The Bookshelf, April 2018

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The Bookshelf, April 2018

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately and want to share highlights, perhaps one of these books will resonate with you.

Question for expats: I get 90% of my books through my US county kindle library. I first search my library for a book I hear about. If I don’t find it, I look it up on Amazon and usually toss it into my wishlist. I find that if I click back through to the same book five or more times, it is something I should consider purchasing. We just don’t have the budget to buy all the books I would like to. How do you obtain books? Library? Kindle? Purchased? Gifted?

I was Told to Come Alone by Souad Mekhennet, “If I’ve learned anything, it’s this: a mother’s screams over the body of her murdered child sound the same, no matter if she is black, brown, or white; Muslim, Jewish, or Christian; Shia or Sunni. We will all be buried in the same ground.”

The Homing Instinct by Bernd Heinrich, “For other animals, and for us, home is a ‘nest’ where we live, where our young are reared. It is also the surrounding territory that supports us. “Homing” is migrating to and identifying a suitable area for living and reproducing and making it fit our needs, and the orienting and ability to return to our own good place if we are displaced from it. Homing is highly specific for each species, yet similarly relevant to most animals.”

On Edge, a journey through anxiety by Andrea Peterson “Research shows, however, that anxiety is linked to some aspects of perfectionism but not others. Specifically, while anxious people are concerned about mistakes and doubt their actions, they don’t necessarily have superhigh personal standards. Worriers actually tend to lower their standards when stressed out. It isn’t that they want to be the best. They just don’t want to mess up.”

Thirst (again, because really, what else can you read while camping on the beach?) by Mary Oliver.

All afternoon the sea was a muddle of birds

black and spiky,

long-necked, slippery…

God, how did it ever come to you to invent Time?

The Sacred Enneagram by Christopher L. Heuertz. “The contemporary Enneagram of Personality illustrates the nine ways we get lost, but also the nine ways we can come home to our True Self. Put another way, it expresses the nine ways we lie to ourselves about who we think we are, nine ways we can come clean about those illusions, and non ways we can find our way back to God.”

Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Believed, by Kate Bowler. She writes about dealing with a cancer diagnosis in the context of the prosperity gospel. “What would it mean for Christians to give up that little piece of the American Dream that says, “You are limitless?” Everything is not possible. The mighty Kingdom of God is not yet here. What if rich did not have to mean wealthy, and whole did not have to mean healed? What if being people ‘of the gospel’ meant that we are simply people with good news? God is here. We are loved. It is enough.”

Bird By Bird (again) by Anne Lamott. I won’t share a direct quote, other than three words most writers already know Anne Lamott for: “Shitty first draft.” Or, SFD, if you don’t like the language. Yup. And sometimes second and third drafts, too. But hopefully not.

Misunderstood, by Tanya Crossman (a great, researched read about Third Culture Kids). So many things I could quote here, but I’ll go back to the basics. “The ‘Third Culture’ is a concept, not a count. The three cultures of a Third Culture Kid are not three locations or people groups, but three categories of influence.” And those categories are: the host culture, the passport culture, and the in between space in which TCKs find themselves.

What are you reading?


  1. JoAnna April 30, 2018 at 9:47 am - Reply

    Thanks for the recommendations! Also looking forward to “Everything happens for a Reason …” and adding some of the others to my tbr list.

    Expats finding books: I use my local (US) library for books, but it’s a small town and the online selection isn’t great. Then I discovered Philadelphia Free Library which is free if you have a Pennsylvania drivers license or credit card with a PA billing address. And a friend from Portland gave me her card info. Both sites, being “big city” library systems allow you to submit “recommendations” basically, request a book for them to purchase. 😀 I have four kids (with Kindles) who are voracious readers and we all make good use of these services from halfway around the world.

    I’ve also used book some but not a lot as new/popular books often don’t have lending enabled.

    • Rachel Pieh Jones April 30, 2018 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      Ah! That sounds so similar to what I’ve done. Love it. My county library is excellent (in the US) so I use that primarily. I always check in the library first and if they don’t have the book I want, I add it to my Amazon wishlist, where it mostly sits. I am SO thankful for the library!

  2. Carl April 30, 2018 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Do you know about
    Most kindle books drop the price for a short time – and this site acts like a wishlist that emails you whenever the price drops. I put books here that I am willing to wait a couple of months for. I have saved substantially on kindle purchases over the years.

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 1, 2018 at 6:18 am - Reply

      Oh wow! I had no idea but that sounds awesome. I’ll look it up. Thanks!

    • JoAnna May 2, 2018 at 5:43 am - Reply

      This is great to know, thanks!! Definitely checking it out.

  3. Carl May 1, 2018 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Here is an example of an email that I received today:
    “The Price Has Dropped to $2.99 on Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel”
    Also by Kate Bowler. So I saved $7 – a lot for a South African 🙂

    • Rachel Pieh Jones May 3, 2018 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      That’s a lot for me too! I signed up and am already tracking some books, thanks for the great tip.

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