Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Bookbag * 5 . 19

Yep, May's a busy one alright.  Our jam-packed calendar squares remind us that the endless housebound winter is long gone and the lazy days of summer have yet to arrive.

But always ... there's time to read.  Early in the morning we sneak in a few pages, we lull our selves to sleep with a couple of chapters in the midnight hours.  We tuck a small volume or our Kindle into awaiting bags hoping to capture a half hour to savor an exquisite storyline ... or invite Spirit-inspired words to change our lives in all the ways that matter most.

I've read 11 books in the two months since our March Bookbag post.  I paged through a few more before returning to them to the library unread.  And these are the three that I most highly recommend.

Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C.S. Lewis
Abigail Santamaria
Attention All Becoming Mrs. Lewis Book Club Readers!  This is the follow-up volume for you.  Whether you absolutely loved Joy ... or wrestled with how she lived out her faith and had some misgivings about her pursuit of Lewis, you'll find this fascinating bio to be rich and full and answer quite a few of the questions you gathered in the course of our discussion.

Our stories along the way, for better or worse, surely influence the choices we make in search for a love that fully satisfies.

And just like Joy, author Santamaria pulls no punches.  This is must reading for all who found Joy to be an intricately complex woman.
Hardcover - $28.00
Kindle - $13.14

When God's Ways Make No Sense
Dr. Larry Crabb
I'm a huge Larry Crabb fan from way back.  A highly respected leader in Christian counseling circles, this esteemed psychologist always goes right to the heart of whatever subject is on the table.  You'll wince a bit as he shines the light on the inner motives of our self-absorbed souls, but you'll love the rich path toward an authentic faith that he leads us to.

'More often now than earlier in my Christian life, I find myself asking three rather weighty questions, questions that fifty years of counseling have convinced me that many others are asking as well.  Perhaps not out loud.  The questions might be heard as evidence of little faith, maybe as questions that really shouldn't be asked by Christians who trust Jesus to guide them through their lives.

But these are three questions that life will at some point nudge every honest Christian to ask:
Question 1: Why Must Suffering Play Such a Big Role in the Christian Life?

Question 2: Why Must Failure Be Such an Ongoing Part of the Christian Life?

Question 3: How Are We to Respond to Seemingly Random Suffering with No Obvious Purpose and to Repeated Failure That We Try Hard to Resist but Sometimes Can't?' {pages 30 - 31}.
Hardcover - $11.95
Kindle - $9.99

It's Okay Not to Be Okay: Moving Forward One Day at a Time
Sheila Walsh
We often talk about the waiting rooms of our lives.  It's there we dwell while trying to figure out the next right thing to pursue or perhaps while waiting for God's answers or direction.

But at least most waiting rooms have comfy chairs, magazines to leaf through, windows to gaze out of.  Being stuck in the hallway takes the waiting room to a whole other level.

If you're in that scary place, Sheila Walsh is an authentic, sensitive guide because she's been there, done that.  And her story will assure you that not only is it okay not to be okay, but that it won't last forever.  Because God has other plans.

'God not only lives in the wide-open spaces of our lives, God lives in the hallway, and His presence can be most keenly felt when the door has been slammed in our face.  So many of the distractions that had filled my life had numbed me to the whole point of my life: to bring glory to God, to know Him, to allow the Holy Spirit to invade every space.  I began to worship in the hallway' {page 45}.
Hardcover - $10.99
Kindle - $10.44

We're right smack dab in the middle of our conversation!  Emily Freeman's brand new gift to all us decision fatigued seekers is hitting home for readers.  It's not too late to grab your copy and jump right into the conversation!  Go right here to begin.
Hardcover - $11.28
Kindle - $9.99


Dana McMahan

Tom Hallman, Jr.

Diana Petrillo

Glorious Weakness:
Discovering God In All We Lack
Alia Joy

Holy Envy:
Finding God in the Faith of Others
Barbara Brown Taylor

Searching for Sunday:
Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church
Rachel Held Evans 

What recent reads would you highly recommend?  If you have a bookish blog post to share, please give us an intriguing preview and your link in the comment section!  I do love when my far-flung friends get to know each other ...

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chatting with
AnneMary & Sue


  1. This is all kinds of lovely! Adding these books to my list!

  2. Methinks after looking at that next to last picture you have some favorite authors. :) I just did a review of a very good book, Gay Girl Good God on my blog. http://billgrandi.ovcf.org/wordpress/?p=15286. I just finished a captivating book and am now waiting for his other one (a few years older). It is called A Company of Heroes by Tim Keesee. It is on missionaries who are taking the gospel to areas that are dangerous. Had trouble putting it down.

    1. I got rid of about half my books when we moved 4 years ago. But there's some authors I couldn't say good-bye to.

      John Grisham came along with us!

  3. It's Okay Not to Be Okay is on my long to-read list!

    1. Those lists and piles are growing right about now, aren't they!

  4. I love your bookish links section! I shared the one about Christians reading widely because that is something I believe but sometimes have trouble articulating well. Thanks!

    1. Oh I'm so glad you found it worth sharing, Jordan! I absolutely agree with reading out of our Christian genres and comfort zones. We are in this world, even if we're not of it.

  5. I finished and really enjoyed Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me by Karen Swallow Prior. I loved I’ll Watch the Moon by Ann Tatlock last month, so this month I sought out some of her other books I had bought in years past at Kindle sales: A Room of My Own, inspirational fiction about a young girl’s coming of age during the Depression, and Travelers Rest, about a woman whose fiance comes back from Afghanistan paralyzed. Both were excellent. I’m listening to The Pickwick Papers by Dickens – not my favorite of his, but I’m enjoying it. I’m also still working through How to Understand and Apply the New Testament by Andrew David Naselli and greatly benefiting from it.

    I enjoyed Emily's post about her launch party and tucked away a couple of ideas to hopefully use some day.

    1. I do hope that your own launch party will come sooner than you think, friend!

      Meanwhile, you do an outstanding job of sharing your reads with us. I've had my eye on Karen Swallow Prior for awhile. Maybe it's time I read Booked!

      Thanks for always adding something substantial to the conversations around here, friend!

  6. I am confessing that I am jealous and a little annoyed right now that you are in the time of your life that you have the freedom and the availability to read 11 books in two months. The green eyed monster is rearing its ugly head today. I am swamped with work, home, family and even my midnight reading has stopped. The time will come when I am where you are but until then I have trouble relating to this post. But I still love you!

    1. I love you, too.

      And we will make our way through this season.



  7. I definitely have a hero worship thing going on with Barbara Brown Taylor. I love her writing and her thinking.

    1. One of my favorite authors. I find her challenging, insightful, beautifully expressive. And while I might not agree with everything she says, I always end up with my own faith sharpened after a slow savoring of her work.

      Simply outstanding.

  8. Linda. I do hope you'll enjoy Searching For Sunday. I may have to pull my copy out again and go over my highlights. It was a read filled with hope and grace. I'm so behind with Barbara Brown Taylor I'll have to put this one on hold for a while.

    1. I found Rachel's death pretty difficult to grasp. So very sad. My heart aches for her husband and her babies.

      I'm guessing that I'll find her book hard to read now that she's gone. I can't even begin to imagine the time of her life she's experiencing with the Lord and His people in heaven.

      Bless her.

  9. So, why does God allow the bad,
    and the world be steeped in sin?
    Where's our yearned for Galahad;
    is evil going to win?
    Why these sad and bitter things?
    Was all this unintended?
    I long for the beat of angel-wings,
    and that life can be mended.
    There is a tale, so I'm told
    of a girl who couldn't refrain
    from opening a box (much too bold!);
    darkness flew, but something remained.
    There are days when I just can't cope
    but like Pandora, reach for Hope.

    1. Hope is as near as your next breath, friend.

      Meanwhile, I'm seeing a compilation of poetry in your future. Yes?

    2. Yes, Linda, there will probably be a couple of compilations; I've written about 69,000 words worth of Shakespearean sonnets since the beginning of the year, which I guess is somewhere between 600 and 700 individual poems.

      I'm not quite sure why they exist at all, as I never wrote poetry before, and wasn't all that fond of it.

    3. Don't you find it absolutely fascinating that God would open yet another creative door for you in this most painful of seasons ...

      He knew what you needed. He knew what we needed to read.

    4. It's truly in His Hands, Linda. As am I.

      As are we all.

  10. I definitely want to read The Next Right Thing! Here's a few of my latest favorites: http://ellieharte.com/2019/05/15/favorite-books-of-quarter-one/

    1. I just love Emily, Eleanor. Her blog {back in the day}, her podcasts {a mid-week lifeline}, and now the book.

      I expect her work to deepen and become even more powerful in the seasons ahead. Bless her.

      And now I'm heading over to check out your favorites. Thanks for sharing your link! I hope alot of my readers join me there ...

  11. Sheila Walsh's book sounds appealing to me. This quote especially grabs my heart - "God not only lives in the wide-open spaces of our lives, God lives in the hallway, and His presence can be most keenly felt when the door has been slammed in our face." Amen. There are so many good books out there that sometimes it's hard to decide which ones to add to my already-long list. :( Love and blessings to you, Linda!

    1. Dear Trudy, I think you might really appreciate this book. I was able to find it in my library system ... maybe you would be able to find it as well?

      If you do read it, I'd so appreciate reading your insights.

    2. You're right, Linda. It IS in our library. I put it on hold. There is still one ahead of me on the list. :)

    3. Oh YAY! I've been surprised at how many Christian books are available. I seldom buy a book unless I absolutely love it or love the author.

      Let's hear it for fabulous libraries ... and the librarians that see that they run smoothly!


  12. Since I absolutely loved "Becoming Mrs. Lewis," I simply have to order that book about Joy. Thanks, Linda, for all your recommendations here! I just finished a wonderful book entitled "Right Side Up Thinking in an Upside Down World" by Ron Gallagher. It's truly inspirational.

    1. Martha, I'd love to hear what you think after you read Joy's bio!

  13. I'm a huge Larry Crabb fan from way back too. Love his writings. I'm reading Glorious Weakness right now; she has excellent insights that step on my toes. Searching for Sunday is so good---hope you enjoy it.

    1. I love how you put that, Lisa ... 'step on my toes.' Yeah, sometimes we need that awakening, don't we.

      And how come I'm not surprised that you're a Larry Crabb fan, too.


  14. Those three questions make a good subject for discussion in a Blog post.

    God bless.

    1. Go for it, Victor! Would love to hear your take ...


  15. Recent reads I enjoyed was Upstairs at the White House which gave me a glimpse of what the Chief Usher for Eleanor, Maime , Bess, Betty, Jackie and Pat found remarkable in their lives. Lack of politics make it an easy, enjoyable read about family life and social life of these ladies.

    Then Small Great Things by Jodi Picolt was an eye opener of hate by white supremists. How Jodi captured that “disease” is fascinating to me. As a hospital employee who has numerous inclusive in-services to plod through so I will be able to accept blacks, gays, transgender, foreigners etc, I wonder what would be done if a white patient’s father forbid a black nurse to care for his sick child. Wonder wonder...

    1. Yes, yes, to compassionate, empathetic, professional care for all who need it.

      With open arms and tender hearts.

      As Boston Children's Hospital says, 'until every child is well.'