I’m a little late for end-of-year introspection but I’m trying to get blogging more. And there is a post or two that I really need to write that I’m putting off so I thought I’d try to at least keep writing…
So here are some of my favorite reads of 2011 (in no particular order):
1. God Smuggler by Brother Andrew — This book has literally been on my shelf for years. I have a bit of a book addiction and the time I spent working at a used bookstore didn’t help. I don’t know what made me pick it up one day a few months ago, but I read it and then passed it on to my teammates, who read it and bought their own copy. It’s a relatively short book but I found that sometimes I could only read a few pages before I had to put it down and mourn for the people living under communist rule (yeah, it’s a little dated. You should see my copy–it’s not a first edition, but it’s close!) Brother Andrew’s testimony is one of total reliance on God’s provision, even in the face of persecution. A beautiful book.
2. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas — As my study has deepened in the past couple of years Bonhoeffer’s name kept coming up. When I saw this biography on for half-price I grabbed it. Technically I started reading it in 2010 but it took me forever to get through. For starters, it’s 624 pages. But beyond that, as I got to descriptions of Nazi atrocities, I could only read a little bit before I would get overwhelmed. Bonhoeffer was such an interesting guy–it’s about about discipleship AND double espionage!
**A word before I go on–I know I’ve said that while reading the first two books I became overwhelmed with emotion and had to put it down. I promise that it’s the subject matter itself and not me. I’m not usually so emotionally affected by books and I tend to speed read. These books were different.**
3. The Coffee Cup Bible Study Series by Sandra Glahn — Our team meets once a week for study and prayer. We’ve worked through two of these books and are now on our third. It would have been really easy to dismiss them–they have kind of cheesy names like “Java with the Judges” or “Mocha on the Mount” and they have pictures of women with coffee on the front. But we’ve been working through the studies <i>as a team</i>, men included, because the material is so good. They’re 6-8 weeks of daily study. We’re currently working through Sumatra with the Seven Churches and are loving it.
4. Savoring God’s Word: Cultivating the Soul-Transforming Practice of Scripture Meditation by Jan Johnson — Meditation doesn’t come easily to me. I tend to lack focus. This was another one we worked through as a team and really enjoyed. There were so many practical techniques, as well as a good discussion at the beginning about the validity of and need for scripture meditation.
5. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins — I really enjoy a good fiction fix from time to time and everyone was talking about it so I had to check it out. I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know if I can count it as escapist because the world it describes is so bleak and violent but it certainly transported me to another place and time for several days.
Those are the ones off the top of my head. Here are a few more I read and enjoyed:
I hope I don’t need to say it, but just in case I do–I read a lot. I like to read things that inspire me and challenge me. If I only ever read things I knew about and agreed with, I’d never grow and I’d never learn. I’m telling you I liked these books but it doesn’t mean that I believe they’re infallible or my new personal philosophy or even what you may need to read.
So now it’s 2012 and I’m digging into my new to-read pile. Any recommendations?