In our previous What We’re Reading post, I listed Another Gospel? on the nightstand list (and I will get to it next month!), but, plans change, and I’m too extroverted to turn down the opportunity to do a couple’s study, albeit virtual, on technology habits in our homes, through the book, The Tech-Wise Family. In these months of increased screen use, for everything from our kids’ classroom learning, to church community groups, and an uptick in online entertainment, this was a very beneficial and needed read, to check the temperature on how we are using various technologies in our home, the effects they have on us, and to adjust the thermostat. The author, Andy Crouch, along with very insightful Barna Group data, encourages families to take culturally radical, yet oddly reasonable, steps, to get tech to the corners of the home, as it were, and make the center of our home life, focused on what is truly engaging, personal, interactive, creative, and mostly, screenless.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (BBC Dramatization) by J. R. R. Tolkien
This month, I’m journeying through Middle-earth by listening to the 1981 BBC dramatized radio broadcast. What’s especially fun is comparing the voices and characterizations between the films, dramatized recordings, and book (which requires more of the reader’s imagination). Although the films and dramatizations tend to offer exciting action and visual concept, I’ve noticed that the classic in its written form is the best by far at immersing the reader into this whole other world where the reader is oftentimes and quite literally invited to “stop and smell the roses.” Some books, I believe, don’t actually lose much in a film adaptation, while others carry an abundance of hidden treasures that are a challenge to interpret on-screen. So, BBC is excellent at its performance, the films excellent at theirs, and the book remains the crown.
To-Read: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (BBC Dramatization) by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Tea Chest by Heidi Chiavaroli
Taking a break from my usual nonfiction reading stack, I finally picked up this dual timeline novel. The Tea Chest follows two women who live centuries apart: Emma, a Loyalist-turned-Patriot at the time of America’s Revolutionary War, and Hayley, a contemporary Navy sailor who is training to become the first female SEAL. Hayley stumbles upon Emma’s story after procuring an antique tea chest and discovers that their stories are more intertwined than she expected.
I enjoyed how this novel made history tangible by putting the reader in the shoes of fictional characters from that time period. The political dynamics and motives surrounding the Revolutionary War were more nuanced than history often romanticizes them to be—not unlike some of the political tensions we still experience as 21st-Century Americans. Different political parties can have equally sincere motives behind their conflicting viewpoints, and sometimes the difference between right and wrong is neither simple nor certain. Which is more important: loyalty or liberty? When Emma and Hayley decide what’s most important to them, it will determine the course of their lives.
To-Read: Mountain Laurel by Lori Benton
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
I know many people have mixed feelings about the Enneagram, and I get where, as Christians especially, there can be a healthy amount of skepticism. After all, when struggling with areas of our personality/nature that we desire to see changed, the best place we can go is to the feet of Jesus. This book is no substitution for scriptural truth, and quite frankly, it just might not be your cup of tea; however, there are a few specific things I enjoyed about it. I’ve taken the Myers Briggs, Enneagram, and StrengthsFinder tests, and I find each of them to be entertaining and insightful in their own ways. The Road Back to You has a unique way of putting words to aspects of my thinking and feeling that I have never had language for before. It goes past what I do and explores why I do it. Some of the insights were a nice primer for conversations with my husband and close friends as we discussed how we relate to one another. If you are looking for Christian literature to inform a greater knowledge of yourself and God, I think there are more scriptural books that would offer a deeper dive; however, if you’re primarily interested in knowing more about this personality typing system, then this book will be an enjoyable read for you!
To-Read: Chasing Vines by Beth Moore