December 29, 2018

10 Great Reads of 2018

My goal for 2018 was once again to read 50 books, and I just made it!

I tried to participate in the Tim Challies Reading Challenge but only got 7 of the 13 books I chose, read. Hopefully I can get to the others in 2019!

Here were my picks for the 2018 Tim Challies Challenge with a check mark in front of the ones I finished:

1. A book by a female author -  'None Like Him' by Jen Wilkin

  2. A biography - 'Jane Austen: A Life' by Claire Tomalin

3. A book by your favorite author - 'Miracles' by C.S. Lewis

4. A book more than 100 years old - 'Crime and Punishment' by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

5. A classic novel - 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' by Robert Louis Stevenson

  6. A book about history - 'Mysteries of the Middle Ages' by Thomas Cahill 

  7. A book you have read before - 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen

 8. A book about Christian living - 'This is Our Time' by Trevin Wax

9. A novel longer than 300 pages - 'The Snow Child' by Eowyn Ivey

 10. A memoir or autobiography - 'The Emancipation of Robert Sadler' by Marie Chapian and Robert Sadler

 11. A book about theology - 'The God Who is There' by Francis A. Schaeffer

12.  A book of 100 pages or less - 'Mary' by Leonardo De Chirico

13. A book of your choice - 'Elizabeth and her German Garden' by Elizabeth von Arnim

I also enjoyed reading more classic novels and would like to continue doing that this coming year.

I finally finished the Anne of Green Gables series with the last 5 books. Some were better than others, but I'd have to say my favorites were the first and last books, 'Anne of Green Gables' and 'Rilla of Ingleside.'

Here are the rest of the classics I read:

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Hard Times by Charles Dickens
Black Beauty by Anna Sewall
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Now onto my favorite reads of 2018...

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin -  I really loved this book! It talks about the attributes of God and how knowing how He is different from us, gives us a greater hope in Him. 

You can read my thoughts on this book ... HERE

I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard - I've always loved the song 'I Can Only Imagine' and I really enjoyed reading Bart's story of how he came to write it. The movie is also very good!

You can read my thoughts on the book ... HERE

Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges - This book talks about the sins we often sweep under the carpet and excuse because 'everyone does them.' Sins such as unthankfulness, discontentment and gossip.

You can read my thoughts on this book... HERE

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell - This is definitely a new favorite! A story with a bit of a Cinderella feel to it, as well as great writing, which made it an enjoyable read.

Here I Stand by Roland H. Bainton -  This was a long one, but very interesting. It's a biography of Martin Luther, the German monk who changed history by speaking out about the abuses of the church of the time. Martin Luther was not perfect, he had his flaws, but God always uses flawed people to show us who He is. A gracious God. A caring God. And a truthful God. 

Defining Deception by Costi Hinn and Anthony Wood - This book deals with some of the deceptions within the church today. Costi is the nephew of the well-known erroneous teacher Benny Hinn, and though he loves his uncle, he lays out the falsehoods he teaches. This book also deals with the false teachings within the prosperity gospel, Bethel Redding and the New Apostolic Reformation, also known as the NAR. 

You can read my thoughts on this book... HERE

Also if you are interested this is Costi's testimony... HERE

All Things Wise and Wonderful by James Herriot - I'm really enjoying this 5 book memoir series of a Yorkshire country vet during the early 20th century. This one, which is book 3, is particularly funny and I am loving all the endearing characters. 

Note: There is some mild language in these books, but other than that, so far they are clean reads.

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy WorsleyThis was a wonderful book on Jane's life. I love Jane Austen's novels and really enjoy reading about her. So this was a real treat.

You can read my thoughts ... HERE

Miracles by C.S. Lewis -  This was another great read from C.S. Lewis. His thoughts were so deep and he always gives me something to ponder. I actually listened to this one on audio and had a hard time remembering everything I wanted to. I do have a copy of the book and intend to read it again so I can underline some of his profound thoughts.

Earth Psalms by Francine Rivers - This was such a beautifully written book. It consisted of 52 devotionals to reflect on each week of the year.

You can read my thoughts ... HERE

Happy reading in 2019 and have a blessed New Year!

December 3, 2018

Christmas Reads 2018

I really enjoy reading Christmas books in December. Here are a few books I've read and I am reading for this 2018 Christmas season.

Mr. Dickens and His Carol - I recently finished this one and really loved the writing style, it was very beautiful and gave that wonderful Victorian feel. I'm not sure how much of this story is real to Charles Dickens life, and how he came to write 'A Christmas Carol', but it was captivating non-the-less.

There was a hint of his infidelity to his wife and children throughout the book, which didn't sit well with me, though there wasn't anything inappropriate written. Overall it was an enjoyable read.

Christmas: A Biography - Unfortunately I didn't get to far in this one. Only a few chapters. It really didn't have anything to do with the Christmas of the Christian faith, but rather how non-believers have celebrated it through the years. It focused on a lot of feasting, particularly over indulgence, secular traditions and rituals of the royals of times gone by.

After three or four chapters of this it got mundane and meaningless. Though it had the odd interesting fact, overall I wouldn't recommend it, especially to those looking for a biography of what Christians celebrate each Christmas.

Christmas at Carnton - I am enjoying this novella! It's set during the civil war era, which is one of my favorite time periods to read about. I've enjoyed other books by Tamera Alexander and looking forward to finishing this one.

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus - I'm thoroughly enjoying this one so far! It's an 'anthology of Advent readings collected from the writings and sermons of 22 classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers.' (taken from the description).

Some of the writers include George Whitfield, Randy Alcorn, John Piper, J.C. Ryle, Charles Spurgeon, Joni Eareckson Tada, Francis Schaeffer and Saint Augustine. It's edited by Nancy Guthrie.

Here is a quote from the first chapter by George Whitefield (1714-1770) which sums up the true meaning of celebrating Christmas:

"...let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church with joy in our hearts; let the birth of a Redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Savior's love never be forgotten! 

But may we sing forth all his love and glory as long as life shall last here, and through an endless eternity in the world above! May we chant forth the wonders of redeeming love and the riches of free grace, amidst angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, without intermission, forever and ever! 

And as, my brethren, the time for keeping this festival is approaching, let us consider our duty in the true observation thereof, of the right way for the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls, to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; an event which ought to be had in eternal remembrance."