When we come out of a book, we’re different.
– Jacqueline Woodson
Every month I share the best of the books I just finished. Here are seven books that I recommend from July’s readings.
Books I Recommend
1. The Myth of a Christian Nation
How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church
by Gregory A. Boyd
Was this really published back in 2005? It feels very 2019. This book still serves as a current wake-up call, urging us to rein in our hunger for political power and instead go about doing the things Christ would do. I find it very thought-provoking.
Is it the church’s mission to overpower the world, or rather to serve those in the world?
“Only what looks like Jesus qualifies as a kingdom-of-God activity. Slaughtering, enslaving, cheating, conquering, and dominating are not the sort of activities Jesus engaged in.”
2. The Enchanted Hour
The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction
by Meghan Gurdon
I loved reading aloud with my two daughters as they were growing up, even long after they could read for themselves. And now I love reading with my granddaughter. So I don’t need to be sold on the virtues of reading-aloud; I’m already a believer.
Yet I am still inspired by this book about the importance of reading aloud at ALL stages of life, including reading to those who may be bed-ridden and/or dying. Filled with research, beautiful excerpts, and practical tips, this is a relevant book for all of us.
3. Glorious Weakness
Discovering God in All We Lack
by Alia Joy
This book is grace for our tender spots. Alia Joy writes with humility and rawness about her own hurts and weaknesses in a way that we all can relate to. Sometimes the book felt a little too dark for me, but if you hang in there, she always lets the light of Jesus shine back through again.
“His words served as a reminder of the Christian response to suffering—we enter into it together, share in it together, lament with each other.”
4. Thriving as an Empath
365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People
by Judith Orloff
This is a daily devotional for sensitive people. It focuses on gratitude, on small daily practices, and on self-care. I started reading a review copy this spring. I have benefited from the short reflections each day on how to protect our time and energy in balanced ways while staying engaged with the world.
“Finding this balance is the art of healing. Inwardly you can say, ‘This is not my burden to carry.’ It is impossible to fix someone. Everybody deserves the dignity of their own path.”
5. Just Show Up
And Other Enduring Values from Baseball’s Iron Man
by Cal Ripken Jr.
I remember in 1995 when baseball’s “Iron Man” Cal Ripken broke the MLB record for playing in the most consecutive baseball games: 2,131 games. Then he kept playing, eventually reaching 2,632 consecutive games.
So when I saw his book title was the mantra I’ve been using for years—Just Show Up—I had to check it out from my library. I’m glad I did. It’s about his life, but it’s also for our lives. It’s about integrity and determination and character.
And some baseball thrown in, too.
“We do our best, we hope we’ve done the right thing, and then the next day, we show up again, ready to hit a baseball, or make a ruling, or raise a kid, or be kind to the person serving us in a store.
We only get a few innings on this planet, after all. May as well show up, ready to play, for every one.”
(He also made me feel better about streaks that I like to keep; maybe I’m not so weird after all? “A streak is not an end in itself. It’s a way of doing things.”)
6. Before We Were Yours
by Lisa Wingate
A beautifully-told story that goes back and forth in time, this novel tells about five siblings living in a shanty boat in Memphis in 1939, and then a present-day family with a yet-to-be discovered past. Even though this is fiction, it revolves around a real-life scandal of a Memphis adoption agency.
“It’s funny how what you’re used to seems like it’s right even if it’s bad.”
7. I Let You Go
by Clare Mackintosh
I’ve never been caught off guard at a plot twist as much as I was with this novel. The story begins with a horrible accident: five-year-old Jacob is killed in a hit-and-run accident. The novel then keeps you engaged, switching narration back and forth between involved parties, including the police investigators. I’d read this one again.
- Where the Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens
- The Weather Machine
A Journey Inside the Forecast
by Andrew Blum
- Stop Being Reasonable
How We Really Change Our Minds
by Eleanor Gordon-Smith
- Crossing to Safety
by Wallace Stegner
- What If God Wrote Your Shopping List?
52 Ways to Find Freedom from “Stuff”
by Jay Payleitner
- The Art of Mindful Reading
Embracing the Wisdom of Words
by Ella Berthoud
- While the World Watched
A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement
by Carolyn Maull McKinstry
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What good book are you reading this month? Please share in the comments.
sharing with The Modern Mrs Darcy
- Get to the Point
- 7.5 Reasons to Celebrate Introverts