Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Great Books in 2005

So let's keep the two way dialogue going here. How about sharing some of the best books you read in 2005? They don't necessarily have to be Christian books, as I'm interested in other stuff you're all reading too.

I've shared some of the stuff I've read this year along the way, but I'll share a favorite or two after I hear from some of you.


Josh Mock said...

It's All Downhill From Here by Andrew Schwab, vocalist from the band Project 86, was a good read. Both amusing and insightful about the life of a touring Christian musician.

I also read Blue Like Jazz near the end of the year. Don Miller is a bit more on the liberal end of Christian writer spectrum, but he still made a number of impactful points.

As for fiction, I read a couple of the Harry Potter books, as well as The DaVinci Code.

Brian Wong said...

You're just asking the nerd in me to come out, aren't you? Technically, I didn't do a lot of pleasure reading in 2005. In fact, I haven't really done it since I was in high school. That means that most of the reading I did in the last year was academic, and even when it wasn't for academic purposes, my reading was mostly related to academia. Anyway, here's what I read:

The Deadline: A novel about project managment it was required reading for a class, but it really was pretty interesting stuff.
Security for Microsoft Visual Basic.NET geek fodder for sure.
Introducing Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 ditto above. Enough of that, though.
The DaVinci Code mostly because I wanted to know what everyone was raving about. I thought it was an OK piece of literature. Dan Brown never gives his readers a chance to breath. Page turner for sure, but I could have used a break every now and then.
Watership Down I had an internship this summer, so I did have a chance for some down time. This book harkens back to the summer before my HS freshman year. Good book about rabbits.

Suzette Lyons said...

I have read a lot of books with my children. Matt’s favorite is “Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot” (there are nine of them). I find them a bit painful, but Matt is really motivated to learn to read them and they have improved his vocabulary. I started the “Macarthur One Year Bible” at the beginning of 2005 and made it to September 24 by the end of the year. It may be May of 2006 before I finish. The most surprising book I read was Debbi Pearl’s “Made to be His Help Meet”. How could someone who doesn’t even know me look into my heart and see so many unpleasant things that I did not know were there? My favorite fiction has been the Lamplighter Series. I have read the six books of collection one and I have started on the second set of five books. It is interesting to get a glimpse into the lives of people in the 17th, 18th and 19th century and see what they were reading then. It is really refreshing to read Christian themed fiction devoid of romance or violence. I have liked all of the books so far, although some have touched me more than others. “Nobody Loves Me” gave me an eerily familiar feeling. It made me thankful that I did not have to wait until my old age to know God’s love for me. “The Basket of Flowers” was a sweet father daughter story. My favorite quote from it is:

”But there is yet another lesson to be learned from the rose: after its beautiful colors have faded, it still retains its fragrance; when its leaves are brown and withered, they are even sweeter than in their fresh and lovely youth. Thus it is, dear Mary, with a true Christian. Thus let it be with you.”

“A Peep Behind the Scenes” and “Jessica’s First Prayer” are awesome read aloud books for children. If anyone wants to borrow any of them let me know. I am willing to share.

Brianna Heldt said...

A few great books I've read this year are:

"Too Small to Ignore: Why Children Are the Next Big Thing", by Wes Stafford, (CEO of Compassion Int'l)--AWESOME, the best book I've read in a really long time

"The Good News About Injustice", by Gary Haugen, head of International Justice Mission, also a GREAT book, really opens your eyes to what God thinks about injustice in our world and motivates you to try to do something about it

"Safely Home", a novel by Randy Alcorn about the persecuted church in China. Also very eye opening.

I've read some other things (as of late mostly adoption or Ethiopia related!) but these three really stood out.

Christal Alderton said...

I second the Safely Home recomendation. It is probably one of my favorite books of all time! You should check it out!

jeff martin said...

Cycling and surfing rags for me. Sorry to blow my intellectual cover. I've been reading Dr. Seuss for too long. Tim - if you're reading books, and several for that matter, you're my hero... Cyclesport, Velonews, and Surfer is the extent of my 20 minutes of literary study per day. Looking forward to some suggestions in this blog and your secret reads that you are holding out on.

When I did actually slam some books, everything from Ambrose was great and other great tales of history. No novels - woops unless it was Clancy.

Brian Wong said...

I can't specifically remember if I read Safely Home this year or not. In any case, as Christal and Brianna mentioned, it's a great book. Randy Alcorn does a great job of lending imagery to Heaven and Hell in that book.

Even though I know I didn't read them this year, Randy's other books Lord Foulgrin's Letters and its sequel The Ishbane Conspiracy also paint great pictures of that which go unseen.

Suzette Lyons said...

I read "Safely Home" last February. I was really shocked at the suffering of our christian brothers and sisters in China. I have the Ishbane Conspiracy, but "Safely Home" was so heart wrentching that I was afraid to start another Randy Alcorn book.

Rob Gunn said...

I re-read "The Hiding Place" this year-an incredible story that really helped me with perspective on grief and suffering after the death of both of my parents. Also read "Out of the Shadowlands", the story of C.S. Lewis and his marriage to Joy Davidman. Am currently reading Lewis's "A Grief Observed", which is his journaling on his experience with his wife's death. All have been really encouraging and thought provoking.

Rob Gunn

Lisa Lewis said...

This past year has been a reading year for me; like Brian W. mentioned, for too long I have been single minded in my reading choices. This year I branched out to include some re-reads as well as new ones. My favorites have been: The
Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis; especially the last scene in the Last Battle. The combination of Randy Alcorn's take on Heaven and Lewis' has given me such a joy in my walk!

A Thomas Jefferson Education, by Oliver De Mille--this encourages us to mentor our children through the classics that we ourselves may not have read. Great encouragement in reading aloud and discussion following great books.

Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What, Donald Miller. I missed hearing him speak at Poly but was so struck by his candor and out of the box of evangelical Christianity. Loved them both and they have been terrific tools in God's hands in my life.

When the Soul Listens, by Jan Johnson. She spoke at our women's conference and I really enjoyed her book, Enjoying the Presence of God, so I read this one as well. She leads the reader out to deeper water with God. Excellent Book.

Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge--this is a fabulous book; they give such a beautiful expression to Scripture and the wooing of our loving God... I highly recommend this book. It is written as a companion of sorts to Wild at Heart, but every man who has committed his heart to one woman should read this too!

Kevin Heldt said...

"Too Small to Ignore: Why Children Are the Next Big Thing" by Wess Stafford -- I'm not the type to throw this cliche around, but here it is: every Christian ought to read this book.

"The Good News about Injustice" by Gary Haugen -- Brianna already covered this one too.

"The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom -- This was my first time, and I can't help but feel dumb for taking 25 years to read it! What an incredible book! Go Corrie!

"Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson -- A total random selection that I believe I heard about from a Chuck Colson Breakpoint. I got Brianna to start it and she really disliked it but man, I found it SO interesting. It's the fictional memoirs of an old, ailing pastor to his son. Certainly no action scenes or explosions, but I just found the book's meandering style and the character's thoughts (and wit) really interesting. I've certainly never read a book like it before.

"The Problem of Life with God" by Tommy Nelson -- I'm pretty sure I'm cheating and that I read this one in 2004 but it was fantastic and there aren't that many non-fiction books I say that about. It's essentially a study of Ecclesiastes and he does a tremendous job of explaining the principles that Solomon learned and wrote down. It made me think A LOT. Which reminds me I need to read that one again...

Okay, I've bored you all long enough but I haven't posted in a long time so I figured you could handle it. :)

Dave McShea said...

I read quite a variety last year. Some I had to some I wanted to.

My favorite non-fiction for the year was I Am Not, But I Know I AM, by Louie Giglio. It is a great book that puts God in a place of honor and worship, and me in the proper perspective to Him.

I also enjoyed going back and re-reading Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper. GREAT BOOK!!!!

In fiction I read 2 Ted Dekker books Obcessed and Showdown. Both we very bizarre but had interesting spiritual illustrations in them. I also read Monster by Frank Peretti. Not his best but a good read.

Jim Jeffrey said...

I'm a non-fiction guy, and love history and biographies.
"The Mold in Dr. Florey's Coat" was a fascinating book about the discovery of Penicillin. What struck me was the ingenuity of the scientists in extracting penicillin from the mold, and also their perserverance. HIghly recommended!
"The Greatest Game Ever Played" is a real "page turner" about (you won't believe this!) a golf tournament. It's the story about the first American to win the U.S. Open (Francis Ouimet) in 1913, but it's about much more than that. It is a wonderful description about a different America, before any of the major wars. It was made into a movie that was in the theaters last year.
"Hero for Humanity: William Wilberforce" - a great biography about one who is largely unknown today. He was the tireless British member of Parliament who battled for decades to abolish the British African slave trade, and also a godly Christian man. Inspiring!
"Questioning Evangelism" - a wonderful perspective on evangelism that emphasizes dialoging with questions instead of formulas. It was largely how Jesus engaged the people He came into contact with. Wonderful book!
"A Journey to Victorious Praying" -Next to O. Hallesby's book, "Prayer", the best book on prayer that I have ever read. Immensely practical, short chapters that can be used in your quiet time to great benefit. I challenge you to read the first three chapters without great spiritual benefit!

Jason W. said...

Fortunately/unfortunately this past year I discovered cheap used books on Pretty suprising how much you can read when you don't turn on the T.V.

Israel and the Nations: F.F. Bruce - The relationship between Israel and its neighbors that covers the time from the Exodus to the fall of the second temple. A good book for leisure or reference.

I Am Not, But I Know I AM, by Louie Giglio. Someone also mentioned this book. Quit simply, GOD IS BIG and i am small.

Reaching for the Invisible God, Phillip Yancey. Unlike most relationships, I have one with someone who is invisible, perfect, and doesn't talk audible with me. This book has certainly challenged and strengthed my faith.

The Case for Democracy, Natan Sharansky. A former soviet political prisoner and now an Israeli politician explains the difference between a free society and a fear society. The book also covers Middle East politics and the importance of moral clarity.

Krakatoa, The Day the World Exploded, 1883. Simon Winchester. How a simple volcanic eruption (rocks thrusted 120,000 feet in the air & eruptions heard 3000 miles away) indirectly/directly changes world history. Eruptions cause the Dutch to change trade routes, Pagans and Muslims see it as a sign from God to kick out the Christian infidels from the Indonesia.

The House of Saud, Said Arburish - what a tangled web wealth and power weave.

Pilgrims Progress; John Bunyan. I read past part 1 and began part 2 when I realized that I should stop and wait until I have children and share it with them. A classic.

Life Together, Bonhoeffer - I finished this book just in time for growth groups. The importance of fellowship can never be overstated. Through Christ we have entered into a true community and united for eternity. Yes, we are stuck with eachother for all time.

The Quest for the Red Prince; Eitan Haber. The Mossads hunt for the leader of Black September (Ali Salameh). An interesting read about one of the master minds of Munich (now a Spielberg movie), hijackings, terrorism, etc. through Europe and the Middle East.

The Death of Ivan Ilich, Leo Tolstoy. A short novel on dying. Yep…… real depressing.

In Search of the Lost Ark of the Covenant; Robert Cornuke. If you want to have a lively conversation with a fellow believer, just ask them who has the Ark and where they think it is. This author believes it's in Cush (Ethiopia) and has photos of temple vessels, artifacts, etc. but unfortunately none of the Ark.

Wild at Heart, John Eldridge. Men get on your horses and go rescue your princess. Someone suggested I read it, then I suggested my father-in-law read it, then he suggested his son read it, then he suggested his brother read it...It's almost like Amway, just get 6 people to read it, that's all it takes.

Donna Jeffrey said...

I think of 3 books that were significant: A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken, I tried reading this book back in the 70's and didn't care for it and then again last year and found it endearing and thought provoking. Helpful too in knowing how to relate with people that are experiencing pain and grief. Also it gave me new insights on loving my husband.
Growing Up Christian by Karl Grustein, a wonderfully written helpful,practical book for parents and kids themselves to be aware of their heritage and yet the familiarity of being in a Christian home. It helps you think through your faith and make it your own and not assume salvation because mom and dad are saved. I loved it since I didn't experience "growing up Christian". Fields of the Fatherless by C. Thomas Davis,a book of several true stories of beautiful yet needy children. Their stories have challenged and convicted me not to waste what God has blessed me with and to begin to make a difference.

denene said...

I enjoy reading both fiction and non-fiction.

My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult - It is incredible. My sisters and I read this and then discussed it at a family gathering. How far would you go to help your sick child? How far would you go knowing your other children are being left behind and left to their own?
The issues make one uncomfortable. I have recommended this to many people.

Happiness a Serious Problem, by Dennis Prager - He is extremely articulat. I had already put alot of the principles into my life. The most profound to me is that we have a moral obligation to be happy as a responsibility to our faith.

State of Fear, by ? I can't find the book now. Fiction with a huge bibliography to support evidence against global warming