Unshelved ~ What I Read in November

If reading can stimulate thinking and thinking can incite action, then reading is a necessary tool of the Christian life. Seeing the importance of reading I enjoy sharing my reading list with others in hopes that they will be prompted to read and perhaps a well-placed title will give some inspiration of what to read. And so, I look back and share with you what I read last month.
However, I must confess I’ve learned a reading lesson this month in a mistake that I made. At the beginning of the year, I determine a reading course that includes some materials I would like to get through while leaving room for new releases and unexpected additions. That course always comes with a goal. Usually that goal is a few books more than I read last year but maintains a sense of being reasonable in light of the schedule I may have. This year’s goal was 104 books; a reasonable two books a week (note: I have started setting page goals as well because by the boo can be misleading when one book is 900 pages while another is less than 100). With the end of October, that goal was completed. So what’s the lesson here? Upon completion of that goal, I relaxed my reading, not merely in number, but in content. Having fulfilled my goal, November has been a month of easier reads and more casual reading overall. Not all reading needs to be intense because sometimes it is profitable to relax. However, neither should all reading be casual, and after watching my own response this month, I recognize the need to be vigilant of my own contentment in order to maintain a reading focus. Lesson learned. So here’s what I read this month:

The Peculiar
Within my ‘light’ reading for the month came a series of books that can only be classified as peculiar. A mixture of fiction and non-fiction these books helped to travel the world. The fiction included some strange stories of mystery and intrigue in Austria (Death in Vienna), Canada (A Great Reckoning), and Senegal (The Rooster Bar). However, the nonfiction also allowed me to journey overseas. First time author Todd Miner narrates funny stories of hunting in Washington State, with some oddities mixed in (Deer Diary), while Kati Marton takes readers to the east coast of the United States (with frequent trips overseas) following the baffling story of Noel Fields, a soviet spy during the time of Stalin (True Believer).

The Provoking
Not all the reading this month was light and instead included reading that included prompted deeper thinking about God and his plan. First, as pat of my devotional time I’ve been reading through the ESV Reader’s Bible set completing both Gospels and Acts book giving me time to reflect on God’s message and manner for delivering that message. That was further reflected upon through Andy Johnson’s new release, Missions that will challenge readers about how we ‘do’ missions and Thomas Boston’s book The Art of Man-Fishing. Finally, Paul Tripps devotional Come Let Us Adore Him and the new Reader’s Guide to the Major Writings of Jonathan Edwards prompted a deeper reflection upon God, Christ, and what a personal relationship with them means.

The Plain
Finally, I cam across David Allen’s Getting Things Done and picked up for the opportunity to see what he has to say about productivity. For some, the book may be profound, but for me it fell flat. Partly because I have my own system that seems to work well. There were things that could be learned, but overall, I found the book to be lacking, repetitive, and outdated.

While lamenting that I was more casual in my reading this month, I do have to say there were some fun aspects to what I read. The literary skill of the authors collectively caused me to laugh, smile, contemplate, and consider (even in the peculiar books). Therefore, it was a profitable reading month in that regard.

If you would like to purchase any of the books mentioned above, click the links below: