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26 January 2014

book list 2014

The last few years have been a book list fail. Hope springs anew in January, and I'm try-trying again. Recommendations, anyone?

Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel by Jeannette Walls
Given to me by a trusted book recommending friend, I was instantly sold by the back cover description, "Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa..." 
The book tells the story of Lily Casey Smith, a character unlike any you have met before, and her adventures from youth through adulthood in the American Southwest. This New Mexican girl adored Half Broke Horses.

The Just Church by Jim Martin 
"God's call isn't to feel bad about injustice- but to do justice!"
What might that look like in my community, my church, my life...?

The King of Torts by John Grisham
I'm a fan of Grisham, but... We know the legal practice of mass torts is, umm, rather slimy, and this book only confirms that. The main character is the hero and the villan, sympathetic and yet incredibly greedy as he becomes more and more addicted to the money and perceived power that accompanies his shell game. We see the end coming from the beginning. Not my favorite of Grisham's works.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
In an interview on her books, Walls recounts, "Since writing The Glass Castle, so many people have said to me, "Oh, you’re so strong and you’re so resilient, and I couldn’t do what you did." That’s very flattering, but it’s nonsense. Of course they’re as strong as I am. I just had the great fortune of having been tested. If we look at our ancestry, we all come from tough roots. And one of the ways to discover our toughness and our resiliency is to look back at where we come from."
Walls was tested. Some of the stories of her childhood are almost too hard to read, and yet, she tells the story of her childhood, of her eccentric parents, without bitterness, with a sense of unconditional love. Well worth the read!

The Reason for God by Timothy Keller  
"All doubts, however skeptical and cynical they may seen, are really a set of alternative beliefs."
In A Reason for God Keller addresses the list of doubts skeptics often voice concerning Christianity, and also many reasons grounds to put trust in the Christian faith. "We have a sense that the world is not the way it ought to be. We have a sense that we are very flawed and yet very great We have a longing for love and beauty that nothing in this world can fulfill. We have a deep need to know meaning and purpose. Which worldview best accounts for these things?" Keller asks, and then addresses.

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller
A tiny little book, maybe just a sermons worth, on 1Corinthians 3:21-4:7- no pride, no boasting. "Do you realize that it is only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that you get the verdict before the performance?" Keller reminds us of that Gospel- that it is not what we do that makes us loved and accepted by God, it is only what Christ has done for us.

The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri- a Pulitizer prize winning collection of short stories primarily comprised of characters who travel from America to India and back again, whether by physical distance or cultural difference. Fictional relationships come to life. When I turned the last page, I went to look for another one of Lahiri's works so I could keep reading.

Tactics by Gregory Koukl- a practical plan for Christians wanting to share their faith and their trust as followers of Jesus. In the old school style of the unassuming and rumply detective Columbo, readers are encouraged to ask questions, to listen carefully, and to be "wise as serpents and innocent as doves," but always ready to give a reason.

(photo of "Vintage Book Stack in Beautiful Blues, Aquas, & Slates" from sugarSCOUT at

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