so the motivation behind this little ditty was that i finished grad school and realized that one of two things was happening. either 1) i felt guilty for reading anything except for really intense theology books or 2) i stopped reading altogether. the latter was happening more often than i liked, so i decided to do something about it. i decided to commit to reading one book per month for an entire year. it didn’t matter what book i read as long as i read something. so worth it. so doing it again next year.
so here you go - the books and one thing they taught me:
october ’09 - “a million miles in a thousand years” by donald miller.
this book is what partially inspired my 30 before 30 list. this book pushed me out from the saying and reading and dreaming into the living. so i resolved this year to become someone who does hard things, challenges myself and is who i say i am. it’s truly been revolutionary for me.
november - “guernsey literary & potato peel society” by mary ann shaffer
i’ve always wanted to be in a book club so i started one... and then i moved. but this was our second book. it was a novel and a quick read. one of those “make you feel good” books that entertains you and makes your heart happy. i liked it but am not sure it was worth purchasing being that i read it in a day. i need a library card.
december - “mere discipleship” by lee camp
one word: challenging. if you’ve read “the cost of discipleship,” this is similar. the urgency to truly become a disciple of Christ and not just a follower of a religion is prominent in this book and is still convicting my own heart and life. this is my favorite quote from the book: “...it is not our task to make things turn out right, but instead to be faithful witnesses. We will have to trust that God will be God, and do what God has promised.” read it and be changed.
january - “say you’re one of them” by uwem akpan
i went to africa last summer. this book is about, about poverty, about kids, about brokenness, about the reality that’s happening around the world that we often choose to ignore. it hit pretty close to home and reminded me of my responsibility to do something about what i’ve seen and heard.
february - “gracias” by henri nouwen
pure gold. this book was in my top 3 of the year. it’s nouwen’s journal from his time in south america that they published. it’s real and raw and truth-telling and phenomenal. i had all of my leaders read it for leader training before mission trips. it changed us - as individuals and as a community. i think about it and refer to quotes from it often.
march - “life of the beloved” by henri nouwen
this was a beautiful reminder of something i so often forget: i am His beloved, i have already been chosen, His favor rests on me. i so badly needed to hear the truth in this book (so badly, in fact that a year and a half ago, i tattooed the world “beloved” on my body because i so often forget!). nouwen graciously reminds us that we love because He first loved us and because we are His beloved, we have the confidence to go and be love to the world because that’s what we’ve been sent to do.
april - “cross-cultural servanthood” by duane elmer
i read this for work. i learned alot about Jesus and life as a result. sweet that i get to do that for work. it reminded me of the difficulties and challenges we face when we cross cultures in the name of Jesus. so much is lost in translation and so often we think we have something to offer. we are to go into that culture and serve, not to be served or to bring anything we thing is of value. This is my take home: “Jesus came to show us what life in the kingdom looked like, not to modify how the world did things.” - Gene Wilkes.
may - “strengths based leadership” by
this is the leadership version of “strengths finder” - a personality tool used by teams everywhere to analyze your giftings as and individual and then to combine them as a team and see how God knit everyone together for his beautiful purpose. This leadership book points to qualities in a leader that are most serving to those you lead and also give practical tools on how to lead people with certain strengths.
june - “weight of glory” by c.s. lewis
a pastor i greatly respect from our church was leading a study on this book. when i heard about the combination of mike plus c.s. lewis, i jumped on it. it’s an amazing book by one of the most brilliant authors of all time. it taught me about relationships, about heaven and about how relationships are all that truly matter this side of heaven and we have a responsibility to treat people well and to point them to Jesus.
july - “the paradox of choice” by tom rath
a pastor friend from rock harbor recommended this book long ago and the reason i chose to pick it up is that the whole premise is speaking to the reality happening in the upcoming generations that they are given way too many choices and so they choose nothing, which spirals into adolescence lasting until their late 20’s and them never being able to commit to anything. interesting stuff.
august - “the queen of the road” by doreen orion
so i thought it was time for a novel after months of intense reading. bad idea. this was my least favorite book. at first i found her funny and endearing, but soon, annoying and repetitive. i know it seems harsh but i was over it. and august was busy. there wasn’t time for nonsense and it was nonsense... with great cocktail recipes.
september - “bittersweet” by shauna niequist
unbelievable. it’s in the top two on my list for this year. she, donald miller & c.s. lewis blew my mind. truly. i’d read her first book, “cold tangerines” a few years back and found myself changed by it, profoundly. and then i picked up “bittersweet” as soon as it came out. oh my soul. it challenged me to live and to love differently. she writes so conversationally and makes you understand more both God and reality. shauna is a brilliant writer whom i had the privilege of briefly meeting this year. rad.
october - “radical” by david platt
i loved and hated this book. is that okay to say? i loved it because there was so much truth in it and it did compel me to do more for the kingdom. i’m grateful for that. however, i felt his approach was pretty harsh and almost “guilting” you into becoming a Christian that does more for the kingdom. i very much prefer the humble inspiration of the book below when i’m thinking about how to change the world for Jesus :)
*november - “the hole in our gospel” by richard stearns
my mind is currently being blown. i was in europe and this was my reading material of choice for my journey after 4 recommendations . i’m not even kidding when i tell you that this book is life-changing. it the humble inspiration of one man’s life that is opening my eyes and turning me into a person who values what God values and sees nothing as mine, but all as HIS instead. i’m being wrecked & encouraged all at the same time. it’s legit. read it. #1 on the book list for 2010.
*i know i said a year & my year was up in october, but i could resist adding this book because it quickly crept all the way up to #1 on the list. just do it.