Monday, June 30, 2014

Books On Hold

The other day I browsed through the little notebook that I carry around in my purse and found all the book titles that I had jotted down in it. Some had been recommended in sermons or seminars, a few were suggested by friends, and some were showcased on the radio. Others had flown under the radar and ended up in my notebook without me remembering how I'd even heard of them.

And then I went to the library's website and started putting them on hold. The books and tapes have begun coming in. I'll never get through them all, but that doesn't stop me from trying.

I wanted to tell you about just three of them. I'm not finished with any of them yet, but I have read enough of them to feel that they are safe bets to share.

Second Touch by Bodie and Brock Thoene
Book 2 in A.D. Chronicles
For years Tom hasencouraged me to read this series. He has read nearly everything the Thoenes have written and he knew I would like this, but I wasn't ready to commit to a 12-book series. FinallyI have decided to dive in. I listened to Book 1, First Light, on tape last week and will be starting Book 2 today. The stories are set in the ancient world, particularly in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, during the last year of Jesus' life. The Thoenes are skilled storytellers (I have loved everything I've read of theirs) and they bring major historical characters and minor biblical characters to life, adding in a few new ones, to create compelling stories of life and faith. In Book 1 we met Peniel, a blind beggar with a tender heart for God, Zadok, the chief shepherd for the synagogue in Jerusalem, and several other people who struggled with what to make of Jesus called the Christ. I appreciated the insights into Roman history that I gained from the book and the foment that whirled around Jesus' words and deeds. These are powerful stories, beautifully told.

The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein
When Harry Bernstein was 93 years old he sat down to write his first book, a memoir of his childhood in the early 1900s in a working-class neighborhood in England. The "invisible wall" ran down the middle of his street, separating the Jewish families on his side of the street from the Christian families on the other.

I hope I am not 93 before I write my first book; I also hope I can write even half as well as Mr Bernstein. This is a book I heard about on NPR, and after the first 50 or so pages, I am hooked. He describes, in great detail, what it was like for his mother, in the midst of terrible poverty, not only surviving but overcoming adverse circumstances to care for her family. Little 'arry is only about four years old in the early part of the story, but his observant eyes were always watching his world unfold and the images must have burrowed deep into his mind so that he could recall them ninety years later with such clarity.

Necessary Endings by Dr Henry Cloud
It was one of our pastors, I think Pastor Sam, who recommended Necessary Endings. The subtitle of the book is The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward. In his first chapter, Dr Cloud says, "Whether we like it or not, endings are a part of life. They are woven into the fabric of life itself, both when it goes well, and also when it doesn't... Getting to the next level always requires ending something, leaving it behind, and moving on. Growth itself demands that we move on. Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them."

I've been sensing a need for some changes in my life, but I'd never thought of it in the terms of endings. What I have read so far, however, indicates that taking the perspective of ending some things so that other things might gain ground and grow leads to fresh vision and success. I'm looking forward to new insights and steps I can take to implement them as I deal with some necessary endings.

I'm always open to feedback. So here are a couple of questions for you:
- What books do you have on hold or on your reading list right now? Are there any you'd like to share or recommend?
- What's your best source of new titles when you're trying to decide what to read?

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