On My Nightstand: July Reading

Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to “The Passion of the Christ.” by Stephen J. Nichols. This is a fascinating walk through American history and how American’s view of Jesus is shaped by the constant changing culture. I found this critique very enlightening and helpful. With this being an election year, I found it especially interesting to read this in light of current day politics. This was an educational and helpful read for me.


The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin. A New York Times and international bestseller, this book has been widely popular on mommy-blogs which is why I wanted to read it. Reading from my Christian worldview, I have to emphasize that the only way to find true, lasting happiness is in Christ. However, her look at happiness was fascinating, humorous sometimes, and gave me a lot of good ideas. She is extremely well-read and thoroughly studied the topic of happiness. If you want a lot of ideas from sleeping more, to cleaning out clutter, to finding a hobby that you truly enjoy, you will find them in this book. This is her journal of her year, so obviously not everything that makes her happy would make you happy, but her engaging style is interesting, and I came away with more than a couple of ideas that I could implement.

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller. This is probably the best book on marriage that I have ever read. Written for married and singles alike, this book gives a theological view of what marriage is and what is for. He has a way of glorifying marriage without romanticizing it. It is hard work, but oh so worth it. I came away with a higher view of marriage. Keller is gifted with understanding the issues and needs of our culture. I highly recommend this book. I borrowed this from the library, but I think this is one we will purchase for our shelves. If you are married, single, or work with couples in anyway, this is an invaluable read.

The Gift of An Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir by Katrina Kenison. This memoir gives an intimate view of life in her family during a time of transition. At the time of this writing her older son was starting college and her younger one high school, and they had just made a life-changing move. While much farther ahead in the parenting life than I am, I was reminded that those days are not that far off for me and I need to treasure the ordinary days that I am in right now. Kenison is a gifted writer. Her beautiful writing, and her way of looking at life will tug at any mother’s heartstrings. The only thing it lacked was the eternal perspective. I told Brian more than once that I wished someone would write a similar book of their own journey as a mother with a Gospel perspective included. I enjoyed it and it made me treasure these days with my children even more.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. This new (January 2012) book takes a look at our culture and how it has adopted an “extrovert ideal.” Often, personality trumps everything else in our culture. Introverts often feel the need to adopt a charismatic, gregarious personality in order to be successful in their jobs. Cain argues that we need both extroverts and introverts. Each bringing different qualities to the table. I am somewhat of an introvert, but I also have some extrovert characteristics. That makes me an ambivert, apparently. My husband, however, is a strong introvert and to say that I appreciated his personality more, and understood his personality even more after reading this, is a huge understatement. Cain covers what strengths introverts have, how much they can stretch their personalities while still staying in their normal temperament, and how different cultures don’t all have the “extrovert ideal” like America does. I found this book to be both fascinating and helpful.

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 What have you been reading lately? Please share!

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  1. I LOVE your “on my nightstand” posts :-) I read so many books through you! I got “the Meaning of Marriage” last week and am enjoying it already.

  2. I *loved* the Rubin, Cain and Keller books, and your review of the Kenison book makes me want to add it to my reading list. Which is completely out of control, but that’s nothing new. :)

  3. I’m VERY interested in several of these books. Now to get them and start reading :-) Thanks for the great suggestions and summaries you give.

  4. Interesting variety – I will have to check these out!

  5. I love these type of posts. :) I am quite behind on my “reading updates.” Glad to see what you read again, and happy to add a couple more to my list (well, move them up on the list ;)).

    I don’t think I realized that you’d finished Quiet.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post on what you are reading. Although I love to be around people, and tend to be rather extroverted when with a group, I have long appreciated the benefit of coming apart and being still. I’m definitely going to add some of these books to my “to read” list, which is far too long for my budget’s limited stretch, unfortunately! Thank God for public libraries…they keep me in printed materials without depriving me of all my cash! :) Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

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