Trinity College Library, Dublin
“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”
I can relate to this quote by the Reformation-era scholar, Desiderius Erasmus. Reading endures as one of the pleasures of my life. I enjoy the feel of a book, or a Kindle, in my hand. Reading is also one of my favorite developmental activities. I read a lot for work and for fun, which you can surmise from the list of books I spent time in this year.
The first books listed are the ones I enjoyed the most and for whatever reason stuck with me after I read them. Many of the others that follow are very good as well. A few are not so good, but there’s a dog in every bunch, right? The books (and authors) are listed in the order I read them, not necessarily in order of priority.
Favorite books of 2017
The Zookeeper’s Wife – Diane Ackerman. The book is better than the movie which I also enjoyed very much.
Paul – Charles Swindoll. One of a series of books by Charles Swindoll exploring great lives of people in the Scriptures. This is an exceptionally good book on the life of Paul. Reads like a novel and may change your life.
The Shack – William Young. While I may not agree with all that is portrayed here, I appreciated the author stretching my limited view of God.
Preaching – Timothy Keller. Communication is so important in ministry. Few communicate better than Timothy Keller and this book shares his wisdom on that topic.
The Day of Battle – Rick Atkinson. Book two of a trilogy on the United States’ involvement in the European theatre in World War II. If you are a history junkie, you’ll love these books. Book three is coming off my shelf for 2018.
For the Glory – Duncan Hamilton. This book is a must read for fans of missionary biographies, Olympians, godly men, WWII buffs and heroes.
American Caesar – Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 – William Manchester. A fascinating look at the story of a larger-than-life leader of the US military, both before, during and after WWII. Are you noticing a theme in my reading? I had a war thing going on last spring.
Team of Teams – Stanley McChrystal. Now to modern warfare. Actually, this is a business/teamwork book based on McChrystal’s experiences fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. I was surprised by how much more I liked this book than I thought I would. If you work in a large and complex organization (like I do in Cru) and you want to help bring positive change in some manner, you’ll find this book helpful.
You Are What You Love – James K.A. Smith. The title is clear, compelling and convicting. Smith’s insight will help you think more deeply about what you choose to love in light of your faith and the world around you.
The Holy Bible (New International Version). I set out to read the Bible cover-to-cover every year. This year was #24. I’ve read over a dozen different English translations and I find that I prefer the NIV. To me, it just reads the best.
News of the World – Paulette Jiles. An excellent Western novel with a good guy who does the right things. Sometimes I need to read about guys like that.
The Listening Life – Adam McHugh. On learning to listen well to God and to others in a world that values chatter.
See What I Have Done – Sara Schmidt. There’s an old song that goes, “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done she gave her father forty-one.” Now that you know the topic, how could you not read the book? Entertaining, creepy and I’m sure a movie in the near future.
Words On Target – Sue Nichols. An older book, published in 1963. I desire to grow as a communicator and a writer. This is a valuable book on both. Along with Keller’s book Preaching listed above, Words on Target bookended my year as I seek to get better.
The others with a few scattered notes
Advent and Christmas Wisdom from GK Chesterton – Satterlee & Moore
The Sympathizer – Nguyen
Remote – Fried & Hannson
Rogue Lawyer – Grisham
The Vatican Pimpernel – Fleming
Chocolat – Harris
Strong and Weak – Crouch
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford – Hansen. Jesse earned his punishment, but no one deserves to be shot in the back while hanging curtains.
The Man-Eaters of Tsavo – Patterson. Check out the movie The Ghost and the Darkness – it’s this book on film.
Fire From Heaven – Renault
Innovation Unplugged – Harkin
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea – Demick. Hard to believe how people are forced to live in North Korea.
The Unlikely Spy – Silva. One of a series of books about an Israeli art-restorer who moonlights as an assassin. A strong combo to keep you reading late into the night.
Divine Dance – Rohr
The Virginian – Wister
Freakonomics – Levitt
The Given Day – Lehane
The Art of Pilgrimage – Cousineau
Adrift – Griffiths. A book about zombies on a cruise ship. Fascinating, but they have nothing on Lizzie Borden.
Adrift 2: Sundown – Griffiths
Adrift 3: Rising – Griffiths
Anything You Want – Sivers
The War of Art – Pressfield
AD 30 – Dekker
The Girl with a Pearl Earring – Chevalier
So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Newport
Scrum – Sutherland
Moscow Rules – Silva. Sometimes only an assassin can make things right.
Everything I Never Told You – Ng
Beneath a Scarlet Sky – Sullivan
Originals – Grant
The Mark of the Assassin – Silva. He certainly left a mark.
On Trails – Moor
The Alchemist – Coelho
The Pilgrimage – Coelho
The Defector – Silva. Embarrassing, but another assassin book. I’m saving the rest for 2018.
The Undertaking – Lynch
Gone Tomorrow – Child
The Illusion of Separateness – Van Booy
October 31, 1517 – Marty. On the influence of the Reformation to this day.
Jaws – Peter Benchley. This is the bestseller that spawned the movie. In this case I think that the movie is better that the book, but maybe it’s just that I remember a nervous feeling when jumping into a lake in Missouri after seeing Jaws for the first time. Who really knows what’s down there?
Collective Genius – Hill, Brandeau, Truelove, Lineback
Walden – Thoreau
Building a Story Brand – Miller
Never So Few – Chamales. A long novel on warfare in Burma during WWII. Quite good and somewhat forgotten.
Flow – Csikszentmihalyi. This is a famous book, often quoted, on work habits and styles that lead to ultimate production. While I liked much of his thought, it became apparent that the author’s prescription for helping solve the issues of our world are shallow and secular. I should have stopped half-way though.
Kingfish: The Reign of Huey P. Long – White. Donald Trump before Donald Trump. Long, from Louisiana, once said that poor people’s three best friends were Sears & Roebuck, Jesus Christ and Governor Huey Long. Sound familiar?
The Hardest Ride – Rottman
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy – Piper
May 2018 bring you much happy reading and and in the spirit of Erasmus, plenty of Amazon gift cards to buy books!