Monday, May 28, 2007

An Insatiable Reader

Last updated February, 2013

"To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries."

What I'm Currently Reading

Seven Words to Change Your Family, James McDonald
Made to Crave, Lisa TerKeurst
Jesus Lives, Sarah Young
Kisses from Katie (about a girl who moved to Uganda and adopted children there)

Recent Recommendations

A Sacred Sorrow, Michael Card (Reaching out to God in the lost language of lament)
Jesus Calling, Sarah Young (devotional) 
Crazy Love, Francis Chan (this is one of the most directly challenging books I've ever read)
Finding Calcutta: What Mother Teresa Taught Me about Meaningful Work and Service, Mary Poplin
Heaven is For Real,  Todd Burpo
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: what I learned while editing my  life, Donald Miller

Wonder, RJ Palacio
The Archived, Victoria Schwab
Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Reinventing Rachel, Alison Strobel
Beauty, Robin McKinley
Pegasus, Robin McKinley
The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley
Lady in Waiting, Susan Meissner
When Sparrows Fall, Meg Moseley
Fairer than Morning, Rosslyn Elliot
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
Blink, Ted Dekker
Holes, Louis Sachar 

So Long Insecurity, Beth Moore
Still Life, Mary Jensen
Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis
Perelandra, C.S. Lewis
A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis
Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis
The Weight of Glory and other essays, C.S. Lewis

I'm still pondering these two:
The Gospel According to Jesus, John MacArthur Jr
The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning

These two books are almost on opposite extremes of Christian thought on saving faith and grace. The difference is a matter of perspective - an author who is a Bible scholar and a "squeaky clean sinner", and an author who's hit bottom not once but several times but loves God all the more because of it. Notice that both titles have "Gospel" in them; but only one has "Jesus" in the title. One really delves into what Jesus taught; the other only touches on a few verses and majors on a lot of personal experience and quotes from other writers. Both books have flaws (only the Bible is perfect, after all!) and both books have some worthy insights. I love the compassion shared by Manning that MacArthur doesn't have. Sometimes it feels like that lack of compassion translates to lack of humility; MacArthur starts to sound as if his own words are infallible because he's studied Jesus' words so much. But the flaw of Manning's book is that it is more centered on human experience rather than centered on the whole teachings of the Bible.

Books I've blogged about
My Heart in His Hands (Ann Judson of Burma), Sharon James 
Open Season*, C.J. Box
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
Love and Respect, Emerson Eggerichs 
Time Traveler's Wife*, Audrey Niffeneger 
Believing God, Beth Moore
Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis 
A Mother's Heart, Jean Fleming 
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Grace*, Anne Lamott
The Sparrow*, Mary Doria Russell
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Joanna Weaver
Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, Donald Miller

* means the book has one or more of the following: swear words, violence or sexual content

My all time favorite books and authors
(I have read all of these more than once, some of them many, many times)
1. My Friend Flicka, Mary O'Hara
2. Thunderhead, Mary O'Hara
3. Green Grass of Wyoming, Mary O'Hara
4. Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
5. The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis
6. Meet the Austins, Madeleine L'Engle
7. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
8. Bambi, Felix Salten
9. The Earthsea series, Ursula K. LeGuin
10. The Black Stallion series, Walter Farley

My favorite Christian novels 
1. Voice in the Wind, Francine Rivers (love stories set in ancient cultures, Roman times is my favorite)
2. At Home in Mitford, Jan Karon (the whole series)
3. Stepping Heavenward, Elizabeth Prentiss (an old book, but timeless. Amazing insight into human character).
4. While Mortals Sleep, Jack Cavanaugh (about overcoming fear and trusting God during the Nazi regime; starts out slow, but it's well worth it for the noble and happy ending).
5. The Arena, Karen Hancock (a science fiction allegory of the Christian walk, much more exciting than Pilgrim's Progress but with many of the same allegories)
6. This Present Darkness, Frank Peretti (made me realize that even ordinary life, as it may seem to us, is a great epic of spiritual warfare. The danger with this book is falling so much in love with the noble angels that we lose sight of the majesty of God)
7. The Scarlet Thread, Francine Rivers (intertwining stories of a pioneer woman and her great great granddaughter, struggling with similar issues in life and love)

Best books about Following Jesus
1. Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
2. Passion and Purity, Elisabeth Elliot
3. Blue like Jazz, Donald Miller
4. The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
5. Crazy Love, Francis Chan
6. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney
7. Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby
8. The Green Letters (Principles of Spiritual Growth), Miles Stanford
9. Living Beyond Yourself, Beth Moore
10. My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers

11. Finding Calcutta, Mary Poplin
12. Evidence Not Seen, Darlene Deibler Rose

Best books on parenting
1. A Mother's Heart, Jean Fleming
2. Shepherding A Child's Heart, Tedd Tripp
3. To Train Up A Child, Michael and Debi Pearl
4. Five Love Languages of Children, Gary Chapman

Best books on marriage
1. Love and Respect, Emerson Eggerichs
2. Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas
3. Created to Be His Helpmeet, Debi Pearl
4. Lies Women Believe, Nancy Leigh DeMoss

 My favorite classics
1. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
2. Jane Eyre, Chalotte Bronte
3. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
4. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
5. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
6. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
7. Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
8. Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
9. Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery
10. Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
11. The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White
12. Dracula, Bram Stoker
13. White Fang, Jack London

Favorite non-fiction (non-Christian)
1. Bird by Bird*, Anne Lamott (on writing)
2. Operating Instructions*, Anne Lamott
3. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard
4. Desert Solitaire*, Edward Abbey
5. Rising From the Plains, John McPhee (I call it "a geologic romance of Wyoming")

6. The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing, Evan Marshall

Novels that are just plain fun to read

Anything by Robin McKinley (The Blue Sword, Beauty, Pegasus, etc)
Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
Riding Lessons*, Sarah Gruen
Flying Changes*, Sarah Gruen

Open Season*, C.J. Box
The Island, Victoria Hilsop
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling
The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Snow Crash*, Neal Stephenson
The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy
Fool on the Hill*, Matt Ruff
The Matarese Circle*, Robert Ludlum

Girl At Sea, Maureen Johnson
Anything by Dick Francis

Novels that make you think

Time Traveler's Wife*, Audrey Niffeneger
A Painted House, John Grisham
A Thousand Splendid Suns*, Khaled Hosseini
Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
Dune*, Frank Herbert
The Stand*, Stephen King
Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
Zen and the Art of Motorcylce Maintenance, Robert Pirsig
I, Claudius*, Robert Graves
The Winds of War / War and Remembrance*, Herman Wouk
Talk Before Sleep*, Elizabeth Berg
Diary of Anne Frank
The Hearts of Horses, Molly Gloss
The Thornbirds*, Colleen McCollough
The Clan of the Cave Bear*, Jean Auel

Interview with a Vampire*, Anne Rice
Watership Down, Richard Adams
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle

Julie of the Wolves, Jean Craighead George

Other notable books I've read, (but they depressed me!)
The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway
Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
Catch-22 - Joesph Heller
Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
His Dark Materials (series) - Philip Pullman
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
The Stranger - Albert Camus
Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein
Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
The Chosen - Chaim Potok
Thread of Grace - Mary Doria Russell
Jacob I Have Loved - Katherine Paterson

Other books I plan to read: 

Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe
A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken
Feathers from My Nest, Beth Moore
Things Pondered, Beth Moore
The Yada Yada Prayer Group, Neta Jackson
Rebekah, Orson Scott Card
Christ the Lord - Out of Egypt, Anne Rice
Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Republic, Plato
Divine Comedy, Dante
Middlemarch, George Eliot
A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Nicholas and Alexandra, Robert K. Massie
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon
A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
My Antonia, Willa Cather
The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
Romey's Place, James Calvin Schaap

Reason in the Balance, Philip Johnson
Finding Darwin's God, Kenneth Miller
That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis

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