A Year of Reading in Review

I always love to know what books others have read (or are reading) and found informative, challenging, inspiring, etc., so I thought I would share a review of the books I’ve read this year. (While naturally I don’t agree with everything contained in the following books, I am sharing primarily the positive aspects of each one.) Unfortunately I’m a slow reader, so I never get through as many books as I would like, but I love to read and make an effort to do so whenever I get a chance. I would love it if others would post a book review list from the year on their blog and send me the link!

Lasting Leadership

By Mokul Pandya and Robbie Shell

This was the book that was selected for our Business Study group this spring. The authors feature 25 prominent leaders of our day and share brief biographical sketches followed by a leadership lesson that can be learned from each one. Each chapter centers on a particular challenge that the leader faced and how he/she responded to it. Each chapter also includes in the margins a timeline of key events that took place in that leader’s life. Although I do not share the personal beliefs and worldview of most of the leaders that are included in the book (people like Ted Turner, George Soros, Oprah Winfrey, Lee Iococca, etc.), I found it to be very interesting reading and enjoyed evaluating and discussing their methodology and business practices in light of Biblical principles that should be applied in the business sphere. One thing that grabbed my attention was how many of these people were already developing their businesses at a relatively young age. At 19 Oprah became the youngest reporter and anchor in Nashville. At 26 Jeff Bezos became the youngest vice president in the history of Bankers Trust. At 20 Bill Gates launched Microsoft. Etc. I hope and pray that more and more Christian young people will capture a vision for rising up in their youth to be men and women of influence and leadership in their God-ordained spheres.

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

By Loraine Boettner

This is one of the best books that I have ever read! I have studied the doctrines of Calvinism and predestination for years and this book gave me a much clearer understanding of them. I am very grateful to Lydia for suggesting it to me and to Caleb for letting me borrow it. Mr. Boettner does an excellent job of gently guiding the reader through the process of understanding topics and passages that are potentially very confusing. I finished the book not only with a more complete understanding of these doctrines, but also a greater appreciation of and love for God Himself.

To Have and to Hold

By Mary Johnston

A heartwarming account of a man and his sacrificial love for his wife as he fights for her safety in the face of a multitude of trials and dangerous situations. The story is captivating and kept me up late into the night several nights in a row!



Before You Quit Your Job

By Robert Kiyosaki with Sharon Lechter

This was the second book our Business Study group went through this Spring. The authors begin with a discussion of what makes entrepreneurs different, including the observation that “The reason there are more employees than entrepreneurs is simply that our schools train young people to become employees.” This statement is followed with a short paragraph on the Prussian model of education that is the basis for our government-run education system. They go on to share how to identify the difference between an employee mindset versus an entrepreneur mindset and how to make the shift from the former to the latter. Although it is not written from a Biblical perspective the authors share many practical insights from their years of experience (both successes and failures) that I found valuable.

The Confessions of St. Augustine

Forward by Warren Wiersbe

A fascinating autobiographical account of a man who has gone down in history as one of the greatest philosophers and theologians that ever lived. His oft-quoted words, “Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee” perhaps best sum up the heartfelt writings contained in this collection. One cannot help but both smile at his subtly humorous monologues (“There I put my ear to the cauldron and heard from within and all around a song of unholy loves. I did not love, but I loved the thought of love. And in the depths of my desires, I detested the fact that I could not love more. I looked for something to love in my love of loving.”) and be challenged by his profound observations (“My faith was no larger than what my eyes could see. It never occurred to me that the very mental processes I used to reason such things were real enough to do wondrous things and form marvelous images, yet it did not have form of the sort I was demanding that my God fit.”).

Francis Schaeffer: The Man and His Message

By Louis Gifford Parkhurst, Jr.

Over the years I have enjoyed and benefited by reading a number of Francis Shaeffer’s books and watching his video series’, so I was excited to come across this biography of him. The author credits the substance of the biography to the writings of Edith Schaeffer and visits with many family members, workers, friends and others who were influenced by the far-reaching impact of Dr. Schaeffer’s life and ministry. As one might gather from the title, the book is divided into two sections – the first of which is the biography of Francis Schaeffer and the history of L’Abri. The second section is an overview of the message that Dr. Schaeffer spent his life communicating. In a nutshell, he passionately proclaimed the existence of absolute truth, the source of that truth as the inspired Word of God and the importance of applying that truth to every area of life. In his final book Dr. Schaeffer wrote “I would want to emphasize…the importance of evangelism (helping men and women come to know Christ as Savior), the need to walk daily with the Lord, to study God’s Word, to live a life of prayer, and show forth the love, compassion, and holiness of our Lord. But we must emphasize equally and at the same time the need to live this out in every area of culture and society.

Words that Hurt, Words that Heal

By Carole Mayhall

Although I rarely read books more than once, I was compelled to pull this one off my shelves again this year because I knew I needed to work on controlling my tongue and I remembered being challenged years ago by the wisdom that Mrs. Mayhall shares in this book. The book is comprised of short chapters that address many of the traps we fall into regularly with our words. Each chapter is full of Biblical truth and practical advice for those who aim to do a better job of glorifying God with their tongue.

I’m Out to Change My World

By Ann Kiemel

Ann’s writing is very poetic and she shares transparently of numerous situations where the Lord led her to do things with which she was uncomfortable for the sake of glorifying Him and sharing His love with those whom He placed in her path.

By Searching

By Isobel Kuhn

A first-hand account of her own life, from a state of unbelief and worldly living to a life whole-heartedly committed to God. I was inspired by Isobel’s disciplined living. She shares of how she made a commitment to spend one hour in quiet time with the Lord daily and willingly sacrificed sleep or food or other enjoyments to fulfill this commitment.


In the Arena

By Isobel Kuhn

A sequel to her first book, By Searching, Isobel Kuhn continues the story of her life on the mission field and communicates effectively both her passion for the work and the struggles she experienced. Her writing is very real, but also highlights the mighty hand of God at work in her own life and in the lives of those to whom she and her husband ministered.

Teaching to Change Lives

By Howard Hendricks

If I could sit under the teaching of any one person (other than Jesus himself, of course!), I think I would choose Dr. Hendricks. Not necessarily because of what he teaches, but because of how he teaches. I have previously listened to both the The Seven Laws of the Learner and The Seven Laws of the Teacher audio series’. The content of the book was very similar to the latter audio series, resulting in a very insightful and practical message. Dr. Hendricks identifies the 7 laws of the teacher as The Law of the Teacher, The Law of Education, The Law of Activity, The Law of Communication, The Law of the Heart, The Law of Encouragement and The Law of Readiness.

The Third Alternative: Christian Self-Government

By Bill Burtness with Patrick Butler

An interesting book loaned to me by Daniel and Julia following some of our discussions regarding Biblical Law and its application in today’s society. Mr. Burtness asserts that the primary purpose of government is not to control, but to protect the freedoms of the populous. He also points out that the less a nation’s citizens take the responsibility to govern themselves, the more necessary it will become for them to be controlled by external forces.

Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God

By Noel Piper

My friend Alisa and I read this book aloud as we traveled to and from Wisconsin this summer and found ourselves inspired and challenged by these women who poured out their lives for the sake of Christ and in service to others. The five women included in the book are Sarah Edwards, Lilias Trotter, Gladys Aylward, Esther Ahn Kim and Helen Roseveare. Although the life of each one was different from the others in numerous ways, they shared a common love for the Lord and a deep commitment to fulfilling the role to which God had called them. Each of them made a lasting impact on this world.

Under the Overpass

By Mike Yankoski

A first-hand retelling of the experiences of two young men as they spent six months on the streets of five major American cities, living as homeless men. The account highlighted the personhood of those who live on the streets and has given me a new perspective when I see a homeless person.

100 Portraits of Christ

By Henry Gariepy

Short chapters highlight and expound upon each of the names of God used throughout the Bible. Each morning I like to start my quiet time off by reading one of these and meditating on that particular aspect of who God is. While there are a few off-handed comments the author makes with which I disagree, in general I have found these portraits to be very insightful.

God’s Law in the Modern World

By Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This short book is an easy ready and provides a good overview of the relevance of Old Testament Law in today’s society. Mr. Gentry begins by discussing the essence of God’s law, covering both the nature and the purpose of the Law. Drawing from numerous Scripture passages he continues with five points relating to Jesus and God’s Law, followed by the New Testament and God’s Law. He goes on to refute common arguments against modern applicability of Old Testament Law and then advocates for its application throughout the world. The final section contains a convincing overview of “The practical benefits of Theonomic Ethics.” My favorite quote from the book is in the concluding chapter when Mr. Gentry states, “Having a revealed and objective standard takes the guesswork out of righteous living.

The Holy Bible

By God

This year I focused primarily on the Books of the Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy) and Proverbs in my Bible reading and have been memorizing Romans. The Bible is by far my favorite of all the books on my list because it has a way of renewing my spirit, transforming my thinking and changing my heart. It is a daily reminder to me that God is alive and is at work both in me and in the surrounding world!

In addition to sitting down with a good book as often as I am able, I also love to read a variety of other periodicals:

WORLD Magazine

One of my favorites, I look forward weekly (it will be bi-weekly after the first of the year) to reading through this Christian current events magazine. I enjoy the variety of domestic and international news as well as the cultural reviews, philosophical musings, book reviews, author interviews and more that make their way into this excellent publication.

American Music Teacher

A publication of the Music Teachers National Association that contains current news, pedagogical articles, composer and artist interviews, new publication reviews, and more. A very helpful resource that I value as a teacher.


Information Week

Somehow I started receiving this magazine for free and I enjoy perusing it and reading the business or technology articles that interest me.


Voice of the Martyrs

This is a free magazine provided by Voice of the Martyrs that contains updates and stories of persecuted Christians around the world. I have often found this to be both inspiring and challenging in my own relationship with the Lord. It is a poignant reminder of our true purpose in life and the commission God has given us as Christians to share the Gospel throughout the whole world.

Faith for All of Life

A publication of Chalcedon, this magazine contains insightful and thought-provoking articles that address important issues that all Christians should consider.


Biblical Worldview

A publication of American Vision. A mixture of practical, cultural, philosophical, educational articles and more.



Various Missionary Newsletters

I encourage everyone to support friends and fellow Christians who are missionaries and ask to be added to their mailing list so that you develop and maintain a world-wide perspective and can be encouraged by reports of how God is at work in every nation. Some of us are called to advance the Kingdom of God in America and we must use our vast resources and freedom to support, encourage and pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are pouring out their lives every day for the sake of the Gospel and the advancement of His Kingdom in their respective countries.

5 Responses to “A Year of Reading in Review”

  1. on 22 Dec 2007 at 9:29 am Kara A.

    Thanks for posting this, Natalie! I always forget to ask what you’re reading when I see you, so it was nice to “catch up”.

    So you made it through Boettner’s book–I tried it once, and gave it up. I should pick it up again.

    I read Gentry’s book a few years back–the portion you quoted was one I wrote down to remember, as well. A very helpful book. So are you going to tackle Rushdoony’s Institutes eventually? I’ve only read the first volume, but refer to it quite often. I’ve always been fascinated by the books of the law, so I enjoy his unique insight.

    Augustine’s confessions are on my “read someday” list…
    Do you have one of those? You should post it–I at least would be interested!


  2. on 23 Dec 2007 at 4:03 pm natalie

    Thanks for the comment, Kara. Many of the books I read are the result of someone else’s recommendation or review and I’ve never had anyone recommend the Rushdoony Institutes to me…just went and read over the synopsis a bit and it looks very interesting! Have you read them? Now I’ll have to add them to my list…

    Yes, I do have a “read someday” list – a.k.a. my bookshelves. 😉 It’s probably a good idea to be more systematic in my approach to what I read, but usually when I’m ready for something new I just skim my bookshelves and see what catches my attention. If I’m not particularly inspired by anything, I move on to my Mom or Dad’s bookshelves. And then there’s always my Amazon wishlist!

    I may have to work on compiling a list, though. If I do, I’ll post it. Do you keep an actual list? Any other recommendations?

  3. on 29 Dec 2007 at 12:33 am Missy Patterson

    hey natalie!
    sorry about this, i know it’s boarderline weird, but i was searching the web for information on kansas days in topeka this year and a link to your site popped up.

    I’m vice president of the college republicans on my campus and i was wanting to take a group up to topeka for the festivities but i’m having a hard time finding all the information. I was wondering if you knew where i could find out all the details and for starters what dates are the dates this year? I heard it was Jan. 25 & 26, is that correct?

    I would really appreciate it if you could get back to me!

    I’m from Ark City, which is the 79th district. This is the first year I’ve been involved in anything political and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m very eager to learn more!

    My name is Missy Patterson and my email is m.patterson07@hotmail.com. Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you!


  4. on 25 Feb 2008 at 8:35 am Bill

    7 Laws of the Learner is a book that has been a tremendous influence to me, since you posted on it, I think that you might find me thoughts helpful on the book,



  5. on 26 Feb 2008 at 8:22 pm natalie

    Thanks for the link, Bill. I did appreciate reading your thoughts on the book. I often tell my students that if they don’t understand something I’ve “taught” them it is my fault and I need to communicate it better or differently to help them understand. Thanks for reiterating the importance of the teacher taking responsibility for really helping the students learn.