Tuesday, December 22, 2015

And While I'm At It...

And while I'm sharing my thoughts about books I read in 2015 (top books, other goodies), here are some more books I read with a few reflections on them:

Worst Book I Read in 2015

Four Blood Moons by John Hagee

Hagee's book was not as bad as my worst book of 2013 (codenamed "Blech."), but it's not a good book. Read Tim Challies' review for some of the reasons why.

Weirdest Book I Read in 2015

Dead Petals by Eric Ortlund

Have you ever read the story The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton? It starts out as one thing and by the end, you're really wondering what in the world you're reading. I had the same experience with Ortlund's book. I thought it was going to be a Christian zombie apocalypse book (strange enough as genres go!), but by the end, I wasn't sure what genre we were in. Of course, as with Chesterton, I'm pretty sure that there was genius in this book--I just couldn't access it.

Also Noteworthy

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

I got to review this one for EFCA Now:

Beautifully written and really depressing.

Gawande movingly explores how Western culture has made end-of-life about medicine, safety and quantity of days instead of life, liberty and quality of days. His book is full of stories (profound, humorous and sometimes personal), research (clearly a scientist and a scholar) and insights (I read things I never knew before but instantly accepted when he said them). I couldn’t stop reading portions of this book out loud to anyone who would listen. The author is a true smith of words.

Gawande is short on answers—our problems in this area seem intractable—but he does show the outline of ways forward. Surprisingly, even though he is a surgeon and the child of two doctors, he doesn’t believe that medicine is the primary answer (and often is the problem).

As a Christian pastor, I am very aware of mortality and try to remind others to make preparations for the next life, but I don’t often think about the painful lead-up to that inevitable death. This book led me to make better and more informed plans for myself and my loved ones.

The author is respectful of religion (his family is Hindu) but doesn’t seem to be a believer himself. I wonder what he would say differently if he were a Christian.

Highly recommended but not to be read in one big gulp. The suffering is too real and raw. Best to read in pieces and ponder as you go.

Children’s Books

My kids are getting too big for storybook style books, but that doesn't stop me from reading them! The two that were the best were God Made All Of Me and The Biggest Story.

I got to interview the authors of God Made All of Me and learn about their ideas of how to keep children safe from abuse. And the The Biggest Story actually made it into this Advent sermon because it's all about the story in which we are living right now.