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Reading for Perspective + What I Read in January

Last updated on March 1, 2022

I always enjoy seeing what others are reading, and I especially love being able to come back to their list when what they are reading is interesting to me, so I thought it would be helpful to share my reading list here on the blog.

My reading life has changed and evolved so much over the last several years. There was a time I was afraid to read anything written by someone I knew (or suspected) I might disagree with. If someone didn’t believe the way I did, I wouldn’t bother picking up their book.

What I found in this way of reading is that I kept circling through the same set of ideas, seeing the world in the same exact way. Yet, one of the things I love about reading is that it allows me to get into someone else’s shoes for a bit. I can see things the way they see them, hear things the way they hear them, and I can experience things the way they experience them. Or at least I can get closer than I am right now. Reading takes me beyond my current context and allows me to grow in understanding of my neighbor, the ones I may agree with and the ones I probably won’t but want to love well anyway.

Another thing I love about reading is that it allows me to dig into my questions and hear from a variety of perspectives, and that’s what you’re going to begin to see more of on my reading lists. I am ready to start digging into some specific questions I have regarding not just Scripture but culture (both in the world and in the church context), and I’m looking forward to reading a variety of perspectives on various topics.

I recently watched Lisa Hensley’s Instagram Live on Reading With Discernment, and it was so good. I cannot recommend it enough if you’re ready to jump out of the box and start reading more widely to understand your Christian faith and what you believe. I particularly liked her point on reading to be able to engage in conversation with others. You can listen to it here.

But for now, here’s what I read in January, in the order I read them.

What I Read in January 2022

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The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner – It’s becoming a sort of tradition for me to kick off the new year with a book of fiction. I picked this book up because it had the word “nature” in it (believe it or not). This story was so riveting that I, quite literally, could not put it down. Set in the early 1900’s, it takes place during fires of San Francisco. I love this author’s use of themes like female friendships and motherhood. I don’t know the last time I stayed up past midnight to finish a book, but I did with this one.

The Soul of Desire: Discovering the Neuroscience of Longing, Beauty, and Community by Curt Thompson – I picked this one up at the recommendation of my husband, and it’s a topic I’m interested in (beauty). My word of the year is actually “beauty,” so it was in line with current interests. It’s heady, so it was a wee bit difficult to get through. However, it was totally worth it. It really made me think about what I desire and why. Plus it was helpful in thinking through past drama and gave me some new tools to help heal those wounds.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon – I discovered Austin Kleon on a whim following a rabbit trail on Lisa Hensley’s blog. I read this book all in one sitting, and I’ve already started his next one, Show Your Work. It’s a good boost of encouragement to anyone “making” anything (that’s all of us by the way).

Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life by Henri J.M. Nouwen – It took me several weeks to work my way through this one. I came across a Henri Nouwen quote in Brant Hansen’s book, Unoffendable, a couple of years ago that literally changed the way I live my life. I figured if one quote could impact me that much, I wanted to read his actual work. I was not disappointed. The premise of the book is something I have been pondering all of my adult life. I loved it, even though I’m sure I only caught half of it.

Another Gospel?: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity by Alisa Childers – I listened to this one through the Hoopla app after having it recommended to me multiple times. This is a much-needed book for our time. Alisa Childers is well researched, thoughtful, and engaging. When I finished listening to it, I promptly bought a physical copy of the book. I plan to work through it again more slowly, following all the references, and digging in even deeper.

Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil – Lastly, this was our family read-aloud for January. What a delightful read! I actually borrowed this book from a homeschool co-op friend because of a random conversation we had about singing to food and “talking nice” to our cooking. The mom in this book is just delightful (and she sings to her food!). We enjoyed this short little novel in the evenings.

It was a pretty good reading month. I thoroughly enjoyed this month’s reads, and I’m looking forward to seeing what February brings. I always have several books going, and it’s no different right now. I can’t wait to share what I’m reading with you next month.

But for now, it’s your turn. What did you read in January? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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