Friday, September 13, 2019

The Bookbag * Jumbo Early Fall Edition

'Reading was her long exhale after being on her feet all day.  Long after we'd been tucked in and read our bedtime stories, she'd pour herself into bed and reach for one of those dog-eared paperbacks.  A slim ribbon would glow reassuringly under her doorway long into the night.  It was the only time I saw my mom take time for herself, time no one else needed or claimed.'
- Alia Joy -


It's been four months since we last unpacked a traditional Bookbag post around here.  Since then, I've made my way through 19 books - 5 fictional reads and the rest a very broad selection of biographies, political tomes, spiritual writings, and counseling related volumes.

Today, I'm happy to share a wide array of reviews, scads of links, some bookish snapshots, coming attractions I can't wait to scoop up, and my favorite 12 year old's smart-alecky but honest book report.  I'm thinking you'll find something here tailor-made just for you.

Grab a cup of tea, put your feet up, and enjoy ...

Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack 
Alia Joy
I don't even know where to begin to tell you how Alia's writing grabbed my heart, wrenching it and expanding it, breaking it in two.  She writes of her struggles with bipolar disorder, childhood sexual abuse, the horrors of poverty on the mission field, the nakedness of physical pain, her own experiences of racial injustice.

The flow of her words is beautiful, painful, powerful.  

'I never imagined that the call for the last twenty years would be to stay and walk faithfully with God while struggling with mental illness, unable to be involved in any "ministry."  I didn't know my ministry would be words often written from hospital beds or in recovery.  That I'd shake out my story with trembling hands and I'd testify to a God who meets me here when I haven't a single thing to offer' {page 134}.

Read this book.  Please.  It will change you.  
When I Can't See God's Face in the Dark @ (in)courage
Paperback - $8.58
Kindle - $2.99!

Through a Season of Grief: Devotions for Your Journey from Mourning to Joy
Bill Dunn & Kathy Leonard
The last thing someone who's grieving needs is a book that ties everything up in a neat package.  This book is NOT that.  It's a year's worth of simple meditations for those who've lost someone they love.  Never preachy yet solidly biblical, it will be a gentle companion for someone walking through heartbreak, confusion, emptiness, anger, fear, and numbness.

I read a page or two every night.  I highly recommend this solid, reassuring lifeline from GriefShare for your grief journey.  In lieu of flowers or yet another casserole, this is a very thoughtful gift.
Paperback - $10.99
Kindle - $2.99!
Free daily email version

Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make Room for Happiness
Gretchen Rubin
I love this book!  Nothing makes my heart sing more than decluttering, organizing, finding a home for everything, getting rid of what's not needed, finding usable discards a new home.

But this book is wonderful for those who aren't big fans, but would like just a bit of guilt-free encouragement to head in that direction.  Short, page-long vignettes invite the reader to 'tailor our approach to suit our own particular challenges and habits.'

This book will make you smile ... and perhaps, roll up your sleeves.

'For most people, it's deeply calming to see outer order emerge.  Perhaps it's the tangible sense of control, or the relief from visual noise, or the release from guilt and frustration. Creating order - even with things as mundane as socks or supplies - gives a disproportionate boost of energy and cheer.  There's so much we can't control, but we can control our stuff.'

A wonderful little book to tuck in your bag for those random moments when you need a boost of motivation.
Hardcover - $9.89
Kindle - $9.99

Massachusetts: A Novel
Nancy Zaroulis
A great big huge 709 page tome, a James Michener style saga that follows the fictional Revell family from Plymouth Rock for hundreds of years.  The storyline wends its way through wars with Indians, the battle for freedom from British rule, the Industrial Revolution, the abolition of slavery, the Civil War, Irish immigration, the development of unions and right on up to the 1960s.

Fascinating, riveting for the reader who loves getting lost in a great big storyline.  I'll call this PG-13 for some violence and sexual content.
Hardcover - $9.09

Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All Of Us Have To Give Up In Order To Move Forward
Dr. Henry Cloud
I'm a huge Henry Cloud fan, and this book is probably one of my favorites.  No, it's not all about business relationships, so don't check out yet if that's not your thing.  Worth the price alone is this leading Christian psychologist's discussion on the foolish and / or evil people we encounter and how to wisely respond to the challenges they constantly throw at us.

We're talking issues on trust.  Character.  Boundaries.  Emotional intelligence.

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel, I'm going to encourage you to head right over to Pam Ecrement's fabulously insightful post on this fascinating subject.  Her post, and Cloud's book, are absolutely must reads because if we ourselves hope to be wise, we are obliged to figure out how to respond in healthy ways to the difficult people we encounter in our personal relationships, professional lives, political culture, and churches. 
Hardcover - $22.69
Kindle - $17.49

The Norman Williams Public Library
Woodstock, Vermont
built 1883 - 1884

Cape and Islands Bookstore Trail

Kindle & Nook Readers:
You know you don't own those books, right?
John Warner

Mistakes, Imperfections & Perceptions
Debby Hudson

How to Create an Idea Capture System 
Christa @ do a new thing

Why I removed some of my commentary
from a chapter of Praying God's Word
Beth Moore

Why I Don't Save Journals
or Other Sentimental Items
Courtney Carver

How to Be a Better Reader
Sarah DiGiulio

Fall 2019 at Magnolia Market - Wholeness
Joanna Gaines

So You Want to Write?
How Introverts Cultivate a Writing Practice
Anne Cathrine Bomann

9 things to know before going
to your next (or first) book sale
Anne Bogel

What is the Aim of Christian Writing?
Cody Cunningham

How a Prayer Journal Helps Me Pray
Ed Cyzewski

8 Ways to Find More Time to Read
Even If You're Super Busy
Elizabeth Sile

3 Steps to Rewriting Your Narrative
For a Happier, More Rewarding Life
Angie Johnston

I rate this novel 0 star because it was confusing and way too long.  The descriptions took forever like when the author explained how rhythmic the people of Camazots were and went on for paragraphs that made the book really hard to follow.  I recommend this book to people that want to be bored to death.  The book deserves credit for being the most confusing and boring book I have ever read.  Do not read this book unless you are forced to.

The Reading Life: The Joy
of Seeing New Worlds Through Others' Eyes
C.S. Lewis

Miracles and Other Reasonable Things:
A Story of Unlearning and Relearning God
Sarah Bessey

The Preacher's Wife: The Precarious Power
of Evangelical Women Celebrities
Kate Bowler

The Guardians: A Novel
John Grisham

7 Days of Christmas: The Season of Generosity
Jen Hatmaker

Don't Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions,
Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life
Anne Bogel
{March 2020}

Let's talk books ... share your recent favorites, your bookish links, and other fine thoughts. 


Email, Twitter, FB, and Pinterest 
share buttons are quietly available
in the gray box below
you can


doing life with


  1. These are always one of my favorite posts, Linda. You offer us such good gifts! And that book review from the 12 year old was AWESOME! A real laugh out loud. My deep appreciation for including my offering in this roundup of grace. xx

    1. I laugh 90% of the time I'm around him. He's a real character, alright!


      Honored to share your words {and his!} this month, my creative friend. I love the direction your blog is going in this fresh new season ...

  2. These books look tempting to me. Books continue to bless me for so many reasons!! What have I been reading? I have read through a number of series of Lisa Wingate novels and am currently finishing the last in her Moses Lake series, Wildwood Creek. I am nearly finished with Mark Levin's book, Unfreedom of the Press. Beyond that I read a new book by an AG pastor friend of mine, Leveling the Praying Field, that I will post a review for on Monday. I am also making my way through a 700+ page commentary on Exodus by Douglas Stuart in preparation for a workshop on Exodus in November in MD by Simeon's Trust where my daughter will lead. I am about 425 pages into it and LOVE this! Exodus will never be the same for me again and you will hear me leaking tidbits of it (like today) for a while to come. Thanks for choosing my post on Necessary Endings to highlight here. XOXO

    1. Desr Pam - Your passion for savoring a 700+ page commentary on Exodus makes me appreciate you more than ever.

      Would that we'd all crave to be so deeply in love with God's Word.

  3. I recently saw 'Titanic', and read a couple of books about it, which got me thinking...

    It's always fascinated me,
    how people face their doom
    lost upon an icy sea
    (while I read in living room).
    I think of the Titanic story,
    and imagine myself there,
    seeing man's unsinkable glory
    going down in deep despair.
    Too few places in the boats,
    for some there'd be no other day.
    Some left behind heroic quotes,
    and some tried to stow away.
    Would I have taken the heroic pose,
    or attempted escape in women's clothes?

    And I even blogged about it, albeit while giving the story a new ending.

    1. I think I'm going to head over and see what you've created, Andrew.

      Family lore says that my grandmother just missed getting on the Titanic by one week ... or something like that.

      Mmm ...

  4. Loved every word and image, even though I have a feeling I loved the novel excoriated by your junior reviewer😂. Thank you for the heads up about coming attractions!

    1. He'd be a crazy wonderful addition to your homeschooling routine, Michele!

      Bright, energetic, hysterically fun.


  5. Oh, that book report had me rolling, Linda! What a sense of humor and wit she has - takes after you!
    Thanks for the many recommendations, my friend.

    1. Oh he'd love to know that he takes after his grandmother.

      Now THAT'S funny ...


  6. Loved that first quote and identified with it. I read several of the links. I wish I had kept my journals from my teens, as in insight into what I was thinking then. I thew them away because I figured they'd embarrass me later, and I didn't want anyone else to see them. I'm glad Elisabeth Elliot kept and shared her husband's journals. I haven't journaled in adulthood (except maybe on my blog--that represents a lot of thinking through of things). I used to fill small spiral notebooks with notes from my Bible reading time, and have wondered what to do with them. They're certainly not Jim Elliot-level reading. It would take so long to comb through them to see if anything was worth saving, I am tempted to just declare that they accomplished what they were supposed to and throw them away.

    This month I read/listened to a couple of classics: 84, Charing Cross Road and Anna Karenina. Neither will pro9bably make a list of my all-time favorites, but they both had their good qualities. I also read a good, suspenseful, hot off the press thriller called Kill Order by Adam Blumer. I finished off the last two books in a series by a favorite author, Leisha Kelly: Rachel's Prayer and Sarah's Promise. And I also read a good book titles There's a Reason They Call It GRANDparenting by Michele Howe. All my reviews of them are here:

    Happy reading!

    1. I love hearing about the journaling you've done along the way, Barbara. I think the investment of focused time and effort has made a difference in our lives, don't you?

      I look back and see it was time well spent in keeping me close to the Lord and able to hear His still small voice through challenges that I couldn't have walked through alone ...

      I'm so grateful.

  7. Thank you so much for mentioning my post. May your amazing ideas always be capture!

    1. I loved sharing your post with my readers, Christa!

  8. There are so many goodies here, Linda. I didn't get to every article, but my favorite read ones are Beth Moore's and Cody's What is the aim of Christian Writing?. I once started Alia's book, but I needed to set it aside for a time because of memory triggers when she got detailed on sexual abuse. But I've taken it up again. I love her honesty. Yes, it is so powerful. I loved your favorite 12-year-old's honest book report. :) Love and blessings to you!

    1. Yes, you're right, Trudy ... there could be triggers in this book. You were wise to set the book aside, to wait to a later time to pick it up again.

      I admire your discernment ... and am praying for another of level of healing for your heart.

      Bless you ...

  9. This is a great collection of books and links! I always appreciate what you share. And I love the 12 year-old's review! I am ploughing my way through a book that is over 700 pages long which might have been good if it had been half the length, so I might need to borrow some of these phrases when I finally get round to reviewing it!

    1. I'm sure he'd love to be quoted!

      700 pages is a long haul ... I hope when all is said and done, it was worth the journey!


  10. Linda, I think I may have laughed out loud when I read the 12-year-old's book review. It sounds just like something my Molly would have written about any number of books (she likes to read what she WANTS to read, not much else). :-) I'm going through the grief devotional in much the same way you are ... finding a bit at a time is just what I need. And I'm so thankful for your introduction to Courtney Carver ... I'm thinking her approach to clearing out your closet is something I need to try quite soon!

    1. I bet the 2 of them would have plenty to laugh about! What a team.

      * haha *

      I like that the devotional readings are short and not too cumbersome. And I like that they're not dated so you don't feel like you HAVE TO read something every day.

      'Cause each day is different, right?

      I hope you're doing well ...

  11. You always leave us with such a good selection. Alia's book, Glorious Weakness, is on my list to read. Someday!

    1. It's well worth the wait. And not a story you can race through. I found myself putting it down time and again and just pondering where she was coming from and what she's been through.

      What an impact Alia leaves in her wake ...

      Bless her.

  12. At first I was slow to get into Alia Joy's book, but the deeper I got, the more I loved it, so yes I agree that her words are beautiful, painful, and powerful. I have Outer Order, Inner Calm on my Kindle. Hope to get to it in the next few months!

    1. Yep, I moved slowly into Alia's pages, too, Lisa. This was not an easy read. But I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

      Sounds like you've experienced the same ...

  13. Your 12-year old has said it so profoundly about a 700 page book I read recently and it is now a movie (IMO not worth viewing). So instead of sharing a book I liked, I have chosen to share one I didn’t like — The Goldfinch.

    It is always good to forewarn others but this book has rave reviews.

    1. I've put aside a number of books that had 5 star raves ... for whatever reason, they didn't resonate. This always surprises me, but it shouldn't, should it ...

      As Christ-followers, we march to the beat of a different Drummer. Our faith impacts what we choose to read and why.

      If after 50 pages, I'm not excited about reading a book, I usually close the cover and call it a day. No point wasting more time ...


  14. I love a good book list like this. Especially like how you give the brief overview and what you like. Well done, my friend.

  15. Adding Glorious Weakness to my TBR right now!! sounds like a powerful book!

    1. Looking forward to reading your review, Elle! Thanks for connecting over our mutual appreciation for good books ...