Friday, January 12, 2018

Highlights of my Reading Challenge for 2017

In my last post, I talked about my endeavor to read 52 books in one year. So I thought I'd share some of the highlights of the year with some thumbs-up and thumbs-down. These are not necessarily in order of preference but some highlights of my year in reading. 

  • The Boys in the Boat. This true story is an inspiring account of a boy who overcomes the odds to be a part of the Olympic Team around the time of Hitler and WW2. Without giving too much away, it's a classic where the good guys win. Made me want to go row a boat, although I confess I haven't done it yet in the last year.
  • Right Color, Wrong Culture. Written toward the pastor or board who seeks change in their church or organization in regards to racial reconciliation and understanding, this book was a great read. Bryan writes this as a parable so it's an easy and entertaining read, although it filled me with angst at times. Highly recommended for church staff or anyone who wants to grow in their understanding of the dynamics behind racial prejudice.
  • Washed and Waiting by Wesley Hill. Wesley identifies himself as a celibate Christian who struggles with homosexuality. This book will help you understand those who struggle and offers hope for the church without compromising Scripture. 
  • The Undoing of Death by Fleming Rutledge. This book is actually a collection of sermons about Passion Week. Fleming's prose is beautiful and it doesn't feel like you're reading a sermon. I read this during Lent and found it stirred my affections for Jesus and the Father. 
  • The Autobiography of George Mueller. This is a cumbersome read, written more like a daily diary. But the accounts of God's faithfulness to a man who had a dream to care for thousands of orphans will increase your faith and help you to pray for impossible things. 
  • The Power of Habit. I didn't want to like this book. I read it because the Reading Challenge asked me to read a self-help book. But I loved it. Duhigg shows how habits form and how we break them. I'd recommend this book for any counselor, mentor, or even disciple who wants to understand habits. Important implications for discipleship habits. Here's a quote: "A habit has three components," he says, "the cue which is the trigger for the behavior, the routine, which is the actual behavior and the reward which is how the brain remembers it." 
  • 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness. Moderate to easy read with short bios and highlights of seven men. I also read the massive biography of Washington: A Life  this year and found Metaxes' shorter bio on Washington excellent. I recommend this book for any young men who need to be reminded of the cost of greatness and what it truly is.
  • The Kite Runner. Yeah, I just now read this. It's been hailed for years but I'm slow to jump on a book that everyone raves about. WARNING: It's graphic and not appropriate for some. I wouldn't recommend it without some caveats. But having been to lands not far from where this story takes place, I think it reflects the reality of terrorism and the caste system. In the end, love and forgiveness triumph.  
  • Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town. I wanted to read a book pub. in 2017 since I was challenged to. And I wanted to feel the angst of a small town affected by the shrinking manufacturing sector in America. The book does show you the heartbreaking impact of greed and owners that don't care about their workers or the town they call home, but it's so poorly written. The flow is awful and the overuse of cursing to make a point is needless. This story needs to be told but we need better journalism. 
  • A Walk in the Woods. I love hiking and I love the woods. And this book had rave reviews. But I didn't get it. I sped read through some of it and Bryson's arrogance and low view of personhood are appalling. He also writes like a journalist exposing hypocrisy and greed but fails to back up his research by claiming it's just his account of a hiking trip. Skip it. 

No comments: