Unshelved ~ What I Read in July, 2017

Charles William Eliot said, “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends, they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” The words can be used by God to generate growth in our lives, urge discernment, and force us to acknowledge our Lord. Reading then is an important facet of our life that should be cultivated. For that reason, I like to share the books I have read in the past month so that others may be encouraged to read as well, and perhaps in the course of it all, those reading this post may also find some inspiration for what books to read. So here is a look at what I read this past month.

Books About Growth for God
Part of the purpose of reading is to read for growth in the Christian walk. While several of these books were not written from the Christian perspective, they can still impact our walk and growth for our Lord. Two of the books, The Godly Man’s Picture by Puritan Thomas Watson and Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders are about character growth. Each covers unique facets and sure to penetrate one’s heart through deep conviction and I would highly recommend them. Two others focused more on our sanctification and need to turn away from sin (How Does Sanctification Work? by David Powlison and The Art of Turning from Sin to Christ by Kevin DeYoung). For my own personal growth I have been examining complacency and distraction and so found myself re-reading Barnabas Piper’s The Curious Christian while also consuming Deep Work by Cal Newport. And for the fun of it, I threw in a good photographic essay book that traces Robert Dawson’s visits of a number of public libraries across the United States. Great pictures, quaint facts, and interesting stories make for a rediscovery of the importance of the public library in our culture.

Books About God
Two books found their way into my reading that were about the character of God. A previously unpublished work, The Wisdom of God by A.W. Tozer is a comprehensive read that causes us to discover the depths of who God is. I have also been desiring to read Name Above All Names, a collaboration by Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson, so I finally put it in my rotation. Neither book left me disappointed. In fact, each caused me to consider our Lord at a deeper level. These books are not mere collections of God’s character but impart practical application into the believer’s life as well.

Books Against God
For various reasons I found myself reading books that either were directly contrary to God or God’s Word. Some, namely Goliath Must Fall and Un Tiempo Con El Señor (A Time with the Lord), are books that despite claiming to be Christian, really were not faithful the Lord’s truth. Others (like Macbeth, Once a Crooked Man, and the Harry Potter Series) were simply fiction that represented man’s antagonism towards God and opposition towards his call to holiness. Several months ago I embarked on a journey through the Harry Potter Series, which I am still continuing. This past month I completed The Order of the Phoenix and The Goblet of Fire all in an effort to understand both the culture’s fascination with the series and the Christians’ forsaking of it. Hopefully, I will complete that series this month.

As you can see, it was a busy month for my reading. I completed a number of books and at full count about 4500 pages. I assure you this isn’t normal. Instead, there are several books that have been in process for a couple of months that were very large in page numbers, while others were extremely short (two on this list were roughly 30 pages). So the list is not quite as grand as it seems. The question though is not merely “What did I read this month?” but is also, “What did you read this month?” We should also ask, “What do you plan to read this month?”

If any of the books above interest you, look below to catch some of my favorites from the month (and some that I would tell you to stay away from. Click on the links to be directed to them and for those that I have directly reviewed, click the button that says ‘review.’
Books I would highly recommend:
The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson
Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders (Review)

Books that may be worthwhile depending upon your interest:
The Curious Christian by Barnabas Piper (Review)
The Wisdom of God
by A.W. Tozer (Review)
Name Above All Names by Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson
How Does Sanctification Work? by David Powlison (Review)
The Art of Turning from Sin to Christ 
by Kevin DeYoung
The Public Library by Robert Dawson
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
 by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Once A Crooked Man by David McCullum
Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Books that you should stay away from:
Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio (Review)
Un Tiempo Con El Señor by Witness Lee

Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash