Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Books You Should Read

[Ed. note: this was originally posted on my professional blog, before it was solely a professional blog.  All comments were lost in the transfer- sorry!] 

On January 10 I will be another year older and wiser. To that end, I've decided to "copy" an idea originated by the Gat and modeled by Todd in honor of their 30th birthdays. There are few things I enjoy more than reading a good book so here is my list of 27 books that made the cut. I'm including fiction, nonfiction, serious, and nonserious because I can. My list of favorites is always changing and expanding. Feel free to let me know if you have any recommendations. If you're not a big reader, there's no better time to change. Before you know it, you'll be joining me in saying, "I heart reading!"

Top 27 Books (in really no particular order):
1. A Prayer for Owen Meany- John Irving The rich characters, compelling plot, and spiritual undertones- I cry nearly everytime I read this wonderful novel. Hollywood tragically attempted to bring the story to the big screen with "Simon Birch" but there's no way to capture a character like Owen Meany outside of your imagination.
2. The Chronicles of Narnia- C.S. Lewis A movie adaptation that Holywood didn't screw up: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I was thrilled to see Aslan come to life! Lewis paints such amazing tales. Good to read when I was a child and even better as a grown up.
3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- Betty Smith My all time favorite book when I was in middle school.
4. A New Kind of Christian- Brian McLaren An author that explores Christianity outside of the box. After reading this, I finally felt ready to take back my abandoned faith and wrestle with God a bit. It was refreshing to see that there were others out there like me who didn't quite fit into the conservative church we had grown up in.
5. Beach Music- Pat Conroy Tear jerker. Made me want to live in Italy in the worst way.
6. My Sister's Keeper- Jodi Picoult I became an instant fan of Picoult after reading this and I've been racing through the rest of her books ever since. She writes about controversial subject matter, turns ethics on its head, and leaves you wanting more. When I read the last few pages of her books, I have to reread them a few times because the twist is so subtle, I'm sure that it can't be the actual ending. Phenomenal!
7. Flabbergasted- Ray Blackston Laugh out loud funny! Blackston is an awesome, friendly author- we emailed a bit after this book came out. He has a fresh voice.
8. What's So Amazing About Grace?- Philip Yancey Yancey makes the concept of grace easier to grasp with a fresh understanding of God's gift to us.
9. Traveling Light- Max Lucado Lucado is not the best author I've ever read but his words often sear into my heart. This particular book is on the 23rd Psalm. I started reading it to see if it was appropriate to give to a friend who was struggling with loss. He had unique insights on the familiar verses. It really struck home though when my 22 year old cousin Scott died while I was in the middle of the book. My aunt and uncle chose that same Psalm to be read at his funeral. The words were more comforting because of what I had read in Traveling Light.
10. Harry Potter series- J.K. Rowling I did my best to resist reading these books despite mulitple recommendations- I knew I would get sucked in. And I did. I'm happy more kids are reading!
11. Sacred Thirst- M. Craig Barnes Good for anyone going through a spiritually dry period. I go back to Barnes' words time and time again.
12. The Call- Os. Guinness Helpful devotional on finding our true purpose.
13. Redeeming Love- Francine Rivers Christian romance at its finest (which is an ironic statement, but this is really good!) Another tear jerker.
14. Beginner's Luck- Laura Pedersen Fresh and funny tale of a 16 year old gambler.
15. A Wrinkle in Time- Madeline L'engle Love, love, love this story of the Murray children's adventure! I read the continuing stories by L'engle but find this one to be the best.
16. Anne of Green Gables-L.M. Montgomery Who doesn't root for the red haired orphan as she wins over the Cuthberts and, even better, Gilbert Blythe? Oh for some raspberry cordial!
17. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen Mr. Darcy, need I say more?
18. Bridget Jones' Diary- Helen Fielding Modern telling of Pride and Prejudice, I related to Bridget's plights and her quest to find a man who would love her just the way she is.
19. White Oleander- Janet Fitch Infinitely better than the movie, a heartbreaking story.
20. I Know This Much is True- Wally Lamb A brother watches over his twin who is schizophrenic and tries to keep his own life from falling to shambles. Lengthy but worth it.
21. When the Heart Waits- Sue Monk Kidd Encouraging words for times of growth, distress, waiting, and despair.
22. The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger The best book I read in 1997. Eye opening.
23. Ordinary People- Judith Guest Portrait of the aftermath of grief in an everyday family and the splinters it leaves. I despised the mother by the end.
24. Black and Blue- Anna Quindlen Unflinching portrayal of domestic violence and the lengths a woman will go to in order to protect her son. A real page turner.
25. What a Girls Wants- Kristin Billerbeck Relatable, well-written Christian chick lit. Hillarious! You'll be asking yourself, are you a Season or a Reason?
26. Chronicles of Zion and Covenant of Zion series- Brock and Bodie Thoene Compelling fiction placed during WWII and its aftermath. I love this time period and the Thoenes give expert attention to historical detail.
27. Little Women- Louisa May Alcott I always thought of myself as a combination of the strongminded Jo and artistic Amy.

Soon to be added to the list? The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama. I am falling even more in love with him with every page!

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