Last updated on December 30, 2023
This term of seminary has been much lighter on the number of pages I need to consume a week, which means I’ve had more time to read for fun and read at whim than I did over the summer. Granted this term of seminary is much denser in the reading material as it’s an introduction to the Old Testament, but this again, also means that I’ve had more time for fun reading because I read for pleasure more often than not.
The list below is quite eclectic. I’ve arranged them according to genre (non-fiction, adult fiction, children’s fiction). None of the books listed are ones I’ve read for seminary, as most of the reading I’m doing for my class is more bits and pieces from various books. I will share all of the books I dabbled in at the end of the term, which is the first week in December.
For now, here is what I’ve read so far this fall…
What I’ve Read So Far This Fall
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I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet by Shauna Niequist
I found this to be a very helpful read because I resonated with a lot of Shauna’s story. Some people who reviewed this book said she was too vague in what she shared, but I think she revealed just enough to be vulnerable but still private. It’s a hard balance, but I like how she handled a very sensitive topic (church hurt). This book was a very light read, but also not at the same time. I would recommend reading it if you’re looking for a memoir-style book from someone who has wrestled with faith and church and found her way through.
A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards
This one has been recommended to me many times over the years, but for whatever reason, I had never picked it up. I’m a big believer in books finding you when you need them. This is one of those books for me. The heart of the book is oriented toward those who are experiencing conflict in the church. It’s not at all what I expected, but it was everything I needed. It’s convicting, thought-provoking, and a good, grounding place to begin a conversation when considering whether or not what you’re experiencing is spiritual abuse, heresy, or simply something you disagree with. Mostly I found it a humbling read, and one I don’t think I would have been ready to receive until now.
Holy Hygge by Jamie Erickson
This one came to me as a gift from the author. I confess I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened it up, but the title drew me, and the by-line hooked me (creating a place for people to gather and the gospel to grow). My only complaint about this one is that it’s written to women when this isn’t a woman’s topic, it’s a Christian topic. I read many sections aloud to my husband, and I found myself discussing the content of the book with all sorts of people around my table (young, old, male, and female). I think the book could have reached a broader audience with a little bit of ingenuity, but it’s written directly to women so a male reader would just need to consider his own examples and application. However, we women have been doing that for a long time, so I don’t think that should be a problem. 🙂 Anyway, I loved the heart of this book, and I think it’s exactly what the church needs right now.
Free to Learn by Peter Gray
I picked this one up over the summer after attending our state’s homeschool convention. Ginny Yurich recommended it in one of her breakout sessions, and it had been on my to-be-read stack for a while. I read it slowly here and there, and overall, I found it a thought-provoking read worth the time of any parent (homeschoolers or not).
I came across Thema Bryant’s work during one of my seminary class readings this summer. Her work on trauma-informed ministry was eye-opening and helpful. I was drawn to her book Homecoming because it aligns with a lot of the work I’m doing in counseling at the moment. I found this a helpful read as I show up to the healing work of my own. I recommend this book to anyone who has experienced trauma or knows someone who has, but I also caution you against reading alone. Make sure you have a trusted friend who counselor to talk through the topics with if you can.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
I don’t usually read Sci-fi books (or watch shows of the genre either for that matter). This is a thick one! It took me longer than expected to work through it, but I often picked it up instead of my seminary reading because I wanted to know what happened next. It was a fascinating read! I’ve heard the audio version has a great narrator, and after reading it I’m sure I would have loved a dramatized version of it. Honestly, I never had the “I can’t put it down” vibe, but I couldn’t stay away from it at the same time. It was a comfortable read, intriguing enough to stay involved, but not so much that I read too far past my bedtime each night. Overall, a great read and I’d be interested in other books by the author.
The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adam
I picked this one up off the library shelf on a whim. The cover and title got me. It was an easy read, and it kept me interested because I’m a book nerd. I really liked the main characters, the idea of a hidden reading list to help people through difficult times, and even the community strand that wove itself throughout the novel. I found myself thinking about it when I should have been focusing on other things. There was plenty I loved about this book. However, I was let down by the extra characters that were introduced but never fully developed and the ending was predictable. I kept waiting for all of the things to pull together, for there to be a twist I had missed somewhere, but in the end, I actually didn’t understand the ending. Book nerds will probably like this one. It’s an easy nighttime read and very nostalgic in nature. I’m glad I read it, but I wish those missing pieces would have folded together a little better. For a debut novel, I think it’s pretty good though.
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
I chose this book for our homeschool co-op book club that I lead for our 4-7th graders. It was a wonderful book, and it made for a great discussion and fun activity together. The kids all loved it, and many of them have told me that they are reading the other books in the series. I highly recommend setting up a book club discussion and scavenger hunt for kids to build a memory around the book with friends. However, if you can’t do all that, your child will love it anyway. It also makes a great read-aloud!
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
This book was one of the books I was debating using for book club. I think this is one of those books you either really love or really don’t like. I didn’t care for it, but I know many people who say this was their favorite book as a kid. I had never heard of it before doing research for book club, so I didn’t have a chance to read it as a child. It was an interesting read, and it ended really nicely.
The Lottery Rose by Irene Hunt
I read this one as a child, and it met me in some of my most tender places when I did. I felt so seen by this book, and if you know the story you know it’s not an easy read. Re-reading it as an adult, I found myself grateful yet again for authors who tackle hard topics that we naturally want to turn a blind eye to. This is a book I plan on assigning to my kids when they are a bit older, so we can discuss it.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
The Book Scavenger referenced this book, so I thought I would check it out. I read it pretty quickly, and it was interesting, to say the least. However, the old detective novels with female secretaries are just disgusting to me. It just makes me mad that this was a normal way of living, so I couldn’t really enjoy the story. However, I read it for perspective, and I achieved that.
As we enter the holidays, I don’t know what to expect with my reading. I anticipate a similar workload in seminary as I’ve already had, so I should have plenty of reading time available to choose what interests me right now. I do know that want to focus my reading a little bit more and dive deeper into some topics of interest. I feel like depth is something I’m craving, so we’ll see where my reading takes me in the coming weeks.