Nightstand (January 2017)

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 at 7:20 am

It’s not every month that 5 Minutes for Books’s “Nightstand” falls on the last day of the month. It’s also not every month where I complete practically every book I’ve been working on by the end of the month, so as to start fresh for the next month. But since I’m trying to be super-disciplined to read at least one book in each of my five categories each month and since I’ve got to keep on top of my church history goal, I have completed everything I planned to read this month.

Louis and True Community

Books for Loving:

  • Paul: In Fresh Perspective by N.T. Wright
    A look at some of the themes of Paul’s writings (Creation and Covenant, Messiah and Apocalyptic, Gospel and Empire) and how Paul reworked traditional categories of Jewish thought (God, God’s people, and the future of God and His people.) I wrote a very few comments on this book in my post summarizing my first month studying church history.
  • True Community by Jerry Bridges
    A look at koinonia in Scripture and its implications for the Christian church of today. Highly readable, with excellent content. A lot to think about, a lot to grow into.

Louis and Growing Books

Books for Growing:

  • Spiritually Parenting Your Preschooler by C. Hope Flinchbaugh
    A quite readable and occasionally helpful little volume for Christian parents. I wish I could recommend it because it reads so nicely for a busy mom. Unfortunately, Flinchbaugh’s Word-of-Faith style charismatic-ism infuses so much that it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. (Full disclosure: I was raised charismatic and am a continuationist; I had experiences with Word-of-Faith type teachings in my early teen years and find several of that movement’s tenets to be unbiblical and unhelpful.)
  • Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt
    Just about every guest of the Read-Aloud Revival podcast recommends this book. But since it wasn’t at my branch of the local library and since I assumed that it was just another book-list book (albeit from a Christian perspective), I wasn’t in any hurry to get it. But when I saw it on the shelf at my church’s library, I decided I’d at least figure out what the buzz was. What I found was so much more than a booklist. This is a full-figured book about nurturing children through books and poetry. I haven’t started going through the bibliography yet (so I can’t really comment on Hunt’s booklist!), but the book itself is an excellent encouragement for Christian parents to share beautiful books with their children.
  • As They Grow: Your Two-Year-Old by Diane O’Connell
    I didn’t have particularly high expectations of this book “by the editors of Parents magazine” – but I was in for a wonderful surprise. This book gives a fairly comprehensive look at what a child experiences in his twos, along with how parents can support and train their children through the twos. While I have a few points of difference with the authors (for example, they are anti-spanking and are concerned that children might learn gender roles if their mother does the housework while their father does the car maintenance), I generally found the advice to be common sense and helpful. I’m planning on skimming through this again and taking some notes so I can implement some of the strategies found within.

Louis and church history

Books for Knowing:

  • Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley
    I read the first section (2 chapters long) on the “Age of Jesus and the Apostles” as the spine for my first month’s study of Church History. I’m glad I chose this as a spine. It’s easy to read and has just enough detail to allow me to take tangents for further study, without getting me bogged down as I’m reading.
  • Great People of the Bible and How They Lived by Reader’s Digest
    I read the New Testament section of this volume and found it an excellent resource to understand the stories of the New Testament in their historical context. If you’d like to read more, I wrote some comments on this book and the one above in my post summarizing my first month studying church history.

Louis and my kindle

Books for Seeing:

  • Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
    A re-read for my book club. I thoroughly enjoyed this the first time through (enough that I recommended it for book club!) and enjoyed it even more the second time. I especially enjoyed how preparing to lead discussion encouraged me to ask questions of myself as I read.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
    The compelling story of a man who seeks to give his sin nature absolute freedom – and discovers that this is not freedom at all. You can read my full review here.

Louis and Georgette Heyer

Books for Enjoying:

  • Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer
    A bit of an unusual romance (since the main characters get married in the first couple chapters of the book) and a bit predictable from there on out (spoiler alert: they fall in love). But the inevitability of the two characters falling in love didn’t make this story of a completely innocent girl and her frivolous husband any less fun. A good part of the fun is the strong supporting roles the hero’s best friends serve as they attempt to turn his callow bride into a respectable lady.

Tirzah Mae and what

Up Next:

  • Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley
    Section 2: “The Age of Catholic Christianity”
  • Getting to Know the Church Fathers by Brian Litfin
  • The Epistles of St. Ignatius
  • The Early Christians in their own words edited by Eberhard Arnold
  • Early Christian Church by J.G. Davies
  • Against Heretics and Against Marcion by Tertullian
  • The Gospel of Thomas
  • Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink
  • Boys in the Boatby Daniel James Brown
  • Success as a Foster Parent by the National Foster Parent Association with Rachel Greene Baldino
  • The Pearl by John Steinbeck
  • The Emperor of Nihon-Ja by John Flanagan

I’m also planning on reading as many “My First Little House” books as I can find at our library to Tirzah Mae in celebration of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s 150th birthday and Barbara H’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge.

Don’t forget to drop by 5 Minutes 4 Books to see what others are reading this month!

What's on Your Nightstand?

Reader Comments (5):

  1. Barbara H. says:

    Thanks for mentioning the LIW challenge! I think I was only vaguely aware of the “My First Little House” books, so I am looking forward to hearing more about them from you.

    I have The Boys in the Boat on my audiobook wish list and hope to get to it after working through some of the classics I want to read this year.

    Church History in Plain Language and Great People of the Bible and How They Lived sound like great resources. I’m fairly deficient in my knowledge of church history and need to rectify that with something that doesn’t bog down. And I have often wanted to find a book that tells about customs in Bible times that’s simple to get into.

  2. Lisa notes says:

    I enjoyed True Community as well, and yes, lots to grow into. Glad to see you got around to Honey for a Child’s Heart. It was such a great resource for me in our homeschooling years. I finally read Boys in the Boat last year and loved it; hope you will too.

  3. Susan says:

    Awww, you are living my favorite life-stage right now: your kids are just the right age to read to!! Enjoy it, enjoy it!
    Our pastor has spoken highly of N. T. Wright, but I don’t think I’ve read anything by him — a while back I did read a good book by Jerry Bridges — the name escapes me. Have a great February with those cute kiddos!

  4. Janet says:

    Goodness, that baby is quite the reader!

    I’ve read True Community and liked it. I tried to read Church History in Plain Language; you remind me that it’s time to try again, perhaps.

    My husband and I are in a Bible study looking for materials for studying Romans. I wonder if NT Wright is someone to look into…

  5. I love Georgette Heyer. I highly recommend Frederica if you haven’t read that.

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