what i read in february.

I think I’ve just made a new record for how many books I’ve turned the last page in over the span of just one month.

Take a look at the six books I finished! Most of them were winners.

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3. The Brontë Plot by Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay is a remarkable author who has created her own subgenre, wrapping classic fiction around contemporary stories. Her writing s flawless and smooth, her storytelling meaningful and poignant. You’re going to love The Brontë Plot. – Debbie Macomber

I love Katherine Reay! The other book I have read of hers so far is Dear Mr. Knightley and, for me personally, it was revolutionary. I recommend it as often as I can. Go and check it out now. But back to the present book: it was absolutely perfect to unwind with. However, I wasn’t truly into how the story was going until well over half of the book. Confession time: it’s most likely because I’m not familiar with the book Jane Eyre and those similar to it. I was just plunging through most of the beginning, but by the last few chapters, tears were stinging my eyes. It was, overall, a compelling story that took place in both Chicago and England. The whole book provoked thoughts about honesty, the work and reward in relationships, what to do with unmet expectations, and that it’s never too late for a fresh start.

Would I recommend it to you: yes, but especially if you love to read the classics!

330 pages.

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4. Garden City by John Mark Comer

We’re called to a very specific kind of work. To make a Garden-like world where image bearers can flourish and thrive, where people can experience and enjoy God’s generous love. A kingdom where God’s will is done ”on earth as it is in heaven”, where the glass wall between earth and heaven is so thin and clear and translucent that you don’t even remember it’s there.

I finished this book in a matter of days, and practically spent my whole birthday with my nose in it. Y’all — it was good. There were some things about Comer’s beliefs that I didn’t fully back. For instance, he believes that depression is less about disease and more about mere symptoms and included the phrase follow your heart once. But, in the grand scheme of the entire book, I was able to respect his opinions, overlook a few of them, and because I agreed with most of what he said this book was still incredibly valuable to me. He tackles the myth of what is so-often called “full-time ministry”. He introduces the sabbath in a way that I believe our culture desperately needs to hear more about. Then, finally, he looks at eternity. I love his modern references to things like Netflix, ”getting his introvert on”, and the careers of today. The book begins in Genesis, focusing on the first few chapters, and ends at the end of Revelation.

Would I recommend it to you: Heck yes! It is easy to read and rich in so much content that I didn’t have the space or time to tell you all about.

301 pages.

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5. Peculiar Treasures by Frederick Buechner

But peculiar as we are, every last one of us, for reasons best known to himself Yahweh apparently treasures the whole three-ring circus, and every time we say “Thy kingdom come,” it’s home we’re talking about, our best, last stop.

To be honest, I started Peculiar Treasures — literally — over a year ago. A mentor and friend of mine went through this book character by character, and because it’s more of a reference resource than about one overall topic, it was perfect for that arrangement! Buechner does an incredible job of storytelling. Month after month as I read, I was continually grateful for the way he wasn’t afraid to address hard topics that are often glossed over in most modern literature. I will continue coming back to this book as I write and study for years to come. Truly convicting, comforting, and inspiring.

Would I recommend it to you: Absolutely! But not if you’re new to the Bible. However, if you do have even a broad view of Bible stories, this is the perfect resource to put a fresh spin and to see the characters in a different light.

205 pages.

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6. The Creation and The Fall | Temptation by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Creation and The Fall

This means particularly that the work is good only because the Creator alone is good. The goodness of the work is never in the work itself, but only in the Creator.

This whole book, like Garden City, focuses on Genesis 1-3. The beginning of The Creation and The Fall section was rough for me, because unlike most of Bonhoeffer’s other works that I’ve read, it written philosophically rather than in lecture form. But, as always, once I adjusted to the philosophic language, the content was unbelievably rich and educational.

Temptation

Either we are tempted in Adam or we are tempted in Christ. Either the Adam in me is tempted – in which case we fall. Or the Christ in us is tempted – in which case Satan is bound to fall. . . . Temptation must find us in humility and in certainty of victory.

The last portion of the book was much easier to read because it was made from a compilation of short lessons that Dietrich wrote for a smaller group. Each lesson fit together well. Honestly, I do not have enough good words to describe it. I highlighted something in almost every paragraph. I just loved the way he addressed the heavy struggles of temptation head on — with boldness, much-needed honesty, and bibical truth.

Would I recommend it to you: yes, but it was hard to read. There were truth bombs at every turn, and I absolutely loved it for this reason, but it did take some endurance even with it’s small size.

144 pages.

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7. The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

If she be all tenderness, she will die. If she survive, the tenderness will either be crushed out of her – or – and the outward semblance is the same – crushed so deeply into her heart that it can never show itself anymore.

I read this classic for school. Honestly? I know that Hawthorne is a beautiful writer – not to mention influential – but I just wasn’t into it. However, because it wasn’t a book that I would pick off the shelves on my own, I am glad that it was required reading in it’s entirety. I am also glad that, because it isn’t something I would pick to read first, I was able to peek into the novel’s world and all the shameful issues it presents along the way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Would I recommend it to you: Probably not. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t my favorite!

269 pages.

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8. A Beautiful Defeat by Kevin Malarkey

I don’t want the counterfeit offered up by twenty-first century religion that has all the words right along with some great music but doesn’t provide what the Bible promises. It’s either true or it isn’t. I don’t want a Christian life that looks great on paper but produces anxiety, emptiness, and despair amidst an oncean of smiles and shallow relationships an inch deep.

A Beautiful Defeat surprised me in both ways good and bad. I love the way that Malarkey tackles important areas of the Christian life and at the end of each chapter with practical application, as well as a prayer! Although, my standards are extremely high for what I do intake with reading time I do have, and on a personal level I just didn’t love his casual writing style. But, again as in Scarlett Letter, that’s just because of my personal preference. The topics he brings up, though, like temptation, counterfeits to biblical teaching, learning how to struggle well, and nurturing community desperately need to circulate in the Christian culture. For this, the book was extremely good.

Would I recommend it to you: I would! If you request a rich, yet quick, read.

157 pages.


 

Fellow book lovers, what’s your personal record for books finished in one month? What did you read? I want to hear! 

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