My reading list for April 2014

Here are books I’ll be reading in April and brief reviews of the books I finished in March. Every 4th Tuesday we share our reading lists at 5 Minutes for Books.


spiritual-misfitSpiritual Misfit
A Memoir of Uneasy Faith
by Michelle DeRusha

My review here

If you’ve ever had spiritual doubts, you’ll relate to Michelle. She’s as honest and vulnerable about her faith (and lack thereof) in her book as she is on her blog (which I’ve read for years; I consider Michelle a friend). I’m enjoying this review copy and look forward to sharing more of it with you when the book is released, April 15.

Unlikely Lessons on Faith from Those who Doubted Jesus
by Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper

My review here

Not only can we learn how to have better faith by looking at those who did, but also by looking at those who didn’t. Ed Cyzewski is one of my favorite authors (and another blogging friend who I love to read), so I’m excited to be reading this newly-released book with Derek Cooper on the “unfollowers” in the Bible.

the-shack-revisitedThe Shack Revisited
There Is More Going on Here than You Ever Dared to Dream
by C. Baxter Kruger

This is the non-fiction follow-up to William P. Young’s fiction book, The Shack. Kruger, a friend of Young’s who endorses this book, elaborates here on the relationship and theology of the trinity to expound on questions raised  in the novel and to explore more fully our own relationship with the trinity.

the-war-of-artThe War of Art
Break through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
by Steven Pressfield

My review here

I’ve heard online for awhile to read this book, read this book. So I’m finally reading this book (originally published in 2002). It’s about how to defeat Resistance against whatever endeavors you undertake. It’s one of those small artsy books with lots of white space on each page, so I’m enjoying it for its look and feel as much as for its the words.

my-man-jeevesMy Man Jeeves
by P. G. Wodehouse

My review here

I chose this for the “20th Century Classic” category of the Back to the Classic Challenge. It’s very British and very delightful so far. I didn’t realize it’s a series of short stories about the main characters rather than one long story, but just as well. It’s my first book written by Wodehouse but maybe it won’t be my last. I got it free online so I’ll recommend it also to Jeff (who now has his own Kindle—I didn’t see that coming!).


by G. K. Chesterton

My review here

Whew. This one is a little tougher. I don’t always follow (or stay interested) in some parts, but then Chesterton will zing me with some profound spiritual insight to keep me reading. I’m in too deep to turn around now, 3/4 finished, so I’ll keep mining for gold until I’m done. Chesterton is an author I’ve always wanted to read so he’s a perfect fit for the “A Classic by an Author You Haven’t Read” category of the book challenge.


the-precipiceThe Precipice
When Everything We Know Ends
by TC Avey

My review here

Coming soon, this book by another blogging friend and very good writer is one that will make you think twice not only about your spiritual life, but also about how the things you hear in the press can affect (or reveal) your spiritual life. The book contains 3 fiction stories plus lots of links to related real-life happenings. Look for it on Amazon on April 7. My full review coming then.

The Secret Lives of Everyday Things
by John C. Ryan

Early on this book warns you that reading too much of it at one time can be overwhelming or depressing. Agreed. But in spurts, it’s fascinating to see how many resources it takes to make even “simple” products like a cup of coffee or a pair of shoes. At the end of each section the authors offer tips to help control our consumerism. And it’s not always what you think. For example,

“Using a low-flow showerhead is a good way to save water, but eating less beef—thereby saving the water used to grow cattle feed—would cut deepest of all into the 375 gallons of water consumed per person per day in the United States. Nationwide, farms use about three times as much water for irrigation as homes use for all purposes.”

the-scarlet-pimpernelThe Scarlet Pimpernel
by Emmuska Orczy

I recommend this classic for a fun read. Originally published in 1905, it’s set even further back in the late 1700s of the French Revolution. It was a little hard to follow at first as I tried to get the characters in place, but after the first few chapters, it flows very easily and quickly. The Scarlet Pimpernel is a mysterious figure introduced early in the book as a Robin Hood in reverse: he rescues the aristocrats from the guillotine from the hands of the newly-in-charge masses in France. I found I didn’t necessarily side with the people I thought I would at the beginning, the mark of a skilled author. This is my pick for the “Classic about War” category of the Back to the Classic Challenge.

“‘I am only conscious of one hope, citoyen.’ ‘And that is?’ ‘That Satan, your master, will have need of you elsewhere, before the sun rises to-day.’ ‘You flatter me, citoyenne.'”

the-explicit-gospelThe Explicit Gospel
by Matthew Chandler

My review here

This is what you’d think: a book about the importance and beauty of pure gospel. Chandler wrote it after being unpleasantly surprised that even people who’d been in church their whole lives couldn’t necessarily articulate what the gospel is.

the-power-of-nowThe Power of Now
by Eckhart Tolle

My review here

This will probably make my “Favorite Books Read in 2014” list at the end of the year, which is a little odd because there were some parts I didn’t like at all. But what I did like, I liked very much, mainly Tolle’s emphasis on focusing most (but not all) of our attention in the present moment.

fresh-air-chris-hodgesFresh Air
What Happens When You Discover the Powerful Secrets of a God-Breathed Life
by Chris Hodges

My review here

A healthy mix of scripture, modern testimonies, and personal experiences rounds out this book on the work of the Holy Spirit by Chris Hodges of Church of the Highlands. It doesn’t contain anything mind-shatteringly new, but it is a refreshing reminder to be aware of what the Holy Spirit is about and longs to do in each of our lives.

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What’s a good book you are reading or want to read this month? Please share here.


My books on Goodreads
Previous reading lists

18 thoughts on “My reading list for April 2014

  1. perfectlips

    I absolutely love Wodehouse. nb like Conan Doyle, his stories are better than his novels (although Wodehouse can sustain a novel better than Conan Doyle can)(imho).

    Orthodoxy: is that the one where he talks about Jesus becoming an atheist (losing his faith i.e. Matt. 27:46)? He’s someone I’d like to grapple with I think. His novel “The Man Who was Thursday” starts off hilarious and gets gradually stranger.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, I’m not grappling as much with Chesterton as he requires. But oddly enough, just today I did read this in Orthodoxy, if it partially answers your question: “They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.” An interesting take.

      Wodehouse uses several phrases that I’m assuming you would be familiar with that I am not. 🙂 I have to guess what they mean by context.

  2. floyd

    My fingers are worn out from scrolling! I did finally find one we’ve both read! TC’s!

    I’ve read little as I’ve been sloshing through another manuscript… Only God knows why…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I saw her book at the library the other day and I resisted getting it because I had too many other books to read. But seeing this as “must reading” makes me sad that I let it go. I love her writings. I’ll be back later for it….

  3. tcavey

    Thanks so much for your kind words about my book! I can’t believe I’m finally published.

    I haven’t had time to read much lately since I’ve been so busy publishing my book. You’ve given me some great suggestions though for when I can finally being reading again!


  4. Jean Wise

    I love your lists each month. I just downloaded to my Kindle an oldie: Brennan Mannings’ Ruthless Trust. A trusted friend told me she really like how he wrote and so I am reading it both from a spiritually point of view and as a writer to see what I can learn in his style. Will let you know

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I haven’t paid much attention to Mannings’ writing style per se, but I definitely like the message of grace he constantly wrote about! I haven’t read Ruthless Trust; I’ll look forward to what you think about it.

  5. Jennifer Dougan


    What fun to peruse your list of books here. 🙂 I love reading too, and know that it’s necessary in order to hone my writing skills too. I’ve recently read (or am reading): “Prince of Tides” and “My Reading Life” both by Pat Conroy; “In the Land of Blue Burqas” by Kate McCord; and”A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.”

    What was your most impacting read from the list above?

    Jennifer Dougan

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Sounds like you’ve got a great list going. And more than one book at a time—just my style. 🙂

      The most impactful book above for me? Probably “The Power of Now” because it has pointed me back to paying more attention to God in THIS moment (although I wouldn’t say the book itself would put it that way). It culminates a lot of practice I’ve put into Centering prayer and Welcoming prayer the past year, so it was just the right time for me to finally read it. Thanks for asking the question!

  6. Sherrey Meyer

    I’m just finishing up The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Started Alice Hoffman’s Survival Lessons, midway through Barcelona Calling (a novel involving a Christian writer), and working on Three by Annie Dillard (includes Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood and The Writing Life). Loved your list — some interesting titles I’ve not read there. Must check them out.

  7. Leah

    I liked and related to your list! I am currently reading a G.K. Chesterton book for a homeschooling resource with my 5th and 6th grader it’s Heroes: Greek Stories. His short intro before his re-telling on Greek myths, which he wrote for his children, had such simple but profound spiritual depth that I have been keeping my eyes opened for pop up of his works. We started The Scarlett Pipernel, but it was confusing. I think we will revisit whenever we cover the French Revolution.
    The books that I most enjoyed in the last 12 months, that surprised me and stayed with me the most would be:
    Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Brunt; The Rathbones by Janice Clark: Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese; (FICTION) The Read Aloud Handbook by John Trelease (a must for parents, grandparents, teachers, anyone worried about the ramifications that this generation does not read enough); Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson; ( a fascinating man who though somewhat of disillusioned Christian, acts so much like Christ I think one day he will return if he has not already); The True Story of Saint Nicholas by William Bennett; Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller; and my all time most astounding reads that God used to bring me low then raise me up like never before: 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp and Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. I’m a goodreads junkie too!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Maybe I should have started with Chesterton’s Heroe’s stories myself. ha. I agree that The Scarlet Pimpernel is confusing at first; I resorted to looking at notes online to get the characters sorted out in the beginning. But once you get into a little further, it all makes good sense.

      The Read Aloud Handbook was a GREAT resource for me too during my homeschooling years. It was one of those books that I couldn’t get rid of even after my daughters graduated because it will remain useful even for my own reading selections and one day maybe with grandkids. 🙂

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