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Category: What I Read In (2017)

What I Read in December

Norse Mythology

This was a birthday gift, which just happen to be the day before Thor: Ragnarok came out in cinemas (and we had tickets for opening weekend). An excellent book full of fascinating stories told masterfully, and I found myself wishing the book was longer. Original stories of the beginnings of Oden, Loki, Thor, Sif, Surtur, and of course the end of Asgard: Ragnarok. Thoroughly enjoyable tales of myth and legend, and a welcome change of pace.

A Wrinkle in Time

This is one of the classic books that’s always been on my “I really should read that one day” list. The additional nudge that I needed was Disney’s promised 2018 movie adaptation. The short version? It is clear why this story is still being released 50 years later; the characters are vibrant and fantastical, the places both exciting yet not without danger, and with the pictures it painted across my imagination I’d say that the filmmakers have their work cut out for them.

The Littlest Watchman

There’s a sense in which I almost love Advent more than Christmas. Last year, we read Scott James’ other Advent book The Expected One and will continue to read it in years to come. This new, beautifully illustrated story about a boy called Benjamin is full of wonder and expectation. And while our kids are still too young to grasp the full implication of waiting for Jesus’ return, it’s still a delightful story for adults as much as kids.

Why The Reformation Still Matters

This is a highly valuable book with a lot of rich content regarding all that the Reformation has to offer Christianity today. I chose to grab this as audiobook, and wish I hadn’t. The poor choice of audiobook reader mispronounced many names, titles, places (he either isn’t a Christian, or didn’t do his homework before reading). It would have had a much greater impact on me if read by an original author. Still, the book highlights a number of things we have inherited from the Reformation, and should continue to hold on to.

What have you been reading?


See what else I read in 2017:

What I Read in November

November was a month that felt like it flew past at the speed of light.  In the rare moments I was able to steal this month, I started another book on Luther, my kindle has the first book in the Five Solas series, I purchased a couple of Batman/Flash trade paperbacks, and I’ve continued my read through Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship. Most of my time was dedicated to the two titles below however, and I can tell you that they both made me feel like I was back at Bible College. Both are so weighty; every paragraph bursting with content that felt like a five course meal. As a result, I read slowly, read carefully, took notes, and often felt like having a nap after I finished a chapter. That said, I recommend both these titles as they’re both goldmines that deserve to be plundered for the vast wealth they contain.

This Listening Life

As we’re now in December and there isn’t much of 2017 left, I can say with some confidence that this could well be the greatest book of the 60 books I’ve read this year. I had to read so many chapters more than once, stopped to write 3 blog posts and many more notes, and plan on re-reading the whole thing again early next year. Take it from a guy who is a terrible listener all-round, I am immensely grateful to Adam S. McHugh for teaching me so many things that I need to constantly learn and re-learn on my journey to becoming a better listener.
Keep any eye out for my review of this one early next year. With chapters covering listening to creation, scripture, others, and ourselves, this really is a book for every Christian.

Spiritual And Religious

“I’m spiritual, just not religious.” It’s a phrase that is often heard among churchgoers as a way to downplay their lukewarm Christianity, and sometimes by those who don’t go to church, but still wish to be validated as Christian. But what does this “spirituality” consist of? In Spiritual and Religious Tom Wright argues that, whether people realize it or not, they are often simply reverting to forms of ancient paganism that are very similar to those that confronted the earliest Christians.
This book was another heavy read, and not recommended for the lighthearted—but it puts forward a compelling argument to a very important and prolific problem.

Now What?

December’s reading list has now been compiled, and I can tell you, I’ll be taking it easier over the holiday season. Look out for a longer, lighter list of literary leisure in the coming weeks.

 


See what else I read in 2017:

What I Read in October

The God-Shaped Heart

I abandoned this book after 6 chapters. It had a promising, even fascinating start but took a turn into dangerous waters when it downplayed God’s justice, denied the significance of Christ’s penal substitution, and flirted with Universalism.

I’d recommend skipping this one.

 

North! Or Be Eaten

Andrew Peterson is a skilled world-builder, has an encyclopedia of fantastic creatures to thrill the imaginations, and writes to engage with an audience of both kids and their parents. I gave high praise to book one of the Wingfeather Saga, and I love when a sequel is better than the original. North! continues the adventure at rapid pace with new places, new foes, and an ending that makes me glad I’ve already got book three in the mail.

Sing!

Singing is one of the most commanded acts in Scripture, and Sing! is one of the best books on congregational singing I’ve ever read. It is immensely readable; while also being convicting, informative, encouraging, and deep. Every pastor, worship leader, and serious Christian should read it.
Read my full review
.

 

The Whole Christ

This month’s free audiobook from Christianaudio.com, it’s an instant classic. Although it’s a bit dense (at least, it was for me) it is also full of glorious truths about the assurance of our faith, and full of great statements like “It is misleading to say that God accepts us the way we are. Rather he accepts us despite the way we are”. I know I’ll have to read it again to fully appreciate all its contents, but that just adds to my recommendation.

What have you been reading?


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What I Read in September

September seemed to be a hot-button issue month. There was less quantity, but significantly more quality with my reading prompting discussions and exploration of people, their stories, and how they relate to what these authors had to say. Everywhere I went these books provoked thought, and I learned a lot. Here’s a brief overview of what sat on my nightstand this month.

God and the Transgender Debate

In this 2017 book Andrew Walker has crafted a compassionate guidebook for a complex condition. Stripping away unhelpful arguments from both sides Walker delivers the truth in love, and in a way which is profoundly helpful to both those who are struggling with gender dysphoria, and those who would seek to walk alongside them.  Read my full review.

 

Between the World and Me

Every page I turned in Coates’ book served to profoundly widen the gap between his world (as a black male in America) and mine. The story of race in America is one written on flesh, and this book is laid out as a letter of warning and pedagogy to his teenage son. He writes:

I have seen [The American Dream] all my life. And for so long I have wanted to escape into that Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies.

Amazing, emotional, and beautifully written.

Enjoying God

R. C. Sproul’s latest work is a soaring, worship-inspiring piece that encourages the heart while engaging the intellect. His exploration of the attributes that are unique to God puts into proper perspective how majestic and mighty the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit truly are—all the while remaining practical and pertinent to the every day life. I thoroughly appreciate Sproul’s ability to cause my heart to sing while satisfy the “so what?” question asked by my own curiosity. Read my full review.

The Flash Volume 3: Rogues Reloaded

If you’re enjoying watching The Flash from CW (season 3 begins early Oct 2017) then you’ll love this comic book counterpart. I’ve loved the extra character development (particularly of villains like Captain Cold, Mirror Master, and even Suicide Squad member Captain Boomerang) and a slightly different story arc with the same tensions between Barry’s relationships and those of his super identity. The DC Universe Rebirth hasn’t been wholly stellar, but The Flash continues to be my favourite.

What have you been reading?


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What I Read in August

The Imperfect Disciple

I’m grateful for Jared C. Wilson’s honest, down-to-earth look at what it means to be a disciple who is also human. We all stumble and fall; even Paul knew what it means to “do what I don’t want to do”. Wilson’s writing is easy to relate to, doesn’t come off as holier-than-thou, but rather seeks to walk side by side with us; offering encouragement for the average, broken-yet-striving Christian. One of my favourite sections was his wonderful walk through understanding and applying the beatitudes. For a sneak peak (and plenty to get the grey-matter thinking about), take a look at my top ten favourite quotes from the book.

Batman: I Am Suicide (DC Universe Rebirth Vol 2)

Tom King (and friends) did such a great job with Volume 1; despite the fact that I wasn’t too thrilled that the Justice League had to show up to ‘save’ Batman, like he ever needs that. The artwork is gritty and stunning, the story is compelling, and (without spoilers) introduces Nightwing, Batwoman, and … that’s all I’ll say. Tom King as a former CIA analyst turned writer, knows how to get inside great criminal minds, and doesn’t disappoint.

I am Spock

Leonard Nimoy’s second book is simply delightful. His fascinating (I couldn’t resist using Spock vernacular) story is full of joys and frustrations, and his frequent internal dialog with the ever-present Mr. Spock infuses drama, comedy, and irresistible Vulcan logic to each decision, action, and reaction along his turbulent, successful career. Nimoy writes with the delivery of a master storyteller, and has undoubtedly renewed my love for biography.

The God-Shaped Heart

One of the joys of being a blogger/book reviewer is the opportunity to read and review books before they’re published. Scheduled to hit the shelves on September 5, Christian psychiatrist Dr. Timothy Jennings delivers what he believes to be the keys to spiritual and emotional health in looking to God and his love for us. This book adds another layer to my journey towards better understanding Emotional Intelligence from a Christian worldview. Look out for my review of this one in the near future. Spoiler: I think you’ll love it.

Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

Don Whitney speaks to an area of Christian spirituality that I truly love, in a way that I truly love to hear it. His rich heritage with men like Richard Foster has given him wonderful insight into components of the Christian’s journey that sadly the Church (at least in the West) has lost. Moving beyond the Word and prayer to look at silence and solitude, worship, serving, evangelism, fasting, journalling, and others, Don writes with the knowledge of a scholar and the experience of a seasoned pastor. His practical suggestions for how to cultivate these disciplines in your life have been valuable to me, and my hope is they could help you too.

What have you been reading?


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What I[‘m] Read[ing] in July

July turned out to be a whirlwind month filled with all sorts of unexpected curveballs and unseen circumstances. As a result, I didn’t get through the books I had set for myself for this month, and so this edition of What I Read gets renamed “What I’m Reading”, because I’m mid-way through everything.

The Disciple-Making Parent

This could be the best book I’ve read on parenting so far. There are plenty of books that teach about parenting as connecting with the heart of your child, taking expected and unexpected moments to disciple your children, and infusing the gospel into your conversations as well as your corrections. But the value that The Disciple-Making Parent brings has been the importance of highlighting that discipleship begins with you as a person before it’s about you as a parent… and then brings in all the other things as well. This is where I’ve spent most of my July; and if you’re a parent, you won’t go wrong investing your money in this book.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Pete Scazzero’s book was recommended to me by my Christian Spirituality lecturer to help me become more emotionally intelligent, because I still have much – actually everything – to learn about EI. I’m finding that I relate to much of Scazzero’s book already (I’m about 1/3 of the way through) and can see how this is already helping me to become more and more open to how God works through our emotions. God is present to us in many ways, and that includes not only transcendentally (i.e. external, look outside of yourself etc.), but also immanently. A fascinating read.

The Flash

I’ve been able to catch up on a number of single issues of The Flash lately (much to my brain’s relief) and am really enjoying the direction that DC’s Rebirth is going, particularly with Barry Allen. It’s been nice to see the return of villains like Mirror Master, Captain Cold (probably my personal favourite), and even see Iris West (but no spoilers).

The Chestnut King (100 Cupboard, book #3)

I’ve been really fortunate to be introduced to some high quality fiction this last 12 months. Robbin Hobb leads the way for me, but N.D. Wilson’s 100 Cupboards trilogy has been a blast, and I’m looking forward to reading it with my boys one day. The Chestnut King finishes off the trilogy, and I can’t wait to see how it ends.


See what else I read in 2017:

What I Read in June

Calling on the Name of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of Prayer

Gary Millar managed to find something that I didn’t think existed in 2017: an angle on prayer that no one has ever explored before. Millar presents the first full biblical theology of prayer I’ve seen; from Genesis and the Pentateuch, through the Psalms, the Prophets, the Gospels, Paul’s writings, and finally prayer in the remainder of the New Testament letters. All throughout, Millar adds weight to his thesis that prayer is essentially “calling on the name of Yahweh to fulfill his promises”. He adds that for us, praying “in Jesus’ name” is the New Covenant re-imaging of the this formula. This book will change how you look at prayer, and cause your prayers to be richer, more relational, and ultimately more rewarding.

Ordinary Saints

Stuart Devenish expounds the life of the ordinary saint, which he defines as “all those who have been saved by grace and through their faith in Christ subsequently adjust their mode of living to reflect Christ’s life in the world”. These character qualities are also richly demonstrated throughout the book with many stories and examples of ordinary saints living out what Devenish describes. These stories serve to inspire and delight; it is true that saints have currency today because their lives are revelatory; saints lives are truly the best apologetic for the gospel. Ordinary saints recognise that they are to love others even as they themselves have been loved – completely and unconditionally.
Read my full review here.

Commentary on Romans

Martin Luther’s theology is arguably not made clearer in any of his other works as much as it is here in his rich commentary on the New Testament letter to the Romans. This work has had significant influence on a number of great fathers of the faith, most well-known are the famous words from John Wesley:

That evening he reluctantly attended a meeting in Aldersgate. Someone read from Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to Romans. About 8:45 p.m. “while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

This is a wonderful, practical insight into Paul’s letter. And well worth reading slowly.

The New City Catechism

I made the time to study this on my own before inaugurating our next round of family devotions. This is a wonderful, simple yet solid launchpad from which to teach your children the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Suitable for all ages, because you can choose to simply read the question and an abbreviated answer (including scripture), or use it to go deep into a conversation about any of our beliefs and practices. Free on iPad, but our house already has enough ‘screen time’, so I opted for the paperback.

Erasing Hell

I love learning from Francis Chan. So it’s not surprising that this was the first book I’ve read for a while where I couldn’t put it down, and ended up reading it cover-to-cover in one sitting. Chan has a remarkable ability to communicate urgency and emotion in the midst of serious and sobering content. This book goes straight on my Every Christian Should Read This list.

You Are What You Love

Much of my 2017 has been spent contemplating my regular practices, habits, call them liturgies if you will, and how they reveal where my love truly lies. This book has been formative in understanding myself better, and seeing how my heart needs constant re-calibration to point to the “true North” which is Christ.

The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows

Merging seamlessly with the content of both Ordinary Saints and You Are What You Love, James Bryan Smith’s work has a wonderful spiritual direction to it; helping me to learn how to better live as one who is following after Jesus, and how every day is an opportunity for spiritual formation; re-aligning and re-honing my habits and focus on loving the God that Jesus knows. I particularly loved the way James Bryan Smith ends each chapter with small group questions and a spiritual formation exercise; because Christian growth happens in community.


See what else I read in 2017:

What I Read in May

The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity

This month I’ve continued my reading on the Trinity, this time with B. B. Warfield. I thoroughly enjoyed this short walk through every passage of Scripture where the Trinity is present. You often hear people talk about the fact that the Trinity isn’t explicitly revealed in the bible, but Warfield demonstrates how the three persons of the Trinity (and the orthodox position on the Triune God) permeates all of Scripture, from the Old Testament all the way through to the words of Jesus, Paul, and others.

Enjoy

Another book added to my shelf by an fantastic woman author engaged in solid thinking. For everyone. Read my full review here.

The Flash Volume 2: Speed of Darkness

I’ve come to love so much about the Flash. There’s little doubt that Batman rules the DCU, but the way Barry Allen continues to display that his goodness is his greatest strength appeals to me. Although it works with a different plot line to where the current The Flash TV series – which just hit the end of season 3 – is headed, neither is second to the other. Both great writing, both true to the world I know and love.

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts

Joshua Hammer’s true story of his time documenting the life of Abdel Kader Haidara, who smuggled tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts during the height of Al Qaeda and other extremist groups enforcing Sharia Law, banning and burning everything that opposed them. Exciting, terrifying, real. Much respect for both the author, and the men who risked their lives to preserve their culture.

The Passionate Preaching of Martin Lloyd-Jones

There’s a sense in which Steven Lawson had an easy task in writing about this man. Lloyd-Jones has been widely recognised as the man who resurrected expository preaching, passionately advocating for the systematic journey through all of Scripture. He never forced a topic upon the text, but lived and studied to bring the message of God to the people from the natural flow of God’s word. I particularly loved this sentiment from Lloyd-Jones:

“I never allow the pew to influence the pulpit;
when I was a physician I never let the patient write his own prescription”

I’ll be seeking out some more of Lloyd-Jones work now, most likely his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.

The Hobbit

While I’m fairly certain I’m not the last person on earth to read these works by J.R.R. Tolkien, I think I must be close. I’ve never read any of Tolkien’s works, so I’m starting here. I’ll move into the LOTR trilogy in the coming months, then on to Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion.

 

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What I Read in April

I didn’t read as much as I normally would this April, but what I did read was fresh and nourishing. This month also saw me graduate with my M.Div, so I’m looking forward to being a little freer now to read more widely. Other books I read this month (not listed below) include Abraham Kuyper’s Lectures on Calvinism and Helmet Thieke’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians.

Humble Roots

This month turned out holding a selection of books from thoroughly enjoyable women-theologians. The first off the bench was Hannah Anderson, whose book is tenaciously biblical while exploring humility through our physical bodies, emotions, and the natural world. Anderson reminded me afresh how pride is conquered through the recognition of our dependence on God, our need for a Saviour, and the sustaining power of the Spirit without any of whom we would be dust. These ‘roots’ were complimented with frequent practical examples of what humility looks like in real life. Highly recommended.

None Like Him

In ten chapters Jen Wilkin looks at ten of God’s incommunicable attributes (things that are only true of God), showing that God is infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign. In a similar theme to another book I read this month, Wilkin talks about the importance of of studying God’s attributes; getting to know this incomprehensibly glorious God who has not only made himself known to us, but wants to be known by us.

The Deep Things of God: How The Trinity Changes Everything

Many people can go through the Christian life simply praying to god-in-general, never cultivating a relationship with any of the three persons of the Trinity. I loved being able to read about the beauty and wonder of the different functions of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and how encountering each one has increased tenfold my Christian life (not only my prayer life). Seeing the acts of God as acts in which the whole Trinity participates (The Father sends, the Son secures, and the Holy Spirit seals), as well as remembering that the Son taught us to pray “Our Father” through the Spirit is enriching and results in a deeper love and relationship with the God who is three-in-one.

Missional Motherhood

I read Dave Furman’s book a while back (read my review) and really enjoyed his honest appraisal and compassionate advice. Gloria Furman also writes with clarity, imparting the kind of wisdom that only comes from lived experience. With eyes fixed on seeing how God’s plan for motherhood is a high calling encapsulated within God’s grand redemptive plan, Gloria takes a sweeping look at the Old Testament before traveling forward to Jesus, showing how he is every mother’s Prophet, Priest, and King. The call to live out the gospel in our homes as places of Christ-exalting hospitality is a wonderful, life-giving message that will impart courage for every mother.

The Gospel Call & True Conversion

Among the most important questions in Christianity are around how we practically ‘work out our salvation’. Far from easy-believism or cheap grace, I found this to be a super-helpful systematic look at the common questions around the call of Christ, the response of humanity, what genuine conversion looks like (in light of getting the previous two right) and the demonstration of saving faith ongoing in the life of the Christian. I listened to the audio book for this one, and found myself wishing I could take out a highlighter and mark plenty of paragraphs on the way through.

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What I Read in March

I read a bunch of great stuff in March. I haven’t included everything, as there will be some reviews being posted over the next few weeks, but overall March was a great month with marriage, means of grace, history, intelligent design, and some good old (new) superhero adventures.

Know the Creeds and Councils

Having sat in more than one class on church history, I’ve seen plenty of material covering heroes and heretics, councils, creeds, and controversies of the early years. This little book by Justin Holcomb was such a great springboard; every chapter short and punchy, and closed with a “so what?” for Christians today. While you’ll move through this book easily, if you’re like me it will act like a living map where the more you look at it the more you’ll see new places pop up, waiting to be found and explored.

Batman Vol 1: I am Gotham

The DC Universe rebirth has been underway for a while now, and while my budget doesn’t allow me to keep track of all the characters, there’s always room for Batman. First, I really enjoyed this. I like the point at Bruce Wayne’s life where this story arc has picked up, and while I think Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns will always be my favourite Batman, despite what could be perceived as a slow start, I think this Batman is going to shape up to be among the best to date.

This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence

Piper spends the first 5 chapters laying a biblical foundation for what it means to be humans, together in a marriage relationship, and what that God-designed relationship ought to look like, and why. Having established first things first (love, unwavering commitment to covenant, forgiveness and forebearance, parallels to Christ and the church), Piper moves to two chapters on a biblical foundation and application of a husband’s headship in his family, and a chapter on the beauty of Christlike submission in light of the gospel. The book closes with chapters on having children and making (them) disciples. With wisdom and encouragement for singles as well as married, this is worth a read.

God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?

The way in which Lennox unravels Stephen Hawking’s arguments is impressive, somewhat amusing, educational, and convincing. His conversational style (given the high-brow nature of the arguments) makes for a book that simple guys like me can follow, nodding in assent as pure logic (Lennox is a mathematician) is employed to dismantle seemingly intimidating and complex structures of thought. Accessible, helpful, and compelling, this book is also designed to encourage you to explore the arguments – and counter-arguments – in more detail in Lennox’s other works. I’ll get to those in the months to come.

Praying the Bible

Do you find yourself falling into the same routine when you pray? Are your prayers repetitious, or predictable to the point that your kids could pray them with you (not after you, but at the same time because they never change)? Don Whitney has a simple time-tested solution that will not only revolutionize the way that you pray, but will grow your prayer life and propel you forward in your knowledge and application of scripture at the same time. Praying the Bible is small, but packs plenty of punches.

The Gospel Call & True Conversion

Among the most important questions in Christianity are around how we practically ‘work out our salvation’. Far from easy-believism or cheap grace, I found this to be a super-helpful systematic look at the common questions around the call of Christ, the response of humanity, what genuine conversion looks like (in light of getting the previous two right) and the demonstration of saving faith ongoing in the life of the Christian. I listened to the audio book for this one, and found myself wishing I could take out a highlighter and mark plenty of paragraphs on the way through.

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What I’m Reading in February

Reading for 2017 is well under way (check out what I read in January here). Here’s what I’m looking forward to this month.

Habits of Grace: David Mathis

So far I’ve read the forward (by John Piper) and I love the way he sets the reader up with the expectation that Mathis’ aim is to help believers enjoy Jesus through the spiritual disciplines. Having practiced (or at the very least become aware of) many spiritual disciplines from various branches of Christianity throughout history, I’m very much looking forward to the encouragement of Mathis in deepening my Christian spirituality, and enjoying Jesus more.

Assassin’s Quest (Farseer Trilogy, Book #3): Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy are the books that I both want to finish, and don’t want to finish. I love everything about the way that Robin Hobb’s immersive style of writing irresistibly and completely draws you in to the world she’s created. At the same time, there are another ten or so books after this one that Hobb has written in the same world; so I’m keen to get finished in order to get on to the next one.

Why We Love the Church: Kevin DeYoung & Ted Kluck

This topic never seems to be settled; it reappears in conversations of all kinds (somehow) with a far too regular frequency. The fact is, I love the church. I don’t think you can be a Christian and be isolated from attending the regular institution that is a local body of believers. I’m looking forward to reading how these two men I’ve followed for years articulate the deep love all Christians should feel for the church.

Help My Unbelief: Barnabas Piper

I’ve been struck lately by the importance of having the kind of faith which is both secure and yet possesses a healthy ability to ask questions and not shy away from (or supress in others) the difficult or controversial questions. Barnabas Piper’s book (recommended by a friend) encourages an increased understanding of curiosity and its role in the Chrisitan life.

Dandelion Fire (100 Cupboards, Book #2): N. D. Wilson

I thoroughly enjoyed book one of the 100 cupboards; I think it’s my favourite kind of fantasy. In a very The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe -esque mix of the wondrous meeting the ordinary, this is the ongoing story of Henry York, a boy who discovered in his bedroom portals to one hundred different worlds.

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The 2017 Reading Challenge Begins

Now that the new year is here, I’m well underway with mapping out the books I’m excited about reading in 2017. I found last year’s choices enriching and enlarging (read that post here) and I’m looking forward to maintaining that wide variety and varied diet in the year to come. Below are the first five books I’m diving into in January (I doubt I’ll have time to review them all).

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest work from J.K. Rowling when it lit up the silver screen. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll fare given that her screenwriting debut has been presented through this hardcover in movie-script style (complete with stage directions, scene numbers, etc), but I’m looking forward to taking the images that I’ve already seen and adding further vibrancy to them with the new colours that the book will bring.

Being There

Buying this book a few months ago, I’ve since seen it appear on quite a few “best books of 2016” lists. The best way to convey my interest in this book is to point you to the video of Dave and Gloria Furman as they discuss their life as it pertains to this book. Also on my to-read shelf at the moment is Gloria’s Missional Motherhood, which I’ll get to later this year.

The Temple and the Tabernacle

With over fifty full colour diagrams, photos, schematics, drawings, artworks, and other visually stunning resources to help the reader get a better understanding of the significant dwelling places of God throughout the history of Israel, this looks like the most exciting, educational read on the structures that feature so prominently in the Bible that I’ve ever seen.

Theologically rich, wonderfully informative, and (at first glance) easy to flick through or dive into, I’m really looking forward to this.

You and Me Forever

I’m trying to mix in a book on marriage | parenting | family every few books this year, and this is the first one off the blocks for 2017. I quickly grew to love Chan. First via YouTube, then with Crazy Love. His ability to communicate life-altering truths so effortlessly and memorably is winsome, and I’ve always loved the way he’s taken what I thought I knew and flipped it around. Like this quote from the back cover:

“Jesus was right. We have it all backwards. The way to have a great marriage is by not focusing on marriage.

100 Cupboards

Along with On The Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (the first book in the Wingfeather Saga, which I’m really digging right now) book #1 of the 100 Cupboards series looks like it’s going to be a fantastic read, making enjoyable brain-candy for those times when I feel like reading something a little lighter.

The last interesting thing about these first five books is that they’re all paperbacks. I won’t be bringing out the Kindle until after I’ve made my way through these first few; but while my bag might be a little bit heavier for a few weeks, the truth is I actually like it that way.


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