With three hours of study time a day at L’Abri, I did a lot of reading. From serious Christian texts to murder mysteries to memoirs to classics, I covered a wide variety of books. I feel head over heels in love with Dorothy Sayers, Anne Lamott, and C.S. Lewis–to name a few.
This is just a sampling of what I’ve covered over the past few months… it’s not nearly everything.
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
From the bestselling author of Operating Instructions and Bird by Bird comes a chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once tough, personal, affectionate, wise and very funny. With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, Anne Lamott takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith. In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter, and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. She shows us the myriad ways in which this sustains and guides her, shining the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope. Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church or the men she’s dated, Lamott reveals the hard-won wisdom gathered along her path to connectedness and liberation.
Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
When Harriet Vane attends her Oxford reunion, known as the Gaudy, the prim academic setting is haunted by a rash of bizarre pranks: scrawled obscenities, burnt effigies, and poison-pen letters, including one that says, “Ask your boyfriend with the title if he likes arsenic in his soup.” Some of the notes threaten murder; all are perfectly ghastly; yet in spite of their scurrilous nature, all are perfectly worded. And Harriet finds herself ensnared in a nightmare of romance and terror, with only the tiniest shreds of clues to challenge her powers of detection, and those of her paramour, Lord Peter Wimsey.
Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis
Out of the Silent Planet begins the Space Trilogy with the adventures of the remarkable Dr. Ransom, who is abducted by aliens and taken by spaceship to another planet. In the second book, Perelandra, Dr. Ransom must battle evil on a new world when it is invaded by the Devil’s agent. The final book, That Hideous Strength, concludes the adventures with Dr. Ransom in a world of superior alien beings and scientific experiments run amok, as he struggles with questions of ethics and morality in his quest for truth.
Being Human by Ranald MacCaulay and Jerram Barrs
Who is right about what it means to be human? The Greeks envisioned an ideal humanity. Their ethereal sculptures depict a transcendent, spiritual model. But today many scientists view human beings as mere machines. And some believe we will be able to make machines with human-like intelligence in the near future. The biblical view of humanity is different from both of these. For the writers of Scripture, to be human is to be in the image of God. Guided by this view, Ranald Macaulay and Jerram Barrs discuss the nature of spiritual experience. As the pursuit of true spirituality takes us away from sinfulness, it moves us closer to what God intended us to be. When we are truly spiritual, we are fully human. Macauley and Barrs begin by stressing the centrality of Christ. Then they distinguish between self and the sinfulness of self, argue for using our minds in spiritual matters, and illuminate the many ways God guides us. Their chapter on the family discusses the vexed issue of authority. And they conclude with a look at the evidence, judgment, hope, joy and reward of faith. In short, this book, now back in print due to ongoing demand, presents an integrated model for what human beings really are.
Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
Set in the industrializing England of the Napoleonic wars and Luddite revolts of 1811-12, Shirley (1849) is the story of two contrasting heroines. One is the shy Caroline Helstone, who is trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of a Yorkshire rectory and whose bare life symbolizes the plight of single women in the nineteenth century. The other is the vivacious Shirley Keeldar, who inherits a local estate and whose wealth liberates her from convention
The Call by Os Guiness
“The Call” continues to stand as a classic, reflective work on life’s purpose. Best-selling author Os Guinness goes beyond our surface understanding of God’s call and addresses the fact that God has a specific calling for our individual lives.
“Why am I here? What is God’s call in my life? How do I fit God’s call with my own individuality? How should God’s calling affect my career, my plans for the future, my concepts of success?” Guinness now helps the reader discover answers to these questions, and more, through a corresponding workbook – perfect for individual or group study.
According to Guinness, “No idea short of God’s call can ground and fulfill the truest human desire for purpose and fulfillment.” With tens of thousands of readers to date, “The Call “is for all who desire a purposeful, intentional life of faith.
Through His Eyes by Jerram Barrs
Eve, Sarah, Deborah, Mary, the woman at the well… women have played pivotal roles in redemptive history. Their case studies reveal God’s perspective on women, then and now.
Few biblical teachings have been as misunderstood and muddled by those inside and outside the church as its instruction concerning women. Through His Eyes answers the question “What does God think about women, and how does he treat them?” by walking readers through several biblical case studies.
Through His Eyes begins with Eve and a series of Old Testament examples that demonstrate the respect God gives to women and their significant place in salvation history. In the New Testament we see how God blessed Mary by calling her to be the mother of our Savior and how beautifully Jesus treated women.
Here is a happy exposition of the dignity and glory the Lord showers on women. The author encourages women to delight in their creation and calling, and he challenges men to honor women as does the Lord himself.
A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving
Eleven-year-old Owen Meany, playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire, hits a foul ball and kills his best friend’s mother. Owen does’t believe in accidents; he believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul is both extraordinary and terrifying. At moments a comic, self-deluded victim, but in the end the principal, tragic actor in a divine plan, Owen Meany is the most heartbreaking hero John Irving has yet created.