Some of you may have a unique problem on your hands—for the first time in years, you have more free time at home than you know what to do with. A few weeks ago, you might’ve begged for just one free moment at home, but a lot has changed. And since it looks like the importance of social distancing won’t be disappearing for awhile, new routines must be formed. We must be careful not to accidentally fill our days with things that drain, discourage, or distract us. We must find activities that bring about truth and resiliency—and fill us with what is good.
To this end, over the next few weeks we’re going to provide suggestions of some ways you can use your time at home wisely. Our first recommendation will help you escape your home, without ever actually leaving your home—reading books. Whether you’ve intentionally distanced yourself from reading since a bad experience in high school English, or you’re an avid reader looking for something new, here are a few books we would like to recommend to you so you can continue to be filled with good.
"The Wingfeather Saga" by Andrew Peterson
It doesn’t get any better than these books, especially if you’re a parent looking for something to read with your kids. The main characters include three children ripped out of their comfortable lives and thrown into the center of an epic quest to restore justice, order, and beauty to their world. It’s a fantastical story filled with noble characters, harsh realities, and ultimately a hope that cannot be extinguished. Technically, these are kids’ books, but honestly, they can be enjoyed no matter your age. To make things even better, the first two were just republished as beautiful hardbacks and Andrew Peterson himself began livestream reading the first book on March 20.
"The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom
Similar to the characters of “The Wingfeather Saga,” Corrie ten Boom and her family were living quiet, faithful lives. That was until WWII changed everything. As the world turned upside down and people began turning on one another, Corrie saw people in need and felt convicted by her faith to do something. In this book, she shares how that conviction lead her and her family to take action, in big and small ways, in the midst of suffering and uncertainty. Without giving too much away, this is a true story of remarkable courage and trusting God no matter what. There is much to encourage and challenge us in reading about the lives of the faithful Christians, like Corrie, who have come before us.
"Delighting in the Trinity" by Michael Reeves
With a little bit of extra time on your hands, you might be looking for something you can read slowly—something to savor and ponder. If so, “Delighting in the Trinity” by Michael Reeves is perfect because, even though this book is short, if you truly take time to consider what is being said, it can last a few weeks. After all, it’s about the Trinity, so there’s a lot to think about. But don’t let the topic intimidate you! Yes, it’s a theological exploration of the Trinity, but Reeves’ writing and thought processes are accessible. This book leads to worship, not confusion. Take your time and allow yourself to find joy in the doctrine of the Trinity.
"Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11" by Mitchell Zuckoff
This one’s a heavy read, and it’s already a heavy time, so it may feel like an unhelpful recommendation. But it is helpful to remember the world has faced uncertainty before and made it through. By looking back at times like 9/11, we see courage, compassion, and steadfastness are possible even when we don’t know what’s going on. Mitchell Zuckoff narrows his focus and writes solely about what happened on the day of 9/11 itself. He leaves the before and after to other books. This limit allows him to explore the intricacies of those 24 hours in a truly remarkable way. The research for this book is exhaustive, but thanks to the narrative style, it’s never dry and never loses sight of the individual. Like “Delighting in the Trinity,” this one could take you a while, which is to its advantage at a time like this.
Your "To-Be-Read" Pile
Odds are, somewhere in your house, you have a tower of books you’ve always planned on reading. For too long, you’ve avoided making eye contact with it, knowing you’ll only feel shame if you do. Well, if you’ve been waiting for the perfect moment to put a dent in that stack, now may be as good as it gets. Be careful not to see this as a chore though. Don’t read out of guilt or to feel like you got something done. Read the books you want to read!
Access to books is more convenient now than ever. And more than that, you can put good back into the world by getting your books through wise, social distancing means. Here are a few recommendations:
- Buy local: Bookstores such as Novel and Burke’s Books provide curbside pick-up and could really use your support right now.
- Use the local library: If you already have a library card, don’t forget that you can rent e-books and audiobooks online.
- Free e-books: Project Gutenberg is a website that provides tens of thousands of e-books completely free of charge. These are older books whose copyrights have run out, making their content free to the public.
Publishing companies: Places like Crossway and the Westminster Bookstore recognize some people have more time to read, so they’ve started providing free resources you can download and offering discounts on e-books. Keep an eye out for more deals like these.
* Bellevue does not receive any financial gain through the purchase of these books. This recommended list is simply provided for your convenience.