Reading is one of the most profitable and edifying as well as entertaining disciplines. I describe even “fun” reading as a discipline because no one ever read a book from first page to last sentence without having some measure of discipline, especially in this electronic, visually stimulating era where there is talk of getting rid of all codices, bound editions of books and doing any and all reading from the electronic screen! This is a devastating thought to me for several reasons. First, I love the feel of holding a book in my hands, turning the pages with the assurance that the page will not disappear from view because of power shortage or malfunction. I like to make notes in the margins and underline and chain reference; I often—even in the most casual reading—will flip back and forth to compare sections or check facts. When I am doing research or fine tuning my creative writing, I like to spread out my sources and view all simultaneously. I like to flip through pages to check consistency of stylistic choices. I am encouraged to see the progress from a first draft to final draft with my own emendations.
Second, although electronic searches sometimes make my task easier, I also know my books so well that it may be quicker for me to locate something by going to that book so clearly in my mind’s eye and flipping the familiar pages to look for my special marginal note. Third, I find that the value of books, and thus reading and research, is far more apparent in a library full of actual bound treatises than merely a computer or Kindle reader on my desk! When I see rows and shelves of books, lovingly arranged, I feel a sense of their value to me and to the world—I have a better feel for the sacrifices made and time invested in producing such volumes over the generations.
Yet, I am not writing on the subject of reading. Rather I want to share with you my suggested reading list for the summer months, when hopefully you will have a bit of leisure time in which to indulge in relaxation and edification. I am pulling more from what have made my list of classics than from new releases. I am also including some of the books I have penned because they have a message from my heart to women, and it is the only avenue I have to most of you! Here are the books:
First Mothers by Bonnie Angelo
This historical and biographical volume features selected mothers who had a profound influence on their prominent sons, each of whom served as president of the United States. Angelo proves her point: A mother shapes and inspires and makes her son. With strengths and weaknesses mixed together, a mother’s nurture and guidance can take an ordinary boy and fashion an extraordinary man. This volume gave me a new vision for the influence I can still have on my adult sons as well as on other young men who cross my path. And once again the importance of mothering has been confirmed!
Amma: The Life and Words of Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) by Elizabeth R. Skoglund
Amy Carmichael entered my life at the end of one of the most difficult years of my life. I have never read a life story that impacted my life any more. I loved the style of the author as she used Carmichael’s words to tell her story—a pilgrimage of faith that continues to rock the world more than six decades after her death. Her wisdom and experience, especially in the world of pain and suffering, is phenomenal. She went to India but never returned home from the field. I promptly ordered and read every book Carmichael had written!
Monica: a Prodigal’s Praying Mother by George W. Rice
Monica’s son, one of the most prominent Church Fathers in early church history, described his mother as “for a while dead to my eyes, who had for so many years wept for me, that I might live in God’s eyes.” Augustine attributed his remarkable conversion to a devout, praying mother who never gave up on her indulgent son—a man addicted to the “liberated” life of lust and pride. Prayers and godly example marked this humble housewife from Tagaste in North Africa. She continues to leave herremarkable legacy of intercessory prayer, especially for her pagan husband, whose vile temper and adultery she conquered through her submission and prayers, and for her rebellious son, whom she loved unconditionally. Rice described her tears as watering the earth in every place where she prayed.
The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard
Although the author, who is now deceased, disappointed me in his later years with some of his positions, I will be ever grateful for this excellent work on the importance of spiritual formation, the discipline of discipleship. Watch for my 16-year-old granddaughter Abigail’s review of this book, which I employed her to read and review!
Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliott
One of the absolute musts for every woman of any age to read! Again watch for Abigail’s review of this volume, which I also employed her to read and review!
Where’s Mom? The High Calling of Wives & Mothers by Dorothy Kelley Patterson
If you have a short attention span but a heart’s desire to pull from Scripture timeless and unchanging principles that establish the bedrock and foundation for a woman who wants to follow the path leading to timely and changing applications of those principles, then this very brief volume will start you down the path to biblical womanhood. It unveils my heart’s passion for presenting the valuable role of homemaking in this generation.
The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook edited by Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Pat Ennis
This volume is for the woman who is truly committed to making her home a place of comfort and ministry. The volume is organized with user-friendly index and includes a wide variety of topics related to the home and family. You can read cover to cover or use as desk resource to look up answers to your questions on almost every topic related to homemaking. The contributors represent a wide range of generations and geographical locations as well as perspectives and roles. If you are looking for inspiration to do your job better as a homemaker—whether your household is you alone or a tribe, this volume may be just what you need!
Talking is a Gift by Rhonda Harrington Kelley and Monica Rose Brennan
If you are a woman who has ministry on the platform as a speaker or Bible teacher or if your giftedness prompts your heart to want to prepare for such a ministry, this volume provides a readable and workable plan to enhance your skills or get you started.
In the Royal Manner by Paul Burrell
This is a compilation of practical advice and delightful creativity with pointers on etiquette in a formal setting. He organizes his material according to seasons with ideas for centerpieces and menus, including recipes. Added to these elements common to volumes on hospitality are vignettes from his years of service to the British royal family. So if you are looking for fresh ideas to get your own creative juices flowing and want some interesting trivia along the way, this book may be a good choice for you.
Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
This volume was introduced to me by one of my students almost two decades ago. I found it especially delightful because of the seemingly unlimited creativity for using the home as a springboard for family activities and outreach—and for all ages and every season! I have used many ideas from this volume for enriching the lives of mychildren and grandchildren over the years, not to mention the countless ways of adding a flourish to my hospitality. If you need some fresh ideas for stimulation and entertainment for children at home this summer, this volume is a jewel!