Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Books I Actually Finished

Here's a list of the books I actually finished in 2008. 16 in all. Next to the author's name is the date I finished. Enjoy.

1. Out of Africa
, Isak Dinesen (2/19)
This is an autobiography that I had to read for a class, but it turned out to be one of my favorites of the year. After I finished, I learned that it's also a movie, and that the movie won best picture in 1985. I haven't rented the movie yet, but someday, I will. It's a great read about a women who lives in Africa on a farm with natives. It's basically a collection of vignettes about her time there with the people. Great read.
2. Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, Mary McCarthy (3/1)
I had to read this one for the same class. Wasn't as good. Slightly interesting, but mostly sub-par. I'm not going to recommend this one.
3. Life of Pi, Yann Martel (2/24)
This was a fun and interesting and (seemingly) thought provoking read. I thought it was going to be pretty deep and present some big questions, but in the end it basically presented its underlying philosophy flat out: believe whatever is easiest for you to believe.
4. Lord Foulgrin’s Letters, Randy Alcorn (3/3)
A modern day Screwtape Letters. Always good to get the demon's perspective. Scares you a bit.
5. Poetics, Aristotle (2/28)
Pretty much all of creative writing technique is based on this short, less than 150 page book by Aristotle. If you want to be a writer it's an essential. If not, pass on it.
6. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (4/30)
I guess I expected to find symbolism and cool connections with reality and so on, but, to me, it was just a non-sensical story that had its moments but really went on too long.
7. Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell (4/28)
Another autobiography. It's Orwell's story of his early days as a homeless, jobless, hungry vagrant in the streets on Paris and, well, London. An interesting perspective and a good read. If you like autobiographies, consider it.
8. Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey (5/4)
Good advice on getting out of debt. Luckily, I'm not in too much debt (darn student loans!)
9. The War of Art, Steven Pressfield (5/25)
Dr. Jack Simons, my college adviser and professor for many of my writing classes, gave this to me as a gift upon my graduation. I read it pretty quickly (the chapters are really short and that always makes it easy for me). It was somewhat enjoyable, but it was mostly just saying that if you want to be a writer, you have to please the muses of writing by sitting down and writing 2 hours a day, rain or shine. The funny thing was he actually believed in muses, which was kinda weird.
10. Desiring God, John Piper (8/3)
Awesome book that has gotten me hooked on all things Piper. Read him for challenge or inspiration or deep thinking. Desiring God especially has it all. Read it.
11. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Prisig (8/12)
This is simply a philosophy book in story form. Hard to follow at times, and not entirely worth it at the end. Interesting, but, in a sense, futile.
12. The Road, Cormac McCarthy (10/11)
This was a pretty sweet book. McCarthy is coming off a good year after what's become of No Country and has grabbed my attention. He has a certain style that I like, simple and concrete, Hemingway-ish, I might say, but also quite pulling emotionally. Tragic yet hopeful-- and also a brilliant depiction of our world.
13. Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper (12/1)
Every high school graduate Christian should read this book. Period. It's incredible.
14. Peace Child,
Don Richardson (12/2)
I love reading missionary stories, and this is one of the classics. Set in 1960 Papa New Guinea, in the Sawi tribe, where they have never seen white skin, heard of cars of planes, and most importantly, heard the name of Jesus. In the tribe, treachery and deceit are the highest virtues. It's an incredible story of how God uses the missionaries to bring the gospel to the tribe, and how it turns their world upside down.
15. Crazy Love,
Francis Chan (12/6)
This book is really innovative, with online supplements to some of the chapters and online videos that go with them. In the first chapter he goes: "Now go to and watch the video on there. Seriously. Do it." and then the chapter goes on. You can always count of Francis Chan to do something in a new way. It was a good book, a lot like John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life but a little less of a punch in the face. Maybe it was a punch in the stomach- I don't want to minimize the impact of the punch: it was good.
16. ‘Till We have Faces,
C.S. Lewis (12/26)
You've already read my review to this. If you haven't scroll down one post and you'll see.

1 comment:

Chris McKinny said...

Nice list...I think I might have to do one of my one. If you liked Peace Child you should check out Lords of the Earth by Richardson. It is a very well put together biography.