Below are nine books I recommend from what I read this month.
1. The Happiness Dare
Pursuing Your Heart’s Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire
by Jennifer Dukes Lee
It’s okay to want to be happy as a Christian. Jennifer shares why God also wants us to be happy. Her book offers ways to work with our individual personality types to achieve maximum happiness and holiness.
2. Hillbilly Elegy
A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
by J. D. Vance
Now a lawyer, author J. D. Vance tells how he grew up poor in a small Appalachian town as what many label a hillbilly. He writes of what that meant then and now. I heard of this book from this article: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author offers insight on Trump’s appeal.
3. 10 Things Jesus Never Said
And Why You Should Stop Believing Them
by Will Davis Jr.
Did Jesus ever say, “It’s all up to you“? Or “This wouldn’t be happening if you were a better Christian“? No. Davis walks through 10 things that Jesus never said that we often believe. I didn’t resonate with everything, but enough to make the book worth recommending.
4. Listening Is an Act of Love
A Celebration of American Life from the Storycorps Project
by Dave Isay
This is a beautiful collection of word-of-mouth stories heard in the StoryCorps’ booth. When we listen to each other’s stories, we are “bearing witness” to life and love and human dignity.
5. The Upside of Irrationality
The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home
by Dan Ariely
This book contains more “irrational” things that we do and don’t do from author Dan Ariely (he also wrote Predictably Irrational, one of the favorite books I read in 2009). This one explains why bonuses don’t always work, why we should interrupt fun activities and push through boring ones, and why counting backward helps increase endurance.
6. Big Magic
Creative Living Beyond Fear
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert reminds us that we all are creative beings. She writes to encourage us to bring out the treasures hidden within each of us. Even if we think it’s already been done. “Well, yes, it probably has already been done. Most things have already been done—but they have not yet been done by you.”
7. Running Scared
Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest
by Edward T. Welch
I took multiple notes from this helpful book on worries and fears. Welch gives us a God-honoring view of how to trust more and worry less.
For me, knowing that there is grace for tomorrow has made the most noticeable difference on my own anxieties and fears. The hurdle that was always in front of me was that I couldn’t imagine that grace, which is another way of saying that I limited God to the size of my own imagination. Now I know that I could never imagine that grace because I have yet to receive it.
8. The Serpent King
by Jeff Zentner
This is a somewhat haunting novel about Dill, the teenage son of a fallen Pentecostal preacher in small-town Tennessee. It chronicles Dill and his two outcast friends Lydia and Travis as they work to navigate high school and life.
9. The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
This novel also has a strange feel, but it sheds light on how a young girl might feel who grew up in foster care her whole life. When Victoria ages out of the system, she starts out homeless and penniless. The book keeps alluding to some hidden event that occurred earlier in her life that affected everything; I had to keep reading to find out what it was. As expected, it also contains many flower references, which I also found interesting.
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler
- The Telling Room
by Michael Paterniti
- Without You, There Is No Us
by Suki Kim
- The Jesus Creed
by Scot McKnight
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What are you reading this month? Please share here.