January Books and Church in My Kitchen


I didn’t intend to read 9 books this month. I won’t be able to keep up this pace, but I’m glad I took advantage of all the hours I spent holding a baby in the dark. What did moms do before e-books?!

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Three cheers for the memoir! I love this genre so much. This book was insightful and heartbreaking. There was a time when I really wanted to live and teach in Appalachia, so I was already interested in the topic. He tells a story of broken families, the importance of connections, and demonstrates how generational junk (sin) really is a thing.

Coming Clean: A Story of Faith by Seth Haines

I’ve seen this book floating around the internet for a while now, so I was excited to snag it when it was on sale for $1.99. Haines shares from his journal as he chooses sobriety and begins walking down that hard road. It is vulnerable and honest and points not toward a quick fix for our struggles, but toward a long, enduring journey that can lead us closer to Jesus.

It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn

This book! My mom recommended this one (researching trauma is her thing), and it was really fascinating. Reading it after Hillbilly Elegy made me hyper aware and curious about aspects of my own history and ancestory that I may not have fully processed or known before. It is not a Christian book, but the author quotes scripture because it turns out science confirms that sin is generational. (According to the Bible, blessing is too!)

Freeing Your Child From Anxiety: Practical Strategies to Overcome Fears, Worries, and Phobias and Be Prepared for Life–from Toddlers to Teens by Tamar Chansky Ph.D.

This book explains anxiety and provides extremely practical examples of exactly what to do and say to your kids (and yourself) to help them (and you) work through it. I am just now realizing how anxious I was as a kid. I think this would be helpful for every parent, whether your child is dealing with debilitating anxiety or just everyday stress.

Writing Brave and Free: Encouraging Words for People Who Want to Start Writing by Ted Kooser and Steve Cox

This writer’s guide was a fun, easy read. Lots of practical tips and reminders. I’m a big fan of Ted Kooser’s writing, and like most of his work, this was easily accessible and made me want to WRITE instead of making me feel overwhelmed or discouraged.

Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life by Henri Nouwen

I love Nouwen and have learned so much from his faith and vulnerability. Loved this inside peek into his life and relationships.

Aliens in the Promised Land: Why Minority Leadership Is Overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions by Anthony B. Bradley

This is a series of essays from Christian leaders with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. It was really eye-opening. Loved it.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I think it’s been years since I’ve had the mental capacity to finish a novel (sad!). This was so incredibly well written. It was hard to put down.

Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin

I’m always searching for Korean books that have been translated into English. This novel is about a family that’s searching for their elderly mother after she gets lost at the train station in Seoul. So much of Korean literature is extremely dark. This one was heavy, but it wasn’t dark. I really liked it.



The past few days I’ve been listening to Will Reagan’s new album Tell All My Friends and The Brilliance’s new album All is Not Lost. (Especially Gravity of Love on repeat—go listen!).

Some days I just need to have church in my kitchen.

What are you reading and listening to?? I would love to know!

6 Replies to “January Books and Church in My Kitchen”

  1. I’ve been listening to The Brilliance too! I love the new album so much. Thanks for the book recommendations. I especially want to look into the parenting ones and the ones about generational traumas. Sounds interesting!

  2. I love these kinds of posts.
    I’m currently reading Songbook by Nick Hornby and On Writing by Stephen King (both non-fiction, so I’m kind of aching for something made-up) and listening to a lot of late 90s rock and emo because it’s that season…

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