I got through 84 books in 2022. Partly this was because I read some very short books (and I’ll be honest, I had a few moments where I said to myself “I could finally read Anna Karenina, but that would really mess up my “Goodreads” numbers, so I might read a shorter book instead“), but a lot of my “reading” also happens by way of audiobook. I asked my Librarian sister if that still counted as “reading” and she said it does, so that’s good enough for me.
One of the great benefits of the audiobook thing has been that I’ve borrowed lots of free books from the Library apps, “Borrowbox”, “Libby” and “IndyReads”. Restricted by their limited collections and the books that aren’t on loan, it’s meant that I read a lot of books that I might not have otherwise touched! Always good to broaden your horizons. This is what put me onto Australian murder mysteries, but it’s also what convinced me that there are a whole bunch of tropes that come with those mysteries!
Anyway, I thought I’d put together a little collection of my 5 favourite books different genres. The fact that this will hopefully kick off my blogging again is just a corollary benefit. So here we go!
Best History Book–
Bullies and Saints by John Dickson
One of the challenges with Church history books is that Christians tend to write them as hagiographies. One would be excused for thinking that butter has never melted in the mouths of history’s great characters. John Dickson’s book tackles Christian history warts and all. It’s important to acknowledge that Christians have done some spectacularly stupid things throughout history, but that said, on the balance, Christianity has been a net positive and many of the evils enacted by the church are very much condemned by Jesus himself.
John Dickson is very easy to read & if you know someone who is a little skeptical, this is a great “conversation starter” book.
Tough by Terry Crews
I” be honest. I read this book because I love Terry in “Brooklyn 99” and I thought I had heard somewhere that he was a Christian. I really was not anticipating that I would love this book as much as I did. Terry is raw in his honesty, confronting the abuse he experienced as a child as well as the toxic nature of his behaviour for much of his life. For a guy who is one of the most impressive physical specimens in the world, it is heart-warming to hear him speak about the importance of emotional vulnerability and the vital importance of people in positions of power/influence using the power for the advancement of those around them.
Terry is a multi-talented guy. He was an athlete, he’s an actor, fine-art painter, dancer, and he can definitely add “author” to the resume. Of all my books this year, this one was most definitely the “surprisingly awesome” winner!
Lead by Paul David Tripp
We worked through this book as a staff team at my work. I figured it would be just another book on leadership with a bunch of encouraging quotes, but not much else.
Tripp does an amazing job at calling out and speaking into many of the toxic behaviours that leaders can display. I particularly enjoyed his calling out the dangers that come with success in leadership and the constant need for people in positions of authority to humble themselves before God as well as before those people they serve (as all good leaders are supposed to serve those under them!).
Trip also looks at things like acknowledging our limits & building a culture of honesty. A great book for any Christian in leadership.
Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
I read and enjoyed “No Country for Old Men” and “The Road”, so figured that I ought to give his Magnum Opus a try. It was long…. it had lots of words that I needed to look up in a dictionary (to the point where sometimes I was happy to just go with understanding via context) and it was one of the most violent books I have ever read (one professional reviewer said that it took him five attempts to read the book, because they found it’s violence too confronting), but McCarthy’s language is beautiful, and even though his picture of the Wild South West is horrifying, he also captures some of the beauty of this vast and terrifying landscape.
Most definitely not a book for everyone.
Favourite Work of Fiction
11/22/’63 by Stephen King
It’s the second time I have read this book (which you can also watch as a TV series on “Stan”), and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time. In the first instance, this is a time-travel story, where the main character Jake Epping finds out a way to go back in time to the late 50’s. He decides that the best way to make use of this awesome opportunity it to save JFK’s life and through this, hopefully stop the cascading tragedies that are the Vietnam war, MLK Jr.’s assassination and other things.
At the heart of this story, however, is Stephen King’s fascination with the whole Lee Harvey Oswald story. This page-turner of a novel looks closer of the history of the 20th Century’s most famous assassin & the likelihood of whether or not he had any help. King, who is the easiest to read author I know, also manages to weave a love story, a thriller and a teeny bit of paranormal into this story. Such a great book!
There are lots of other books that I read & loved & if you are interested, you should go check out my Goodreads (and friend me if you haven’t yet).
Let’s wait & see whether or not I manage to write about reading more often in 2023, or like last time, I get one blog in & then stop!?