I was extremely blessed this summer to be part of a secret sister book swap. If you get the chance, I’d highly recommend it. You get a name and address of someone that you secretly send a book to, and also someone gets given your name and address and sends you a book. I super love sending things secretly and as a surprise, so it is enjoyment enough getting to send a book to bless someone else, but it was very lovely to receive a book myself.
The Book I was sent is And So I Began to Read… Books that have influenced me by Faith Cook. I had not come across Faith Cook before, so it was exciting to receive a book by an author I didn’t know, but also, this is just the kind of book I would choose for myself, as I love to read and many books have really influence and impacted my life. I returned to Christian life as an adult, after reading Mere Christianity by C S Lewis – and so I was thrilled by the idea of reading about books that have had this impact in someone else’s life.
I found the book a really easy read – Faith Cook writes very well and I enjoyed the mix of autobiographical detail, along with extracts from books, hymns, poems etc. that had been important in Faith’s life. However, it did also challenge me and gave me some fresh perspectives and ideas, always important to me in a book.
Whenever finish reading a book, I always journal my learning points from it, so that I haven’t just read the book and then go on to something else and forget about it, but actually embed the learning and use it. These are my learning points from And So I Began To Read:
- The benefits of reading biographies: Faith Cook has written many biographies herself and reading this book and listening to the impact of biographies in Faith’s own life, reminded me of how faith building they are. As Faith points out in her book, we learn more about God’s faithful dealings with Christians in the past, we learn what nurtured and sustained them in times of trial and difficulty, we learn about their mistakes (yes we all make them, even the spiritual giants) and how God brought good from those mistakes so that we can be inspired and encouraged by these true stories and so it builds our faith.
- The power of hymns: I was brought up on a diet of hymns and actually our current church mostly uses hymns. It reminded me anew of how wonderful hymns can be. Modern choruses are great too, but the old hymns – so often tell a story and deal with difficulties and triumphs and the stories of some of the hymn writers are really humbling and inspiring. I like a mix of modern songs and hymns, but this just reminded me of why we should appreciate hymns and their words.
- When reading time is scarce – read poems! This is going to sound silly, but I really had never thought about this. What a great idea and one I am going to be using.
- Learning about heaven –and having an upward focus. This was a real eye-opener to me. I had never really thought about meditating on heaven and eternal life. This book has led me to buy a great book by Sharon James called The Dawn of Heaven Breaks which is a brilliant book collecting together Bible readings, hymns, poems and pieces of writing on eternity. We are sojourners in this world and it is right that we should spend time thinking about the hope we have in God and what that hope actually is. It can be very helpful during difficult times to remember the temporary nature of our life here.
I am very grateful for these insights I gained and I really loved And So I Began To Read by Faith Cook. I am very appreciative to my secret book sister and I would thoroughly recommend this book as a really enjoyable, very well written and thought-provoking read.
Be Encouraged 🙂
P.S. Open Book image is from Pixabay here