1. Light from Heaven by Jan Karon
I have closure on the series after reading the first in the series in 1997. I have such fond memories of reading about snow storms in North Carolina while sweating in Malaysia. The series ended well. J
2. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (Book Babes for February)
I really loved the story and the writing. I was a bit disappointed with the ending though!
3. Marley and Me by John Grogan (Book Babes for March)
It had some delightful parts in it. I am not a big Labrador Retriever fan. If I had a dog, it would be a German Shepherd or a Shetland Sheepdog because I love calm, obedient dogs. (and they were the two kinds we had growing up, and they were fabulous dogs to own). This dog would have driven me insane, but I wouldn’t have even gotten him in the first place. All that said, I can see why they fell in love with this animal, and it was fun to read about their antics with him.
4. Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples Thom S. Rainer
Strategy books are just not my cup of tea, and this was all about strategies. I didn’t like it! God is so much more creative than strategies. ‘Nough said.
5. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards (Book Babes)
It brought up some interesting issues, but it is always hard for me when people can’t be honest with one another. I know it made for a good story, but it still frustrates me.
6. The One Year Chronological Bible
I have put my other reading on hold and have been enjoying reading throughout the day. I was in the Old Testament during spring break, but I had some extra time. So, I read it like a novel and got to the Triumphal Entry by Friday before Good Friday. I read along with the events of Holy Week. Then, once I got to the Resurrection, I couldn’t stop.
7. The Ladybird Bible Storybook
This is our third time through this great little Bible book. This is also our last time through a Bible “storybook” as we are all reading a regular Bible now. I will miss this, but we have new fish to fry in this department.
8. The Awesome Book of Bible Facts by Silverthorne
I know they are too old for this book, but we loved it the first time. So, we went through it again this year. So great!
9. If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by Ortberg
Not just your fluffy contemporary Christian book. I really liked this, and I enjoyed discussing it chapter-by-chapter with a group of women every week for ten weeks. I am not sure that I would have picked it up to read it had it not been for that reason.
10. The House of the Seven Gables by Hawthorne (Book Dames)
It was sort of a slow story, but I think his language is so beautiful. I liked The Scarlet Letter much more, but I still liked it. I gave it a 7 at our Book Dames Book Club
11. Christianity is Jewish by Edith Schaeffer
This is another one that I read slowly over the whole year. This is the book in which my friend, Beth, read in 1975 and created a seventeen lesson Bible study to go with it called “Bird’s-Eye View of the Bible.” It was so fun to do the study, read the chapter, discuss it in small groups, and listen to my friend (who has the gift of teaching) teach on the lesson. It is all about the “Scarlet Thread of Redemption” from Genesis to Revelation. I just finished the Revelation chapter today, and I am so hopeful and at peace. This is a very uplifting book in every way.
Next year, I will rework the Bird’s Eye View Study and adapted it for my kids to do during their homeschool Bible time. I don’t know what it will look like, but I hope I can make it fun and educational at the same time.
12. Dear Sister, Letters of Hope and Encouragement by Gisela Yohannan
I loved this book. She is a wise woman whose husband heads up Gospel for Asia, one of the largest indigenous church planting mission agencies. They plant churches all over India and in many countries in Asia. These are the letters she wrote to the women in her agency over a period of years. They are PACKED with spiritual encouragement. You can read some excerpts of some of the chapters on my non-photo blog.
13. The Externally Focused Church by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson
This is for churches who want to integrate good news and good deeds into the life of the church. It is a practical book with many examples of churches that have done just that! I have always contended that a church is for the maturing and building up of the Body of Christ but that maturity comes through reaching out as a Body to the community around us. So, the focus of this book is speaking to my heartbeat. Our Women’s Ministry Director wanted me to read this and give her feedback about it because she is considering using it for the Fall Women’s Group on Wednesday nights. I am SO there!
14. Crunchy Cons Rob Dreher
I think that I am a Crunchy Con! This is so where I am at (except I am don’t eat organic vegetables and fruits but we do have “green” beef!). I really loved his musings on all the subjects. By the time this is read by all of you (I am typing it on June 10, 2007), we will have already discussed it. So, I won’t go into detail here other than I plan on rereading parts and taking some notes. I think it is a profound book on many levels.
15. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
I finally was able to read this. So sad it caused such controversy here a few months ago. I am still mourning the loss of so many members, but I guess the problems were more deep-rooted than just that. Sigh, sigh, and double sigh. L
The book makes a strong point that we all need to learn how to be more positive and grateful. So, the book had some very nice things to say about that. The underlying premise of the book is that the “benevolence of the universe” is that in which we need to have faith, but I prefer to believe in Someone rather than something. So, I had difficulty with this. In addition, there were some statements of concern in the book. “You are God in a physical body. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are the creator.” (p. 164). Later she says, “I AM.” (p.168) “You are the ‘Supreme Mind.’” (p.169). Naturally, one could see why there has been alarm about this book because of those statements.
I plan on watching the DVD to see if these sorts of statements come out as strongly as they did in the book. I read it not only because of people here having discussed it, but also because my cousin (who just lost her mom and brother) had just seen the DVD, and I wanted to be able to dialogue intelligently with her about it. She has had such a terribly hard life. I want to find a bridge with her.
16. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
I just loved this book. There is so much about history, religion, culture, British domination. I loved it in every way! Now, I have to rewatch the movie!
17. Eat This Book: A conversation in the art of spiritual reading by Eugene H. Petersen
This covers the whole issue of reading the Scriptures for transformation. It talks about Lectio Divina (Reading, Meditation, Prayer, Contemplation), and it talks about how he came about to translate The Message. It is a fascinating read if you love words. :)
18. Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnards
I loved reading this about 25+ years ago and wanted to read it again. It is all about the journey isn’t it? This is a devotional classic. I found myself identifying with different points of the book this time around. Maybe I have grown after all!
19. 1776 by David McCullough
As I listened to David McCullough narrate the last few pages of his book, summarizing what happened in the year of 1776, I broke down sobbing on my bed as the full weight of the high cost, in terms of blood, of our independence came thundering down on me. George Washington (Fellow ESFJ personality type BTW) is my new hero and so is David McCullough. His books are national treasures and will be cherished for many years to come. Bravo! After my love of his book, John Adams, I knew this would also be a winner.
20. Paradox of Choice
This was more of a skim than anything. Being a strong “S,” it didn’t surprised me that I scored very low on his maximizer test (31). The points in the book seemed ultra-obvious to me and got somewhat redundant. Great points though and helpful for someone who is a strong “NP.”
21. Big Box Swindle
This is a well-researched book that is worth the read. It looks at the influence of the Big Box retailers like Wal-Mart, and how they are changing America. I have a whole new attitude about my town and have been downtown a ton lately and am loving the increased connection to my community and the wonderful goods and services that it has to offer. A valuable read.
22. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
What an absolutely exquisitely written book! I was so moved by it. It isn’t a happy read. It is about women and friendship in 19th century China. Would be excellent for a book club discussion!
23. Escape from Slavery by Francis Bok
This is a memoir of a Dinka from Southern Sudan who was kidnapped by Northern Arab militia and became a slave for ten years before he escaped and immigrated to America where he has become an outspoken advocate for the abolition of slavery throughout the world. Interesting to note that Clinton did very little to help the Sudanese slaves but Bush has done much more. It is a gripping, page-turner. I highly recommend it.
24. Union and Communion by J. Hudson Taylor
This is a gem of a little volume that someone had loaned to me quite some time ago and I finally was able to savor it during my silent retreat. It was PERFECT for such a setting too! It is looking at Song of Solomon and our relationship of communion with God, and it is delightful!
25. Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
This is on my top ten non-fiction books. I had forgotten how much of what makes me tick is from what I read in this book over twenty years ago! It is the wonderful story of Hudson Taylor, founder of the China Inland Mission (Now Overseas Missionary Fellowship). It is about a man who abided in Christ and let Him work through his life. Great book.
26. Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir
This is an autobiographical account of Malika Oufkir’s imprisonment after her father failed in a coup attempt against King Hassan II of Morocco. Her ghost writer did not do the best job, but I am impressed with this woman’s courage and fortitude. I had no idea that Morocco had so many political prisoners. Her father was one of the people who helped put many of them in prison, but this is more an account of her innocent imprisonment for the sin of her father. I wept many times during the book.
27. The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
This is about a woman who spent two nine months stints as a Benedictine oblate. It is a memoir or musings over that period; some interesting and insightful, especially toward the end of the book, but some was pretty rambling and uninteresting to me. I am not a “poet” so I didn’t really “get” what she was trying to say at times. Overall, it was a worthwhile book though.
28. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen
Wow! Very validating and clarifying for me. I could identify with much of this in my old church. I was going to write a book called The Healthy Church, but it looks like this one makes that unnecessary. J
29. The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas.
Some people might like this, but it is so hard reading books like this after something like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan or a good classic! This is about a small farming community during the Kansas dust bowl. I expressed some interest in reading some light-hearted fiction after some pretty intense autobiographies in July, and my girlfriend brought me this somewhat shallow and boring, yet painless read. I kept just wanting to get through it so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for a great novel. I have got to get better at turning people’s loans down! About every eighteen months, I end of having to catch up on all the books people loan me, and I don’t like that! L
30. William Wilberforce: Hero for Humanity
I think this might be my favorite book of the year. I can’t tell you how edifying it was for me to read about a genuine Christian in politics. It has a very readable style and is very engaging. Wilberforce was the man who led the fight in parliament to abolish the slave trade. It is riveting and a good companion to the movie Amazing Grace since he was the lead historian on the film.
31. How to be a Monastic and Not Leave Your Day Job
I liked the first part better than the second part. Overall, I gleaned an overall look at Benedictine life. Did you know that Sir Alec Guinness was a Benedictine oblate?
32. The Rule of Saint Benedict
After all the books I have read about the Rule, it was nice to read this simple 70 page book. It had some great things to say about commitment, obedience, accountability, etc.
33. A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical/poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished CHRISTIAN by Brian D. McLaren
I can’t even remember WHY I got this from the library. It wasn’t on my “summer reading list”! I think it must have been something someone said here. So, THANKS! I connected with most of what he had to say. Being that I am missional in the way he describes, I connected with his heart immediately. I had always understood him to be “out there,” but I didn’t find him to be that way. Maybe it is his provocative style, and when he talks about homosexuals, I am sure he gets people’s dander up. Being that two of my closest friends at the high school reunion are gay, it was interesting to read some of his thoughts on this concurrently with my reunion!
I am so not a systematic theology kind of gal (surprise,surprise) that it was refreshing to read his thoughts on this subject. He is also an excellent writer. It was interesting because when we were on vacation, we had lunch with my mom's former assistant pastor and his wife. I told him I was reading it, and he had a big smile. He REALLY likes Brian M., has met him, and had just given the book to his daughter who is a college sophomore at Westmont. He feels like McLaren gets a "bad wrap" from other Christians. I really think I understood what he was trying to say though, but I can see how he might be misunderstood too. Some of his diatribes are overly didactic at points though, and I could see right through to his passionate heart, but I can see why he turns people off too.
This sums it up for me:
". . .I suggested that Jesus didn't come to start another religion, which would include the Christian religion. I wasn't kidding. I do, in fact, believe that. That the Christian religion formed as it has is not surprising. It was no doubt necessary and in many ways good and I know God is in it, and I am in it, too. But "the Christian religion" is neither the ultimate goal of God, in my view. Rather, the goal of Jesus is the kingdom of God, which is the dream of God, the wish and hope and desire of God for creation - like a parent’s hopes and dreams for his beloved child."
I sat under the teaching of Steve Hawthorne (Perspectives on the World Christian Movement) when I went to Thailand (spent 4 1/2 months with a team of 17 people of which he was the head. He taught us every single morning. It was incredible.) It helped me to see things from this perspective.
Really liked this book.
34. Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
A surprisingly fun read! Who knew I would like Sherlock Holmes so much? I love how it clipped along, and it is so clever. It was a joy. I read it for Book Dames.
35. The Cross and the Switchblade
A true story about gangs in New York and the transformation God can make in the lives of those whom society has given up on! Great read.`
36. The Three Musketeers
I loved this. It was worth all 673 pages. The Pevear translation is the best. The older translations are based on the English sensibilities of the time and leave out some important things.
37. The Illiad by Homer
YEAH! I finally read it. (My son did too, and he feels like he should have bragging rights. LOL!) It is hard to read, but it helps to have the study guide and lectures by the teacher and the Teaching Company lectures that the teacher posts on her website. I have wanted to grasp this book for SO long, and I think I am finally doing that.
NOVEMBER – A great month of reading, and I had lots of time for it with my mom’s slide toward heaven!
38. Back When We Were Grown Ups by Anne Tyler (Book Babes)
This is an Anne Tyler from my book club. I didn’t like the other one I read (Breathing Lessons), but I loved this one. It is about a woman who wonders how her life would have been different had she not married the man she married.
39. The Last Sin-Eater by Francine Rivers (Book Babes)
Again, I didn’t care for the other book that I read by her (Leota’s Garden), but I really liked this one. It was a great story, and I learned some history in the process. It is about folk religion in the Appalachian Mountains.
40. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Book Dames)
It was interesting to reread this. I love the depth of relationship between the heroine and her love interest. I think this is a more serious novel than Pride and Prejudice, but I think I like P&P better which is different from the first time when I liked MP better! I am so looking forward to a faithful rendition of this book coming to the screen next year on PBS since the last rendition took much poetic license!
41. The Syringa Tree by Pam Gien (Book Babes)
After an Austen, it took me a while to get used to this writer’s style. It is told from the perspective of a white girl growing up in South Africa starting when she is five year old. It is a story of her love for her black maid and the baby that they must hide so the police don’t bring her back to Soweto. It is moving. It is a BIT overloaded with simile, but I still enjoyed it once I got into the “swing” of her style.
42. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time (Book Babes)
This is a true story about a man who failed to climb K2 in the Hindu Kush but has climbed new heights in building schools for the poorest in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is a very inspiring story. Loved it.
43. Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour (Book Babes – My recommendation)
This is a reread, and I remember why it is in my top 10 non-fiction books. It is a GEM of a read, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is the story of a Christian Palestinian during the time when the British pulled out of Palestine, and it became the nation of Israel. It is his true life story of what happened to him when it happened. It is a story about reconciliation. I love it!
In the middle of reading:
43 1/2. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Book Babes)
My review so far: This is on my Book Babes list. It is a novel by the author of The Kite Runner, and I think it is even BETTER. I started reading it on the elliptical at my club, and I couldn’t put it down. Thankfully a birthday lunch with a friend was canceled so that I could lounge on the couch ALL DAY and read it! I like this one more because the main character is a GIRL in Afghanistan. Poignant from the first page. Highly recommend it. (I planned on finishing it yesterday, but I got pulled away to go to a play with MBA: Anne of Green Gables