Unshelved ~ What I Read in January, 2017

It is my motivation every month to read through a variety of books and in the process encourage others to do so. With the beginning of a new year, goals have been set, a general reading course has been set, and I have begun to sail around the world with the hopes of completing the journey by the end of the year. So here’s a look at what I read this month, and may it be an encouragement to you in your reading plan as well (Want to read one of the books mentioned here? Click the title to purchase the book).
I am of the opinion that the teachings of Dr. Greg Harris need to be in the hands of more people. I regularly reread his books because of the truth contained within them and the way in which they compel me to consider my relationship with God at a deeper level. This book will take you through a journey of the New Testament and open your eyes more to who Christ is.
I was greatly impressed with this book. Meant to give a brief foundation on the practice of biblical counseling the book is intensely practical and does well at setting forth some things to consider when engaging in the practice. You can read my full review here.
If you miss Iain Murray’s biographies, you miss a lot. This profile of J.C. Ryle not only offers insights into his life, but is encouraging to see what he endured for the sake of the truth. Murray offered a unique glimpse into Ryle’s life by providing a lot of Ryle’s own thoughts throughout the book which added a different perspective and depth.
 
The systematic theology book of John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, must I say more? The book is incredible on so many levels. In the midst of many systematic theology books, this one sets itself apart in it’s profundity, clarity, and practicality. You can read my review of it here.
 
I am trying to read one book in Spanish a month in order to help my Spanish, so this was it for this month. One of coworkers picked this up at a bookstore, so I took the opportunity to read it. Less of a biography (despite what it bills itself as) it was more of a theology showcasing the differences between Christianity and Catholicism (since the author was previously Catholic). The author does well at keeping points simple so that all people can understand, something I appreciated on many levels. I had thought it was available in English as well, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find it, otherwise I would have linked it here, sorry).
I appreciate the ministry of D.A. Carson very much, but must confess I was greatly disappointed in this book. He brought forth some interesting individual points and yet left out the most important part: the gospel. You can read my review of it here.
 
Admittedly I am probably harsher on missions books more than any other book since I am a missionary. While trying to prompt people to engage in missions, this one had too many concerns for me. You can read my review of it here.
 
I try to include one history book in my rotation per month. I like David McCullough and had put this one on my wish list because I found the story intriguing; so when someone got it for me for Christmas, I had to read it. The story covers Johnstown just outside of Philadelphia and the flood that ensued at the breaking of a damn. McCullough’s detail is heartbreaking, especially in light of certain revelations and at the same time put me in awe of the power of water.
 
This is a strange book to include in this list. However, my wife and I stumbled upon the Ivy Malone series years ago while living overseas. They claimed Christian perspective, were mysteries (which we like) and were inexpensive, so we picked one up. For the fun of it, we have continued the series, and this is the latest one. They aren’t anything spectacular, but with quirky characters, funny missteps its lighthearted reading that doesn’t require too much of us when we are worn out. Don’t expect much theology as they are simply geared towards telling a fiction story, but they are clean, which is a bonus.
 
Last month I read The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo because the series had been recommended to me. I enjoyed the plot line but the vulgarity of the story was unsettling. Well, this one was worse. Again the plot line as fascinating, but the vulgarity was far worse than the first one. In that regards, I am hesitant to recommend them. I am in the process of completing the trilogy this month though.