What's on my bookshelves

Jen Bradbury
Nov 14 · 5 min read

One of the greatest gifts my Mom gave me is a love of reading. I grew up in a house that was loaded with books and I loved reading, even as a small child. 

Today, my house is the same way. We have books everywhere: Three dedicated shelves as well as boxes of unpacked books in the basement (including all my childhood favorites that I can't bear to part with, among them an entire set of hardcover Nancy Drew books). Beyond that, there are stacks of books on every conceivable surface and when you open a drawer, you're more than likely to find at least one book. 

As a voracious reader, one of my favorite things about the blogging world is that it has exposed me to new authors who I might not otherwise have discovered. To this end, when Anne announced her "What’s on YOUR bookshelf?" project, I was ridiculously excited. 

Without further ado, here are my bookshelves.

Fiction Bookshelf

The first bookshelf lives in our guest bedroom and contains an assortment of travel & fiction books. These days, I rarely buy fiction books (unless they're from a used book sale). Otherwise, I just go to my local library, which is fantastic. The fiction books I own are ones I reread, visiting every few years because they are, in so many ways, dear friends. The third shelf down contains two of my all-time favorites: The Help and Exodus. 

Office Bookshelf

These bookshelves live in my office. They contain books related to my work in youth ministry. The left side contains Christian books of all kind - memoir, commentary, character studies, and more. The right side contains books more specific to ministry, including books on worship and prayer experiences, missions, and youth ministry. Both sides contain books I refer to again and again as I prepare various lessons for the kids who I'm privileged to serve. Since I refer to these books again and again, they're heavily marked - highlighted (sometimes even in various colors from different readings of them), underlined, and even written in. 

Teaching Books

The right side of my shelf also contain a stack which I'm actively using for something. For example, books currently found in this stack include 

- Pastrix: I'm currently reading and discussing this with the girl I mentor.    

- Cross Cultural Connections: This book is required reading for the missions team to Rwanda I'm leading in 2014. 

- Help! My Kids Are Hurting: I'm currently using this book as the basis for training I'm doing with my student leadership team. 

- Daring Greatly: I require my leadership team to blog their responses to a weekly prompt. I'm currently deriving my prompts from this book, which is as fantastic as you've probably heard it is. 

- Gospel Medicine: In Sunday School, our junior high students are doing a year-long series called One Story. In this series, we're journeying through the Bible, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation, with the goal being to help students understand how all of Scripture is connected; How Scripture tells One Story. I have a number of fantastic books - including this one - that serve as the inspiration for the lessons I write on a weekly basis. 

- Real Sex: I haven't actually read this one yet but it's in this stack because I'll read it in preparation for our high school ministry's winter retreat this year, the focus of which is sex. I'm a big fan of Lauren Winner, who's books Girl Meets God and Still I completely devoured. I've heard such great things about this book that I can't wait to read it. 

- What Can We Do: I shamelessly stole the name of this book for the title of the series I'm currently doing with my high school students in Sunday School. This book explores several issues confronting our world today as well as what we can do about them. In addition to appreciating this book myself, I've enjoyed putting it into the hands of several of my student leaders to equip them to lead conversations about poverty, homelessness, and the environment. 

- The rest of the books on this shelf are all ones I would classify as "apologetics" books - books that investigate some of the basic questions of faith that I've used repeatedly this fall in preparing or the Wednesday night series I've been doing with our high school students. Though all of them are good, I must say Adventures in Missing the Point  is perhaps the book that has most influenced my faith. It's a point / counterpoint approach to various issues facing the church that I read once immediately after college and once about five years later in the context of our small group, where it messed with people's faith in the best possible way. The Reason for God contains the single best chapter I've read on faith and science, anywhere. 

That's a glimpse of what's on my bookshelves. What's on yours?