Friday, July 2, 2010

Regarding what I read...

Here is the final list of books I read during my Peace Corps service.  I think this covers about the last six months.  Enjoy!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
An old favorite.  It was given new meaning, though, as I was involved in killing snakes with a machete while in the middle of reading it.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling
I read it in a day.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J.K. Rowling
The same as ever.  Harry is a crab.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J.K. Rowling
Definitely a favorite.  I laugh, I cry, I lose about a day of my life as it is impossible to put down.

A Perfect Spy by John le Carre
Twists and turns abound as the reader travels into the world of cold war-era British espionage.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I wish I could write like that.

The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is by N.T. Wright
A historian's examination on what the teachings of Jesus are all about.  Stimulating and challenging.

Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity by Miriam Adeney
The author examines what the church looks like today in many different corners of the world.  Very interesting reading.

Tortilla flat by John Steinbeck
Great fun!

The Kennedy Curse : Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years by Edward Klein
It was fun to read, but I felt a little guilty learning about all this family's dirty laundry.  JFK certainly had some interesting exploits...

Captured by Grace: No One Is Beyond the Reach of a Loving God by David Jeremiah
This book tells the story of the apostle Paul in parallel with the story of John Newton, the reformed slave trader who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace."  Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!  I really enjoyed it.

Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles) by Frank Herbert
Very nerdy.  I was going to try reading the whole series, but this book made me give up.

Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne
About uniting prayer with social activism.  It challenged me to think more about the way I pray.

The Pilgrim's Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity Reason and Romanticism by C.S. Lewis
An interesting telling the author's coming to faith.  A little weird, but very Lewis in all ways.

The Known World by Edward P. Jones
A novel about slavery.  It dragged out a bit, but the writing was generally quite good.

Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics by Joe Biden
Fascinating.  A great read for anyone interested in politics, and the history of American politics over the last 40 years or so.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (P.S.) by Robert M. Pirsig
Strange.  Maybe I needed some '70's era hallucinogens to help me appreciate it more.

The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner
I never studied creative writing, but I am trying to be a creative writer.  This helped.

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Not bad.  A little dry, but still interesting.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
I was familiar with the concept, but this was the first time I sat down and read the book.  Useful for understanding relationships a little bit better.

The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Official Edition) by U.S. Government
Not as boring as it sounds.

Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 by Garrison Keillor
Takes you inside the head of a semi-fictional teenager in a fictional town.

Pontoon by Garrison Keillor
I really enjoyed this story.  It's another Lake Wobegon novel, and Keillor again shows his mastery of culture and language.

Naked by David Sedaris
Hilarious Sedaris stories, climaxing with his account of time spent at a nudist colony.

How to Be a Pirate (Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III) by Cressida Cowell
This is part two of the "how to train your dragon" series.  Good stuff.  I will read it to my kids.

unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters by David Kinnaman
This book really has it's finger on the pulse of my generation.  Anyone who cares about the relevance of the Kingdom in our time should read this book, and be prepared to examine some hard truths.

Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle: Living Fully, Loving Dangerously by Kent Annan
This book is about a guy and his wife who move to Haiti to do rural community development work.  I read it around the time that I was dealing with some earthquake stuff, so it sticks out as one of the more significant books I read in Peace Corps.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
A very astute examination of the cultural issues at work as a non-English speaking Hmong family attempts to get answers from the American healthcare system.  Eye opening.

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
A well written (yet not unbiased) history of the Mormon faith.

Twilight (The Twilight Saga) by Stephenie Meyer
Ha.  I don't know how this book made it to print.  The grammar is clumsy.  The syntax often stinks.  The story telling is downright manipulative.  I could write a lot more, but I will stop at saying that this book is simply bad writing used to exploit the desires of emotionally hungry teenage girls, and get them to spend money.

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King
A history of the artist's work in the Sistine Chapel.  Made me want to visit.

The World is Flat: a Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Tom Friedman
A must read for anyone interested in where the world is going.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America by Tom Friedman
Better than it's predecessor.  Friedman looks at what it will really take to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in ecologically.

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Vintage) by Barack Obama
It is good to have a President who knows how to write.

The Cider House Rules by John Irving
Delightful storytelling, despite the strange story.

John Adams by David McCullough
This is one of the best books I have read on the early history of the United States.

Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
This is the story of Teddy Roosevelt's early life.  I enjoyed it.

The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story by Richard Preston
Ebola.  Lots of ebola.  After reading this, I got nervous every time I had an upset stomach.  Really gross.

Basic Christianity by John Stott
A classic.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
I read my late Grandfather's copy of this, his favorite book.  It is good to begin with, but made more interesting by his notes in the margins.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Altogether a great piece of fiction.  I laughed, I cried, and I finished it with a desire to make a better world.  Thanks, Kim, for the recommendation.

It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It by Robert Fulghum
I read it about three times a year.  Enough said.

Jars of Clay: Ordinary Christians on an Extraordinary Mission in Southern Pakistan by Pauline Brown
I have read this piece of family history before, but it became more real this time, as I was reading it in my own rough, rural setting.

The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith by Christopher J.H. Wright
Thanks, Aus, for the book.  Rev. Wright always hits the nail on the head.

The Traveler (Fourth Realm Trilogy, Book 1) by John Twelve Hawks
Silly sci-fi, but still fun.

Dan Brown keeps trying.  This da vinci code sequel is in the same spirit, albeit a bit less controversial.

American Raj: America and the Muslim World by Eric Margolis
Important reading for anyone interested in America's role in the world today.  Merciless journalism.


April said...

Any David Sedaris reader is all right in my book. :)
I am jealous of all the reading you got in. I miss books...

AMB said...

that is a pretty good list, bro. let's see if my time in singapore can compete...

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