with equal parts compassion & hilarity

002: Books on my nightstand

I listened to an episode from the podcast, “What Should I Read Next?” for the first time about a month ago. I was shocked that the woman who started the podcast, Anne Bogel, talks not just about books, but about the experience of reading enough to publish one 75 minute podcast episode every single week. As I said, she and her guest talk about books, naturally, but the bulk of their conversation is about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual experience of reading.

The host asks about how reading shaped you in your childhood and now, in your adulthood. She wants to know how reading certain genres makes you feel. She wants to know why and how you read. Do you listen to audio books? Do you read on e-readers or physical copy only? Do you post-it note as you read? Do you listen to the audio books and follow along with your physical book? Do you only listen to certain audio book readers and how come? What is it about their voice that has you helplessly hooked?

The entire podcast is about reading. And to me, I think that the fact an entire podcast with over 200 episodes about reading is in existence and that listeners are actively engaged with the medium demonstrates that reading must be, a least a little bit, an art form. Certainly, reading is a way to participate in art. We’re even creating art as readers as we envision the characters in our minds. We’re whisked away to a new place far beyond our comfortable bed and the lamp light. We’re there while also being here. Isn’t that strange?

In light of that, here are a couple of the books on my nightstand that are bringing me there while also being here.

PSA: I do have affiliate links in this post. It doesn’t cost you extra, I just get an itsy bitsy commission if you buy something I recommend. Like, if every single one of my readers bought 1 book, I could probably do 2 1/2 loads of coin laundry. So, thanks; I love clean clothes!

Without further ado, here’s how reading has been art for me lately—

The Essential Tozer Collection

by A.W. Tozer

Compiled and edited by James L. Snyder

This collection is three books in one: The Pursuit of God, The Pursuit of Man, and The Crucified Life. I’m trying to read one chapter from this book every morning and am wholly enjoying flipping its pages at a glacial pace. James Snyder wrote the introduction which helps set the tone for the book. Tozer wants the serious attention of his readers because what he writing about it the most serious thing: pursuing God. Tozer’s words are direct, challenging, and encouraging. He makes me think about how I can live my life as worship, causes me ponder what it means to truly be hard after God, and has introduced to me several incredible writers who sincerely chased God.

Highly recommend.

Big Little Lies

by Liane Moriarty

I completely devoured this book, reading it in about a minute. Moriarty writes humor and serious stuff so impressively well. I was surprised at the depth with which Moriarty dug into difficult issues and grateful for how she brought light to them. Potential trigger warning: domestic assault is one of those difficult issues.


I’ll Be Gone In The Dark

by Michelle McNamara

I’m nearly finished with this book. My friend and I did a book swap when the public libraries were closed and this is one of the 100 books I selected from her bookshelf.

The tag line is “One woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer.” It’s true crime and covers some admittedly gruesome acts of violence. However, the writing is good, really good. McNamara cares deeply for the people in this real-life story—her writing clearly demonstrates her compassion. I am also repeatedly in awe of her interviewing skills, often asking myself, “How did she get them to tell her that?!” She makes me want to be a better interviewer.

Worth noting is that McNamara died before her book was published. In fact, when McNamara died, the book was only half finished. Patton Oswalt, her husband, was determined to see the project through. The NY Times says this: “He hired Billy Jensen, an investigative journalist, and Paul Haynes, who worked with Ms. McNamara on the book as a researcher, to piece together the story, using her handwritten notes and the roughly 3,500 files on her computer.”

Highly recommend if you’re a true crime fan.

What books are on your nightstand? What books have been bringing you there while you are here?

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