Books I Read this Spring and Summer
As I’ve written before, I love to read! Bible studies, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, young adult readers, hard books, easy books, and just about anything except romance novels and horror. And I’ve been doing lots of reading since spring.
My reading goal is 52 books this year. I’ve read 39 so far. Most of what I’ve read this year has been non-fiction or Bible related.
If you got some good fiction recommendations, please share them!
Here are some of the books I read this spring and summer.
Finding I Am by Lysa TerKeurst
This study has some meat in it, but those new to Bible study will also learn much. It’s well written and is a good study choice for a women’s group. The videos are not necessary, though some gals in our group enjoyed them. I would have liked deeper discussion questions, but that’s just me. And the depth of discussion questions is determined by the class leader, so you could go deeper if you want to. The study looks at the “I Am” statements Jesus makes in the Gospel of John: I am the bread, I am the resurrection and the life, I am the Good Shepherd, and more.
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
My oldest daughter recommended this book to me. I wrote a post about it a few weeks ago. The book is a diary of a fictional young woman in the early 1800’s. I loved this book! It proves once again that the temptations we humans deal with are timeless. As is the solution to our struggles. One word of caution: if you buy it in eBook format, choose carefully. The version I purchased was full of scanning/conversion errors and was difficult to read at times due to odd character placement. I should have downloaded from The Gutenberg Project.
A Tale of Three Kings: A Story in Brokenness by Gene Edwards
Jennie Allen raved about this book in one of her Facebook Live events, so I bought it. I wasn’t impressed, although the author did bring out points I hadn’t previously pondered. It’s the story of the first three Kings of Israel. All three had flaws and struggles. We can learn much from their stories. I’d just rather study the lives of Saul, David, and Solomon from scripture.
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C. S. Forester
Recommended by our oldest daughter; she’s reading the series with her family. I’m hooked! Fun adventures of a young man who is scripted into naval service for England during Napoleonic wars. Although I didn’t understand all the nautical terms, I enjoyed reading about Mr. Hornblower’s adventures. I’ve already read the next two books the series and have four more on my To Read shelf.
Lieutenant Hornblower by C. S. Forester
From the back of the book:
“In this gripping tale of turmoil and triumph on the high seas, Horatio Hornblower emerges from his apprenticeship as midshipman to face new responsibilities thrust upon him by the fortunes of war between Napoleon and Spain…” This is a great book series!
Hornblower and the “Hotspur” by C. S. Forester
A new war with “Boney”, a new bride, a new ship and a new crew make for lots of new adventures for the new commander. These books are fun to read, even if you don’t know the terms for various ropes and sails.
I was concerned I’d get bored with the series by now, but I’m not.
The African Queen by C. S. Forester
Yes, the movie is based on this book. After reading Mr. Midshipman Hornblower I went online to buy the next book in the series and discovered that Forester wrote this book, so I ordered it. It is a fun read. It’s close to movie but with a different ending. I enjoyed reading it. A few days later I watthe old black and white movie. I’m still a huge fan of the movie, and now I’m a fan of the book as well. I can’t help but wonder what a modern day remake might be like.
From Grief to Glory by James W. Bruce, III
Fantastic book recommended by a mom in an online grief group. This is not the story of the author’s grief or of his loss. It is a compilation of stories about how famous people handled their loss and grief. It is very encouraging and challenging. This is not a book to read in one sitting. Read a chapter per day and chew on the truth and faith of great Christians from days past. Martin Luther, John Bunyan, Spurgeon, Wesley, Bach, and many more.
Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
Each night Shaharazad tells her husband, the Sultan, a story. She stops at a most exciting part, so he will let her live to finish the story the day. The Sultan had been killing his new wife the day after their wedding until Shaharazad married him. The trouble is…after almost three years of story telling she’s run out of stories!
This book was part of our homeschool curriculum. My kids all enjoyed it. I like to read it every few years. It’s a great book for the whole family.
1, 2, 3 John Precept Study
In April Ron and I participated in the Spring Study Program at the Precept Ministries International campus in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Studying God’s Word for a whole week with like-minded believers is one of our favorite things to do!
This study program was for the three epistles by John. I wrote post about what we can know according to 1 John. I hope to lead local ladies in this study next winter.
This is an updated version of their Precept Upon Precept study. The old version is still available at shop.precept.org. The new version which includes 2 John and 3 John will be published around November 1. (I don’t have a picture of the cover since it’s not yet published.)
Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors by Voddie Baucham, Jr.
I’m a fan of Voddie Baucham’s teaching and enjoyed this book very much. If you’re interested in seeing how the Gospel and redemption are woven through Genesis this book is a must read. Here is a quote I posted in a grief group. I found it very encouraging.
“As a pastor, I’ve had to walk with people during some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable. During those times, it is incredibly comforting to know that we serve a God who is there! “My son was falsely accused, and is on his way to prison. Where is God?” He’s in the same place he was when Joseph was falsely accused and sent to prison. Which, by the way, is the same place he was when his only begotten Son was falsely accused and sentenced to death! This will not turn our mourning into laughter, but it will most assuredly redirect our focus and remind us of our only source of hope.”
The book brought out things in the story of Joseph I had not considered before. I highly recommend this book. In fact, I’m ordering a hard copy so I can make notes in the margins and highlight passages.
Signing Their Life Away by Denise Kierman and Joseph D’Agnese
This book is not one to read in one or three sittings; it’s the type of book you read in bits over weeks or months. Short – 3-5 page – stories of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The men’s stories are arranged by the states from which the came. The book is fun to read. I learned interesting facts about men whose names are on one of our countries most famous documents. Many of them lost there homes, businesses, and even their lives because they stood for something they believed in.
This book was recommended by a blogger who writes lots of book reviews. The story is intriguing but not realistic at all: a seventeen-year-old junior in high school emancipated and living in his own house. Really? Plus the story is full of teenagers cursing and having sex. Graphic details are omitted but still not to my taste. Teenagers having constant drunken parties and hooking up every weekend…not what I want to read about. I don’t recommend the book for teens or adults.
Again, recommended by the same blogger as above. And again, a good plot. Teenage girl is new to town and to the school. An anonymous email arrives promising to help her navigate the new school. We find out in the end who the writer is, though I guessed it early on. But again, lots of curse words and sexual activity. I don’t recommend this one either. And I won’t be following this particular blogger’s book suggestions in the future.
(I started a third book recommended by Modern Ms Darcy – I’d downloaded all three at once – but quickly removed it from my device. I’m just not interested in reading about teenage sex and having f$&@ on every page. Good writing is better than that.)
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
I love reading Mark Twain. After the two previous novels, I needed a wholesome book. Two young boys who have striking resemblance to each other. One a prince, the other a pauper. Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances they find themselves each in the others shoes. Each boy tries to tell those around them that there has been a mistake, but everyone thinks each has gone mad. I’ve read this before and enjoyed just as much as the first time. If you’re looking for a fun, easy read with good moral lessons, this is great choice.
I got my ebook copy of this book from Gutenberg Project. You can search thousands of titles and download them FREE. Dickens, Twain, Shakespeare, and many others.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Sherterly
The source for the blockbuster movie. Ron and I saw the movie and I wanted to know more about these amazing women. Women who worked at NASA before blacks and whites worked together, before and during the Civil Rights movement. I highly recommend this book. And if you know of any other books about these brilliant and perseverant women, please share!
Galatians Precept Study
Ron and I participating in the Summer Study Program for this last summer. I love the freedom in Christ taught in this epistle. And I love inductive Bible study. I led two groups of ladies through this study this summer – one in my home and one online. I’ve posted about what we learned in our study and discussion. If you’ve never done a Precept study, this is a great one to start with.
Storm Clouds Rising by Ginny Dye
This is the first in what is now a series of eight books. Each covers one year. This one is 1860-1861. The author plans to write more books in the series. Set mostly in the South this book deals with succession, slavery, and life in Virginia before the start of the Civil War. It’s billed as an “historical romance novel” and I can’t think of a better label, but the romance is a minor part of the plot. I had a hard time getting into this book, but I enjoyed it once I did. The author takes great pains to give insight into the thoughts of slave owners, slaves, and abolitionists in ways that helps one understand the tension felt across the country before the war began. The heroine is a strong young woman with rather unconventional beliefs. Many of the characters struggle with faith, hate, and prejudice as I’m sure many southerners of Day did.
Real Christianityby William Wilberforce
The editor has set out to compile a modern translation of A Practical View of Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes in This Country (i.e., England in 1797) by William Wilberforce, the famed British abolitionist. This book could have been written about the modern church in America. It’s must reading for anyone professing Christ. Here is one of the quotes I posted from the book. I recommend this book for all who call themselves Christian.
The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken
Nik Ripken is not his real name. A country boy from Kentucky, Nik heard God speak to him in the back of a factory. He heard the voice and obeyed it, having no idea where that obedience would lead.
As more than one reviewer wrote, parts of the book is hard to read; it is full of stories of the evil of this world. Starvation, violence, corruption. Stories from Samaliland in the early 1990’s, former soviet countries, Muslim countries, and china. But it is also the story of how God reached into the hearts of His people. And how the Church flourishes under persecution.
I’ve posted a few quotes from this book on my private and public Facebook pages.
1 Timothy Precept Study
Ron and I participated in the Summer Study Program for this book in July. Study programs allow PMI to test out a study and get feedback before it’s published. Anyone can register for and participate in study programs on www.precept.org.
1 Timothy was written by Paul to Timothy who was leading the church in Ephesus. It was written so that “you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15). This epistle covers topics such as prayer, overseers, deacons, and much more. There are a few passages that have been controversial, but if you let scripture prove scripture and look at the whole counsel of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit can show you truth.
Because this is a new study, still being edited, it won’t be available until November 1. You will be able to purchase it at Shop.Precept.org.
Intended for Pleasureby Dr. Ed Wheat
We have given many copies of this book to newly married couples. It covers topics we often face in marriage. Topics we don’t talk openly about at church but which couples often need help with: sex during pregnancy, sex after 50, problems with sex, and many more.
It was first published in the last century but was updated a few years ago. I still recommend it.
Thick As Thievesby Megan Whalen Turner
This is the fifth book in the Queen’s Thief series. The series is one of my favorites. My kids like it as well. Gen is a terrific main character. Unpredictable yet Ms. Turner always keeps him in character. The Queen of Attolia is also full of surprises and the two make a wonderfully romantic pair. I was afraid this book would not be up to the standards of the others. It’s been a few years since she released a new book. But I was glad to find this book as charming, fun, and full of surprises as the other four, all of which I’m going to read again in the next few months. Or maybe this week.
Shame Interruptedby Edward Welch
I found this book hard to get into. It made me very uncomfortable. Perhaps by design. Shame , or talk of shame, brings memories to the surface. But as the author continued, he began to share beautiful truth like the following quote.
“What do I do with the uncleanness I bring on myself? Yes, you still will become unclean. You will become unclean because, though Jesus will be faithful to you, you will at times turn away from him. The difference is that you don’t have to wait for Jesus to walk by and touch you. He already has done this and that touch made you his. Instead, you acknowledge your wrong and turn from it.”
The book is full of scripture and the author unpacks the passage in a way that hits you in your core. If you experience shame from your past – whether from things you did or things done to you – this book may be helpful to you.
If you read this book, do it slowly and with much pray. If you struggle with shame, read the book with a trusted, godly friend who can pray with and for you and encourage each other as you read it. God may use this book to show you truth and set you free from shame.
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake by Frank W. Abagnale
I enjoyed the movie so thought I’d read the book. The story is great. But the book has lots of crude language. Mr. Abagnale seems proud of his sexual exploits during his teen years and while on the run. I recommend sticking with the movie.