Each year I like to give recommendations for books not only in December, but also in June as we close out the first half of the year. Maybe one or more of these will strike your fancy as something to dive into this summer. If you want a more in-depth look, I’m sure you can find full reviews on different sites around the inter-webs. Here, I’ll try to give you just enough to whet your appetite.
I will be taking a summer hiatus for a month or so; but I plan to return in August. Until then, browse the archives here or pick up one of these books that are well worth the read!
Happy reading and happy summer!
- Ten Words to Live By by Jen Wilkin
This book’s appearance on my list will come as a surprise to exactly no one who knows me well. So far I have been a fan of all of Wilkin’s books, and her newest is no exception. With her usual smart and accessible writing style, Wilkin walks the reader through each of the Ten Commandments not with the goal of creating legalists, but with the goal of helping the Christian delight in obedience. She teaches how the law is a means of grace for the believer, not a shackle of drudgery. Though marketed for women, any reader would learn from and appreciate this book.
- Untangling Emotions by J Alasdair Groves & Winston T. Smith
Groves and Smith are both on staff at CCEF (Christian Counseling Educational Foundation), so this book is certainly written with a counselor’s heart. However, while it would be helpful for a biblical counselor, it does not specifically target that audience. Untangling Emotions is for anyone who has ever struggled with their emotions—or their lack of them. Groves and Smith talk about emotions in general, then move into a how-to portion of engaging emotions; and finally they discuss a few specific and particularly difficult emotions to engage. I found this book balanced and helpful. I hope you do too!
- Aging with Grace by Susan Hunt and Sharon Betters
I must admit that this one was not initially high on my list. In fact, I lent my copy to someone else before I even read it (something that almost never happens). However, that person loved it so much she encouraged me to read it, and I’m glad that I did! I was surprised at how biblically and theologically grounded this book was. Far from being just a collection of wisdom (and personal anecdotes) from two godly older women, this book will take you to Scripture and really help you—regardless of your age—grow in your attitude toward getting older. It surprises me a bit to do so, but I highly recommend this one!
- The Heart of Anger by Christopher Ash and Steve Midgely
If you’ve recently been convicted about your own sin of anger, this book might not be the best place to start (though it would certainly work). However, if you would like to go deeper in your understanding of this important issue with which all of us struggle, this is a wonderful book. Ash and Midgely give a theology of anger, looking first at how pervasive anger is in our hearts, and then moving to how God manifests anger and how we can take steps to defuse anger in our hearts; finally, they devote the final seven chapters to the peace of Christ and the hope of the Gospel in dealing with anger. Please don’t let my description of this book as “theological” scare you off. Midgley and Ash write for ordinary people and use down-to-earth, accessible illustrations and language.
- The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
A work of fiction, The Downstairs Girl is set in Atlanta a decade or so after the Civil War and deals with racism, but not in the way that you may expect. Jo Kuan is a young girl of Chinese descent who finds work by day as a lady’s maid for a spoiled and cruel young girl and moonlights as an advice columnist in the local paper—“Miss Sweetie.” Lee cleverly weaves many plotlines together and writes with a smart, sharp voice. I learned a few things about Reconstruction and very much enjoyed this one (which I listened to on audio—an experience I would definitely recommend as well). Though The Downstairs Girl is marketed as a YA (young adult) novel, it didn’t feel juvenile at all. Readers of any age would appreciate it!