August & September's Reads

August & September's Reads

Photo by  Aaron Ang  on  Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Ang on Unsplash


The books of August were read in between packing boxes and bags, making piles to store and give away, and saying goodbye to friends and family. While our personal belongings went into stacks and categories, so did my books: books to keep at my parents’ house, books to mail to friends, and books to take with us to Turkey. My brain felt scattered as I read, spread out just like all of our things.

September brought the final days of packing and then the arrival to our new normal. With it came slow mornings of reading on a couch in a horrendously wallpapered hotel room and swims and books on the beach. Still, I am working through physical books I was able to bring along, with the promise and possibilities of my Kindle proudly on the bookshelf that is currently our floor.

Dangerous Good

by Kenny Luck

The dangerous good wave of masculinity, and a corresponding wave of femininity, can be seen rising above the gender war. It's not a reaction; it's a solution! It doesn't seek to garner power and control or create distance; it seeks to accomplish the important goals of living as men and women in partnership with each other.

Why I read it: I've been diving into discussions and books about female identity and I wanted to dive into the discussion about Biblical masculinity. This book was given to me by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. 

What it's about: Through his own experiences as well as Biblical stories, Kenny Luck calls men of God to unite - living dangerously for the good of themselves, their families, and their communities. 

Why I enjoyed it: I appreciated Kenny's emphasis on community - looking to those who have gone on before us, learning and remembering from our heroes and role models, and making an impact alongside others. I value the discussion on empowering men and women while also processing of broken-masculinity (in the context of broken humanity). 

What didn't work for me: I wasn't the intended audience of this book. I knew that going in, and it's why I chose it. And while I knew the audience was for men, the style of teaching seemed to connect better with an older generation than mine. I was hoping for more modern day stories of dangerously good men, examples of men actively working to redeem broken masculinity. While the last chapter briefly touched on this, the book landed on Wilberforce (d. 1833) and the signers of the Declaration of Independence (1776). It made it hard to connect practical applications to modern day events.

The Mission of the Body of Christ

by Russ Ramsey

The unity these early Christians sought was forged in the furnace of diversity. Theirs was a unity not of sameness but of purpose -- proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus.

Why I read it: Besides being a part of the launch team for this book's recent publication, I have read and loved other books by Russ Ramsey.

What it's about: Russ draws us into the narrative told in the book of Acts. Using the text itself, historical research, and the power of his own storytelling, he makes the people and places come alive. 

Why I enjoyed it: Russ writes with the voice of an intricate storytelling, weaving in the text of Acts along with other passages that expand the scope and depth of the story. It’s the kind of book I want to read out loud at bedtime and the kind of story I get sucked into during my morning reading. I’m finding myself understanding this familiar story in a new way; I’m learning and praising and praying all the way through it.

Dragons in the Waters

by Madeleine L'Engle

"I grew up in a world in which my elders taught me that the planet earth was the chief purpose of the Creator ... It didn't take as much imagination and courage then as it does now to believe that God has time to be present at a deathbed, to believe that human suffering does concern him, to believe that he loves every atom of his creation, no matter how insignificant."

Why I read it: I'm on a L'Engle kick that can't be stopped!

What it's about: You remember Meg and Calvin from A Wrinkle in Time? Spoiler here, so I'm going to give you a second to keep scrolling down if you want to learn this the long way. Okay, ready? They get married and they have kids! This book features the two oldest children as they travel with Calvin (eh hem "Mr. O'Keefe") to South America. They meet a friend, Simon, and adventure and intrigue ensues.

Why I'm enjoying it: It's a fantastic story with adventure and mystery, old letters and new stories. I've now added as many L'Engle books that I can find to my GoodReads "to read" shelf and I'm ready to keep going. 

Turkey: Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture

by Charlotte McPherson

[Turkey] is a land of contrasts, a heady mixture of Oriental mystery and romance and ultramodern city life, deep-rooted religious faith and determined secularism, a fierce sense of national pride and openness to foreign ideas. Turkish culture is a distinctive blend of European and Middle Eastern ways of life.

Why I read it: Turkey is our new home!

What it's about: This book is a quick overview of Turkish history and a guide to customs and practices. The author discusses Turkey as far back as Biblical times (the mountain where Noah parked the ark is in Turkey) and up to how to address a letter to post.

Why I'm enjoying it: This book is so helpful to know what to expect and how to process and engage the world around us once we get to Turkey! If you are interested to know more about this country (and if you plan to come and visit it!), grab a copy of it on Kindle.

Daniel Generation

by Jolene Erlacher

I find that many organizations, schools, and ministries are training young leaders for a world that no longer exists. We ask them to “pay their dues” while failing to equip them with the skills they most desperately need to thrive.

Why I read it: I really appreciate the research that Jolene does and the trainings she offers. I first met her years ago at a training event for millennials where she helped me understand and put words to some of my own experiences working on a multi-generational team. When she asked me to be on the launch team for her new book, I was so honoured and excited!

What it's about: Jolene writes to generation Y (that’s us, fellow millennials) and generation Z with wisdom and grace, teaching through the Biblical story of Daniel. She parallels his story with that of our generations - living in a time and place where it isn’t the common practice to be a follower of God.

Why I'm enjoying it: It’s a quick and insightful read - rooted in Biblical truth, a great discussion for this generation of leaders.

Not The Boss of Us: Putting Overwhelmed in Its Place in a Do-All, Be-All World

by Kay Wills Wilma

From the inside looking out, it's up to us to control label perception rather than allow it to control us. We need to fight to make labels descriptors rather than definers. From a faith standpoint, again, it's not who we are but whose we are. We are individuals, with value and dignity, created with unique purpose. Made to be image bearers rather than image creators.

Feeling overwhelmed myself, and hence drawn to the title of this book, I asked for help from another overwhelmed friend, who also loves to read, to give me her review of this book. The following review is from Julia Browne!

Why Julia read it: When I read this title, I thought this was the book for me. I love being busy, so I tend to over-schedule, get stressed, and then get sick and must strip everything from my life until I recover and rebuild. Add small children to the mix and this cycle happens more often than I’d care to admit. I started reading with great anticipation, but I had a hard time getting into it. This took me all the way to middle school. Not my struggle yet; I’m still wiping faces, hands, and rear ends.

What it's about: Kay’s book is a conversation with moms of adolescents. I kept reading anyway. I saw Kay’s passion to share that no matter how overwhelmed by [pick your situation] I may be, I need to remember that people are what matter. Grades, social standing, performance, a clean hour or clean car are not what matter. Kay personifies “overwhelmed” and highlights it in different scenarios in each chapter, so the reader can see how this plays out in many aspects of life.

Why Julia enjoyed it: By the end I was used to her style, understood her message, and I may even be a little more ready to navigate middle school again. Just give me a few years. In the meantime, when Mr. Two-Year-Old-Tantrums screams again, I can practice patience and seeing my little boy’s frustration instead of seething in overwhelmed. Kay quotes C. S. Lewis (“You have never talked to a mere mortal.”), and I copied this down with my brush lettering and hung it on my wall as a daily reminder. We don’t have to be the best, we don’t have to do it all, but we do need to see and care about people.

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