Well, I didn’t get as much of my reading list completed as I had hoped for. A few unexpected books had to be read and my Master’s thesis took a little more out of me at the first part of the year than I expected. There is only so much reading my non reader brain can handle. My original list with the rationale is here 2016 Reading List, which focused on things I would not normally pick up and the recommendations of friends. I posted reviews of many of the books I read on this site. I will repeat this approach in 2017. Here are the top five books and why:
Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley – Wonderfully written book that challenges both right wing and left wing assumptions about what makes for a good education system. Turns out something like common core is important and per pupil spending is not. Very easy to read and I really appreciate how the author, who admits to being left of center, challenged so many of the bedrock principles of the NEA.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – I suppose it’s not surprising that I liked this book as much as I did given millions of other people did too. I finished it faster than any book its length in my life and still cannot get over how much this book displays the outrageous goodness of God to Louie in so many different circumstances. The movie was good and captured many things brilliantly, but missed the core point Louie would want made, namely the lovingkindness of Jesus to love him so patiently so long.
Nothing Like It In The World by Stephen Ambrose – I would not have supposed that a book on the people who built the transcontinental railroad would have been as compelling as it was. Ambrose did a masterful job of presenting these real life characters and introducing me to Theodore Judah. My next pet, even if it is a rock, will be named Judah.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – I don’t really read fiction that much because normally I think the truth is funnier, but this was a good recommendation and after the first 200 pages or so it really picked up. The book is massive, so finishing it at all was almost as much of an accomplishment as learning to enjoy fiction for what it is.
Gaining By Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send by J.D. Greear – This book gets an honorable mention simply because I wish more leaders in evangelical churches would read it. I have too many friends in too many churches that live as if the only way to “win” is to grow the number of people attending each weekend when J.D. makes a case that winning only happens when disciples are made and the New Testament pattern seems to be a distributed model where Christians spread out rather than cluster together in little like-minded bubbles.