The Brothers K // David James Duncan
I talked about this book a lot while I was reading it, and everyone kept assuming I was talking about The Brothers Karamazov; I was not. The Brothers K came highly recommended to me by several people when I asked for suggestions, and though I was surprised I’d never even heard of it before, I put it on the list. This book will go down as one of the finest I’ve ever read. It is not a complex story, but it is a long one, and a beautifully told one. It’s simply the story of a family. I don’t know how else to describe it. That’s what it is. It’s 700 pages of fear, angst, beauty, love, hurt, joy, pain—all wrapped in one family. I have never been so sad to turn a last page.
Girls Like Us // Rachel Lloyd
Our new graphic designer and I are working on a toolkit to hand out to the myriad of people who ask, “I care about sex-trafficking, but what can I do about it?” As part of this project, I’m researching helpful books. One such book is Rachel Lloyd’s memoir of her life in the illegal sex business juxtaposed with her life now working in New York city for GEMS: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services. I especially appreciate Rachel’s story because she’s a perfect example of how girls with no money and little education are trafficked easily. Prostitution is not low-life girls who enjoy sex—there is nothing about that life that is simple or enjoyable, and Rachel clearly illuminates this while educating her readers.
Wordsmithy // Douglas Wilson
One of the quickest reads so far, and partially because Wilson is such a brilliant writer you can’t help but drink his words quickly. Especially great, because this is a book about writing. And it has now topped my list of recommended reads for aspiring writers. There is no hint of ego or assumption in this, it is filled with tips, book recommendations, quick punchy quips, and makes no bones about the fact that writing is often a long hike up a high mountain where the only view at the top is simply a better one of the world. Excellent.
Prince Caspian // C.S. Lewis
This has always been my least favorite of the Narnia series, and this time through was no different. I’ll assume most of you have read it, or will at some point read it, so I won’t belabor the point: sometimes you have to suffer through your least favorite Narnia book because you said you’d read all of them.
Treehouses of the World // Pete Nelson
When I was small I would watch Swiss Family Robinson JUST for the treehouse scenes. I’m not even kidding. I would fast-forward through all the other scenes just so I could study the construction of the most epic treehouse ever made. When I saw this book at Barnes and Noble on the cheap rack, I nabbed it immediately. The book highlights over 50 treehouses all over the US, giving their brief background, construction details, images, and some personal stories. It’s a keeper.
The Weight of Glory // C.S. Lewis
One of the better habits I’ve adopted through this project is holding a pencil in one hand as I read (courtesy of Tony Reinke’s Lit which I read last month). Good thing, too, because I marked up this copy pretty good. Among my favorite essays this time through were Inner Ring and Membership, perhaps because of the juncture in life at which I am, I don’t know. I’m grateful, though, for Lewis’s poignant and truthful words never leaving me without conviction.
Gospel Deeps // Jared Wilson
Contrary to popular assumption, I don’t actually read that many blogs, about ten on average, and Jared’s has not left the list in about three years. His book Gospel Wakefulness was deeply impacting to me in my own journey toward understanding the gospel. As my pastor said in the foreword to the book, “People tend to understand the width of the gospel, in that they understand Jesus and the cross, but they have trouble with the depth of the gospel, struggling to see how it informs and shapes every aspect of our lives.” This book kept me marveling at the depths of the gospel all the way through, keeping me turning the pages, stopping at time to weep with gratefulness or find joy in the fullness of grace.
Special thanks to those of you who gifted books I read this month for 100 in 2013 (Geoffrey Swyka, Alison Luna, Mallory Bumgarner, Philip with-no-last-name =) ).