I'm convinced if we all received at least one book for Christmas, and read that book, the world would be a happier place. Here are a few titles to get your gifting list started:
Forgiving God: A Story Of Faith by Hilary Yancey
Yancey is first and foremost a wonderful writer. I was already familiar with her birthing story from social media, but I appreciated reading the details in long form. When her firstborn Jackson experiences life-threatening medical issues, Yancey's faith was challenged. Prayers didn't give them the miracle they thought they'd receive. The way she tells this story helps readers understand that sometimes bad news doesn't ruin us, but helps us reframe the way we see everything, including God.
I wasn't familiar with Gopo, but I kept seeing this book all over social media, so I wanted to read it for myself. My word. Her writing in essay form was at times breathtaking. Really soulful. A black woman of Jamaican descent who grew up in Alaska, but eventually made her way to the mainland. All of this raises the question, how do we define identity? Storytelling that'll make you think.
A thoughtful, well-referenced read on our tendency to forget about the mission field in our own backyards. I don't live in the suburbs, and still found myself relating to much of this book. What exactly are we chasing? Discussion questions after each chapter, making this an excellent book club choice.
The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey To Healthy Relationships by Suzanne Stabile
I'm new to the enneagram, but I see it talked about a lot on social media. This book is an excellent introduction with a ton of examples for each personality type. It doesn't have a personality test, but you can find several easily online. You'll start to see yourself, and those around you, with new eyes of understanding after seeing our personality styles broken down by numbers 1-9.
I was looking forward to the story of the author and Mohammed, some of which I first followed online. What I didn’t expect were the lessons I’d learn about friendship. The idea that we in America might have forgotten how to be a friend. This story was a modern-day Good Samaritan telling, from a great storyteller.
Grief and humor fit somehow. THAT’S why I love this book. The author suffered through infertility, and she’s willing to tell you about it. And draw illustrations. And leave you laughing, while you’re in the midst of a very hard time. This book could be just what you need to get through the really hard stuff.... with a little humor.
Readers trace one family's beginning among extended family, to New York City, and back again. Along the way, the author writes about the "noise" of life; large family gatherings, navigating in a big city, and all the while, a growing family. Some of the stories left me laughing, while others had me tearing up. Would it even be possible to find Selah (the psalmist turn for pause) in the midst of life's chaos?
The author writes as one who grew up in a rural church, so he knows of the experience firsthand. Mixed in with his own story, and those of several others, is a ton of facts about how rural church ministry got its start, where it's come from, and how it will be important moving forward. A comprehensive book that would be excellent curriculum for a class on rural churches.
Honest Worship: From False Self To True Praise by Manuel Luz
The author writes from his own experience, good and bad, with worship. He offers a warning to modern churches, worship needs to return to a focus on corporate unity and on worship of God. A practical book as well that offers ways to incorporate changes in our local churches.
Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin
We used Waves of Mercy as a book club choice, and we spent a lot of time discussing what might happen in the sequel. Well, we got some things right, and certainly more than a few surprises. Both books are delightful reads. Wonderful!
Paul And His Friends by Rebekah McLeod Hutto
Adorable illustrations. A fictional account of the biblical characters that's full of fact too. The first thing my daughter did was flip to the back, where there's an index of all the animals used to illustrate the characters. Unprompted, she sat down to read it right away!
The Little Shop of Found Things: A Novel by Paula Brackston
Fine fiction! A quaint town in England, both now and in the 1600s. A story of ghosts, time travel, romance and antique shopping. A whirlwind of a tale that keeps you reading so you can find out how it will all end.
This Heavy Silence by Nicole Mazzarella
A beautiful telling of a story that won't quite be wrapped up with a bright red bow. When Dottie Connell takes in her best friend's young daughter, they find a way to live together. Over the next decade, a series of choices are made that forge a barrier between Dottie and the now-teenage girl she's trying to raise. Complicated layers to cut through as the two of them find a way to appreciate who the other is, and who they are not.
Lights on the Mountain by Cheryl Anne Tuggle
A melancholy read, where you're introduced to the characters slowly. The main character, Jess, has always intended to be a dairy farmer. He marries a devout Russian Orthodox woman, and her faith walk is seamlessly woven into their daily life. I appreciated learning about a different Christian tradition, while reading about the familiar life of farm living and a small town. There's no way to guess all the twists and turns in this novel.
I received a copy of "Forgiving God," "All The Colors We Will See," "The Path Between Us," "Finding Selah," "The Forgotten Church," "Honest Worship," and "The Little Shop of Found Things" from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. I received a copy of "Paul and His Friends," "This Heavy Silence," and "Lights on the Mountain" from the publisher, Paraclete Press, for the purpose of generating a review. I received a copy of "Finding Holy In The Suburbs," "Once We Were Strangers," "Legacy of Mercy," and "Infreakinfertility" from the authors for being on their launch teams. The opinions expressed here are my own.