Book Girl!

Posted By on Feb 8, 2017 | 32 comments

So, do you remember back in the fall when I asked what you all would think about a book-on-books for women? A book to celebrate the kinds of stories that shape a woman’s soul, companion her life in all its dark and bright richness, a book to explore what it means for a woman to have a mind – and an imagination – of her own?

Well, the dream has grown itself into a radiant reality. I’ve just signed on with with the lovely folks at Tyndale House to write a book (tentatively) titled Book Girl.

This project comes to me like a gift, the exactly right progression from, well, a decade spent thinking about the wonders of reading and imagination, and then three crammed Oxford years studying theology and spiritual formation and what it means to become a creature ‘fully-alive’.

Because that’s what I want to write about, how books, how language, how story itself is meant as a gift to ‘stab our spirits broad awake’ and make us ‘thoroughly alive’ indeed (to quote two splendid authors – Stevenson & Eliot).

What I hope this book will be is not merely a guide to reading the right stories or having a literary education. Rather, what I want Book Girl to be is an exploration and celebration of the way in which we have the chance to become more fully alive to the world, to each-other, and to God by engaging with story in all its challenging beauty, and with words in all of their formative power. I want women who read this book to discover an ever-widening joy in the capacity of their imagination to show them truth, to feel their view of the world expanding with the words they encounter, to feel themselves companioned in struggle by the comrades of story, and to know themselves growing stronger in wisdom, word by word, as they face a difficult and confusing culture.

But Book Girl will also just be sheer celebration. It’s my chance to take you by the hand and introduce you to the wonders of the book world, to characters and worlds that help me daily to find the charm in the ordinary, the grit to endure, the hope to strike the music of friendship up again. I get to talk about Miss Prim, Aragorn, Dorothea, and Mr. Tryan. I get to introduce you to Hannah Coulter, my quiet heroine friend, and Lila, the wise and earthy and mysterious wife of an old country minister. I get to revel with you in poetry, in passages that gleam with the promise of eternal things, in chapters that sparkle with wit.

A book on books is a little like the ‘the wood between the worlds’ in the Narnia tales, with each pool opening onto a new world, a different adventure, a new self.  And oh friends. I am so very excited to share this adventure. I cannot wait to write this thing.

I’ll be working on it as soon as I finish my degree (this June), and hope to see it published sometime in 2018.

In the meantime, as I move toward a new phase of creativity again after a glorious period of study, I’ll be updating things around here, changing some design, theming things toward this new project. I’m thinking about several possibilities: a series of podcasts or webinars on reading (which would mostly be me delightedly telling you about my favourite stories and why they’re my favourite – I may even read aloud), imagination, theology, etc. I’ll be culling quotes and I’m always on the hunt for new favourite tales (so send me any beloved books I should know).

For now, I just had to share the good news and excitement, with you, my Book Girl world. Have a lovely day. (And go read something good. And tell me about it if you do.)



  1. Love, love, love this!!

  2. Hooray for this new project! I am already looking forward to reading Book Girl and following its birth here on your blog.

    On a side note, I’m so happy that you plan to introduce your readers to Hannah Coulter! Although she is a fictional character, she truly feels like a dear friend and inspiration. Her steadfast faith and deep goodness must be shared, though her humble spirit prevents her from drawing such attention to herself.

    Cheering you on in this new endeavor!

  3. I can’t wait for this book! I have only just discovered Own Your Life and The Life-giving Home. I just keep reading them over and over and love them both so much. I’ve been reading your blog for a little while, but these books take everything to a further dimension.

  4. Congratulations, Sarah! Looking forward to seeing this project grow and flourish!

  5. WAHOO!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 Sounds perfectly LOVELY. Podcasts by you?…um…YES, PLEASE!!!!!!!

  6. Oh, how wonderful! Can’t wait!

  7. I am the biggest “books about books” geek around – love them!…..just ask my husband and kids! Can’t wait for this, your next wonderful project. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  8. I love this. I can’t wait to read it!

  9. I’m finishing up a new book Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson. I would highly recommend it. It deals with England right before the start of WW1. It’s a gentle romance. Her first book Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is also a good read.

  10. This new project is so exciting! I resonated with the idea of a book on books for women when you first mentioned it here. Considering how much I love Caught Up in a Story, this new book will be a perfect companion.

  11. Oh yes;) Can’t wait! And please, PODCASTS!!!

  12. This is an incredible idea!! Keeping you in my prayers as you do the work that will bless so many!

  13. This sounds like a wonderful book! Can’t wait to share it with my girls!

    (We’ll all need out own copies!)

  14. So very excited for this!!

  15. I LOVE this! So excited for you, and for us too…since we will get to read your amazing work!

    Many, many blessings on this new endeavor!


    P.S.- Have you heard of or read the “Mitford Years” series by Jan Karon? It’s a beloved favorite around here, and I’m currently reading it for the first time.

  16. A hundred loves! I can’t wait!!

  17. Hooray! Congratulations; I can’t wait to read your new book! And when you wrote “podcast,” I got even more excited–your episode on Sarah McKenzie’s podcast remains my very favorite. I’d love it if you started your own podcast!

  18. I am so excited for you, Sarah! This book will be wonderful and I can’t wait to read it!

  19. Wonderful news – so happy for you!

    I just finished Oliver Twist – have you read it? It was my first Dickens and, oh, just oh my. Wrenching, beautiful, redemptive.

    God bless you!

  20. So excited!! I’m really looking forward to reading this book next year and seeing what you do to your wonderful website! Thank you!!

  21. What a blessing that the Lord has opened this door for you to walk through to share your passion for literature. I’ve been a lifelong reader and I’ve raised three readers as well. It was your mother and you that introduced me to Elizabeth Goudge. Green Dolphin Street is now in my top twenty.

    Just finished Middlemarch by Eliot for a book club I host, and while it had a slow start, I’m delighted I endured.

    May the words flow freely when your writing begins.

  22. How exciting! Thank you for sharing the good news. I’ll await your book with glee!

  23. I am very excited to view your new project. Love the illustrations in your recent post.
    -Lori Kay

  24. Wonderful news and if you ever did a podcast I KNOW it would be AMAZING!

  25. I’m looking forward to your new book! As for fresh reads, have you discovered the recently “discovered” Lilias Trotter, one of the nineteenth century’s most promising woman – artists turned evangelist for God in a desert land? The biography, documentary and her achingly beautiful journal meditations with her own watercolours are all now available. ..

  26. I can’t wait to read this, Sarah! My favorite heroines have shaped me in a way that has surprised and delighted me as an adult. I love your idea and think you are the perfect person to write this!

  27. I can’t wait to read your new book! In the meantime, I’ll look forward to your additions to to this site. I second Doreen’s book recommendation – “A passion for the Impossible. The Life of Lilias Trotter”. It is a lovely book and Lilias was such an inspiring woman. Also beautiful are her journal meditations with her own watercolors.

  28. How exciting for us!! I can’t wait to read the book…and I also say yes to podcasts!! Every time I read one of your book recommendations I wish that we were friends in real life so that we could discuss them together. Miss Prim for instance, I devoured it, I was underlining it (is that just weird?) and then it suddenly ended and I wasn’t sure what to make of it after all. Hearing your thoughts about your reads would be so much fun.

  29. Another vote for a podcast!!!!

  30. How about Harriet Arnow’s “The Dollmaker”? It is one of those books that I had to put down and take back up when I was ready.

  31. CANNOT wait! Such an awesome thing to look forward to! Have you read ‘Island of the World’ by Michael O’Brien? It is an intense read. I am bit embarassed to admith that I never truly understood that almost the entire world was at war with someone during WWII. Sunshine

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