My reading list February 2014

These are the books I’m currently reading and have just finished from last month. Every 4th Tuesday we share our reading lists at 5 Minutes for Books.


the-scarlet-pimpernelThe Scarlet Pimpernel
by Emmuska Orczy

Do you ever read a book just to knock it off your TBR list? It’s now or never for this one. I’m only a few pages into this novel about the French Revolution, published in 1905. I’m having flashbacks to listening to A Tale of Two Cities and the long list of French words I couldn’t understand. So far this one isn’t as hard, and is just as interesting. But I’m not above using cheat notes if it gets complicated.

the-explicit-gospelThe Explicit Gospel
by Matthew Chandler

My review here

I listened to the audiobook last summer, but, honestly, my mind wandered a lot during it. So now I’m reading it for Crossway’s new book review program (check it out if you’re a blogger who likes to read!). From what I remember, Chandler stays focused in on pure gospel and our need to keep Jesus at the center of it all. I always like that message.

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

My review here

Another book from my TBR list. This one is about staying in the moment, which is something I need reminding of often. Originally published in 1997, it became popular once Oprah Winfrey declared it recommended reading in 2000. What I’ve read in it so far is very, very intriguing.

by G. K. Chesterton

My review here

Another older classic (1908), I’m finding it’s more humorous and easier to read than I’d expected. Chesterton’s philosophy has also been somewhat surprising–a little less left-brained than I assumed it’d be. But I like it. For instance, “Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity….[The ordinary man] has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and the contradiction along with them.”

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

My review here

I listen to Chris Hodges’ sermons at Church of the Highlands every week either online or when we go to church with Jenna in Auburn. Pastor Chris is Jesus-centered, practical, and a great story-teller. He did a series of sermons on “Fresh Air” a year or so ago that I enjoyed, so I know I’ll continue enjoying the message in the book.


tuesdays-with-morrietuesdays with Morrie
an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lessons
by Mitch Albom

My review here

Oh, if you haven’t already, read this one! It’s a true story of interviews between Mitch Albom and his old college professor Morrie Schwartz as Morrie was dying of ALS. The lessons about living and dying are poignant and will touch you. It was originally published in 1997 and was made into a movie in 1999.

and-the-mountains-echoedAnd the Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini

This novel is an intricate weaving of story through time and space, one thread picked for a chapter here, another thread for a chapter there, but blended artistically about a family in Afghanistan and how the circumstances of peace and war and poverty and love reached into several families and generations. Hosseini is also the author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, neither of which I’ve read, but now I want to.

does-jesus-really-love-meDoes Jesus Really Love Me?
A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America
by Jeff Chu

My review here

This is a book of conversations Jeff Chu had with people across the country about what it means to be Christian and gay in America. He touches on a wide variety of views, conservative and liberal, and raises for himself more questions than answers, but thankfully he does conclude that yes, Jesus really does love him.

when-i-dont-desire-god-john-piperWhen I Don’t Desire God
How to Fight for Joy
by John Piper

Another classic John Piper book with his life’s message: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” Piper takes our calling to have joy in God very seriously, as something we need to purposely seek, not just some icing on the cake if we can get it. So when we don’t have that joy (and even when we do), this book is a great resource for restoring and maintaining our passion for God.

strength-to-love-martin-luther-king-jrStrength to Love
by Martin Luther King Jr.

My review here

I highly recommend this book of some of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermons. It will inspire you to reach higher and stand firmer for the rights of all people, not just those like you. Whenever we discriminate against any, not only are we doing wrong to them, we’re doing wrong to ourselves as well. Love sets us all free.

made-for-goodness-desmond-tutuMade for Goodness
And Why This Makes All the Difference
by Desmond Tutu

Quotes here

I’ve always heard of Desmond Tutu, but didn’t really know who he was. This book helped clarify to me what a gentle giant he is. He’s seen so many heart-breaking things in his life in South Africa, yet he remains hopeful because of his faith in God and in humankind. This encouraged me to do the same.

ethics-for-the-new-millenniumEthics for the New Millennium
by Dalai Lama XIV

My review here

This was another first–I’d never read anything by the Dalai Lama, but I’m glad I finally did. Although we obviously differ on religious beliefs (he’s Buddhist), we agree on basic principles of living a compassionate life (he’s just much better at living it than I am!). He’s quite an interesting soul with much to say to the world about love and peace, and I’d like to read more of his writings.

sitting-at-the-feet-of-rabbi-jesusSitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus
How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith
by Ann Spangler

Months later, I finally finished this one. I recommend it to anyone who likes to dig underneath the Biblical texts to discover more of the Jewish roots. Not everything is “wow!” information, but the quantity of little-known nuggets makes it worth the read. I also recommend Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus for the same reasons.

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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

22 thoughts on “My reading list February 2014

  1. Linda@Creekside

    We’re working through The Explicit Gospel with our Friday night friends … the sometimes hard to grapple with truths in Chandler’s book are sparking some real deep, rich conversation …

    My faith is growing, my confidence in the vastness of God is expanding.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      How good to be working through The Explicit Gospel with a group. Yes, if we just lived closer. πŸ™‚ We’d have some awesome in-person conversations about books and Jesus for sure.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can think of another ‘m’ word instead–maybe maniac? ha. Reading is definitely one of my greatest pleasures. Poor Jeff–he’s always having to hear about the next great book that’s just amazing to me. πŸ™‚ He was proud that he’d actually read one of these books this time (and before me)–Tuesdays with Morrie. I think you’d like that one too if you haven’t already read it.

  2. Susan

    My word, lady — so many books! And a lot of them intrigue me. I am reading another Piper book now and I enjoy his insights. Scarlet Pimpernel — hmmm; I’d like to read it. I’ll add it to my classics-to-read list. I read a book by Tolle back in his “Oprah days.” Yes, it was really interesting and made me think. I also find Tuesdays with Morrie to be a good book, and again, it made me think about big life issues and what’s really important.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve yet to meet a Piper book that I didn’t benefit from. Hope you’ll continue to enjoy the one you’re reading. I started another of Tolle’s books a few years back (maybe “A New Earth”?) but it never clicked with me so I stopped reading early on. But so far The Power of Now definitely has my interest. About 1/3 of the way in.

  3. Lisa

    I stalled out on “Mountains,” but do intended to try it again–I’ve found the author’s other books well worth a second try and ended up being glad I’d read or listened to them Just has to be the right moment for his work. Great recommendation for “Orthodoxy.” Might give it a try. Great list over all!!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I really didn’t know what to expect from Hosseini. Some of it really caught me off-guard–maybe I don’t read enough fiction. ha. Orthodoxy is getting a little harder as I get further in, but still good.

  4. Barbara H.

    I’d say The Scarlet Pimpernel is far less complicated that Tale of Two Cities. I’m reading Bleak House now and looking at some cheat notes along the way myself. πŸ™‚ If you have a chance, see the movie version of Pimpernel with Jane Seymour and Anthony Andrews. Though the producers changed many details, I still loved it, especially Percy’s face when he learns that Marguerite has (he is told) denounced someone so that he and his family are sent to the guillotine. The tension of their loving each other deeply yet having these irreconcilable differences is just exquisite until they finally work everything out.

    Tuesdays With Morrie is one of those I books I want to read someday — maybe next year’s TBR challenge.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for the tip about the movie. I’ll have to get it after I finish the book (and never before! right?). Right now I’m having a little trouble keeping up with who’s who, but I’m probably trying too hard to remember everybody that may or may not ever recur again in the book.

  5. Carrie, Reading to Know

    I haven’t read The Scarlett Pimpernel in YEARS but recently picked up a hardback copy (’cause I loved it then and trust I’ll love it now) and would love a chance to read it again. Gotta focus. Get my reading game on. February went so quickly and I don’t feel like I managed to get all that much reading done!

  6. Tonia

    Interesting choices! I’m in the middle of A Tale of Two Cities right now and The Scarlet Pimpernel is up next. I’ve heard so many good things about it so I’m looking forward to it.

    So many of your books will end up on my reading list, I am sure!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I delayed reading A Tale of Two Cities for years but once I finally dove in, I loved it. (Well, technically I listened to it, didn’t read it; the accents were marvelous!). Older novels can be a challenge but they’re usually worth it if they’ve stood the test of time this long.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, it’s always a trade-off between reading and writing and other life things. πŸ™‚ Yes, seasons come and go. My 24-yr-old daughter is back to a season of enjoying reading again–but once she has kids, it’ll probably slow down again, or at least change to Dr Seuss books. ha.

  7. Leslie Brogdon

    I started reading the Wisdom of the Enneagram this month. I’m really enjoying it! It delves into personality types and spiritual growth surrounding your tendencies. My personality type would really benefit from The Power of Now, so I’ll be adding that to my list. Thanks!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I haven’t heard of The Wisdom of the Enneagram but it sounds intriguing. I’m over halfway finished with The Power of Now and it has given me SO much to think about, and encouraged me more and more to stay in the moment (i.e. stop obsessing about the past/quit worrying about the future).

  8. Caleb Suko

    Ah yes, “Orthodoxy” you can’t go wrong with Chesterton! So far I’ve just read two books this month, “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman and “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart” by J.D. Greear.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve heard of both those books but have read neither. I got the teen version of “Not a Fan” on my Kindle when it was free but have yet to read it. My daughter has been in a college small-group that used the book, and she really liked what they shared.

      My reading in Chesterton is coming along–it’s gotten a little harder in spots, but well worth it still.

  9. Beth@Weavings

    I found The Scarlet Pimpernel to be an easy read. I have read two more in the series and have found them more intense and suspenseful, though the author does stay focused on her subject, unlike Hugo’s Les Mis which I’m sloughing through.

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