At the start of 2019, I made the New Year’s resolution to read at least 12 books over the course of the year. It is probably the only resolution I’ve bothered to make and keep. I don’t bother to make new ones anymore, I just renew this one each year. In doing so, I’ve read some great books as well as some clunkers. I generally rotate between fun non-fiction action books and business or philosophy/theology books. Here are a few of my favorites. If you try one of these out or have already read them, let me know what you think in the comments below or on social media.
The Great Divorce ($2.99 on Kindle): I’ve read a couple of C.S. Lewis books. Some are fantastic while others are more academic, tougher reads. Miracles and The Four Loves fall into the latter category. The Great Divorce, which isn’t actually about marriage or divorce at all, falls into the former. In fact, it is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
It is an allegorical tale about a bus in hell departing for heaven. It casts a picture of heaven and hell that Hollywood and our natural imaginations don’t generally provide. It is a reminder that God doesn’t banish people to hell, but rather some people wouldn’t like heaven anyway. It is a very quick and enjoyable read and I’d even say a fun one for folks who aren’t religious or even especially interested in theology.
Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp Series: This has been one of the most fun book series I’ve read. It is a whopping 18 volumes long as it follow CIA super agent Mitch Rapp as he tracks down terrorists and breaks the rules while doing it. While the main focus is generally on Mitch Rapp and team unraveling and stymieing plots the extra wrinkle of the FBI and Capital Hill constantly getting in the way adds depth.
American Assassin which came out in 2010 is the first book in the series. If you want to jump right in and not go all the way back, I’d suggest Pursuit of Honor, which has been my favorite so far (I’m on book 13/18). Unfortunately, Vince Flynn passed away not too long ago, but the series is continuing on as author Kyle Mills has written the last five books in the series and is currently working on the 19th installment to come out in September, 2020.
David and Goliath (Malcolm Gladwell): Despite the name and the other books in this blog post, this one actually isn’t religious in nature at all. Malcolm Gladwell details the ultimate underdog story as an intro to a study on how disadvantages can sometimes become advantages in the most surprising ways. From a ragtag basketball team utilizing a full-court press full-time to incredible memories being developed when mental disorders make reading difficult, Gladwell puts together a fascinating book that most will enjoy and learn from.
Confronting Christianity (Rebecca McLaughlin): Rebecca McLaughlin is a Cambridge PhD that packs her book with historical facts, but it is plainly written and reads nicely, not like a dry dissertation. It is an especially good read for liberal non-believers and for conservative Christians – audiences on opposite ends of the spectrum.
She is someone who, as a European academic, finds herself in a left-leaning crowd and seems to have some of those natural leanings as well. Some of the challenges she tackles are ones that conservatives don’t blink at, but that liberals will be very interested in. It is worthwhile to see how her following Jesus intersects with her being in, what sounds like, a more liberal, secular crowd and being someone has experienced same-sex attraction. It’s especially valuable for conservative readers to see how following Jesus impacted her life and to see that story from an angle we’re less acquainted with.