Books read from October through December. Next reading list viewable by clicking here. Running yearly count: 36.
The Christian’s Great Interest – William Guthrie (1668); Print // This little Puritan gem is an encouraging and pastoral work on assurance. Any stereotypes of the Puritans as harsh and cold are thrown out the window after reading this. Far from endorsing an overly-introspective method (contra Edwards), Guthrie’s work is saturated in Scripture and gracious exhortations to “close with Christ” and to work out our salvation.
The Complete Short Stories – Flannery O’Connor (1971); Print // O’Connor’s fiction work proved darker and more macabre than I expected, but not necessarily in a bad way. Her stories often revolve around a stranger, a misfit, or a “freak,” often with unsettling or surprising results. Enjoyable, but definitely not a light or easy read.
The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis (1945); Print // Another Lewis re-read this year, and better than I remember. Though he meant it as an allegorical/fictional work, it has proved very thought provoking and influential in my eschatological thinking. Lewis flips the stereotypical view of heaven as disembodied spirits playing harps on clouds on its head, instead (and I think rightly) portraying heaven as a world more real, more physical, more solid than our own. His view of hell is a little sketchy, but otherwise an incredible work.
Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison (1952); Library // Powerful, gut wrenching, and brilliantly written work of fiction centering around the meteoric rising, falling, and enlightening of an educated and ambitious young black man in mid-twentieth century America.
Money, Possessions, and Eternity – Randy Alcorn (2003); Kindle // Very good book (though a bit long/repetitive) on the Christian’s view of money. Criticizes both wealth-hungry and ascetic views in a well-balanced perspective. He purposely avoids practical advice, but the thoughts throughout the book on on giving and generosity as eternal investments were great, and the brief sections on insurance and investing were also good.
Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life – R.C. Sproul (2009); Kindle // Sproul discusses the interesting perspective of both suffering and death as vocations, and, quite helpfully, justice in light of Job, Ecclesiastes, and the gospels. He spends much of the book on death and the afterlife, and I wish he spent more time unpacking the role of suffering in the Christian life.