Thursday, January 31, 2013

What I thought of what I read last year, part 2

In a previous post I briefly commented on the first 20 books I read in 2012.  Since I completed 40 books in 2012, this post will touch on the last 20 I read.

Joseph Conrad’s Victory is a great story of intrigue and adventure.  With bad guys even.

Our Triune God, I think, would be a helpful introduction to the Trinity to those who are new to this biblical teaching.  For me it seemed like more of a repeat of my theological education.  By Philip Ryken and Michael LeFebvre.

No Man Left Behind, by Patrick Morley, David Delk, and Brett Clemmer, is a how-to book for men’s ministry in churches.  Required reading for me, but, unexpectedly, not devoid of theological.

Michael Crichton’s Micro, the story of which was completed by Richard Preston after Crichton’s death, is shallow.  Characters are predictable.  But it does give one great appreciation for the marvels of God’s creation, particularly insects.  In this story, half a dozen college students are maliciously shrunk to a half inch in size and set loose in a jungle.  This would make quite a movie, and I would go see it.

Douglas Wilson has a wonderful way of looking at familiar things.  He also has a wonderful way with words.  The two are married in For a Glory and a Covering, a slim book with a wealth of wisdom on marriage.

I would love to improve my memory.  That’s why I read Joshua Foer’s Moonwalking with Einstein.  Foer, an average Joe turned U.S. Memory Champion, turned out a dynamic book, weaving together his own forays into memory training, the history of memorizing, and modern scientific discoveries about the way memory works and sometimes doesn’t work.  I have not implemented any of Foer’s techniques.

Thomas C. Oden’s theology of grace, The Transforming Power of Grace, broadened my understanding and appreciation for this great reality.

Yes, Jesus loves me.  How do I know?  The Bible (in 2012 it was the English Standard Version) tells me so.  The ESV is currently my favorite translation.

Each of the chapters of C. S. Lewis’s Reflections on the Psalms deals expertly with a theme found in psalms.  It was interesting to read this in connection with Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, for they both touch on some of the same topics and come to different conclusions.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird may be one of the best novels I’ve ever read.  One can’t help but appreciate the moral force of Atticus Finch packaged as it is in humility and kindness.

People’s natural tendency is not to love but to hate and dominate.  That’s powerfully illustrated in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

Who’s the real monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?  Not the creature at first.  It’s humanity.  The creature eventually comes to reflect his creator.

Andrew Murray’s Humility affected me years ago.  Reading it again underscored lessons first learned back then.

The Mauritius Command, book 4 in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series (a naval setting in the Napoleonic era), is delightful.

The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells, doesn’t get really good and interesting until well into the book.  But it’s worth the read, especially being the first of its kind in literature.  When seen as a criticism of the then-practiced colonialism of the British Empire, it’s even more powerful.

I read The Black Stallion (Walter Farley) because I had Anna read it.  And I had Anna read it because I so enjoyed it when I was her age.  This second read-through did not disappoint.  The story is engagingly told.

The Chestnut King completes N. D. Wilson’s 100 Cupboards trilogy.  The war with Nimiane escalates, and Henry, the odd, easily-overlooked boy from Henry, Kansas, comes through in a big way.  I read all three of these books to Anna, so they were each read over the period of a few months.  I think I would’ve enjoyed them more if I had read them more quickly.  Some details were easily forgot between readings.

I did not enjoy Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness near as much as Victory.  It was too subtle for me.  I appreciated it more after I read others’ interpretations of it.

J. B. Phillips’s translation of the New Testament is wonderful.  Prompts reflection on many familiar passages.

Frederick Buechner’s The Alphabet of Grace wanders around it’s point that even the routine of one’s day is full of grace.

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