I read some fantastic books this month. I especially recommend these first three.
1. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
And Other Lessons from the Crematory
by Caitlin Doughty
This one may seem a little weird, but author and mortician Caitlin Doughty does a superb job in showing us behind the scenes of the death industry. Parts of it were a little gory, I’ll admit, but overall, it’s an insightful book about how our culture tries to avoid death as much as possible instead of dealing with it in a healthier way. You’ll likely come away rethinking some thoughts on death.
2. Some of My Best Friends are Black
The Strange Story of Integration in America
by Tanner Colby
Another five-star book. Just when you think you understand some of the why behind our current racial tension, this book reveals even more. Colby pulls you into four stories about race in our school systems, neighborhoods, employment, and churches. Now what will we do about it?
How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better
by Brant Hansen
This book is a game-changer. I don’t consider myself an angry person. But after reading this book, I notice I’m still too touchy about certain things people say or do. That’s only one aspect of the book; there are several. Most all of us would benefit by identifying individual areas that need work in becoming more unoffendable.
4. To Sell Is Human
The Surprising Truth about Moving Others
by Daniel H. Pink
This isn’t about being a salesman, per se. But it is about understanding other people’s perspectives, how to be clearer conveying your own message, learning to be more empathetic, etc. I love Pink’s writing style: straight-forward with lots of examples and tips. An excellent book.
5. True Community
The Biblical Practice of Koinonia
by Jerry Bridges
You can’t go wrong reading a Jerry Bridges’ book. Another winner. This one is about sharing a common life (koinonia) of fellowship with believers, “a life that we share with God the Father and God the Son. It is a relationship, not an activity.” Bridges gets practical in this one (and it’s not just about potlucks, although those are good too!).
6. The Untethered Soul
The Journey Beyond Yourself
by Michael A. Singer
Our minds never shut up. They talk to us constantly (“You’ve been locked in there with a maniac”). This book helps you listen and change the conversation through spiritual practices. I took tons of notes. A great companion book for my One Word 2015: Now.
“You will get to a point in your growth where you understand that if you protect yourself, you will never be free. . . . Real spiritual growth happens when there is only one of you inside. There’s not a part that’s scared and another part that’s protecting the part that’s scared. All parts are unified.”
7. The Wish Giver
Three Tales of Coven Tree
by Bill Brittain
This Newbery honor award novel (my pick from the 1980s winners) reminds us to be careful what we ask for. Four people buy a card that’s good for any wish they want. As the novel progresses, you quickly see from their disasters that what we think we want and what we actually want aren’t always the same things. A cute and insightful story for both kids and adults.
I’M READING NOW
How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious
by Chris Stedman
I already know this one is going to be an eye-opener. Stedman is an atheist who seeks to politely respect religious diversity instead of attack it.
9. David and Goliath
Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
by Malcolm Gladwell
This is about why the strong don’t always win. Gladwell is a master at weaving in real-life stories to make his point. Interesting so far.
10. The Question that Never Goes Away
by Philip Yancey
Yancey never backs away from the hard questions. In this book he addresses anew how we are to deal with the bad things in the world and yet keep our faith in a good God.
11. Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
I’m still reading. It’s still good. But I’m not even halfway yet, so I’ll drop this off my post the next few months until I’m finished.
12. Diary of a Jackwagon
by Tim Hawkins
If you’re already a fan of Tim Hawkins’ stand-up comedy, you’ll love this book. It’s laugh-out-loud funny. Probably because we can relate:
“When I was first married, I thought all we needed was two pillows on the bed. Obviously, that is not nearly enough. I was shooting way too low. I suppose I was thinking like a human instead of thinking like a woman. But I adjusted and listened to her unspoken needs. Now, we have exactly thirty-seven pillows on our bed and she couldn’t be happier. We don’t even need a mattress anymore. We just have pillows stacked four deep creeping toward the center from the four corners of the box springs.”
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Once a month we share what’s on our nightstand at 5 Minutes for Books.
What are you reading this month? Please share here.
- Devotionals for James 1
- How do you deal with death?