Recent Reads

November 15, 2012 | My Jottings

I haven’t been reading as much lately as I usually do, and I plan to write about that soon. It’s almost as if I allowed my reading times to be supplanted by something else, something sort of frivolous. I’ve had to take a hard look at it. But that will come another time.

Here are some books I’ve read recently, and a few I plan to read soon…

This one was recommended by my friend Kay in Cornwall, England. I believe the title overseas is Medieval Woman, and it was fascinating. I learned so much, and also felt immensely grateful for my running water and furnace after finishing this read.

If you’ve never read anything by Wendell Berry, I think you should! He’s one of the most brilliant writers out there, and his books make me think and slow down and savor and revel. Hannah Coulter might be my favorite by him so far, but I also loved Berry’s Jayber Crow.

Anne Lamott always makes me laugh. She has an edge to her that some readers might need to be warned about, but her writing is so astounding I have to occasionally put the book down and marvel at the way she turns her words. This one was co-written with her son Sam, and since I’m a fan of grandchildren, I loved reading about her love for her first grandchild.

My friend Ember introduced me to Barbara Brown Taylor, and after reading the exquisite An Altar in the World, I recently picked this one up so I could immerse myself in the beauty of her writing again. The author and I don’t see eye to eye on a few things, but that never stops me from learning, or from thoroughly enjoying the person and their books. This one below was about how she decided to let go of her vocation as an Episcopal rector and begin to teach college, but it’s so much more….

I’m not sure I want to read this book below. It’s sitting on my nightstand and I just finished the first five pages. I’m gripped. And I have a feeling I’m going to be ruined. My friend Su loaned Undaunted to me, and I know I must read it prayerfully and slowly. I’m a little afraid, and a little excited, and very expectant. Have you read it?

I kept reading really good things online about Lysa TerKeurst’s Unglued, from real people who say God really helped them deal with their emotions in a better way after reading this book. So I bought it. Maybe after I read Undaunted I’ll be so undone I’ll have to read Unglued. 

And this book below, called A Praying Life, also sits on my nightstand, quietly but persistently calling my name, day after day. I wish I could go away for a few days with this book and nothing else, but I don’t think that will happen soon. I might make this my Christmas read.

What have you read lately?


  1. Helen in Switzerland says:

    I’m almost through with The Hawk and the Dove – which you recommended a while ago – and I’m loving it! I read a little in bed every evening and take time to really savour it!

  2. Just Julie says:

    I’m so glad to know you’re enjoying it Helen! I’ll be anxious to hear what you think of the ending…. Xxoo

  3. Kay in UK says:

    Well, Julie, you know that I’ve read Hannah Coulter and I loved it! I’ve recently read some books by Ronald Blythe. He writes a column for the ‘Church Times’ and his books about Wormingford are so evocative of a rural England that is fast disappearing. Just like Wendell Berry, Blythe writes in a slow, gentle, timeless way that is very soothing.
    At present,I’m reading ‘The Small House at Allington’ by Anthony Trollope. This is the book I chose for my book club to read this month, though I think some of the members aren’t thanking me for choosing this book! 🙂
    I’m looking for some new reading material, but as I’m feeling quite shocked and saddened by the announcement of a former Christian acquaintance that he has ‘given up on all religion’, I am definitely looking for books that build up my faith and don’t try to introduce alternative thinking.
    I think I might go and order the book you mentioned by Paul E. Miller and the book by Lysa Terkeurst.

  4. Just Julie says:

    I enjoy your book recommendations Kay…thank you! I wonder if the friend you mention has been hurt by people in the church, or discouraged by unanswered prayer? I know of people who leave their faith behind due to those two hard things. Thinking of you and Alan today…from Florida! Xxoo

  5. Ember says:

    Crumbs, Julie – what an impressive list! I might have a go at Wendell Berry’s fiction, and the Anthony Trollope book Kay recommends (above). Right now this minute I’m reading Patricia Cornwell’s “The Front” and enjoying it a lot. It’s been a bit of a breakthrough to me to discover that what I sometimes mistake to be taking a dislike to a book is not really that but is because I get anxious when I think something bad is going to happen to a character. I’m learning that the trick is to keep reading not throw the book away in a rage.
    That Barbara Brown Taylor book you mention (Leaving Church) is excellent, but I find its title misleading – it’s not about leaving church at all but about leaving a particular professional role within the church – and I think more readers might be attracted to the book had this been clear. x

  6. Just Julie says:

    I think you would like Wendell Berry, Ember…you two are kindred souls. 🙂 Very interesting insight about anxiety vs. true dislike in a book. I think I tend to start prejudging a book if I don’t find a character I like or am intrigued by. And you make an excellent point about the book Leaving Church…yes! It’s just about a change of vocation, not about her departing from her faith! Also…when I get home I’ll have to share my thoughts with you on Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow, which I just finished this morning… 😉 xxoo

  7. Kay in UK says:

    Florida?! Oh, if only ……! 🙂
    Have a wonderful time!

  8. Just Julie says:


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