by one of them. The author grows up in a conservative Christian environment many of us relate to, then she goes on a real adventure, attending college in Oxford, England (she doesn't attend Oxford Oxford, so don't confuse the city with the university) for a year. Away from her faith roots, among those who have no faith roots, Andrea explores her faith in a way she never has before. She's honest in the telling. There's enough description of Oxford to be charming in that regard too. This book will lend itself to some important discussions. It's Andrea's debut book, and it comes out next week, but you can pre-order it.
Love, Faith And Infertility (by Nina Leicht-Crist)
Nina is a friend of mine online. That always makes it extra-special to review a book for a friend! She's German, yet I was amazed at her writing in this book. It was excellent, and showed glimpses of a different cultural background at the same time. The story is the heart of this book though. Nina tells her readers about how she met her husband, what it was like to become a stepmom and finally, about her journey into motherhood. As you can tell from the title, she suffered through bouts of infertility on that journey. I could not get over her raw determination, in spite of great emotional and monetary expense. Although anyone can appreciate this book for the good storytelling, it would be a treasure for someone struggling to become a mother.
First, a quick definition of the male version, flaneur: an idler, a loafer. It's someone who spends a lot of time walking around their community, and thus recognizing things others would miss in their hurried rush from place to place. I was drawn to this book, Flaneuse, because it offered stories about women who wander around some amazing cities. It was a good book, but I had no idea it would cover so many literary characters. It told of the author's wanderings in each city, but also told of literary women from different periods throughout history. That was a bit much for me to wade through, because I wasn't familiar with most of the references. Overall, it was still a solid read. If you are a Literature enthusiast, you'll enjoy this immensely.
Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung (by Min Kym)
I enjoyed this book very much. It's a true story (google it for more details). Min is a child prodigy, and she explores what that's like throughout her book. Her particular talent is the violin, so the readers learn about some of the songs that showcase talented violinists. I looked up each song she mentioned as she went through them, only to realize after I'd read the book that she offers a CD to accompany the book. It has many of these songs on it. Very cool! She also writes about the history of violins throughout the centuries, and which luthiers (a maker of a stringed instrument) are most famous for constructing violins. In the midst of all this, there's a crazy story about how her super expensive (think the price of a big house), rare (think one-of-a-kind) Strad violin gets STOLEN. I've already recommended this book to a couple of friends. A wonderful read for lots of reasons! PS The American version of this book just released on Tuesday!
The Whole Thing Together (Ann Brashares)
I picked this one up because I liked the cover (that's often what first draws me to a book). It's written by the author of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, which I enjoyed. Gosh, what a fantastic read! It's all about one family - sort of. A man and a woman were married, had three kids, then got a nasty divorce. In the settlement, they both retained ownership of the family's beach house on Long Island. Both people went on to marry again, each having another child. So, you have siblings, half-siblings and step-siblings. Here's the kicker; the two children from the new marriage never, ever meet. The original couple don't get along well enough, so even though the teen boy and girl share a room at this beach house, they are never there, or anywhere, at the same time. It's a tale and a half, and I had no idea where all it was going to take me. Here's a quick tip... jot down the family tree in the front of the book so you can quickly reference it throughout (especially if you're reading the e-book), because it's a LOT of names to keep straight. PS This book just released on Tuesday as well!
I'm linking this post up with the fine writers at Literacy Monday Musings Linkup. Be sure and visit their page for more reading suggestions.
I received a copy of Made Well, Next Door As It Is In Heaven, The New City Catechism Devotional, Flaneuse, Gone and The Whole Thing Together from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. I received a copy of Love, Faith And Infertility directly from the author in exchange for an honest review. I received a copy of English Gardens from Blogging for Books for the purpose of generating a review. The opinions expressed here are my own.