I began this year determined to read more. I’ve always liked reading, and I have plenty of books! It’s just that somehow the time that I remember having as a ten year old doesn’t seem to be there anymore. Or maybe it’s the energy. Either way, I set myself a goal: to finish twenty books by the end of the year, largely the books in piles on my sitting room floor or on my bookshelves in the study at church. As I write, it’s the end of June and I’m happy with how it’s going – I’ve finished twelve books and I’m partway through several more. I’m really pleased to be able to share some of them with you, and I hope it will spur me on to keep going!
One of the things I miss about living in Sydney is the CMS Summer School. I’ve tried joining in online, but sitting at home in the bleak midwinter just isn’t the same as gathering on top of the mountain with bushfire smoke in the air! So I was thrilled to receive Andrew Shead’s Walk His Way. It has genuinely been one of the most soul-satisfying books I’ve ever read—careful theology that is pastoral and life-giving. One particular highlight has been the reminder that, for those who follow Jesus, the victorious life looks like confidently holding onto and holding out the truth of the gospel, humbly and in great weakness, depending on our heavenly Father in prayer.
Speaking of emotional books, on a recent holiday I read Daphne duMaurier’s Rebecca and really enjoyed it as well. It’s a book that really allows you to get under the skin of the main character, to see the story unfold through her eyes, and to feel her fragility and naivety and pain. It’s a beautiful read.
As a university student, I fell in love with the idea of teaching children the rich history of western thinking and writing as they move through various developmental stages. So I was recently excited to pick up Douglas Wilson’s The Case for Classical Christian Education. My immediate purpose for doing so was to help me think through how best to teach a catechism to our children at church, but I’m confident that it’s also going to sharpen and refresh my ministry in many other ways.
I grew up reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and recently have been slowly making my way through Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser, which is a less child-friendly account of Laura’s life! It’s been a fascinating albeit sobering read, and a timely reminder that life this side of heaven has always been painful and difficult.
But the last book I’m reading at the moment really puts that into perspective. I recently started a book club with a dozen women from church, to help us read more doctrine, and we started with Rory Shiner and Peter Orr’s The World Next Door, as an accessible and broad introduction. It’s been brilliant just to revisit some really big truths together in fresh and exciting ways.
So that’s a glimpse into my reading list at present. It’s been great writing about it—how much we have to be thankful for as we seek to know God and his world better and better!