4 Ways to Build Your Book Stack & What I've Been Reading Lately
It's feeling like midsummer now that June is over and the 4th of July festivities have come and gone. I hope you have made some sweet memories along the way, while also finding time to read and to relax.
I have been reading a lot lately, and so I thought I would share what's been on my book stack and my method for choosing what to read.
4 Steps for Creating your own Book Stack
Make God's word as a constant part of the "reading stack". It's the base. Reading God's word can look like an in-depth Bible study, maybe a Christian Non-Fiction book about Biblical principles or year-long Bible reading plan. Sometimes it might just be a smaller daily devotional book.
Currently, I have been using the Sacred Ordinary Days Planner:
"A refreshing day planner to guide you as you grow into the rhythm of the Christian year, cultivating peace, presence, and purpose."
The planner provides daily Bible reading assignments and awesome quotes throughout the notebook. I am so thankful for this tool!
"The theology of progress forces us to act before we are ready. We speak before we know what to say. We respond before we feel the truth of what we know. In the process, we inadvertently create suffering, heaping precision upon inaccuracy, until we are all buried under a mountain of misperception. But Sabbath says, Be still. Stop. There is no rush to get to the end, because we are never finished. Take time to rest, and eat, and drink, and be refreshed. And in the gentle rhythm of that refreshment, listen to the sounds the heart makes as it speaks the quiet truth of what is needed."
-Wayne Muller, quote found in my Sacred Ordinary Days Planner
What type of nourishment is your soul craving? Listen to your heart, figure out what you might be needing. a light-hearted book. a serious or deep book. a motivational book. an instructional book.
And listen for what sparks your interest and curiosity too.
Go to a Source
Once you know what you are in the mood to read go to different sources for book title suggestions. Source ideas: friends, favorite blogs, and one of my favorite sources; the What Should I Read Next podcast by Anne Bogel. I love listening to this while I fold laundry! Or look up a book you like on amazon.com and see the "related books".
Here are links to recommended reads by a few of my favorite bloggers:
What Should I Read Next podcast by Anne Bogel
Simply pray for God to lead you to the right book for the right time.
My Summer Book Stack
In late spring early summer I was reading lots of non-fiction Christian based books about "work", both creative work and daily chores. Here's the list and some book descriptions I copied and pasted:
Walking on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art by Madeleine L'Engle
This was a favorite of mine. I underlined so much of the book.
"In this classic book, Madeleine L'Engle addresses the questions, What makes art Christian? What does it mean to be a Christian artist? What is the relationship between faith and art? Through L'Engle's beautiful and insightful essay, readers will find themselves called to what the author views as the prime tasks of an artist: to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation through one's own art."
Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation by Parker J Palmer
A small book filled with thoughtful reflections. I'm always wanting to work on the discipline of listening, and found this book helpful.
"With wisdom, compassion, and gentle humor, Parker J. Palmer invites us to listen to the inner teacher and follow its leadings toward a sense of meaning and purpose. Telling stories from his own life and the lives of others who have made a difference, he shares insights gained from darkness and depression as well as fulfillment and joy, illuminating a pathway toward vocation for all who seek the true calling of their lives."
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
So this is a fun read for any creative artist type, but if you are looking for a book on creativity I personally recommend A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P Freeman. I read Big Magic because it was free on my Overdrive app.
"Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration."
The Alpine Path by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Because I just love Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon!
"The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career (1917) by L. M. Montgomery.
"The Alpine Path" of the title refers to the long climb she had to achieve success as a writer. She began in childhood, and never wavered in her resolve. Her ambition was to become an accomplished professional writer-she never desired fame or greatness, and the remarkable success that came to her with the publication of Anne of Green Gables."
The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and Women's Work by Kathleen Norris
Yes, this book is dear to me. I loved it! I appreciate the honesty, vulnerability, and hopeful message in this book.
"The bestselling author of The Cloister Walk reflects on the sanctifying possibilities of everyday work and how God is present in worship and liturgy as well as in ordinary life. "
Then I decided to read some fiction books for a switch up. To save money I mostly read books found from the Dollar Store or I checked out books from the Overdrive app. This app allows you to check out ebooks from your local library. Love that app! Here's the non-fiction list:
The Walls of Arad by Carole Towriss
This book was refreshing to me because it's foundation and core message are rooted in God's truth. I also loved learning more about the story of the Israelite in the wilderness too.
"Forty years have passed since Israel escaped Egypt. Their punishment is over, and the time to take the land is finally here. Arisha, a secret worshipper of Yahweh, fled Canaan in search of safety. Under Miriam’s care she has begun to heal, but Miriam is close to death. She wants to be assured this abused and abandoned young woman will have a good life, and she entreats Zadok to marry her. Zadok is the grandson of Bezalel, architect of the Tabernacle, and great-grandson of Hur, advisor to Moses. Selected by Aaron to shepherd the Tabernacle flock, he has a gentle spirit Miriam believes can help heal Arisha's heart. The Canaanite king of Arad has heard about the mighty deeds of Israel’s God, and fears he will be destroyed as Egypt was. When Arad goes on the offensive, Zadok will have to make a choice. This time a shepherd’s heart cannot save Arisha. This time, she needs a warrior."
The Lake House by Kate Morton
I think Kate is a great writer. These are not my favorite, but definitely enjoyable.
"From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets."
Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
So, this was a dollar store find, interesting book. I thought it was okay. I was curious how the mystery would be solved, so I kept reading.
"A brilliant mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide."
Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan
I picked this one up from the dollar store because it is about the poet and author Robert Louis Stevenson. I grew up reading his poems from the book A Child's Garden of Verses. I was interested in knowing more about him. However, the novel was a little slow for me. I made it to page 160 then decided to stop reading for now.
"From Nancy Horan, New York Times bestselling author of Loving Frank, comes her much-anticipated second novel, which tells the improbable love story of Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny."
Well, I hope you found some of these book reviews and book selection tips helpful. Thank you for visiting my blog.
I would love to hear what you are reading this summer, and if you have any good suggestions too.
Happy Summer Reading!