Who knew that a serial killer at the World’s Columbian Exposition could make for such fascinating history? Larson covers the people and places involved in making a fair a fair, inspiring us with vignettes of innovators like George Ferris or creatives like Daniel Burnham or marketers like Sol Bloom.
To all those people who told me “You should read Blue Like Jazz” numerous times over the years: You were right. Blue Like Jazz is a disarmingly honest and hope-filled response to Jeremiah 29:13’s promise: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek for me with all your heart.” The next time another culture-shaping book is written from a biblical and approachable perspective, I’ll be listening for the recommendations.
We are on our second or third read through The Wingfeather Saga. I love reading from the perspective of our 8- and 6-year-olds who do not yet know how the story ends! This allegorical tale has wit, humor, love, bravery, and redemption. The story gets intense, so we are taking our time through the series—it’s ideal for 9-10 and up.
Review: While going through this book, I made a ridiculous amount of notes. Since reading, I’ve recommended it a ridiculous amount of times. It’s full of practical, gospel-centered ways to support the next generation as they build lasting faith! Parents, grandparents, mentors, teachers: read it.
Review: Seven stars. If you are living the intentional life and haven’t read it, I highly recommend Living Forward. And ask me in a year how my life plan is going!
Best Science Fiction Inspired by Another Read Childhood’s End Arthur C Clarke 5/5
In The Year of Our Lord 1943, Alan Jacobs mentions that this book was written just after Lewis’s That Hideous Strength, one of my favorite fictional reads, and is in many ways the reverse image of the book. About Childhood’s End, Lewis wrote “Here we meet a modern author who understands that there may be things that have a higher claim than the survival or happiness of humanity.” That reference called for a thoughtful read of what I discovered was a dystopian classic.
Someone once mentioned that Flannery O’Connor wrote short stories about grace. I would propose that in fact she wrote about the absence of grace—what “There, but for the grace of God, go I” actually looks like lived out in someone’s life. One does not read Flannery O’Connor for fun. Her short stories, however, inspire compassion for those you might otherwise reject, and make you want to root out every last vestige of judgmental moral superiority.
This romp through the fantasy world of Prydain is good, true, and beautiful. I prefer the other books in the series to the seemingly flat character development of this one, but the series starts here and it’s a good one.
Just plain fun! D.A. Wilkerson’s shorter stories can be enjoyed over a holiday weekend or on a long car ride, and it’s fun to try to solve the mystery along the way.
Best Re-Read and Proof You’re a Nerd That Hideous Strength (The Space Trilogy, #3) C.S. Lewis 7/5
In Out of the Silent Planet, Lewis asks “What if there were life on other planets?” In Perelandra, he asks, “What if, on one of these planets, there were a man and a woman that faced temptation and did not choose disobedience?” And in That Hideous Strength, he asks “What if, on earth, there were principalities and powers warring in the heavenly realms, and people were a real part of that, and we were all a part of a final battle of good versus evil?”
What if indeed.
Full 2022 Book List
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos Jordan B. Peterson 3/5 Review: This book is subtitled “An Antidote to Chaos,” but I feel like the ideas are themself chaos. Peterson must be read with wisdom and discernment and the knowledge that he does not currently claim a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Rather, he actively references the Bible as a historical source much like one would reference the writings of Plato or Aristotle. Christians would be wise to acknowledge that his worldview is “religious,” not biblical, therefore his teachings often conflict with the Bible itself.
The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis Alan Jacobs 4/5 Review: Four stars, I think? This is a dense read and I’m still pondering the point of it all…It gave me a lot to think about and left me wanting to learn even more about the five people he profiles throughout: Jacques Maritain, T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, W. H. Auden, and Simone Weil.
Cyrano de Bergerac Edmond Rostand 5/5 Review: This will always be one of my favorite plays, right next to “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Every so often it deserves a read through.
Dune (Dune, #1) Frank Herbert 5/5 Review: It was time to read my first book by Frank Herbert. Like everyone else in the world, I read it about the time the movie came out. This series opener is well done.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler E.L. Konigsburg 4/5 Review: Why did I read this book, you ask? Because a favorite book in my childhood was The Bridge by Jeri Massi, and on an online forum that I frequent she recommended From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. It is written in the grand style of the kid-friendly whodunit.