3Q13 Book Briefs

Here are the books I read from July through September, 2013. My next list of reading goals is live here. I am also trying to finish Carson’s commentary on John and The Valley of Vision this year. As you can see, the novelty of reading on a Kindle has greatly diminished, as I read just one electronic book this quarter.

Death By Living – N.D. Wilson (2013); Print // His followup to one of my top books of 2009, which was a hard one to follow. This isn’t a sophomore slump by any stretch, but it wasn’t as unified or eye-opening as Notes from the Tilt-a-WhirlNotes… presented a way of viewing life and creation while Death By Living presents a way of living one’s life in light of our impending death. It is creative and interesting, though I think its intimately autobiographical nature made it less personal to the reader than Notes.

Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything – Steve DeWitt (2012); Print // My expectations were sky-high because the reviews I read were off the charts, so it was inevitable to experience a letdown. But it was still a solid book. He starts with the incomprehensible beauty of the Triune God himself, and then to how God’s beauty is manifested in creation and the gospel. Most helpful were discussions on how God is always bigger than our view of him, and that Christian vs. secular art/culture is a dichotomy to be avoided.

Fidelity: What it Means to be a One-Woman Man – Doug Wilson (2004); Print // Strong book on being a faithful husband. Wilson has no patience or tolerance for waffling, spineless husbands. Pastoral and direct.

Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World – Joel Salatin (2011); Print // I’ve enjoyed Salatin’s interviews in food documentaries and his cameos in Michael Pollan’s books, but a full book by Salatin is an acquired taste that I have not acquired. Skimmed through most of it, but didn’t actually finish. I agree with many of his ideas, but his voice is very self-oriented, defensive to a fault, and pushing the boundaries of arrogant.

Home – Marilynne Robinson (2008); Print // One of the most beautiful, moving books I’ve ever read; a front runner for my book of the year. A reinterpretation of the prodigal son parable, this is heart-wrenching, grace-filled, and sublime. Home is the sequel to her Pulitzer Prize winning Gilead, though I think Home is the better of the two.

How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture – Francis Schaeffer (1976); Print // I was expecting something a little more in-depth, so I was a little disappointed. It is a good Christian introduction to Western art, culture, and philosophy, though there are probably more current introductory books on the topic that are just as helpful.

Humor and Information Literacy: Practical Techniques for Library Instruction – Joshua Vossler and Scott Shiedlower (2011); Kindle // Read in preparation for taking on more library instruction sessions this semester. Helpful, though most of the book was comprised of literature reviews, which were dry and long.

Lancelot – Walker Percy (1977); Print // Written entirely via the monologue/flashback of a ranting institutionalized protagonist on a quest to prove the existence of God by proving the existence of one purely evil act. Contains standard Percy themes like existential awakening, lusty Southern women, and earthy Catholicism, but much darker and more disturbing than his other novels. Good, but I do hesitate to recommend it wholesale.

A Neglected Grace: Family Worship in the Christian Home – Jason Helopoulos (2013); Print // Short, pithy, and a good kick in the pants to (like Nike) just do it. He argues that family worship should, at minimum, include three elements: Scripture reading, prayer, and singing. Many treatments on family worship either forget or downplay singing, so that was refreshing. No excuses for tone-deafness!

The Psalter Reclaimed: Praying and Praising with the Psalms – Gordon Wenham (2013); Print // I really enjoyed this one and learned lots. Very insightful treatment of the psalter as a whole, as well as their individual genres. Repetitive at points because it is a collection of lectures, so it could have used a more thorough editor. But still very good.

One thought on “3Q13 Book Briefs

  1. I read your list wondering, “Which of these will I ask to borrow for my reading week?” Please set any aside you think I would benefit from reading! Dad

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