Review of My 2012 Reading

Over a year ago, a friend of mine introduced me to GoodReads.com, a social app for avid readers. At the beginning of 2012, it had a reading challenge of how many books I could complete in a year. I set a goal for myself to read 48 books, just four a month. As I went through the year and kept track of my reading, I was surprised on December 31 to learn that I had actually read 52. So, now that we are more than a month into the new year, let me share some of my favorites with you and why I enjoyed them.

Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman was encouraging to my heart. Mary Beth’s personality really comes out through the stories she tells of her family, the experience of losing a daughter, and love of the Christian community as they wrapped their arms, literally and spiritually, around the Chapman family during their personal tragedy. I laughed and cried as I read the touching memories, struggles, highs and lows. Throughout the story, the truth of a loving God who cares is marvelously woven onto each page.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is another biographical story of Louis Zamperini, a young lieutenant in the Army Air Force of WWII. Louis’ plane was shot down in the South Pacific in 1943 and the book is his story of survival until the end of the war. What I got out of the book was an account of life-giving hope. The hope Louis held and the vision of freedom from his captures allowed him to survive terrifying ordeals.
The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne is a book that challenged me the most throughout the year. Shane describes his faith as he puts it into practice. Before writing the book, Shane served with Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Mercy in Calcutta, visited families in Iraq during the most recent war, and dumped thousands of dollars in coins on Wall Street as his way of redistributing wealth. Shane’s perspective of living a Christian life challenged me in a few ways. Most notably, it challenged my perspective of being an American Christian. A few things I thought about living a Christian life, were more likely views consistent with being a Christian in America.
This year I was introduced to Andy Andrews’ writing. I read several of his books, but Island of Saints really stuck out to me. A follow-up to The Traveler’s Gift, this book examines the question, “What is one thing humanity can do to change the course it is on?” Wise sages from across the ages are invited to help brainstorm the correct answer to this question. While they bring up many things, the correct answer will likely surprise you!
What books have you read recently that have inspired or challenged you? Please share in the comments below so that we can all build our reading lists!

Waking Up is Hard to Do

The other day, my alarm went off at the regular time of 5:10 a.m. My first thought was, “I really don’t want to get up.” But the alternative of picking up my phone and fumbling with it to snooze the alarm required too much thought and effort. I decided it was just easier to turn it off and get up. Read the rest of this entry »