Thursday, September 14, 2023

Her Overflowing Bookbag πŸ‘œ Porch #109

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 gentle conversation  
calming snapshots
uplifting linkage
occasional surprises

the Homegoing of a beloved devotional writer, two ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ novels, a handful of intriguing bookish essays, a charming glimpse into a day in the gentle life of a rural bookseller, and scads of e-book deals too good to pass up ...

Friends, settle in, put your feet up, and enjoy exploring these treasures gathered just for you!  

Sarah Young, beloved writer of the best-selling, life-changing Jesus Calling devotional series, went home to be with Jesus on August 31st.  I feel like a spiritual friend has left us, having used her devotionals for years with counseling clients, with a friend during Advent, and in seasons of illness when all I could do was whisper, 'Jesus.'  

Over the years, I've given and received her books with expectancy and gratitude.

Thank You, Lord, for this dear sister in the faith.  She has been a fine companion, always pointing me to You.  I hear You whisper, 'well done, good and faithful servant.'


I just checked my little reading journal.  I read 12 books during the summer.  Yet I'll give only two of them ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.  A bit of a reading drought.  You know what I mean.

But these two?  Worth your time, for sure.  

Dreamland is a vintage Nicholas Sparks boy meets girl novel.  But the storyline takes a whole bunch of unsettling turns that I never saw coming.  Sparks goes to the next level in this one.  It'll shake you up a bit and leave you wanting to read it all over again before you close the cover.  

The Light Between Oceans is a classic, a re-read for me.  A crying baby in a lifeboat washed ashore on a desolate spot in the sea and a series of haunting decisions by a young lighthouse keeper and his desperate wife make this story mesmerizing and heartbreaking. (The movie is stellar, too.) 

The clips below say it all and I'm highly recommending both.  Be sure to grab your tissues before you curl up with these must-read novels.
Nicholas Sparks

ML Stedman


The Ritual of Rearranging Your Books
Molly Templeton

Finding Hidden Treasures in Used Books
Lisa Tate

Cape Cod: The Perfect Location for a Mystery
Vicki Delany

Seeing the Light on Religious Fiction
Jeff Crosby

57 Comfy Books to Snuggle Up With This Autumn
Michelle Watson



'Books - stories in particular - expand our imaginations with materials, images, characters, events, outcomes, possibilities, people, problems, solutions, disasters, delights, and so much more than we’d ever “see” in our minds without them.'
Karen Swallow Prior
What titles are patiently waiting on your TBR stack?
Thanks to those of you who support my work by using the Amazon links here to do your regular shopping.  No extra cost to you, ever!

shout-outs to these faithful blog hosts
Anne & Paula & Jeanne & Lisa

first photo by Ena Marinkovic


  1. A post like this with all the links and recommendations takes a lot of time, so thank you for doing the work!

    1. Michele, thanks. It's all a steady labor of love for Him, for the community, and for the craft of blogging itself. I love every second of it.

  2. Oh my gosh...I didn't know Sarah Young had passed away. Her devotionals are beautiful. Thank you for gathering this list of books together! I needed ideas for cozy fall reads. Although I do cringe a bit when it comes to Nicolas Sparks novels (a bit too much "cheese" for me), I still tend to indulge!

    1. Yep, a bit cheese-y, Lynn, and as far down the romance trail as I'll go. But this one is different if not a bit unsettling ... kind of like a roller coaster that leaves you breathless and wondering what the heck just happened. Well worth the read.

  3. Hello Linda,

    I so appreciate your newsletters. I never know if people want responses and so, often refrain. But today I needed to write back.

    I did not know that Sarah Young had recently passed away. I was introduced to her books through a dear friend, who also passed away a little over a year ago. The books are special to me due to my friend and also the content, making them dear to me πŸ™‚ Yes, I am quite sentimental.

    So today your newsletter caused me to pause and reflect on my friend and the writings.

    Thank you for always giving wonderful recommendations!

    And may the Lord keep you safe from Lee this weekend!

    * subscriber email response

    1. Oh yes, right off the top, the comment section is up and running whether it's the newsletter or an essay, friend. And I am more than happy when someone hits REPLY and sends an email. I'm glad to do a little cut and paste to put them on the website especially because some people have trouble posting on occasion. I never want anyone to walk away frustrated at not being heard or find the technology a bit wonky.

      I hear you about the impact Sarah Young has had on your life. How priceless to connect her devotional work with your dear friend.

      I can't begin to tell you how often a client would tell me that how absolutely perfect the words were for her that were written for that day. God knew what each of them needed to hear, and it was always a cause for praise at the perfection of His timing.

      Yes, we've battened the hatches, emptied the Little Library out on the road, and are ready to head for the hills. Praying that all will be safe from the severe winds and driving rain.

  4. I didn't know Sarah Young had passed away. You had given me one of her devotionals when I was going through my cancer treatment and her words just resonated with me. So many people have been impacted by her writing. Just wondering, the picture of your reading journal with the bear on the cover, is that the one from the Christmas Tree Shop back around 25 years ago for $1.00? I think I bought a bunch of them, it looked familiar!

    1. Actually, I think it might have been Building 19! Those were the days!

  5. I hadn't heard about the passing of Sarah Young, Linda. She will be missed, but we know she's home in heaven.
    Seeing your mention of Charles Dickens brought back so many fond memories for me - I will look into rereading the lot!
    Blessings, and thanks for all your recommendations!

    1. Oh good, I'm glad! There's something endearing and timeless about the classics, isn't there, friend.

  6. Thank you for letting us know about Sarah Young, Linda. I too didn't know she now resides in heaven. Sarah's impressions from God have ministered to me again and again over the years. I'm so thankful her life touched mine through her books, and look forward to meeting her face to face one day!

    1. Amen, yes, Nancy. I was thinking this week of all the significant people in my life who are already there ...

  7. Yeah, I don't go for Nicko Sparks,
    there's too much cheese upon his pages.
    Give me flicks 'bout killer sharks,
    or the Hulk in mad green rages.
    Throw in Jackass just for fun
    and, dude, for my inspiration,
    and let Lone Survivor run
    for spiritual contemplation.
    I don't read many books these days;
    I'm running low on energy
    and have to try to find the ways
    that I can do a thing or three
    at the same and not sequential time
    while inching up in Heaven's line.

    1. Yep, I can't even begin to picture you curled up with a 'Nicko' Sparks novel, Andrew!

  8. wow what a list. I looked at the end table just this week and shook my head at the stack of books. I must be more intentional in my reading. It sure does come and go but I am ready to do some serious reading! Happy weekend, Linda!

    1. Intentional reading. I like that phrase, that mindset. When I'm too scattered it doesn't work. Thanks for that nudge, Jean.

  9. I have never heard of Sarah Young until she passed and everyone started talking about her. Her devotionals seemed to mean a lot to people.

    1. Yes, absolutely. Her work will continue to bless many.

  10. Well...I'm not a Sarah Young fan so I reckon you will have to forgive me for that. :) What books are waiting to be read? I read a lot lately so my list is small. "Pastor, Jesus is Enough by Jeremy Writebol is just getting started. Waiting is Limping With God by Chad Bird and Impossible Christianity by Kevin DeYoung are two. I just finished Transgender to Transformed by Laura Perry Smalts. Excellent book for our times. "Correct, Not Politically Correct" by Frank Turek was excellent. Two others I would recommend are "Zeal without Burnout" by Christopher Ash and "9 Common Lies Christians Believe" by Shane Pruitt. The first was a much needed wake up call and the latter just might find itself being worked into a sermon series in 2024. :) I'm also reading The Hobbit at home. I might read the whole LOTR trilogy.

    1. I admire the wide range of books you read and the effort you put into writing, Bill. The demands on pastors' time and energy often end up nudging this to the side. Thank you for modeling a healthy reading, writing (and cycling!) life.

  11. Wow! You're book bag was full for sure. Thank you for taking the care and time to share these with us. You know me, I'm always looking for recommendations and I look forward to yours.
    Thanks so much for sharing these with Sweet Tea & Friends this month sweet friend.

    1. Always fun to share good titles with each other!