by Christine Sine
This is the time of year when everyone shares lists of what they have read in 2018 and what they plan to read in 2019. I have read so many lists in the last year days that my reading list for 2019 is already threatening to break my book budget and put all other budgeted items at risk too. Yet I have some concerns about these lists and not just because they might break the budget. So I thought I would put together a rather different list and give you some guidelines to think about as you plan your reading for 2019.
One of the most valuable lessons I have learnt from writing my book The Gift of Wonder is that head knowledge without heart knowledge is not good for any of us. I have been encouraged to read children’s books, dabble in contemplation and poetry, explore my creativity and to reflect on images, all of which have opened up whole new areas of reading for me. A good balanced reading diet is as important as a balanced reading diet. So here are my lists:
My Best Reads of 2018
Unless You Become Like This Child – Hans Urs von Balthasar. This little gem was recommended to me when I was first grappling with my question What are the childlike characteristics that make us fit for the kingdom? Von Balthasar convinced me that the central mystery of Christianity is our transformation from worldly-wise, self sufficient “adults” into children of God – not figuratively but literally. It was this book that laid the foundation out of which I gave myself permission to play again
On The Brink of Everything – Parker Palmer. I have been a Palmer fan for many years and this book is, I think one of his best ever. Written as he approaches his 80th year it’s wisdom is not just for the aging but for all ages. I read it slowly and contemplatively and relished every chapter.
Brain Rules for Aging Well – John Medina. This book looks at the behaviors that all of us need to incorporate in our lives to age well. – everything from dancing to nostalgia. Again I think that this is a book for all ages.
To Bless The Space Between Us – John O’Donohue. This beautiful book of poems and blessings is one that I return too regularly. It refreshes my soul in many ways and as you probably know I love to quote from it.
Celebrating Abundance – Walter Brueggemann This Advent devotional has provided a great focus for me each morning over the last couple of months. It is a great combination of substantial and thought provoking reflection with scripture and prayers.
The Art of Stone Painting – F. Sehnaz Bac No need for whiplash here, I did say that we needed an invitation to a little creative expression in our reading and this was it for me. If you like to paint rocks but are looking for more creative ideas on how to approach the art then this is a great book to get into. It will provide many satisfying hours of reading and experimenting.
A Savior Is Born – Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas – Patti Rokus I have loved looking through the images in this book over the Christmas season. It has inspired some of my favourite poems over the season.
Cultivating Sacred Space: Gardening for the Soul – Elizabeth Murray. No book list is complete for me without at least on garden book on it. This book, which has probably given me dreams beyond my ability to fulfill in the garden, encourages us to transform our own private gardens into places that satisfy our need for the sacred, for play, and for meditation as well as for connecting with the earth. A delightful book for anyone exploring creative ways to incorporate sacred spaces into their gardens.
What Am I looking Forward to Reading in 2019
Obviously it is too early to tell which will be my best reads of 2019 though I am already on the lookout for possibilities and have a stack of books that are likely to sink my desk waiting for me to open.
For poetry Ana Lisa de Jong’s new book Heart Psalms Songs of the Heart is at the top of my list. Her poems are illustrated with stunning scenic photography of New Zealand scenery which make it a little more expensive but highlight its potential as a book for personal reflection and retreats.
For a children’s book I am already casting beady eyes at Brian McLaren & Gareth Hewitt’s new book Cory and the Seventh Story.
For theology Al Tizon’s Whole and Reconciled which I am just about to start reading is at the top of my list.