31 December 2011

For the Love of Books: 2011 Reads

Books I read in 2011...

Sink Reflections
Marla Cilley, 2002

Knowing God by Name: A Personal Encounter
Mary A. Kassian, 2008
   This simple study (I've used it as an opening devotional) is so great, I've just finished my second trip through the content. It's a great way to get to know the names of God, as well as more deeply process what that means for me as I try to know better the God whom I serve daily.
    If you're trying to purchase a copy, go through Lifeway (either a store or online), as it's only $11.95 for a new copy. People on the Amazon marketplace have some strange conception that a book still available is worth $90 on the second-hand market.

The Swan Thieves
Elizabeth Kostova, 2010
   Kostova's first novel, The Historian, was incredibly executed in its combination of history with its suspenseful plot. I'm working my way through her follow-up, which has been reviewed as very similar in style (and is, in my brief time with the book thus far).
   The way in which Kostova weaves several seemingly separate stories together is magnificent. Remembering the outcome of her first book, I find myself examining each piece of narrative for clues as to what is really happening as Dr. Marlow (psychiatrist) seeks to uncover the root of his patient's madness (the near-mute artist, Robert Oliver), as Kostova traverses the landscape of artists and styles that marked 19th century French culture.

When God Writes Your Love Story
Eric and Leslie Ludy, 2009 (Expanded Edition) 

The Princess and the Goblin
George MacDonald, 1872

The Fitting Room: Putting on the Character of Christ
Kelly Minter, 2011

No Other gods: Confronting Our Modern Day Idols
Kelly Minter, 2008

Water into Wine: Hope for the Miraculous in the Struggle of the Mundane
Kelly Minter, 2004

Chronicles of Avonlea
L.M. Montgomery, 1912

Emily of New Moon
L.M. Montgomery, 1923  

Further Chronicles of Avonlea
L.M. Montgomery, 1920
The Story Girl
L.M. Montgomery, 1911

Spectacular Sins
John Piper, 2008
    Chris and I read this on car trips, one chapter at a time - because it generates some really great, purposive discussions. It's an interesting (and short, which is unusual for Piper) examination of how the great sins of people in the Bible were meant to display the greater glory of God. It may be short, but it's deep. Super-deep.

Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy, 1877
   Since Christopher has been listening to this in the car, I picked up a copy for myself to read (since I both cannot process by listening and I'm not with him most of the time that he's listening). Best $9 I've spent in a long time.
   The book is long (750+ pages in the Barnes&Noble Classics version), but it is easy to get swept up in the picture of Russia that Tolstoy created - and even easier to be entranced by the implications of cultural change and the march of progress. One of the best narratives (whether intentional or not) of the idea that "desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death" (James 1:15). Incredible. 

One Thousand Gifts
Ann Voskamp, 2010
   My beautiful sister-in-law, Elise, sent me this book. I assume that means she has read it and suspected it would speak to my soul! I'm not very far in, but it is already the cause of some stirrings in my heart - a heart that has been somewhat dormant, bitter, and felt forgotten for some time.
    I'm still adjusting to Voskamp's unique style (very similar to Madeleine L'Engle's Crosswicks journals, which are some of my favorite books - but still a very unique style that isn't found in much, so it takes readjustment). I'm also trying to get myself to look past the fact that the text is left aligned and not justified... but that's because I'm a huge dork.