I’m woefully behind in sharing reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately. February’s list is all ready to go, but I wanted to share my January reads first. I finished five books in the first five weeks of 2020, including Tony Reinke’s latest offering, Competing Spectacles. Read on for my impressions of each:
In His Image by Jen Wilkin
In His Image is the first book by Jen Wilkin I’ve ever read. It examines ten of God’s most imitation attributes: His holiness, His love, His justice, His goodness, His mercy, His grace, His faithfulness, His patience, His truthfulness, and His wisdom. And it calls us to reflect those attributes to the world around us.
I love Wilkin’s style of writing — and her scholarship, as well. She treated the subject matter of this book so deftly that I immediately ordered the companion title, None Like Him. Look for a review of that one later this year.
Little Britches by Ralph Moody
Little Britches is the first in an 8-book biographical series by Ralph Moody. Sterling North says they should be read aloud in every family circle in America. How many times we’ve taken his advice? I’ve lost track.
This is the first time I’ve read them aloud to my grandchildren, though. The first book follows Ralph’s family to Colorado, where they moved when Ralph was still just a young boy. It details the friends he met, the jobs he worked, and the lessons he learned growing up on a homestead. No sooner had I finished the final chapter than my kids and grandkids were begging me to begin the next book. We highly recommend the whole series.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read A Christmas Carol aloud to my children, too. Either reading the story together or watching a screenplay of the same is a Christmas tradition we rarely miss. We love recounting the midnight visitations of Christmas ghosts upon Ebeneezer Scrooge and the transformation that resulted from those brief encounters.
For the past few years, we’ve listened to an audio version of the book. I’m afraid the inimitable British actress and our dear friend, Miriam Margolyes, has quite spoiled our family with her expert reading of Dickens’ classic. The voices she gives each beloved character make them instantly spring to life, such that my family is no longer content to listen to me stumble through the reading of the tale myself.
Competing Spectacles by Tony Reinke
In this slim but timely volume, author Tony Reinke considers the various spectacles that compete for our attention, our time, our lust, and our money. And he calls readers to be intentional about the sorts of things we set before our eyes. He urges us to consider the effect our visual diets have on habits, longings, and desires. And he spurs us to instead focus our attention on the Greater Spectacle of Christ.
This was another of the free audiobooks I downloaded from christianaudio.com. They offer a new, no-strings-attached freebie every month — all top-notch editions of doctrinally sound and thought-provoking books. Visit their site and start listening today.
The Jedera Adventure by Lloyd Alexander
After reading through most of Frank Peretti’s Cooper Kids Adventures last year, my middle-schooler and I tackled a different series in the new year: Lloyd Alexander’s Vesper Holly books. These page-turners provide a great introduction to one of our favorite authors. And the difficulty level is just right for my reluctant reader — challenging enough to improve his reading skills, but not too hard to discourage him.
And the fact that every chapter ends with some sort of cliff hanger keeps his interest. The story follows the exploits of a brilliant and beautiful orphan, Vesper Holly, as she traipses around the world with her guardian uncle in tow. If you’ve never read any Vesper Holly books before, I recommend you begin with the first in the series, The Illyrian Adventure. It’s been awhile since last I read these titles, so we inadvertently started with one of the latter books.
That’s it for January. I’ll try to get February’s reviews posted in the next week or so. Have you read any good books lately? Tell me about them in the comments below.