Because life is a series of edits

Booklist 2013

In Books on December 26, 2013 at 7:33 am

booklist_1

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked what I had been reading lately. Without trying to be funny, I blurted out an honest answer: “Email.”

I almost didn’t post a booklist this year as I was too embarrassed by how little reading it seemed to represent. But, the fact is, I did read some during this craziest of years (school merger, foster care, etc.), so rather than break titles down across months, I’ll just list them all here together along with my enjoyment rating for each out of 10.

I always appreciate recommendations and suggestions (leave in the comments, please), as I have a gift card to Barnes & Noble burning a hole in my pocket. Happy reading.

  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek – appreciated Sinek’s (at times overbearing) “Why?” approach, but the writing was repetitive and read like a business book (which it is). (6)
  • Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement by Will Mancini – didn’t really finish this one; church consulting books aren’t my gig. (4)
  • When Athens Met Jerusalem: An Introduction to Classical and Christian Thought by John Mark Reynolds – the staff summer read for our teachers, this was a good philosophy primer (particularly on the pre-Socratics) with a helpful thesis claiming that the classical and Christian worlds can not only be friends but also need and benefit from one another. (8)
  • The Prince & the Pauper by Mark Twain – found this and a handful of other Twain titles in a used bookstore on our way home from Hannibal over the summer; love Twain, and the story was okay, but this was not one of my favorites. (5)
  • Matthew: The Gospel of Identity by Michael Card – the third of what will be a total of four commentaries on each of the Gospels, Mike again does a good job bringing the great theme of Matthew (identity) down to the bottom shelf for the rest of us. (7)
  • The Aeneid by Virgil – listened to this via Audible along with a Great Books course for background and help, but still didn’t really make heads or tails of it; still, love Virgil’s poetry (even translated into English) and in awe of this work. (8)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – re-read this over a weekend in preparation for our upcoming Gatbsy Gala in February; still period-defining in so many ways, but the writing wasn’t quite as good as I remembered it being. (7)
  • The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis – almost put it down after the first 20 pages (the cosmic bus ride was a little much to take), but glad I didn’t; the chapter in which Lewis channels George Macdonald was completely worth it. (8)
  • Seven Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas – biography choices (George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, Pope John Paul II, and Chuck Colson) were well and good, but reads like a junior high textbook; biography for Twitter culture. (5)
  • The Battle for Christmas: A Cultural History of America’s Most Cherished Holiday by Simon Nissenbaum – a Pulitzer-prize finalist, this is a well-documented and readable treatise on the American Christmas; surprisingly (or not), we’ve celebrated much the same for the past 200 years. (9)
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck – implications of the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset are huge for education…and just about every other area of life; a simple idea that doesn’t feel trendy – just right (7)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – listened to this one while traveling with the family over Christmas; super slow start, but strong characters and an interesting storyline made for some good enjoyment for all. (7)
  • Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell – Gladwell’s thesis that successful people are not always geniuses as much as products of particular cultures and communities is powerful; great storytelling and insightful analysis. (8)
  • The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays by Wendell Berry – love this compendium of farm-focused essays; I’ve read half of them before, but Wendell’s vision of the simple (but not simplistic) life never gets old. (9)
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  1. Woohoo! Seeing the Aeneid on your list made me smile…but I read the Odyssey this year also for school and fell in love with it (it’s hard to admit that I may even like it more than I like the Aeneid…). Have you read it recently? If not, I’d recommend adding the Odyssey before the Aeneid (painful words from this gal).
    — one of your Latin teachers

  2. Glad to make you happy, Molly. We need to grab coffee so you can school me in all things Aeneid. The Great Books course has been enjoyable, but I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts and observations.

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