Hey friends! I come with a doozy this time — I hope you can make it all the way through this one! For this week’s blog post, I wrote a short summary of ALL the books I’ve read in 2013. This past year, I read more intentionally than ever before, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. It felt like an indulgent discipline. If there was ever such a thing, this was it.
1. Singing Through The Night – Anneke Companjen
This book was given to me by a coworker. It’s a collection of stories about women whose lives are persecuted because of their faith in Christ Jesus. Their families are torn apart, sometimes they are imprisoned, and always their lives are in danger. But through everything, their souls are miraculously anchored in their faith and the hope they’ve found in Jesus.
2. Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur – Frank L. Houghton
It took me a long time to get through this book. It is a biography of Amy Carmichael, beginning when she first heard God’s call on her life to the years after her death as the Indian Mission continues under her example. A remarkable chronicle, one that has inspired many, including me!
3. Mimosa – Amy Carmichael
Written by Amy herself, this short story is about one of the little girls that she fought for. Many of the children she rescued were temple slaves and often pursued by temple officials or anyone who could be persuaded or bribed by their silver. Amy fought many battles for the charges she cared for, and this is not the least exciting of them, by no means.
4. If I Perish – Esther Ahn Kim
This is a story about a Korean woman who went to prison and endured terrible torture for not worshipping the gods of her country. She stood bold for the teachings of the Bible, and paid with years of her life for her passionate belief in Jesus.
5. Passion and Purity – Elizabeth Elliot
Using her own love story as a backdrop, this is Elizabeth Elliot’s advice on dating, keeping pure and passionately focused on Jesus – all at the same time! I loved this book a lot, and there were so many good points to underline and savor.
6. Quest for Love – Elizabeth Elliot
Elizabeth wrote this book as a sequel to Passion and Purity. It is an inspiring collection of love stories, showcasing a few of God’s most intricate and surprising works of romance.
7. The Noticer – Andy Andrews
I’ve done a book review on this one here before, but for summary’s sake, this book changed some of the ways I viewed life. Life is not accidental, and what you do today matters. To everyone.
8. Crazy Love – Francis Chan
My youth group is working our way through a book study on this one. Written in simple, easy-to-read language, the author probes the depths of love, selflessness, and true servant hood. This is a book I’ve come back to over and over, and is a constant source of inspiration.
9. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
I was gifted this book on my birthday (Yay!). I hope most of you have read it already, so it needs not much introduction. It’s easy to see why this book is recognized as a classic – out of its pages shine the warm rays of a happy family and the glories of the normal and mischievous activities of a houseful of girls. The edition I was given has a gorgeous cover that looks as if the text and artwork around it was embroidered by hand in bright, attractive colors.
10.The Geography of Love – Glenda Burgess
This was an adventurous tale about a woman who marries late in life to a man who seems like a long lost best friend. They have two grown children when they discover he has cancer – in a bad way. The book takes us all the way to his death, as the woman moves on and finds a peace in a different lifestyle. I’ll confess I bought the book for its cover, and could have spent the time reading this book on a more edifying, Christian one. However, I must say this book was one that kept my list well-rounded in a sense.
Way to go! You’re halfway through!
11. Answering the Guy Questions – Leslie Ludy
A slim little book, I sped through this one in a short time. It seemed like a collection of excerpts from various of her books I’ve read before, so to the growth of my knowledge this book added little.
12. Through Gates of Splendor – Elizabeth Elliot
Right away, I think this book could easily be my favorites of this year! Mrs. Elliot writes about the life of her husband, Jim, starting with his birth and ending with the tragic end on Palm Beach. I still remember the huge sense of sadness I felt when those brave young men actually met their Maker. It was strange, because all along I’d known what the ending was, but when it came, I still had to work through my own grief, in a sense. I went through a day or two of wondering why God had to end their lives in this way, of thinking of everything they had only begun to accomplish, and what warriors the Kingdom of God on earth lost when they entered Heaven. I had to come to the place on my own where I understood how perfect God’s plans are, and that what happened as a result of their short life story was actually the best outcome possible. This is my favorite missionary story yet, because I can identify with Jim in many ways – his passion for the declaration of the gospel, and willingness to do whatever it took to help the Aucas, even if it meant studying the language and translating the Bible. I think this is a must-read for anyone who thinks they are passionate about God!
13. Before You Meet Prince Charming – Sarah Malley
This was the book I read in one day during our family vacation in Tennessee this summer. It was rather a skim read, admittedly, but like I said before, this book was written for younger audiences, and it reiterates most of what I’ve been taught and have read previously. Reviewed here.
14. The Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom
I get a warm sense of affection when I remember this story. Though life was not easy for Corrie and her family, going through Hitler’s concentration camps and all, the image of two ‘old maids’ taking part in a dangerous web of hiding Jews right under the noses of police and suffering in the hands of the ruthless Germans, is so ridiculous, it’s nearly comical — admit it! What’s not funny is the torture Miss ten Boom endured. Stripped of her closest family, she emerged from Hitler’s brutality to spread the gospel of healing and forgiveness. This is an amazing story, and I think every single person should read it, definitely!
15. Preparing to be a Help Meet – Debi Pearl
How to describe this book? Well, we could start with life-changing! Mrs. Pearl talked about many subjects in this book that I’ve never thought about and that it would do me well to think about. So I was grateful for the wisdom and insights this book gave.
16. Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret – Dr. & Mrs. Taylor
Inspiring in more than simply the amazing tale of Hudson Taylor, but in the style of writing too, this book has made me richer in many ways. I am encouraged to never settle for less than God’s best, to always trust that His plans (no matter what they look like on the surface) are better than mine, and that one person with God really IS the majority. Reviewed here: Part One, and Part Two.
17. I Am Intelligent – Peyton Goddard & Dianne Goddard
This was the first of two books about autism that I picked up on a whim at a local used bookstore. Previously I’d known nothing, at all, about autism. I can’t say I could spot it now, or that I know that very much about it, but I am definitely glad for the insights I’ve been given by reading them. This book was the better one, in my opinion. In both accounts, a mother recounts her journey in dealing with autism and the approaches and tools she used. In this book, a cousin secretly abused the girl, until she lost the ability to speak, and it wasn’t until the family discovered a revolutionary writing tool that Peyton found her voice again, and began regaining her life. Remarkably, she writes amazing poetry, and has traveled across the country speaking up for autism.
18. Making Peace With Autism – Susan Senator
This was the second book about autism I’ve read, and although the story is similar to the first, it’s different in many ways. I could see in my head this mother struggling for perfection, tracing the mistakes and failures she made, trying everything she could think of to help her son. Every now and then throughout the book, she wrote sections of advice for dealing with your autistic child in different situations. It was very informative, and seemed more like a self-help book than a simple story.
19. All Creatures Great and Small – James Herriot
I so enjoyed this book! I couldn’t put it down after I’d once picked it up. It was embracing, jolly, sarcastically humorous, and chock full of old-school charm. To top everything cool about this book, it is set in England, written in the accents of farmers and country folk, sending the imagination whirling to hear the conversations as they were originally heard. There was profanity all throughout this book, just be warned.
20. Through Painted Deserts – Donald Miller
What a relaxing read – reread actually. If you’ve read Donald Miller before, you’ll recognize his random, rambling, storytelling, style in this road trip chronicle. His writing resembles poetry. Whether at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, stuck beside the road in an Arizona desert, or watching the scenery pass by, he comes up with profound and relevant thoughts that are delightful to read.
Books that are currently on loan to others: Preparing to Be A Help Meet, Passion & Purity, Quest For Love, Through Gates of Splendor, and Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.
Alrighty folks, that’s it! I hope you enjoyed reading my humble opinions and summaries. If you’ve read any of these books, tell me your thoughts! I’m also hesitantly making a loosely constructed 2014 Book List, so if you’d like to contribute, drop a recommendation in the comment section, please. Cool thanks bye.