Sunday, January 13, 2013

What I read in 2012 and what I want to read in 2013

      My typical mode of operation is to have a perpetual list of books that I would like to read. So every year around January, I'll write down a list of books that I think I'd like to get through by the end of the year. These are the books that were on my list at the beginning of the year; I did get through some others but these were my primary reading.


  • Silas Marner by George Elliot
     Silas Marner is the classic story of a weaver who, betrayed by his best friend as a young man, becomes a recluse and a miser, hoarding his store of gold coins. His life suddenly changes when his coins are stolen and he takes in a young orphan girl as his own. 

     This was one of my favorite fiction books that I read last year; it was both profound and lovely. I would highly recommend it! 

  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare 
     I always feel as though I ought to read more Shakespeare, and enjoy his writing more, and since Hamlet is a classic, and I had found it at Half Price books for a fairly cheap price, I decided it was worth a read. I'm glad I read it, but it definitely wasn't my favorite Shakespeare play, out of what I have read. 

  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
     The dramatic saga of the never-ending lawsuit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce; Bleak House sounds like an incredibly depressing book. It came highly recommended, however, so I decided to pick it up despite it's large girth and I was not disappointed. I had previously enjoyed David Copperfield and Oliver Twist, and so the story of Esther and those she comes in contact with warmed my heart. It takes a long time to get to the climax, but I love the way Dickens intertwines various stories. It was definitely not depressing, and definitely worth the read! If you are going to pick up some Dickens, Bleak House is a great way to go.

  •  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
 "Imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, Edmond Dantès spends 14 bitter years in a dungeon. When his daring escape plan works he uses all he has learned during his incarceration to mastermind an elaborate plan of revenge that will bring punishment to those he holds responsible for his fate. No longer the naïve sailor who disappeared into the dark fortress all those years ago, he reinvents himself as the charming, mysterious, and powerful Count of Monte Cristo."   (Amazon)

     Allison had been bugging me to read this book for a while and I hesitated to pick it up because it was so thick and I wanted an easier read. To my delight, the book moved at good pace, and I wasn't bored a bit! The suspense kept me engaged throughout and I finished this classic in a great amount of time. 

  • There Shines Forth Christ by Julian Stead 
     I first heard about Julian Stead through reading A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken (which I would also highly recommend). Dom Julian and Sheldon Vanauken were good friends, (probably are still, I think they are both still alive...) and several of Dom Julian's poems were included in A Severe Mercy. When I found out that Julian Stead had published a book of poetry, I was excited to look it up, only to find out that it was out of print! Thankfully there was a library in my state that had a copy, and thanks to inter-library loan, (which is my best friend in situations such as this) I got to read his poetry! 
     He is not the best poet when it comes to rhythm and rhyme, but I love his ideas and word uses. I have posted several of his poems on the blog, so if you are interested, you can click on the links below.
  • Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
     Orthodoxy was actually another book that Allison loaned me to read. It had been on my list for a few years and I was excited to read it. You can find excerpts from the book here and a blog post about progress here. The book is incredibly intellectual, so much so that I almost re-read immediately after finishing it so that I could get more out of it. It's a book that I will definitely purchase one day for myself and re-read regularly!

  • The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence 
     Despite the fact that this book is tiny, it took me a ridiculously long time to get through, though I wouldn't attribute that to the content. This book is all about spending time with God and intimate fellowship with him. A quick and easy read!

  • When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett
     "Churches and individual Christians typically have faulty assumptions about the causes of poverty, resulting in the use of strategies that do considerable harm to poor people and themselves.  When Helping Hurts provides foundational concepts, clearly articulated general principles and relevant applications.  The result is an effective and holistic ministry to the poor, not a truncated gospel.
     "A situation is assessed for whether relief, rehabilitation, or development is the best response to a situation.  Efforts are characterized by an "asset based" approach rather than a "needs based" approach.  Short term mission efforts are addressed and micro enterprise development (MED) is explored."
     If you have ever been on a short-term mission trip or have any interest in missions, this book is a must read. It totally changed my perspective of the effect of short-term missions and helped me to more fully understand our culture's faulty view of poverty and how that influences the way the American church does missions. 

  • Love Does by Bob Goff
     This was one of my favorite books of 2012! I had heard of Bob Goff through Donald Miller's writings, and was so excited when I discovered that he had recently published a book. A collection of essays and stories, Love Does continually comes up in my conversations with people, whether a topic reminds me of a story from the book, or an idea from the book sticks in my head. 
     "The world can make you think that love can be picked up at a garage sale or enveloped in a Hallmark card. But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It's a love that operates more like sign language than being spoken outright. What I learned from Randy about the brand of love that Jesus offers is that it's more about presence than undertaking a project. It's a brand of love that doesn't just think about good things, or agree with them, or talk about them. What I learned from Randy reinforced the simple truth that continues to weave itself into the tapestry of every great story:
     Love does." 

Here are a few other books that I read:
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: Somehow I made it through childhood without reading this book and I finally checked it out of the library this year! Definitely recommend if you are looking for a light, but classic children's read.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Based on the recommendation of my younger sister, I read the entire trilogy by Suzanne Collins and hated it. Though I felt the first book was a great dystopia, the graphic detail and increasingly disturbing and depressing storyline as the books progressed let me appalled. I would not recommend The Hunger Games series, especially as a Christian. I felt that the content (especially in the second and third books) was not in keeping with Paul's command in Philippians 4: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)
  • Son by Lois Lowry: The exquisite conclusion to The Giver series, Son was one of my favorite reads of 2012. If you have read The Giver, Gathering Blue, or The Messenger, Son is a must read! The book has such a powerful message and the beautiful language will tug at your heart strings. Highly recommend!
And finally, my list for 2013! I came home from Urbana with a stack of books, the list is pretty long, and heavy on the non-fiction side. We'll see how many I get through:

  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Uncommon Decency by Richard J. Mouw
  • The Dangerous Act of Worship by Mark Labberton
  • Western Christians in Global Mission by Paul Borthwick
  • Out of the Saltshaker and into the World: Evangelism as a Way of Life by Rebecca Manley Pippert
  • Gulliver's Travels by Jonathon Swift
  • War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  • Seven: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
  • You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt
  • How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler
  • The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbit
What are you reading right now? What will you read this year?

1 comment:

  1. This is a meaty list! I'm impressed!

    Just stuck Love Does on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing. :)



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