My First Five Reads of 2018

How to Think book image.jpg

I received this one as a Christmas gift from my husband. It became a joke amongst the family that he must believe I really needed help learning to 'think'! We all had a grand laugh about this, but I would actually agree! In fact, I actually asked for the book. I do want to think more and to think more deeply. I hope, as Christians, we all desire this. I started 'How to Think' this month and just finished last night. The author, Alan Jacobs says, 'How to Think' is a "contrarian treatise on why we're not as good at thinking as we assume, and how recovering this lost art can rescue our inner lives from the chaos of modern life."

It challenges us to contemplate whether surrounding ourselves in homogeneous communities only reinforces what we already believe.  I know its very easy for me to do this. Who doesn't like a friend or acquaintance to agree with your view especially if its stated in a compelling way? Since social belonging-- or the desire to belong in a particular group-- only makes us more reluctant to engage in critical thinking. After finishing, I am encouraged to consider how I might be willing to gently challenge another's view on an issue and how I might engage in conversations with others who aren't just like me. Jacobs does spend a fair bit of time drawing applications for public discourse-- like conversations about politics on Facebook and Twitter. Even if that is less interesting to you (it was for me!), it's worth reflecting on how those lessons may apply in our own contexts-- specifically in our homes with our children. 

Lark Rise to Candleford book image.jpg

This is another book I received as a gift this Christmas. One of our Christmas Eve traditions is that everyone in the family opens one present that night and the gift is always a book. I purchased books for the family this year and decided to go ahead and order one for myself too! This was my pick. I'm excited to delve into this trilogy of novels by Flora Thompson, published between 1939 and 1943. Lark Rise to Candleford has also become a British drama series, adapted by the BBC based on the semi-autobiographical novels about English country life. I've recently discovered that Thompson, like the protagonist, worked as a post-office clerk from the age of fourteen in Oxfordshire and then in post offices all over England. She writes about how the 'old ways' of living off the land are from a bygone era and many families are looking to more modern ways of existing. Does this sound familiar? I'm hoping this pick will fit int the category of a lighthearted fiction read.

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