The Books I Keep Close

The Books I Keep Close

Our family is building a new home and we’re preparing to move. With that comes my least favorite task (aside from the waiting) – packing!

Last month we loaded about half of our belongings into a storage unit, keeping only the basics for living and staging; the vast majority of my 400+ books are now packed away. Obviously, I’m a book worm – books being one way God speaks into me, challenges, and changes me. So which books could I not part with for these few months?

For my spirit…

The Bible – I’m all about having five-zillion Bible versions on my phone, but nothing compares to having my tangible copy, marked with ink and highlighter, bearing witness to countless God-chats across the years.

How to Worship a King by Zach Neese – Read repeatedly and worn with ink and dog-ear corners, this is a favorite! Exploring on a deep level the beauty and mystery of tabernacle worship from the Old Testament, Zach invites every believer to live their calling as part of a holy priesthood. I can’t get tired of this one!

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer – My pursuit of God begins with His pursuit of me. That truth alone changes everything for me. Tozer’s book is rich and challenging. It’s coming due for a re-read soon, so I wanted to keep it close.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis – This title has sat on the windowsill above my kitchen sink for years. It is rich enough that merely two propped-open pages can keep me occupied while I hand-wash dishes.

Soul Keeping by Howard Baker – This one made the cut for one reason: one of my dearest friends told me to read it again. I bought and read this during my seminary years and it’s been in the attic ever since. But at her recommendation, I’m keeping it close as a reminder to read ASAP.

Prayers From The Heart by Richard J. Foster – Another title to grace my kitchen windowsill…because I’ve often found myself in the kitchen, overwhelmed with the demands of the day. This beautiful collection of prayers reminds me to stop and reflect, turning my moments back to God.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp – Growing gratitude is the boiled-down premise here. And, boy, I can use continual work on that! Ann’s exquisite, poetic prose draws me into a world that realizes the presence of God, becoming ever-present to Him.

For a challenge…

Think Differently, Live Differently by Bob Hamp – Another one I can’t fully put down. This book has quite literally changed my life and the way I think.

Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst – Because stewarding my physical body is a spiritual act and I’m in a season of presently walking this out.

The Shack by WM Paul Young – A novel I have read countless times and can’t wait to read again! This story has opened my eyes in a way few other books have to the box I’ve kept God in and the possibilities that are beyond my logic and understanding. God is huge and personal and loving and creative and unexpected and funny. And He certainly doesn’t live in a box of my creation.

How to Stop the Pain by James B. Richards – I hate the title of this book because it simply doesn’t jive with the message. But the book itself, I already know, will be read on repeat. My hubby read this for his recent master’s class and experienced such immense heart change that when he insisted I read it, I had zero objections. No disappointments here!

For personal ties…

In The Waiting by Marsha Day – I was deeply honored to edit this book for Marsha. So when she sent me a “thank you” copy in the mail, which arrived the day we began packing away the books, I couldn’t bear the thought of boxing it up. I LOVE seeing her precious message of hope in the midst of suffering and confusion come to life on these gorgeous pages!

Encouragement Between Loads of Laundry by Kendra Hunt – Here’s another book by a friend. Kendra is sweet and straightforward, which comes through fabulously in this, her “accidental” book. Short, to-the-point, often hilarious words for the mamas at home; it’s simply refreshing.

For writing & work…

The Elements of Style by Strunk & White – This is my go-to book for all things writing and editing. I love that it’s so short and simple. It covers about 95% of all concerns I have as a writer and editor.

The Chicago Manual of Style – For the other 5%, I have this book. It’s a failsafe, should I run into something Elements or my favorite grammar sites don’t cover.

On Writing by Stephen King – My first purchase from this particular author, basically because the few movies I’ve seen of his gave me nightmares for years! But, after hearing over and over again about the insights he provides for writers, I thought I’d give it a go. On the whole, I was pleased, though reading through his memoir section had me praying for Mr. King to meet Jesus in a personal, freeing, life-altering way. Regardless of his faith, or lack thereof, he absolutely is a gifted writer and has worthwhile thoughts to share in this book.

There’s simply something about books I find comforting, compelling, challenging. Diving into an author’s heart-message, learning from them, considering a different perspective – these are just a few reasons I’m a proud book-nerd.

What’re you reading lately? What titles do you inevitably return to time and again?

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