Books I read in July 2009

Christian Living:

Essential Virtues by Jim Berg
This book is about II Peter 1:5-9. It was required reading for Harvest staff this summer because our theme this year is “Making a Difference: To make a difference, you’ve got to be different.”
It’s hard for me to express my thoughts about this book. There were things that I appreciated about it and I did learn a lot; however, I also have some reservations about some of the things Dr. Berg emphasized.
I was a little disappointed because I was looking forward to reading this book, since II Peter 1 is one of my favorite passages of the Bible.
It seems that men really like this book; Pastor and other males that have talked about it say positive things about it. However, women generally don’t seem to really like it. Maybe it’s the writing style? or the message appeals more to men?
If anyone actually reads this post and wants to discuss the book more, please email or message me.

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan
I was greatly challenged by this book. I highly recommend it! The first chapters speak of God’s character and love for us and remind us of the brevity of life. The last few chapters talk about our love for God and how we can practically demonstrate love to God and others. Chapter 4, “Profile of the Lukewarm Christian,” and Chapter 5, “Serving Leftovers to a Holy God,” were especially convicting. The book is worth buying just for those chapters. I actually got this book on when it was the free book of the month. It’s not free anymore, but it’s only $5.49. Right now the book is $8.49 at CBD. I bought a paper copy too, because I want to be able to loan the book out. I’ve already reread sections of it.
Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman by Beth Moore
I really enjoyed delving into the book of Esther. Beth Moore always presents good historical info and helps you imagine life in the king’s court. I especially benefited from the extended look at Haman’s character. I have much more in common with him than I’d like to admit. Generally, I focus on Queen Esther when I read this book (as I’m sure most do!), but I realized how much I seek attention and praise like Haman did. It was also neat to see how God’s promises to preserve His people were worked out in the end of the book.
For Professional Development:
Curriculum Development: A Guide to Practice by Jon Wiles
I read this book for the Curriculum Development class I took this summer. Not exactly a thrilling read.

King of Torts by John Grisham
For the flight back to Guam, I packed some pretty serious books–Essential Virtues and Curriculum Development–so when my flight was delayed in Hawaii, I bought two John Grisham novels and finished this one before I got to Guam. Both of these books are pretty typical Grisham fare but both of them ended badly. I was rather disappointed in the endings, actually, because I still believe good should triumph over evil in literature. Even if good doesn’t always triumph over evil on earth, one day the Righteous Judge will make all things right.

The Appeal by John Grisham

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Well, I finally finished the Twilight series. While the last book was better than the others, I have the same reservations about the series that I have expressed already. Actually, while I telling the story line to my roommate, I thought–and kept saying to her–“This is so bizarre. I can’t believe I read this whole series.” The story seems somewhat believable as you’re reading it, but completely pointless when you’re explaining it to someone else.

I read the series because many of my students have read it and asked me about it. However, I wouldn’t recommend that you spend your time on this series.

Books I read in June 2009

Well, now that we’re half way through August, I figured I’d better at least briefly mention the books I read in June and July. I was on vacation during those months, so I was able to read significantly more than normal. I haven’t read nearly as much since starting in-service at the beginning of August.

Christian Living:
Safely Home by Randy Alcorn
This is a novel, but I put it under Christian Living because it definitely wasn’t “fun” to read. I profited greatly from reading this fictionalized account of the underground church in China. I highly recommend this book!

Let Me be a Woman by Elizabeth Elliot
Written as letters or essays to her daughter during her engagement to Walter, this book had an intimate feel to it. I’ll probably reread this book someday if I ever get married because a lot of the book applies to married women. There were a couple of gems of chapters for single women.

A Chance to Die by Elizabeth Elliot
Incredible book! When my roommate finishes reading it, I’m going to read it again. This book has provided much food for thought over the last few weeks and spurred me on to read as much by and about Amy Carmichael as possible. I’ve mentioned before that I read her collection of devotional thoughts, Whispers of His Power, every morning and this week Pastor gave me a collection of her poems, Toward Jerusalem, to read.

Professional Development
Grammar Girl
by Mignon Fogarty

This book provides quick answers to some of the most common and most difficult grammar questions you’ll face. Mignon Fogarty writes with a light-hearted style that is fun and easy to understand and remember. I also read the Grammar Girl’s newsletter and listen to her podcast.

My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber

Short, funny book. These chapters could be easily cut for humorous interp speeches. I love the story “The Night the Bed Fell” and “The Day the Dam Broke.” Thurber is such a great author.

Redwall by Brian Jacques
I wish I had read this book about 15 years ago; I think I would have read the whole series! I probably won’t now, but I really enjoyed this book.

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
I cannot recommend this book. At first, I thought, “Why was there so much controversy about this series?” And then I got within a few pages of the end and was greatly dismayed by the blasphemy!

I’d write more, but I really want to get this posted. There is no way in the world I’d ever give this book to a child to read.

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
I really enjoyed this book. So far, I’ve liked everything I’ve read in the Ender series.

I reread: A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

Summer Reading

I always come up with a huge list of books to read, but then I go to the library and just pick up whatever looks good. Here’s what I’m planning on reading in the next few weeks.

For the flight, I’m packing:

1. The MacArthur Study Bible and a notebook

2. Essential Virtues by Jim Berg

3. Let Me Be a Woman by Elizabeth Elliot

4. A novel, to be chosen randomly from my bookshelf before I walk out the door. I’m open to suggestions.

For Bible study, edification, or professional development:

1. The God of Comfort by Hannah Whitehall Smith

2. Mountain Breezes by Amy Carmichael

3. A Chance to Die by Elizabeth Elliot

4. Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman by Beth Moore

5. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty

6. The Ode Less Traveled by Stephen Fry

7. Glencoe Literature: British Literature

For fun:

1. Plague Maker by Tim Downs

2. Redwall by Brian Jacques

3. Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

4. Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

5. Reread The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

So what are you reading this summer? Any recommendations?