Saturday, August 14, 2021

My Bookbag Overflows

Hey Fellow Book Enthusiasts ~

I've got a big ol' treasure trove for you today with dozens of links to page through!

  7 years of my favorite summer reads 

  Meet the author highlights  

  Online reads worth your time  

  Soon-to-hit-the-shelves volumes

Surviving Savannah
~  Patti Callahan
From the author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis {remember our Book Club?} comes a dual time line historical fiction classic.  

The 1838 sinking of the steamship Pulaski is center stage, even as we fast forward to present day 'when Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship ... and her research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together.'  

This is an extraordinary generational saga of trauma and resilience, as two women ask the question, 'how will we survive the surviving?'  Beautifully detailed and meticulously researched, this is one hefty beach read, a poignant page-turner.
Kindle - $9.99 
Hardcover - $19.99

You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters
~  Kate Murphy
There's plenty of truth to be found in this important read.  Of particular interest is the chapter, 'Listening to Opposing Views.'  In this endless season of political and pandemic unrest with all its disrespectful, volatile dialogue, this is must reading no matter how you lean.  

And the author's chapter on supporting others when they share their stories instead of constantly shifting the conversation to ourselves contains superb lessons for us all.
Kindle - $10.99
Hardcover - $14.99

Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church 
~  Rachel Held Evans 
After Rachel's untimely death, I felt a strong pull to read one of her books, to get to know this remarkable woman who struggled with the church and left her indelible mark on the next generation of seekers, the wounded, the marginalized.  This is a deeply powerful memoir, a stunningly penned 'road map back to church.'

Rachel was a lover of God, savvy and wise, with a superb gift of storytelling, her memory keen with an eye to detail; her observations, sharp and pointed; her humor, wry.  She wrestled with her own cynicism and pride and insecurities, she learned hard won lessons along the way and shared them freely.

I found myself challenged, convicted, and disturbed ... sometimes all in the same paragraph.  I'm guessing that some of her thoughts will leave you unsettled in your spirit, too.  You might embrace every word as your own ... or reject her viewpoint entirely.
Paperback  $11.46
Kindle $7.99 

Everything Happens For a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved
~  Kate Bowler
Stunning, raw, tragic, with wisps of humor and wisdom that refuse to be quenched, author Kate Bowler gently extends her hand to the reader as she walks through the valley of the shadow of searing loss and the unspeakable diagnosis of Stage IV cancer at the age of 35 ... in the midst of caring for those she adores, forging ahead with the beloved work she's been called to do, and wrestling with broken-hearted faith.

Sitting with her story is like curling up on the sofa crying with a beloved friend, captivated and mesmerized by the sound of her voice, the enormity of her sorrow, the interwoven hope.

And if that weren't enough, this Duke Divinity School professor tucks in Absolutely Never Say This To People Experiencing Terrible Times: A Short List and Give This A Go at the end of the book for all of us that might be prone to responding to tragedy by doing nothing ... or saying the most ridiculously hurtful things.
Meet the Author
Paperback - $14.38
Kindle - $12.99

Monticello: A Daughter and her Father; a Novel
~  Sally Cabot Gunning
I loved this novel ... complex and beautiful, detailed and mesmerizing.  You won't put it down.  I promise.

The author muses, 'I can't tell you how excited I am about this novel.  When I discovered a letter Martha Jefferson wrote to her father when she was fourteen, "I wish with all my heart all the poor Negroes were freed . . . " I knew I had to read more about her.  I poured through her letters to her father and his to her and realized that she and I had embarked on a similar mission: to figure out her father. This now meant, of course, that my new mission was to figure out Martha. The relationships between father and daughter, between daughter and husband, between daughter and children, complicated by the reappearance of an old love who haunts her conscience kept me happily awake over many long nights.'

*  I was excited to learn that the author lives two towns away from me. 
Meet the Author
Paperback - $15.99
Kindle - $8.99

The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in A World of Distraction
~  Adam McHugh
If you've been around here for awhile you'll fondly remember The Listening Life Book Club that kicked up some meaningful, life-altering discussions.  Click here to walk down memory lane to soak up the intriguing conversations we had.

McHugh's the kind of guide you'd choose if you're taking a long, winding journey to someplace unknown.  He's wise, he's got a keen sense of humor.  He knows where he's headed, because he's the first to admit the mistakes he's made in the past.  His subject matter is deep, yet engaging and readable.  He's got some crack-you-up anecdotes to share along the way {and his wry humor is even interlaced in the books's end notes}.

'The question that drives this book is, how would our relationships change, and how would we change, if we approached every situation with the intention of listening first?  What if we approached our relationship with God as listeners?  What if we viewed our relationship with nature as one of listening?  What if we approached our relationships using our ears rather than our mouths?  What if we sought to listen to our emotions before we preached to them?' 
Meet the Author
Paperback - $12.29
Kindle - $11.68

The Shell Seekers
~  Rosamunde Pilcher
This hefty gem was a real page-turner as reader joined author in looking back at the amazingly intricate Penelope and her turbulent life and heartbreaking loves.  By the end of the first page, I was hooked.  Really.  How often does that happen with a novel?

Set in the English countryside and by the sea, spanning three generations, the oft' times subtly stormy relationships that Penelope has with her children make for some fascinating reading. Throw some priceless artwork into the mix, add in a variety of interesting characters along the way, and this 530 page book was a wonderful escape, a splendid piece of fiction.
Paperback - $15.79
Kindle - $9.99


James Emery White

Stephanie Duncan Smith

Victor Moubarak

Ann Kroeker

Adam MacInnis

Anita Ojeda

Jennifer Harlan

{think Christmas shopping!}
Cheryl Smith

Anne Bogel

Kate Bowler

Emily Lex

Sarah Young

John Grisham

Patti Callahan

I'd love to hear what you've been paging through this summer.  Feel free to leave a link as you join the discussion so hundreds of other book connoisseurs can meet you!

And the grand announcement of our next Book Club selection is coming this week.  If you haven't subscribed, now's the time.  Click here so you won't miss a thing!

As ever, as an Amazon Affiliate, I may gain a small financial reimbursement if you make a purchase with the links in this post.  Thank you.

Stay cool with a good book ~

Anne  .  Lisa J  .  Richella  .  Lisa


  1. I am having the fun of reading C.S. Lewis’s God in the Dock while also reading a new bio of Lewis put out by Crossway. Total immersion!
    Love this peek into your book bag!

    1. C.S. Lewis has been on my mind recently, due to a daily devotional I'm reading. It's interesting that you're hanging out with him, too!

  2. Couldn’t find out how to get Victor’s books free. When I went to free books, it then brought me to Amazon and the kindle versions were free if you had kindle unlimited. Don’t have that.

    My fav read this summer was Forty Autumns by Nina Wilner. Our friend Nancy suggested for book club and I loved it. It is a memoir written by the granddaughter of Oma and Opa who lived behind the Iron Curtain. Nina ‘s mom defectied from E Germany and left her whole family behind. What a tale of resilient, strong moral fortitude in the atmosphere of bribery, spying, depravation and raising 9 children.

    I am putting Surviving Savannah on my must read list and all ready have Monticello on it…thanks fellow book junkie

    1. Savannah and Monticello will be fine companions for you in the weeks ahead, friend!

  3. I'm currently reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, and it is a true winner, Linda. Can't recommend it enough!
    Blessings, and thanks for sharing the books you've loved here!

    1. I love when someone says a book is a 'true winner.'


  4. wow this IS a rich treasure of ideas and inspiration!

  5. Many thanx for sharing my FREE BOOKS link, Linda.

    God bless.

    1. It's a pleasure, Victor! And thanks for your response below to Carol ... and to any other readers who might be having a bit of a challenge discovering how to access your work!

      Yours is a generous offer!

  6. In response to Carol's comment above:

    Thank you, Carol. If you follow this link:

    You will find a list of books. Some are paperbacks and Kindle and are charged at the publisher's costs. I can't help that. Others are FREE for you and all readers to download onto their computers, tablets etc ... They can then be printed, copied to CD or USB stick, and shared with friends. They are yours FREE as a gift. Both Christian books and humourous ones.

    Any problems, write to me at:

    Thanx and God bless.

  7. So many of these books sound great. My list of books to read just keeps growing! I finally managed to read Gentle and Lowly though and loved it, and I enjoyed the article you shared here about the woman who wrote out the whole Bible. That's an amazing accomplishment!

    1. Gentle and Lowly looks to be our next Book Club read. I can't wait to sit with the biblical truths the author calls our attention to!

      I'll be saying more this week.


  8. Dear Linda! God bless you richly for mentioning our new book here! I am most grateful to you and so thankful for you and your encouragement, support, and friendship. Sending hugs and much love and gratitude your way!

    1. I'm excited for you, Cheryl. I look forward to reading and reviewing ... and love how your whole family is in on the design and publication with you.

  9. What a rich post and terrific list. I have heard many people speak of The Shell Seekers -- and I think I must seek it out!

    1. Yep, I have a good mind to read it all over again.

  10. Lot's of gems here! I'm reading a memoir, but having a hard time getting through it. Not sure if it just me! What I love about the books you share is that they also give me idea for my home-town Book Club. Thanks!

    1. I hear you, Lynn. Those 'hard time getting through it' books can really drag us down and keep us from the excitement that comes with picking up a volume that speaks to us.

      I'd love to hear what your Book Club is paging through these days!

  11. Thank you for all the recommendations. I’ve read some, but not all of them and now my TBR list is even longer! I’m reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer right now. And, because it’s a year in which I’m getting lost in thriller fiction, I just started The Perfect Family by Robin Harding.

    1. I hear you about the TBR list, Linda! I finally had to freeze all my library requests because they were stacking up much too quickly.

      One book at a time works for me ...

  12. Always delighted to get your recs and add to my list of books to read. I read The Shell Seekers when it first came out. My kind of book to get lost in!
    Thank you for sharing!

    1. Don't you just love a great big book to immerse yourself in?


  13. So many great offerings, Linda. That book "You're Not Listening" sounds like one I really, really need! Our 25 year old son is choosing a spiritual path that is bringing me to my knees in more than one way. But trying to discuss matters with him is difficult for him and me. My mama heart goes into overdrive, showing passion in ways that the counselor in me can keep in check. His young and independent spirit reacts defensively to "mama" telling him he's off track! It would be comical if it wasn't so painful! Would love your prayers for us to navigate this well with him!

    Btw, I'm probably going to turn off comments on my blog for the next few months. I am torn about it because I so love seeing you and others pop up there. But I'm trying to pull back and only share content, not socialize as much. I need to clear my head and really hear God's voice for a while. Somehow social media and the blogosphere creates static there for me. I'll most likely be back in full force by Jan 1. Loved seeing you there, my friend!

    1. 'I need to clear my head and really hear God's voice for a while. Somehow social media and the blogosphere creates static there for me.'

      Beth, you are so wise to see what's happening for you and to make the choice to re-imagine how you do your online life. You're modeling a powerful choice for those who feel the same but somehow feel they HAVE TO continue the expected routine.

      Thankfully, there's no blog police, and you get to do what you think best! I love that about blogging.

      Thank you for the family update. This is hard stuff. Based on how you and your husband have lived your lives and the transparency of your faith, I know that your son knows about a relationship with Christ as he has heard about Jesus for years and seen you model faithfulness.

      I'm praying you'll be able to simply be available for conversation and allow him to take the lead when to go there. The Spirit is the One who convicts and letting Him do His work in His time takes the pressure off you to somehow open your son's spiritual eyes ... and lets you simply love him well and enjoy his company.

      Please know that I'm praying. And we'll keep in touch via email!

  14. WOW! Now that's a book bag full of books that seemed to be full to the brim of good reading. I am excited about getting Cheryl's book soon. I hope that you have a wonderful week dear Linda. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    1. A bag full of books.


      One book at a time ...

  15. SO many great books on your 7 years of summer favorites list! Everything Happens for a Reason, The Listening Life, and the Shell Seekers were all a delight!

    Here are my recent reads:

    1. Elena, I love that we've found delight in the same books. It simply makes me smile!


  16. I read The Shell Seekers this year. It felt like I'd found an old friend. I am intrigued by the listening books - and have been wanting to be better at listening!

    1. Yep, like re-connecting with a dear old friend!

  17. Just finished The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin and The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah ... both of which were heart-wrenching and well-written. I'd classify both as historical fiction. Before that, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. What a writer!

    Thanks for this post ! What a great reference for my to-be-read list!


    1. Thanks for historical fiction titles, Barbara. I'm embracing these kind of titles more and more ...

  18. So many good suggestions for which I thank you. Currently I am reading "Gentle and Lowly". Excellent book, encouraging and thought provoking.

    1. Guess what our next Book Club title is going to be?


  19. I loved the article about treating our work as valuable, even in what we call it and its space. The NY Times one about a reading summer wouldn't let me read it w/o a subscription. :-/

    I recently finished a biography of Anne Morrow Lindbergh that was actually a little disappointing. I'm currently listening to the audiobook of a great novel, The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner about two girls who meet in an interment camp during WWII and become friends. They're both as American as can be, but one is from a German family and one is from a Japanese family. They get repatriated and later try to find each other. It's really good.

    1. Meissner's books have been some of my favorites! She's a superb writer, isn't she ...

      Thanks for this little nudge to maybe do a re-read of one or two, Barbara!

  20. I loved the Kate Bowler book. And Surviving Savannah is on my tbr.

  21. I could linger on your Bookbag posts for hours, Linda! I've read several of those at the top of your list and loved them, so that assures me I'd be safe reading the rest of your recommendations too. :)

    1. As always, I savor your book posts, too, Lisa. Wouldn't it be wonderful to live nearby and do a book club together?

      I guess online will have to do for now ...