The March Booklist

Can you read in the car?
When I hear from people who tell me that reading in the car makes them carsick I feel incredibly grateful that this is not something I experience.
Since I was a little girl, reading in the car was one of my favourite things to do.
Our family car was a restored turquoise blue Holden HR, with column shift and vinyl bench seats.

During long trips south I remember spending hours in the car reading.
Whether it was during summer, with the windows wound down and the wind in my hair, or in winter when dad would lean forward and de-fog the front windscreen with the back of his hand, my legs would be curled up on the seat and I’d read as I leaned against the door.

When we went down south recently, I took my Kindle, with Outlander #6.
I read cosied up in camping chairs, curled up on our air mattress in a sleeping bag, and on the big long drive, interspersed with chatting and dreaming and playing ‘eye spy’. I hadn’t allowed myself to start this one for months, because I know how much Outlander draws me into it’s world—and out of the real one. But I figured we were holidaying, so I could afford some immersive fiction. Big, huge, immersive fiction that took me two weeks to read. So this months list is a small one!

March book roundup:

1. Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith by Sarah Bessey
Sarah is by far one of my most favourite authors. She’s deeply spiritual, without being weird—she’s discerning and real, and a storyteller after my own heart. This glimpse into her faith journey is freeing. She’s wrestled and questioned and allowed intellect and spirituality to collide, without squeezing out Jesus, and without pretending she has all the answers. Sarah voices my own faith wrestles, and the way I’ve explored religion, Christianity and the church. It’s deep and profound, but so simple and I think the heart of it echoes the ache we all have, for Jesus and for His Church. There’s something to be said about learning from those who’ve gone before us. It gives us permission to go there too.

2. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
I will unapologetically, bravely and boldly stand up and say I love this series of books. I love it in the same way I loved the Twilight series, and Harry Potter before that, and The Famous Five before that. I love that they feel never-ending, that the characters evolve and grow, and so do their relationships. I loved being immersed in 1700’s North Carolina, I love the fictional retelling of the American Revolution, and I love Jamie Fraser. Unapologetic.

What are you reading?
What’s on your to-read list?
Do you ever feel like there are too many books and not enough life to read them all?!
It’s a sad thought.

Keep reading.


The February Booklist

So, the second of (hopefully!) twelve booklist instalments.
My goal is to read a book a week this year. And to blog a little review each month.
You can find the January Booklist here.
I’d love you to leave a comment if you’ve read something that you think I’d love—recommend away!

This month hasn’t been super conducive to reading, but it also could be that I found that three out of four books a little bit harder to get through.
Also, it could be that I’ve spent lots of time working on a print devotional book that’s taken time away from reading too. And I may have spent too much time watching Gilmore Girls.

I am loving reading intentionally though.
Less scrolling, more reading.

I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a book. – J.K. Rowling

So here’s the February roundup:

1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Kya Clark is one of my favourite characters of all time. This book is poetic, very descriptive but immersive and beautiful. There is the perfect amount of tension in the plot, has the sweetest coming of age element, and it’s heartrending, mysterious, and beautiful. I flew though this book in twenty-four hours, and loved it.
Not disappointed by this Reese’s bookclub recommendation in the slightest (and let’s be honest, I had high expectations!). And, get to reading it fast, because I heard whispers that Reese is going to make a movie from it too!

2. The Library Book by Susan Orlean
I probably should have read this before I read Where the Crawdads Sing—it was a brilliant book, but not quite the thrilling read that I’d just finished! I do love the literary journalism genre and this book had echoes of Capote’s In Cold Blood. It brings to life the story of the Los Angeles Public Library and the fire in it that destroyed more than 400,000 books. Woven through that is a love letter to libraries in general.
It took me back to my own trips to the public library when I was a little girl, with my mum. I’m pretty sure I read through the entire children’s section three times, and I remember the day I discovered the Young Adult shelves. The library was one of my favourite places on earth, and the way Orlean describes library experiences evokes serious nostalgia.

3. Birthing the Sermon-Women Preachers on the Creative Process edited by Jana Childers
Each chapter in this book is an essay by a woman preacher, inviting readers in to her creative process, and then the chapter ends with a manuscript of one of their sermons. They’re American women from a variety of denominations and backgrounds, and many of them have decades of experience in ministry.
I found it so interesting and freeing reading about the different ways all these women prepare their Sunday messages—the way they engage with the scriptures, the way they mull over what they’ve read, the way they pray or listen out for guidance from Heaven, the way they approach the actual writing process (a few quoted Anne Lamott, so, obviously this book had my creative writer-heart!). Their inspiration, routines, disciplines and preaching methods were fascinating.
One of my favourite quotes (this book has been underlined and I’ve made marginal notes—it’ll be one I go back to time and again!). “As to the content of my sermons, I often preach sermons to raise the consciousness of those who feel they have an exclusive right to Jesus and to empower oppressed people to take their place at God’s “welcome table”.” – Yvette Flunder

4. Fasting by Jentezen Franklin
The title is self explanatory, but this book explains the hows, whys and power of fasting as a discipline of faith. I flew through it—it’s simple, easy to read, and made me realise again the importance of relinquishing food for periods of time, both for spiritual, mental and physical health!

So, that’s my February reading wrap-up.
I need more fiction (and less Netflix) in my life, gahh!