This has been a busy fall! We are getting ready to start traveling for our missions deputation, and I also just started another seminary class. Somehow I managed to complete 6 books for my #Read2017 challenge before that all really got going (several of which I’d already started earlier in the summer), plus a handful of easy fiction reads that weren’t included in my challenge categories.
Here’s what I read in September & October (contains affiliate links):
Speaking in Bones, by Kathy Reichs
Category: Mystery novel
Another great book in the series about Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (popularized by the tv show Bones). I have trouble reviewing fiction sometimes, because it seems so subjective – not about whether I learned anything new or whether everything was explained clearly, but how much I enjoyed the plot and related to the main characters. In this case, this story scored high on both counts. I always enjoy a good mystery that combines forensics with intellectual prowess (as opposed to high-action gum-shoeing), and the Bones books never disappoint. Mystery + medicine + a smattering general knowledge in history, geology, and religion = a page-turning novel that you won’t want to put down. Highly recommended if you enjoy the Bones series on tv, or just like a good detective story!
A Pocket Guide To… Astronomy, by Answers in Genesis
Category: Book about science
Interesting and brief look at the origins of the universe and various astronomical phenomenon (the speed of light, UFOs, the star of Bethlehem, etc). Each chapter is a short essay written from a biblical perspective, with Scripture references and other academic proofs given as proof of its veracity. It provides a good companion to further study of the universe, but is definitely not comprehensive in its coverage – even of those individual topics that it covers. Also, you might need a rudimentary understanding of the topics to begin with – for instance, the age of stars or composition of black holes – since it can get a little technical in some places. But it was interesting to delve into, and I will be returning to it in the future as I understand more of the scientific terms and theories.
Reading People, by Anne Bogel
Category: Book published in 2017
This book covers seven different systems for assessing personality that the author found most helpful in her own journey. Each chapter includes explanations of a framework and an overview of its main types; helpful tips based on Anne’s experience exploring it; and practical, real-life applications for marriage, parenting, productivity, the workplace, and spiritual life. Anne also provides specific cautions for taking each test (like, answer the questions based on what’s actually true, not what you want to be true), and points out the best websites or books to learn more about each system. There’s nothing like firsthand knowledge to help guide you through these tests! There’s also a lengthy section of helpful resources in the back for further study and exploration. I’ve been a student of other people ever since I first discovered the MBTI several years ago, so didn’t experience any eye-opening insights or profound takeaways, but it did intrigue me to learn about a few new-to-me frameworks and I’ve since started exploring those in my spare time. It also strengthened my understanding of how to use the various frameworks to better interact with others. Either way, whether you’re already familiar with personality tests or completely new to them, this is a great resource for better understanding and applying the lens of personality. Read the rest of my review.
Adorned, by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Category: Book about theology
A thought-provoking consideration of the Titus 2 passage that entreats older women and younger women to live in such a manner that they adorn the gospel. It’s not really a book to read on your own, although I’m sure there would be benefit in that. I think it’s more a book to read as a group, with some blend of older and younger women, and it’s packaged in a way that makes that easy. Each chapter has discussion questions at the end, some for each age group, and when I went through it with a group of women we ended up having some great conversations about women’s roles and interactions with each other, both inside and outside the church. I’d highly recommend it, as I would all of the author’s book — but I will note that it had a bit of a different feel than her previous works, partly due to the subject matter (a “community” topic rather than a personal/introspective topic) and likely also due to her own reflections on her recent marriage. It was great to hear some of her experiences as a newly-married older woman, and learn from the example of her and her husband.
A Gospel Primer for Christians, by Milton Vincent
Category: Book about the gospel
This one is definitely going into the “Best of 2017” category! It’s very short (only 97 pages!), but it’s worth working through very slowly. There’s four major sections in the book: reasons to rehearse the gospel, a prose and a poetic version of the gospel, and a brief background story. The main one, Reasons to Rehearse the Gospel Daily, has 30 paragraph-page length reflections on what the gospel means for daily life, complete with a thorough list of Scripture footnotes (with the verses written out, so you don’t have to look them all up). It made for an excellent month-long devotional meditation! The prose version shares 41 statements that explain the biblical story of the gospel, from creation to redemption, and is also heavily footnoted with full Scripture references. The poetry is the same way. I found it helpful to work through a section of the prose statements at a time, but to read the poem entirely in one sitting. That variety really helped give both a macro- and a micro-scopic view of God’s divine work of redemption. The background story of how the Primer came about was also interesting — although I wonder at its place in the book (I think it would make more sense in the beginning rather than the end). It’s definitely a book I will return to again, and I’ll be giving it as gifts to other believers as well! It doesn’t matter whether you’re long saved or recently saved, like reading or hate it, enjoy theologicial discussions or get completely lost in them — this is a primer every Christian can benefit from!
The Most Important Women of the Bible, by Aaron & Elaina Sharp
Category: Book about Bible Study
This book gives a brief overview of 32 women in the Bible who played a role of some kind in God’s redemption of humanity. That doesn’t mean they were all in the line of Christ: the book included women like Tamar and Jochebed, and extended past the ministry of Christ to women like Lydia and Priscilla. It was an unusual grouping of women, and I was surprised that certain names (such as Rebekah or Abigail) were left out. Each chapter was short, with a note of where the women are mentioned in Scripture, a brief biographical sketch, and a slightly longer section on their role in God’s plan for redemption. We know very little about many of these women; but I appreciated the authors’ scholarship in presenting every known fact that exists, and choosing not to speculate about the unknown. They did, however, offer several questions at the end of each chapter that we could wonder about — such as, what did Deborah’s husband think of her serving as judge of Israel? Overall, it was an interesting glimpse into women’s place throughout God’s plan for humanity, and the brevity of the chapters made it easy to read one or two a day. I’d recommend if you like factual considerations (i.e., not historical fiction) of biblical characters! Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Other books read: Maisie Dobbs #9-12 by Jacqueline Winspear (♥♥♥♥); Fatal Illusions by Adam Blumer (♥♥♥)
Currently in Progress: The Story of Christianity Volumes 1-2 by Justo Gonzalez; Voices from the Past, Vol. 2 by Richard Rushing; The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
What is the best book you’ve read lately?
PS. Find me on Goodreads to share your favorite titles and discover what else I’m exploring for #Read2017.