Reading List Update and Recommendations

Posted: January 4, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Last month, I posted a potential reading list. Thank you all for the suggestions. Here’s a quick update:

1. Read To Kill a Mockingbird. I now understand why this book has been held with such high esteem. I couldn’t put it down, and I think I read it in two days or so. Harper Lee’s ability to capture the playful imaginations of young kids, while also depicting human corruption skillfully and artistically is truly beautiful. If you read it only for Atticus’s speech before the jury, you will have invested your time well. Surpassed even the gushing reports I heard of it.

2. After To Kill a Mockingbird, I read The Quest for Meekness and Quietness of Spirit by Matthew Henry (a short title for a Puritan book!). I had mentioned looking for a book to help me deal with stress, and Pastor Joel lent me this one. Matthew Henry helped me to understand the importance of prioritizing God’s purposes and the desires/needs of others above my own. He effectively showed how such a frame of spirit leads to a quietness and rest of spirit, by making my source of delight not me, but in God and submission to him. I was shown that sinful stress and anxiety are signs of a lack of proper submission to God, and the symptoms of a struggle to make my own wants preeminent. Reading The Quest after reading To Kill a Mockingbird was fascinating because Atticus exemplified meekness (though he was not expressly a Christian) in his defending of justice despite ridicule and persecution.

3. I read Simplify Your Spiritual Life by Donald Whitney (author of Spiritual Disciplienes for the Spiritual Life) after these two. I mentioned in my earlier post I was “hoping to find a book on effective time-management, preferably from a Christian who will prioritize spending time on spiritual disciplines,” and I think this book nailed that perfectly (Thanks again, Pastor Joel!). Donald Whitney’s book was a tremendous help, with so many practical suggestions I’m looking forward to putting into practice (journaling, avoiding too many electronic “anesthetics,” asking others how to pray for them, and asking wise people lots of questions, to name a few). I highly recommend this book, it’s incredibly practical and helpful.

4. Lastly, I just finished up Time Management From the Inside Out. TMFTII gave an abundance of steps to take and ways to think to manage time efficiently. The author recommends thinking of time not as one long, unending line of mystery, as I tend to do. Instead, she suggests thinking of time spatially, assigning “containers” to each block of time, allocating specific activities to each time container. She suggested making Big Picture Goals, which allow you to filter out activities that do not fit that goal. Time Mapping, which is scheduling out plans for every day hour by hour, minute by minute, and calculating how long things realistically take were good pointers. I could go on, but I’ll leave it by saying that if you have trouble managing your time well, find yourself procastinating a lot like me, always arrive late everywhere, or just feel unproductive all the time, grab a copy of this book.

Currently, I’m in the middle of Holiness by J.C. Ryle, which I’ve been off and on with for a couple months now, and The Glory of Christ by John Owen. The Glory of Christ is only 120 pages or so, but I’m thinking it may take me at least a month to get through. It’s an excellent book so far (all 12 pages. Oh yes.), but it’s pretty heavy. I’ve been highlighting and writing in the small margins as I go along to keep up with Owen, but at the rate I’m going it’s taking literally about an hour for 8 or 9 pages.

Still Looking forward to even more recommendations. I may not get to them for a little while, but I’m always adding books to my queue, so feel free to send more suggestions! Looking forward to possibly reading Count of Monte Cristo and Trusting God. Thanks, all. What a gift we have in reading. Praise be to God for such an outlet for exchanging thoughts.

  1. Laurie Lynn says:

    Wow! From this list, which book should I begin with, 2, 3 or 4?
    I think there’s a need for TMFTII, however, M. Henry’s sounds good too! Glad you liked To Kill a Mockingbird!

  2. Steve says:

    Hmm…That’s tough. You may want to read Matthew Henry’s book first. That way, your perspective in managing time selflessly will be fresh and conscious in your mind. I don’t think you can really go wrong either way, though :).

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