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Recent Reads March 2024

Book recommendations are one enduring blessing of blogs. I appreciate seeing what others like and do not like, which helps me curate my reading list. At the end of each month, I try to pick out a few books I’ve read to recommend. Here are some of the books I enjoyed in March. 

Timothy Keller: His Spiritual and Intellectual Formation, Collin Hansen. I’d been looking forward to reading this book. Like many other Christians, Tim Keller significantly impacted my life. Whether through sermons, books, or talks at the TGC conferences, I’m grateful for Keller’s influence. But I didn’t really know where he came from. Apart from what personal information I might glean from a book or sermon, I really didn’t know much about him. Collin Hansen chronicles Keller’s early life and influences, education, key relationships, and conversion. His relationships with Richard Lovelace, Ed Clowney, and others left long-lasting imprints on him. However, I enjoyed how Collin highlighted Tim’s special bond with his wife, Kathy. These stories were so encouraging to read. Reflecting on his life and ministry, I’m reminded of the line from the poem by Charles Studd, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Reading of Keller’s life reminds me again of this truth. And as it does, it compels me to do something that will last.

The Mystery of the Holy Spirit, R.C. Sproul. This short little paperback is a helpful introduction to the Holy Spirit. In his classic manner, Sproul takes complex concepts and makes them more accessible. In this book, readers are introduced to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, his ministry and role, and the historical understanding of the doctrine. This book is useful for a newer Christian or anyone preparing to teach a class or wanting to learn more about the doctrine.

Cahokia Jazz, Francis Spufford. Imagine if a mild strain of smallpox had given the indigenous people in America immunity and, instead of being decimated, thrived. That’s the premise for the book set in the 1920’s. In a town near St. Louis, Spufford creates a place where the native people are the majority culture. But there’s more. The book opens with a murder that sets off simmering racial unrest. Spanning the course of a week, the lead character, Joe Barrow, investigates the murder and finds out a lot about the crime, his town, and himself. There are points when the author seems to get bogged down in some excessive detail, but I pushed through since he has created an alternate world (and new language) that depends upon intricate details. I think, in the end, persevering readers will be rewarded. He holds you until the last page.

Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Louise Penny.  I enjoy an occasional mystery novel, and this was my first from the pen of Louise Penny, a prolific Canadian author. Still Life is the first in the series of Gamache novels. Set in the charming Canadian village of Three Pines, the book accompanies Chief Inspector Gamache as he investigates the murder of an older local artist, Jane Neal. Set in rural Quebec, Still Life provides readers a window into a different type of community than most of us live. Weaving together surprising plot twists and surprising characters, Penny kept me engaged. I then discovered that the book was a Netflix series named Three Pines. (The book is better.)

 

Previous Recent Reads

February 2023
January 2024
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
September 2021
Summer 2021
April 2020
March 2020

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