In keeping with C.S. Lewis’s own reading rule, reading at least one old book for every three new ones, we offer you Cultivating’s favourite reads for this spring – some ‘old’, some brand new, and some fresh within the past couple of years. All of them are worthy of our time and fixed attention and offer us beauties and wisdom unique to them. Happy reading, friends!
“It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.”
~ C.S. Lewis
The Herb of Grace – Elizabeth Goudge
This is one of our most favourite books at Cultivating! The British Edition is known as The Herb of Grace and the America editions it is titled Pilgrims Inn. While the different titles might be a bit confusing, under either title the book is one of the best tales of restoration, wonder and healing we know. Matthew Clark gives a lovely look at it in his post – Heart of the Wood.
Grace Laced & Garden of Truth – Ruth Chou Simons
Grace Laced and Garden of Truth are two books beautiful from cover to cover – full of the lovely artwork of Ruth Chou Simons interweaving exquisite watercolour illustrations, Scripture, and seasonally framed devotions. I have given dozens of copies of Grace Laced to friends and team members this past year (as many of you know!) and I read Grace Laced as a part of my own devotional life, especially when I am worn out and spiritually dry. I come away every time renewed by the encounter with Scriptures I have loved for decades, painted fresh and given to me anew. Her second book, Garden of Truth, only released this April, is a smaller volume of 58 verses in her distinctive art that she uses to “preach to my own heart”, and is offered by Ruth to her readers for the same purpose. I marvel at the work Ruth does as an artist, wife, mother of six boys, and business woman. Her story is an inspiration and she is wonderful to follow along with on Instagram!
Roots and Sky – Christie Purifoy
All the accolades about this book are all true! From my perspective, there are not enough superlatives to give it. Roots and Sky falls into the category of “most beautiful books I’ve ever read”, and it is the one book I have read only one chapter at a time to make it last as long as possible. If you want to have a drink of pure literary beauty, especially as it pertains to homecoming, seasons, and the presence of God’s abiding goodness, this is it.
Rhythms of Rest – Shelly Miller
Rhythms of Rest is Shelly Miller’s beautiful and brave look at why we need to practice Sabbath in our oft activity consumed lives, and how we can do that. The Sabbath Society, her lovely blog site, and her weekly newsletter are all worthy of your attention. I have learned more from Shelly in the past two years about creating space for rest than I have ever known before and I’ve seen deep and real changes in my own rhythms as a result of following along with her.
Sounding the Seasons – Malcolm Guite
All Cultivating readers know that Malcolm Guite is a favourite here. His fabulous book of seventy sonnets for the Christian year – Sounding the Seasons – is the book I most frequently recommend to readers who want to know where to get started with his work. And because Cultivating itself is focused on seasonal practices of goodness, truth, and beauty, it is a perfect companion for this journey. Because it is structured around the cycle of the year, you can start at any point and begin “the song exactly where you are.”
A very lovely and unusual offering from Crossway and ESV this year is this new ESV Bible Journal. They remind me of the moleskine series in size, layout, and feel. Simple black covers and perfect cream coloured paper, these small Bible journals offer the opportunity to read one book of Scripture at a time and to make study notes in the same book. The design is exquisite. These can be purchased one by one or as the full set. I love mine!
Happy Spring reading, friends!
Lancia E. Smith is an author, photographer, teacher, and business owner. A grateful lover of the Triune God, Lancia is the Founder & Executive Director of Cultivating & The Cultivating Project. She has served in executive management, church leadership, boards, and Art & Faith organizations over 30 years. She & her husband Peter have parented 7 children, & have a flock of beloved grandchildren. Lancia loves garden and website design, beautiful typography, road trips, being read aloud to by Peter, & cherishes every book she ever read by C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and George MacDonald.