Letter from Liz and Incarnation readers: July 20, 2021

What are your fav reads (or movies) at the moment? Here’s a list of some of the books Incarnation people are reading!

Part of my messy bookshelves...

West With the Night by Beryl Markham

This is the greatest book ever written in the history of books. Ok, that’s just my opinion, not an actual fact, but if you love any of the following things, you’ll love this book: perfect writing, 1920’s East Africa, lions, horses, Safari, early airplanes, adventure, humor, female empowerment, or all of the above. One more plug for this exquisite memoir: Hemingway once said about Markham, “She can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers.” Beth


Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell

I LOVED this book but I am now completely confused as to who to believe about anything! Honestly, it was so enlightening? Painful? Curiosity-stirring? How quick we are to ‘trust our gut’ - slightly alarming at how inaccurate our guts turn out to be. How good do you think you are at reading people? Can you tell when someone is lying? I was glad he finished (spoiler alert) by saying we DO need to trust people though! (Be aware there are a couple of VERY hard chapters when he talks about our inability to spot abusers). Liz


FAR more charming and fun and beach-y was this one

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

I haven’t enjoyed a book quite so much in ages - not quite laugh a minute, but definitely coming to love each character and be curious about them. The story is delightfully, plausibly ridiculous - Backman’s insights into their characters so revealing. No spoiler alerts as you just should read it. Liz


In the spirit of my sermon last week, these are my favorite books by Luci and Madeleine:

Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by Madeleine L’Engle

I’ve probably read this book five times over the past decade or so. She weaves together her reflections on scripture and creation with personal stories from her fascinating life as a student, mother, actor, and writer. You don’t need to be an artist to enjoy this book, but you may find yourself inspired to do something creative as a way of connecting more deeply with God. It’s short and quick, and most of the chapters are stand-alone essays, which makes it an easy book to read alongside something else. Amy


Polishing the Petoskey Stone: Selected Poems by Luci Shaw

I love Luci’s poetry, but this collection is a particular favorite. It takes its title from the Michigan state stone, which is pre-historic fossilized coral that’s fossilized and been made smooth in the waters of the Great Lakes. When they’re dry, they look like other rocks, but when wet or polished, you can see the intricate hexagonal pattern of the coral in the stone. I read this book after a particularly meaningful trip to Michigan with friends (including Liz!), where I found a few Petoskey stones of my own, and it always reminds me of walking a windy beach before a storm with a few intrepid friends. This is a great place to start reading poetry if you never have. Don’t dissect it, don’t try to squeeze meaning out of it, just read it straight through--aloud, if you don’t feel too silly--and simply enjoy the sound of the words and the images they evoke. Luci was also dear friends with Eugene Peterson, and edited the Psalms for his Message bible translation; if you’re familiar with those, then you might suspect she has an approachable, earthy style. Amy


Luca on Disney+

I watched this after reading Wes Hill’s book Spiritual Friendship (also recommend!), which enhanced my appreciation for this sweet, simple movie about an intense friendship between two boys/sea monsters. I loved the charm of its small-town coastal Italian setting, the beauty of the animation, and its portrayal of friendship as something which helps each friend become more themselves and more rooted in a loving community in which they can flourish. Amy


Watership Down by Richard Adams

I perused many classic book lists for homeschool this year, and the endorsements of this adventure novel intrigued me! It follows a group of migrants fleeing from their home and working out how to establish a new, safe, flourishing community. There’s mythology, bravery, sacrifice, ingenuity, friendship—and rabbits. These heroes are rabbits. Josie


Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

In keeping with my sentient animal novels from the 1970s theme (#wildwonder?!) this childhood favorite is up next in our read-aloud queue. Josie


All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

James Herriot’s charming stories about life as a country veterinarian in the 1930s usually hit the perfect combination of humorous and heartwarming. If/when I have trouble getting back to sleep, I listen to a chapter on audiobook (narrated by Christopher Timothy). Also, the recent TV adaption on PBS Masterpiece is fun for both kids and adults. Josie


​​Agent Sonya by Ben MacIntyre.

An astounding true account of a woman who spied for the Soviets - I’ll just say that she played a pivotal role in the Cold War. It’s gripping! Along similar lines, The Spy and the Traitor, also by Ben MacIntyre is another amazing true story of a KGB officer who spied for the British, seriously better than fiction! Anna


‘Can you hear me?’ Brad Jersak

Tom & I met him in the early 2000s when he came to our church in Wales. This book is dense! Chapter by chapter it takes you through the biblical foundations of listening prayer, and practical exercises to learn how to listen to God.Anna


Any of Alistair Petrie’s booklets.

Alistair is an ordained Anglican Scottish/Canadian friend of ours who has a ministry teaching on intercessory prayer and theology of the land - his books take you through the biblical foundations of God’s plan for transformation, alongside real stories of how he has seen this work out in practice. His website is https://www.partnershipministries.org/shop/


Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Historical fiction set during WWII, about a woman typist. I love Kate Atkinson’s story-telling - another favorite of hers is Life After Life. I have both of anyone wants to borrow! Anna


The Time in Between by Maria Dueñas.

Set in Morocco and Spain, it’s a beautiful, long, and eventful story of a woman who ends up spying for the British during the Spanish civil war, my favorite book of all time. (I just finished the sequel). Anna


What are you reading?

Send me a brief recommendation NOW by WhatsApp or email or text and I'll add it to this list!


In other news:

  • Do come to canopy chat on Wed, July 21 @7.30pm - let's talk more about spiritual friendship!

  • Hiking on Saturday? Riverbend to Great Falls. We will park at Riverbend (free admission and parking) 8700 Potomac Hills St Great Falls, VA 22066 and walk into Great Falls National Park. The hike is about 3.5 miles round trip. Here is a link to hike: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/virginia/riverbend-park-to-great-falls-overlook We will launch at 10 and plan on eating in Great Falls Village afterwards. This is an easy hike that is great for all skill levels. This is also a great walk for kids and dogs, so feel free to bring them along. AND if you want to join the hiking group so you never miss an update, follow this link!

  • Next Sunday is the last in our 'Imitate me' series: what have you learned? Where have you changed? Why not let us know!We'd love to hear from you...

So grateful to be your pastor,


Liz