What’s on your nightstand? Jan ‘13

Evidence here of the library run I made over Christmas break. I picked up several from my to-do list that were as fascinating as I had hoped!

Just started

Dreams-in-the-Medina-by-Kati-WoronkaDreams in the Medina
by Kati Woronka

A very fascinating woman, author Kati Woronka. I’ve been glimpsing life in the Middle East through her blog for a few years. I consider her an online friend and teacher.

Now she’s written a novel about young women in Syria and I’m happy to read it, not only for entertainment but also to discover more about the Syrian culture and learn how to better pray for the real people who live there—many dear to Kati’s heart—whose lives have been turned upside down by daily and deadly conflicts in the region.


A picture of Kati with the artwork for her book cover
(stole it off your Facebook page, Kati. It and you are lovely!)

love_does_bob_goffLove Does
Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World

by Bob Goff

My friend Amber piqued my curiosity so much about this book that I have no choice but to read it. I’m prepared to be uncomfortably challenged in a way fitting for my spiritual resolutions for this year. I’m on chapter four and Adam tells me the best stories are still to come!

I learned that fully loving and fully living are not only synonymous but the kind of life that Jesus invited us to be part of.

Still reading

A Theography

by Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola

This isn’t a typical book about the life of Jesus. It’s much more, collecting multiple stories in the Bible into one beautiful story about Jesus. It’s the kind of book you read slowly. It also got me hooked on reading Viola’s blog (not for the traditionally-minded, I’ll warn you) and am deciding which of his books I want to read next.

a-year-of-biblical-womanhoodA Year of Biblical Womanhood
How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master
by Rachel Held Evans

The authenticity I see chapter after chapter is one thing that keeps me reading Rachel’s journey. She is a true Christ-seeker, an intellectual who is not content with reading only, but experimenting with what the doing can look like.

Finished from December’s nightstand

An-Altar-in-the-World_thumbAn Altar in the World
   A Geography of Faith
by Barbara Brown Taylor

Oh, I loved this book! So much that I bought my own copy after I read the library’s copy. This and The Good and Beautiful God are two books I plan to use each month of 2013 to carry out my One Word 2013—“Jesus.” Taylor writes very personally of her faith in God, but in a way that invites you to join her. And I will.

fooling_houdini_thumbFooling Houdini
Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks, and the Hidden Powers of the Mind

by Alex Stone

I’ve never been particularly drawn to magic, but no matter; Stone captivatingly pulls me into this world anyway. Well-written and entertaining, this book is a behind-the-scenes look at modern magicians and what drives them. Who knew?

Tattoos-on-the-Heart_thumbTattoos on the Heart
   The Power of Boundless Compassion
by Gregory Boyle

Another great book. Boyle is a hard-working priest helping young men and women break free of gangs in Los Angeles. His stories testify to what God can do through those willing to show love to those sometimes hardest to love. He inspires me to look at people differently and with more compassion. 

The-Time-Keeper_thumbThe Time Keeper
by Mitch Albom

This novel is oddly uncomfortable. But maybe because it’s about time, an area I fight with in my own life (I always want more and have to pray often for contentment and good use of the amount God gives me). Albom draws together characters who want more time and less time into one wild story.

The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction
by Jack R. Hart

I’ve never wanted to write a novel. But I do like documenting true stories. This book is for people like me. I can’t imagine it not interesting all writers though, regardless of your favored genre. Hart excels at his craft so the book is as much a pleasure to read as it is educational.

The-Willpower-InstinctThe Willpower Instinct
How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It

by Kelly McGonigal

Who doesn’t need more willpower? I’d recommend this book to anyway wanting more insight into how willpower works. I wouldn’t classify it as a self-help book, but psychologist and professor McGonigal does give practical tips in each chapter. It’s based on her popular course at Stanford University, “The Science of Willpower.”

traveling-mercies_thumbTraveling Mercies
Some Thoughts on Faith
by Anne Lamott

Anne writes so personally you almost feel like you should close the book and not peek again. She’s gut-level honest about her life and her struggles in and out of faith. With relationships. With church. With parents and children. Her faith may not look like yours or mine in certain aspects, but it’s one worth respecting.

Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis

by Lauren F. Winner

Another memoir. Winner talks us through her season of despair and doubt as she recovers from a failed marriage. Like Lamott (above), Winner is also brutally open and lays her soul bare as she questions where God is and what’s happening to her faith. Lamott’s book was more insightful to me personally, maybe because she’s older and been through more. But Winner’s book is also a worthy read.

The-Invisible-GorillaThe Invisible Gorilla
How Our Intuitions Deceive Us

by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

A most fascinating book! If you’ve seen the video experiment, you’ll never where this title comes from (and if you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, sorry, I can’t spoil it for you by saying more). The authors demonstrate different illusions we cling to but are often false, such as, the illusion of memory, the illusion of confidence, the illusion of cause, etc.

* * *

Oh, and as a pure indulgence, I’m scanning over Divergent again because I’m picking up Insurgent from Jenna this weekend!

What good book have you read lately?



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