This was a year of re-reading old favorites, mitigating my commute with audio books, and meeting some new and excellent fantasy.
- The Son of Laughter by Frederick Buechner. I enjoyed it, though didn’t see new profundity in the stories. A little less PG than I expected.
- On the dignity and vocation of women by John Paul II & commentary by Genevieve Kinke. Very good. Very different from most Christian women’ books. (Was reading this on election night 2016)
- Infertility companion for Catholics by Angelique Ruhi-López, Carmen Santamaría. Extremely helpful.
- Arabian Nights
- We Believe by Oscar Lukefahr
- A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson. It was a long perseverance to finish the book! It’s a commentary on the psalms of ascent that Jews sang on the road to Jerusalem. Some of the chapters were meh for me, some were amazing.
- The Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald. On following when you don’t understand the way.
- The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald.
- The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien
- Theology of the Body in Simple Language
- The Two Towers by JRR Tolkein
- Lila by Marilynne Robinson (audio)
- Return of the King by JRR Tolkein. This time through I was struck by the opportunities for redemption. Characters who made a mistake did not have it held against them forever.
- Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (audio)
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (audio)
- The Silmarillion by JRR Tolkein
- Race Against Time by Stephen Lewis. Recommended to me. I disagree with a lot (“big government can solve everything!”), but I learned a lot about the history of development and HIV treatment in Africa.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audio)
- Out of the Silent Planet by CS Lewis
- The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. Devoured this in 5 days. Most impressive world-building I’ve seen, save Tolkein.
- Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling (audio)
- Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. Good, but I liked the Stormlight series better.
- Robot Dreams by Isaac Asimov
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling (audio)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (audio)
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret (audio). Lots of whiny and angry children. Movie was better, I think.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (audio)
- Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. SO GOOD.
- Signs of Life by Scott Hahn
- Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling (audio)
- Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
- Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling. Mediocre HP fan fiction.
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis (audio)
- Mary Poppins by PL Travers (audio). Definitely different from the movie. I didn’t warm up to Mary as much in the book.
- Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson. I was impressively able to stretch out reading this over about a month. Very good, and I can hardly wait for four years for the next one!
- Dead Man’s Mirror by Agatha Christie (audio)
- Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkein. Beautiful, sweet, and a little sad. Highly recommended.
Some commentary was written as I finished. Mostly leaving these unedited because, 2016.
- Elijah in Jerusalem by Michael O’Brien. Dreams and visions. Encouragement to see truth/discern.
- Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper. Entertaining, but lacking any depth behind its mysteries. They felt arbitrary. I think this series is insidiously against a Christian worldview and I will be evicting it from my library.
- The Bible. Green and orange ESV journaling
- Sand by Hugh Howey. It was a creative story that I read quickly and for which I eagerly anticipate a sequel. However, the high profanity and sexuality content were disappointing, so I cannot recommend this book as highly as I did Wool.
- Invasive Procedures by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnson. I read it in less than a day, so it’s certainly a page turner. However, its bioengineering is much more far fetched (and, frankly, ridiculous) than I was hoping for.
- The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead
- The Bone House by Stephen Lawhead
- The Spirit Well by Stephen Lawhead
- Early Christian Writings
- Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz
- The Shadow Lamp by Stephen Lawhead
- Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz
- Phantastes by George MacDonald. Not my favorite MacDonald, despite CS Lewis’ high praise of the novel. I’m not sure where the plot was going.
- Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. I borrowed this one on a lazy trip celebrating graduation. It’s set in a dystopian future following a band of Shakespearean actors. I devoured it in two days, but the ending felt anticlimactic.
- Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. An enjoyable novel at the intersection of old books, the Internet, and mystery. The narrator reminded me of Odd Thomas.
- Island of the World by Michael O’Brien. Gut wrenching. Hard and absolutely beautiful. A novel of crucifixion and resurrection. It follows Josip, born just before WWII hits Croatia. I devoured it and sobbed through my last day of reading it. I would like to read it again more slowly.
- Fatal Tree by Stephen Lawhead. I think he didn’t really know how to end a delightful series. The first ones were page turners. Different from Lawhead’s usual subject matter and certainly interesting. However, I was disappointed in the last. It felt like it was finished by a different author.
- Saint Odd by Dean Koontz. Gripping. Rarely has the death of a character been so sweet.
- Odd Interlude by Dean Koontz. Enjoyed it – devoured in one plane ride on the way to Ireland.
- Strangers and Sojourners by Michael O’Brien. Similar to Island of the World in that it follows one character’s entire life through the large changes in the 20th century. This one follows a young female teacher who moves out west to the frontier. That’s a plot that I’ve read a lot of, but O’Brien puts his characteristic spin on things and it was wonderful. Would have cried much harder at the end had I not been in an airport (on my way back from Ireland). This novel was less overtly Catholic/Christian than his others.
- Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Every November, terrifying horses come up from the sea on the island of Thisby. People catch them and race. Everything I wanted out of a book when I was young.
- Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. Read with Lindsay. Still very good. Convicted by thoughts on posture during prayer, being too content with spiritual troughs, something dull distracting you from prayer or sleep, and Ch 24 – spiritual pride.
- Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. I have been giving this to various people lately (our confirmation students, for one) and decided it needed a re-read. It was interesting (and slightly confusing) to read it concurrently with Screwtape.
- New Testament via church
- Letters of St Patrick. The two surviving writings of the great Irish saint – his Confessions and letter to a king. Written at nearly the same time as Augustine’s confessions. Good – some parts very familiar, some ancient and foreign.
- The Shell Collector by Hugh Howey. Meh. Cool premise, a plot that turns predictable, and a few chapters that need to be skipped for adult content.
- Anne of Ingleside by LM Montgomery. Lovely. The kind of mother I want to be.
- My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell. To cry with.
- Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberley Hahn. Not quite what I expected.
- Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey. Lighthouse operator in space. Felt like it could be in the Ender universe. A bit dark, but enjoyable. Not sure how I feel about the moral decision at the end.
- Halfway Home by Hugh Howey. People on a colony ship wake up before they’re fully grown and have to deal with a hostile planet and, possibly, computer. And each other. Engaging read. Again questionable on the morals propounded.
- Scaling Up by Verne Harnish. Read in preparation for a work retreat. First book like this I’ve ever read.
- Gift of Asher Lev by Chaim Potok. Sequel to My Name is Asher Lev. In this one, the orthodox Jewish artist is grown up, raising children, and is pulled back into his Brooklyn world again. Quite good, as you’d expect from Potok.
- Christmas Playlist by Alistair Begg. Discusses the four biblical Christmas songs – Mary, Zechariah, the angels, and Simeon.
- Beginner’s Guide to Photography
- Voyage to Alpha Centauri by Michael O’Brien. In the near future, a group of scientists set off on a 10 year voyage to explore Alpha Centauri. The book is the journal of a pocket-knife-carrying cowboy/engineer. It is an excellent story, and I see its depth more and more as I ponder it. If there’s one book on this list that you pick up and read, make it this one.
- Ringworld by Larry Niven. Explorers stumble upon a “world” stretched out like a ribbon around a sun. Interesting meditations on how much a world would work; I dislike the worldview purported by the author. A re-read so I could read…
- Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven. Who built the Ringworld? Let’s find out!
- The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers. Read while I waited in the hospital to collect data. A murder mystery infused with imagery from English church bell change-ringing. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and learned a lot about bells.
- The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder. True story of the development of the Eclipse computer (launched 1980). A loan from my dad. A fascinating tale of a time when computers were designed largely with pencil and paper.
- Nemesis by Isaac Asimov. Nemesis was the name of a hypothetical star in orbit with ours that caused mass extinctions on Earth. Here, Asimov posits its existence. It was a good story and an enjoyable read, however, I feel like he is a better short story author than novelist. His novels seem to be strung out a bit.
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I’m so cultured! Another read while waiting in the hospital. Enjoyable, but I’m sure I missed out on a lot.
- Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I didn’t realize that this was a collection of short stories – did you know there are seals?
- At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald. Another hospital read. I enjoyed this one immensely, as is becoming a pattern with anything I read of MacDonald’s. Highly recommended for any age.
- Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Some challenging things in here. Some puzzling.
- Mark: The Gospel of Passion by Michael Card. We were studying Mark all year in our graduate group. It’s the Gospel of the current liturgical year. And my church decided to do a read-through of Mark during Lent. So, I added on this commentary-ish book by Card. Very well written; I learned a lot! I look forward to reading his books on the other Gospels. (It also goes with a CD of music Card wrote on Mark.)
- Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. Somehow, I’d never read this. Enjoyable.
- The Innocence and Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton. The first two collections of Father Brown mysteries. Think Sherlock, but with a priest.
- Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum. There’s so much more than in the movie!
- Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card. A science fiction story meditating on the necessity of pain for human growth. There were a few things I turned my head sideways at, but it was quite good. At some point, I felt like this book had a different answer to a question posed by another book on this list, but now I can’t remember what it was. (Edit: Oh! It was on a previous list, and they had similar answers – the End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov.)
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Not sure why I picked this book up again. I hated it less than I did in junior high.
- Anathem by Neil Stephenson. Could be subtitled: “Plato’s theory of forms gets its own novel.” “Hey! I know old math stuff!” “I can make up words, too.” Stephenson says just what he thinks of the modern world, but with all of the names changed to protect the offend-able. I thought it was a little over-the-top at first, but I did enjoy the read. There are mathematical proofs included.
- In My Father’s House and Amazing Love by Corrie ten Boom. We found this collection at a used book store a while back; I only knew of the Hiding Place! Good words from an amazing woman.
- Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. A re-read so I could get to…
- Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston and
- Earth Awakens by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. Birthday books! Finishing out the prequel to the Ender’s Game series telling the story of the first Formic War. Naturally, I loved it.
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I had just started the new series and wanted to re-read!
- A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card. Christmas-y in the Ender universe. Not his best.
- Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card. Another re-read.
- A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage. First book for my trip to Malawi! It tries to tell the history of the world based around 6 drinks. Somewhat entertaining, but I wouldn’t buy it.
- Anne of the Windy Poplars by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Not my favorite Anne novel, but still good.
- Anne’s House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Definitely my favorite Anne novel so far – I guess I read it at a good time of life. Cried on the flight back home from Malawi.
- Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I love the Sherlock TV show, and as it’s always on break, I started reading the original stories. So delightful! The BBC has done an amazing job being inspired by the actual characters.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry. Stood up well on re-read.
- Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. Part II of the Giver – good.
- Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- Wool by Hugh Howey. A story of distopian future that I couldn’t put down. Highly recommended for an engaging read. Also, one of the most successful stories from Amazon’s self-publishing system.
- Messenger by Lois Lowry. Part III of the Giver – still good.
- Shift by Hugh Howey. Part II of Wool – starts to tell the backstory of Wool. I also couldn’t put this one down.
- Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE. A young princess is targeted by a goblin, but there’s so much more.
- Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald. POSSIBLY MY NEW FAVORITE BOOK.
- Miracles by CS Lewis. This one was very dense and took forever to read, but SO WORTH IT. The first chapters set things up and are harder to push through, but please do – the end is amazing. (More here)
- Son by Lois Lowry. Part IV of the Giver – still good.
- The Light Princess by George Macdonald. An enjoyable and deep short story about a princess who is unaffected by gravity.
- Father Elijah by Michael O’Brien. I devoured this one, finishing on Easter afternoon. An apocalypse, but not typical of the genre. Highly recommended.
- Dragon of the Lost Sea by Lawrence Yep. I was trying to find another dragon book I read as a child, but found this one instead. Still cute.
- Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. (I don’t recall why I re-read this one.) Good story of a tiny mouse. Read it to your favorite children.
- Dust by Hugh Howey. Final book of Wool. Another page turner.
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck. A re-working of Cain and Abel in ~1900s America. Good, but I’m not as enamored of it as others I know. Maybe I’m missing something.
- I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp. Our graduate fellowship read this together. It describes the long and somewhat winding path to faith of many students the authors encountered over the years. I really like it – it seems more accurate to my perception of my friends than any other evangelism book I’ve come across.
- Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson. Record of daily life in a poor, rural community in England in the ~1870s. Recommended by Auntie Leila. It’s sort of fiction, but mostly descriptive. It was a slow pace, but I enjoyed it.
- White Fang by Jack London. Recommended by my dad; I read it while he was fighting for his life in the ICU. London does a delightful job of getting inside the head of a wolf pup.
- Call of the Wild by Jack London. If you read White Fang, then you have to read Call of the Wild. (I seem to be in a pattern of re-reading children’s books this year.) It held up well to re-reading!
- Animal Farm by George Orwell. More stuff to read in the hospital. This one did not hold up as well to re-reading.
- Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- Ordinary Faith by Clay Lein
- St Francis of Assisi by GK Chesterton. Not what I expected. I felt like Chesterton kept telling me about the story he was about to tell, but he never got there.
- Booked by Karen Swallow Prior. A Christian literature professor tells her autobiography through how a selection of books impacted her life. It sounds right up my alley, but I didn’t enjoy it all that much. The chapter on marriage (John Donne) mostly made the book worth it, though.
- Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. This one (an allegorical journey of Christian to heaven) took forever to read! On taking it up the second time, I found it much more enjoyable. I’m glad I’ve read it and may read it again in the future.
- End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. Strange but enjoyable story about “Eternals” who stand outside time and change events to make things “better.”
- Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I discovered that reading free (out-of-copyright) books on my phone while waiting for things in lab was significantly better than playing Candy Crush. I enjoyed the book and have used one of its plot points to explain my research difficulties this fall.
- Metamorphosis by Franz Kakfa. Guy turns into a cockroach. I found this very strange, and I don’t understand why it’s so popular.
- Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Greg loves this movie. I bawled through the book.
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (+ Good Wives). Jessica told me we couldn’t be friends anymore if I didn’t read this book. I’m so glad she made me read it!!! I highly recommend it. (Pilgrim’s Progress plays an important role in the book, too, so it was neat to have just finished it.) I appreciated the way they treat small sins with such seriousness.
- Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. Another recommendation from Jessica. A coming-of-age story of a girl with mother issues who lives in an Indiana swamp and collects moths. It was wonderful!
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick. Rough basis for Bladerunner. It was odd, but enjoyable.
- Flux by Orson Scott Card. Very early short stories by OSC. He got better!
- Case Book of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter. Companion to Girl of the Limberlost featuring a boy. Also wonderful.
- Little Men by Louisa May Alcott.
- Dracula by Bram Stoker. For Halloween. Enjoyable.
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Inspired by my mother-in-law to pick up this classic. I enjoyed it a lot. I thought Stowe did a good job of showing a wide cast of characters with multi-faceted and changeable opinions on slavery. There are some sentences that we would now call racist, but on the whole I think it’s a wonderful work and still worthy of re-reading. Lots of discussion of Christianity.
- Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott Card. Collection of post-apocalyptic short stories. The most Mormon of OSC’s works that I’ve read. Enjoyable.
- Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott. Ah, the end of the series. It was wonderful.
- The Promise by Michael Card. A collection of songs, poems, and reflections surrounding Christmas. I really liked his meditations about Balaam, the wise men, and the shepherds.
- God Came Near by Max Lucado. Picked this up again as an Advent book. It’s not my favorite Lucado book, but it had some neat meditations. I think I owe some of my staccato writing style to Lucado.
- Black by Ted Dekker. Book 1 of the Circle trilogy. When Thomas sleeps in this world, he wakes up in another world – a paradise that he doesn’t understand. When he sleeps there, he wakes up here and must try to avert world-wide disaster. I liked the trilogy as a whole – scifi/fantasy elements, meditations on an unfallen society, and seeing redemption in a new light. I was placed in the awkward position of not recognizing the hero of the story until very late – it was humbling. It’s not perfect, but I really liked it.
- The Birth by Gene Edwards. Christmas Eve reading – a “behind-the-scenes” look at the Christmas story. I usually love this genre, but I had a lot of problems with this book. The gem I took from it was a meditation on “seed of woman” (Jesus) vs “seed of man” (… all the rest of us).
- Red by Ted Dekker. Book 2.
- White by Ted Dekker. Book 3.
What a lovely year for reading! There’s so much more to come…
Happy New Year! Here’s wrapping up what I read in 2013:
- Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis. I’ve heard it said that Lewis thought this book and Till We Have Faces will be his most enduring. I didn’t enjoy it overmuch, but I imagine I’m missing something.
- Leonardo’s Foot by Carol Ann Rinzler. Bought in a weird little shop with my friend Natalie. It traces the history of the human foot. Strangely interesting.
- King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight. Our grad fellowship studied this book over the summer. While poorly written, the ideas were wonderful. It discusses a reclaiming of discipleship and recognizing Jesus’ Lord-ship, as opposed to a “gospel” that asks people to pray a prayer and then wait for death.
- Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper. Enjoyable Arthurian-like children’s book.
- Diamonds in Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau. Continuing in the City of Ember series; quite good.
- Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. (Spoiler alert?) The invisible man is an albino who figures out how to remove the color from his hemoglobin and thus loses all color and becomes invisible. While reading this book, I was working on an experiment to separate the heme (strongly red) from the globin (colorless) of hemoglobin. Strange timing.
- Academology by Female Science Professor. I got this when my advisor cleaned out her office. A funny/insightful look on the weird things to happen in a professor’s life.
- Enchantment by Orson Scott Card. 20th century linguistics graduate student gets dropped into a 9th century Russian fairytale. I couldn’t put it down.
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Re-read for some reason I can’t remember. Good as ever.
- Red Mars by Kim Robinson. Won a Hugo award. Not my favorite sci-fi ever.
- Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Sequel (with new characters) to Over Sea, Under Stone. Enjoyable.
- Green Mars by Kim Robinson. Sequel to Red Mars. Despite my cool feelings for Red Mars, I had to know what happened next. I have yet to read Blue Mars.
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. For Halloween. So very different from all the movies, and quite good.
- Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. My friend jokingly threatened to end our friendship until I read this. Quite glad she did – it was amazing.
- Anne of Avonlea by LM Montgomery. Also amazing.
- Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery. Also amazing.
- Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes by Randolph Richards and Brandon O’Brien. Highly recommended! Points out some of the obvious and not-so-obvious biases Western readers tend to bring to Scripture. It didn’t give a complete here’s how to interpret everything in Scripture rightly, but it did give pointers for recognizing biases you bring to the text and very interesting examples.
- Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. New priest heads out to the newly-acquired lands of New Mexico to start the diocese. Very enjoyable. Cather has a sparse, quiet style that is unique.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Greg was appalled that I hadn’t read this one yet. Now I have. I recommend it.
- God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew. True story of a missionary behind the Iron Curtain. I devoured this book in about a day. (Thanks for the recommendation, Rachel!)
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Henrietta Lacks’ cancer cells were the first human cells successfully grown in culture and paved the way for discoveries like the polio vaccine. Unfortunately, her family knew nothing about it until recently. The book is a reporter’s effort to get the full story – the science, Henrietta’s life, her children’s lives and responses to the science, race and poverty relations, and more. Quite enjoyable. (Passed the time at the hospital.)
- Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead. I haven’t read a bad book by Lawhead yet. This is the fictional story of an Irish monk taking the Book of Kells to the Byzantine Emperor. Most of the book deals with how we believe in a God when there is immense suffering in the world. It’s an interesting counterpoint to the answer given in The Sparrow (read earlier this year) by a non-Christian. (Also passed the time at the hospital.)
- Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card. Next book in the Bean branch of the Ender’s Game series. Delightful.
- Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card. First book in Card’s new series covering the First Formic War (pre-Ender’s Game). A whole new cast of characters, and still delightful. I can’t wait for the next one.
– Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan. This is my second run at it, and it’s not going amazingly well. I might push through.
– Miracles by Lewis. Very dense philosophy. I will push through on this one, but slowly.
Last December I thoroughly* enjoyed reading the lists of what my friends had read the previous year. My friend Rachel quotes her English teacher: “If I could remember all of the books I’ve read, it would be the perfect autobiography.”
Here’s my own list for the first half of 2013.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This book came on an e-reader my sister in-law passed on to me. I couldn’t stop reading the story, and it really helped me get over my e-reader prejudice. A very good read.
It Shouldn’t Happen to a Vet by James Herriot. Lovely collection of stories from an English country vet in the 1930s.
Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. Oh, Douglas Adams. The story took a while to come together, but it was quite fun when it did. Apparently an early Doctor Who episode almost exactly matches this plot.
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. I saw the very end of the movie version once in a hotel and added it to my BookMooch wishlist. A very enjoyable work of children’s apocalyptic fiction.
People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau. Part 2 of City of Ember. Also quite good.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Greg got me this one for Valentine’s Day. I really, really enjoyed it (and saw it on my advisor’s desk a few weeks ago). This post shares some of the thoughts it inspired.
Lillith by George MacDonald. Rachel’s been after me to read this for years, but I figured it was some work of deep theology and put it off. Plus, I couldn’t ever find it in a used book store. Enter: gifted e-reader, free books from the Gutenberg project, and trip to Peru. It was wonderful. It had a slightly similar feel to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but I liked Lillith 1000 times better. I can see why C.S. Lewis was so influenced by MacDonald’s imagery. (And it is deep theology, but told through a beautiful story.)
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein. This was the one physical novel I carried with me across Peru, in case my e-Reader died mid-trip. I picked it up because Bilbo’s wonderful line from the movie trailer (“I’m going on an adventure!”) summed up my most optimistic attitude towards my Peru trip. Naturally, the book holds up well to re-reading.
The Time Machine by HG Wells. Another free ebook. I’d forgotten what a short story this is! I read it on the train to and from Machu Picchu.
Harry Potter 1-7 by JK Rowling. Delightful as always. I really enjoyed reading these all in a row. (They finished out my Peru trip.)
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. Greg owned this one for some class. It follows a high-powered, Robin Hood-like doctor (true story) practicing in rural Haiti. He has insightful thoughts about medicine, global health, poverty, and common sense. Plus, what I learned here about the drug-resistant TB epidemic in Peru and Russia has come up in multiple conversations.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok. This and The Promise are some of Greg’s favorite books – it was time for me to read them! They follow two Jewish boys in New York during and after WWII as they navigate different interpretations of their faith, the revelation of the Holocaust, and their vocations. I enjoyed the read.
The Promise by Chaim Potok
Confessions by Augustine. This book took about 6 months to finish! For a fast reader like me, it felt like eternity. I was quite struck by how modern many of Augustine’s struggles and musings were (some of my musings are here and here, with more to come soon). I’m quite glad to have read this foundational work.
The Yearling by Majorie Rawlings. We got to hear Andrew Peterson sing his new album Light for the Lost Boy in concert, and several of the songs on it were inspired by The Yearling and Peterson’s childhood in Florida. I remember picking out this book as a child at the Scholastic warehouse because it had a pretty picture of a fawn on the cover. I cried and cried the first time I read it. This time, I identified less with the theme of adorable deer and cried less at the ending, though it is still quite moving.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. This novel and its sequel are now imprinted especially strong on my imagination. In the near future, a handful of Jesuit priests and friends are the first to travel to a world with other sentient species. I’ll leave it there so as not to spoil anything. The author’s musings on Christianity, suffering, and encountering new races were generally pretty good. I can see, however, her (adopted) Jewish faith in the way she has the characters process through suffering – though God is involved, God’s suffering in the form of Christ on the cross doesn’t make a major impact. Still, it will be a long time before this story fades from my mind.
Children of God by Mary Doria Russell. Part 2.
Let Sleeping Vets Lie by James Harriot. On “book hangover” from The Sparrow, I chose the next installment of the light, easy stories of the country vet.
Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau. Finally gave in and bought the final book in the City of Ember series. Not as good as the first two, but still enjoyable.
- Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel. Another book Greg had left over from some class. The author gives a biography of Galileo Galilei informed by the surviving letters from his daughter, Sister Maria Celeste. It was wonderfully written and gives a really fair treatment of the Church and scientists involved in the “conflict” surrounding Galileo’s work, as well as some insight into day-to-day life in the 17th century. I see a lot of parallels in the evolution “vs.” creation debate now (“vs.” since I think this and many such controversies are false dichotomies) and the debate over a heliocentric worldview in Galileo’s time.
*Anyone else have a word that you can never spell right on the first try? Mine’s thoroughly. And recipe.