some books you should totally read

More people asked for a homeschooling update than a book review, but the homeschooling situation makes me want to rip my eyebrows out (THIS IS SUCH A HARD DECISION!), so I’m over-ruling the verdict.

I’ve read some great books lately and really want to devote a full post to each of them, but I need to let go of that dream. This isn’t the half of them, but it’s a start.

No Biking in the House Without a Helmet (Melissa Fay Greene)

I got this book at the library per Jen Hatmaker‘s recommendation. Funny, funny stuff. It’s a memoir (my favorite genre) written by a woman who has four biological kids and adopted five more. What I love most (after her humor) is that she sugar-coats nothing. NOTHING. Gut-honest, tell-it-like-it-happened, raw, and sometimes even makes you cringe. It’s a real story about adoption and a family and how life is messy, and I loved it. (Note: It’s not a Christian book, so there’s some language.)

Jantsen’s Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace (Pam Cope)

Another library book, this one recommended by my friend, Kelli. I couldn’t put this book down. Amazing, amazing (and true) story. The author’s son dies tragically, and God uses his death to open her eyes to suffering around the world. She travels to Vietnam, Cambodia (oh, this part made my heart leap!), and Ghana and ends up doing some crazy-amazing things for orphans in need. Loved, loved, loved this book. Plan to go back and re-read it.

Terrify No More (Gary A. Haugen)

I’m not sure how I missed this book. Written in 2005, it tells the story of International Justice Mission and their raids on child brothels in Cambodia (and other places). The main undercover operation took place in the very village we visited last July. The very place where I sat on the floor and bawled as I thought about the little girls my daughters’ ages who have been rescued, but also the thousands who are still being horrifically used and abused every single day. It was a hard book to read but just poured more fuel on the fire in my soul. I’ve got to help.

How to Get a Job by Me the Boss (Sally Lloyd-Jones)

If you’ve read the Jesus Storybook Bible (love, love, LOVE), then you know this author. Apparently, she and my amazing friend Missy are good buds, because Sally sent me an e-mail a couple months ago asking me if I’d like a copy of her new book (and crediting Missy). YES, thank you. And oh my word. HILARIOUS. It’s a hardcover book for ages 4-8, but this 35-year-old was cracking up the whole way through. There are other books in the series–How to be a Baby by Me the Big Sister and How to Get Married by Me the Bride (we got them from the library and they’re hilarious too). She is so witty, so brilliant, so fabulous. I’m a fan for life. (Get these books for your children!!)

The Book of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Enuma Okoro)

I started this book on April 6, 2011, and I’ve read it every day since. I think I first heard about it from my friend, Megan, and it has been an incredible part of my morning time with God the past few months. I wouldn’t call it a “devotional” (I’m not a huge fan of those–even though I wrote one). Quotes and Scripture reading, yes. But there are also songs and chants and some very powerful stories about historic Christian heroes who dedicated their lives to loving and helping the poor. So many times I read EXACTLY what God has just been pressing on my mind that very day. I love it when he does that. If you’re out of the groove of spending time in God’s word and prayer daily, I highly recommend this (big, fat, but awesome) book.

Say Yes to God (Kay Warren)

This book? ROCKED MY WORLD. It used to be called Dangerous Surrender, and I remember reading it a few years ago and thinking, “Wow, that’s some powerful stuff. Hmmm…” And that was that. But this updated/expanded version? Popped into my life at the exact time that God is yanking on my heart to do some radical things to alleviate suffering around the world. A friend of mine at Zondervan sent me a copy of the book (with no pressure to review it–she just thought it would be something I’d like), and I DEVOURED it. Marked it all up and want to read it again. It inspired me like NUTS and scared me half to death. Read it. I mean it.

Which book sounds like something you’d like to read (or maybe you’ve read one of them)? What good book(s) have you read lately?

22 thoughts on “some books you should totally read

  1. Pingback: Marla Taviano » on a personal note

  2. Sheree

    I’ve read Kay Warren, though not the updated version, and love it; and I read The Common Prayer (always have been a Shane fan); now, you must read “Love Has a Face” by Michele Perry. I was already pretty messed up, but this book has sent me over the edge. Where oh where is God taking me? That is the question.

  3. whimzie

    I’m going to have to start a new Pinterest board of “Books Marla Has Recommended”!

    I already have a huge stack of books on my beside table. I need to get through those before I add anymore!

  4. Rachelle

    We have the Jesus Storybook Bible and it is enjoyed by both my teens and tweens, even though it is probably written for younger children. I am going to check out some of Sally Lloyde Jones’ other books.

    Recently read “Life in Spite of Me” by Kristen Anderson. It helped give me some insight into the thought process of teens and why they consider suicide as a way out.

  5. Leigh

    I will be adding the first 3 to my To Read list for sure. I actually just ordered Common Prayer two days ago to use up a Borders gift card I’d forgotten about- best we all use those up now while the stores are still open. (So sad about more bookstores closing.)

    After a decade on the To Read list, I’m a chapter away from finishing Blue Like Jazz. I’ve absolutely loved it, though A Million Miles is still my favorite Miller book. Picked up Anne Lamott’s Plan B from the library so I can continue my admiration of her work and I’m in the middle of Little Bee, after several strong recommendations from friends.

  6. Anonymous

    Say Yes to God sounds interesting, I’ll have to look for it. I’ve really liked reading “Same Kind of Different as Me” by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

  7. Elizabeth

    All of these sound like books I’d love to read, but I’m not sure how to find the time! And heavy topics tend to keep me up at night because my mind can’t stop processing. Fortunately we have a huge, amazing library down the road and access to so many resources, so if I don’t read them now I can later. . The Book of Common Prayer is one I’ve been thinking about getting. I am the person you’re talking to who is out of the groove of spending time with the Lord everyday, and devotionals actually really benefit me in that regard. Sally Lloyd-Jones is brilliant and we love the Jesus Storybook Bible. We gifted it to all of our nieces and nephews last Christmas. I will definitely check out her children’s series for Addison.

    Memoirs are my favorite genre as well. Anytime you have one to recommend, I want to know!

  8. Brooke

    just finished “Winning him without words” just in time for my hubby’s 2PM meeting today with my pastor (don’t forget to pray!!)

    started “Made to Crave” last night and a friend just loaned me “Weird”

  9. Rebecca

    Oh my, all of these books sound wonderful! 🙂 You have introduced me to so many great books over the past few weeks–THANK YOU!!!! Speaking of which, have you drawn for the Zealous Love book giveaway? That is a book I really want to read!

    Prayers and blessings,

  10. cyndee

    Definitely going to look for Melissa Fay Greene’s book. Have you read, “There is No Me without You”? Another good one by her.
    Also, will definitely be checking out the kids’ books. We LOVE “The Jesus Storybook Bible!”
    Just finished reading “The Hole in Our Gospel” by Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision. Excellent, convicting, powerful.
    Thanks for the suggestions! 🙂

  11. Shannon Wheeler

    Thanks for the list of ideas! I need to pack a few books for the flight to Ukraine and back next month, so I’m eager to check out these titles!

    Have you read “Reckless Faith” by Beth Guckenberger? It’s about her work with orphans in Mexico and the ministry she and her husband have there, but it’s more than that, too. It’s another honest memoir of how small we feel in contrast to the work the Lord gives us, and she beautifully describes the process of growing more reckless in following Jesus into hard places. She really challenged my thinking and caused me to be more willing to risk. I was convicted and encouraged. It’s beautifully written, too.

  12. Mandy

    I read Dangerous Surrender not long ago and was totally challenged by it, but now I’m going to see if I can get ahold of a copy of Say Yes to God – sounds awesome.

    1. Mandy

      Meant to add that I’m reading Running Scared by Ed Welch for the second time. Fear is my middle name, so this book is one of my favorites because it offers invaluable teaching on how to get rid of fear.

  13. kendal

    the frist two sound like they are right up my alley. going to look into those for sure. my favorite books of the summer were compiled by Hugh Steven and are teh letters and diaries of Cameron Townsend, founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators. there are 3 books, and the first was my favorite – a page-turner indeed. He spent 1917-1919 selling Bibles in Guatemala and ended up staying and becoming a life-time missionary. Can’t remember the title names right now, but they are by Hugh Steven….

    1. Shannon Wheeler

      I’m putting off finishing the last chapter of “No Biking in the House Without a Helmet” simply because it is SO good that I am dreading actually finishing it! You will love it. Everything Marla said about how funny and raw and real and powerful and honest it is, is so true. You’ll love it!

  14. Angela

    I read “Adopted for Life” by Russell Moore lately. A great look at acutal adoption and a theology of how we are adopted by God. Wonderful book!!

  15. Bethany

    “Terrify No More” and “Say Yes to God” sound like ones I’d like to read. I am reading “Radical Together” right now and loving it. I can’t thank you enough Marla for the inspiration you have been to me lately. You are definitely spurring me on to love and good deeds as Hebrews 10 describes it! I am so pumped about what God is doing in my heart and I’m so thankful for the place I am in right now. So free and excited and hungry to follow God and be used by Him.

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