Booklist, December 2016

The last month of the year has finally come to an end. I didn’t expect to get much reading done this month, but this December surprised me by being calmer than several in previous years, and I finished stronger than I had expected. To finish out the 2016 Reading Challenge, here are my December reads:

1. A book by CS Lewis or JRR Tolkien: Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis. One of the Christian classics that I had always heard of but never read, this was my last read of the year, finishing it just about 15 minutes ago, at 9:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. I really enjoyed it. It was straightforward, for the most part, and I found myself itching for a highlighter and disappointed that it was a library book. It is just what it says it is, a basic description of Christianity as only CS Lewis could write it. Highly recommended.

2. A book based on a true story: The Girl Born Facing Outside, by Jeanette Li. A fascinating and challenging autobiography of a Chinese Christian during the time of the Communist takeover in China. My only hang up was that it wasn’t always told in a linear progression, which is always really distracting to me. 

3. A book written by Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. I read this one because it was on the list, and because my friend loves Jane so. It was actually the first Jane Austen book I’ve ever read, and I enjoyed it. I can’t lie and say that I loved it, but I will go on to read more of her books and see if it’s something I grow to love.

4. A book by David McCullough: The Johnstown Flood, by David McCullough. This book was heartbreaking. It was hard to read. I’ve really grown to love reading history books through this challenge and through homeschooling in previous years, but the thing about reading history is knowing that the terrible things mentioned happened to real people, devastated real lives. It was a good book, but very hard to read.

5. A book written by someone of a different ethnicity than you: The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson. This book was extremely long, over 600 pages, but I was riveted. It was so fascinating. Troubling, yet enlightening. Tracing three families, she masterfully tells the story of the Great Migration, when an astonishing percentage of black people left the South between 1915 and 1970, in search of lives unencumbered by racism. It may be a challenge, either because of its length or because of the story it tells, but after this difficult year, it would do anyone good to read it.

6. A book about productivity: Crazy Busy, by Kevin DeYoung. I’ve read this one before, but was overdue to read it again. I may make it required January reading each year; it’s just that good. As I contemplate letting God fill my plate this year instead of blindly throwing everything possible on it, this book is extremely helpful. A short, easy read that will most certainly benefit you.

7. A book about homosexuality: What the Bible Really Teaches About Homosexuality, by Kevin DeYoung. Helpful, doctrinally sound, but a little dry and hard to stick with. It’s an easy read, not too long, and if you’re reading it out of genuine interest in the topic, I recommend it to you. However, to be honest, I was just reading it because it fit a category and I knew I could finish it quickly. True confessions here. 

8. A book by or about Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. I read this one to my kiddos this year, for the second time. They love it, I love it. A true classic.

9. A historical book: The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw. I confess, reading this immediately after reading The Warmth of Other Suns made for a very interesting dynamic. The very men hailed as heroes–and often rightly so–were also often the men who upheld the racist way of life, and not just in the South. So it was strange reading it. But this was my grandparents’ generation, and that of many other people I love, and compared with current trends, I don’t think there is any question that this generation has much to teach us if we will listen. I wonder how rare true greatness has become. If we were faced with the Great Depression and the Great War, would we stand the test like they did?

So this is my list. A grand total of 71 for the year, or almost 1 1/2 each week. I also read the Bible through this year, finishing partway through November. I don’t know what next year holds, but I know I already have a stack of books on my desk to begin tomorrow. If you are interested in joining me, you can find the 2017 reading challenge here. You can read as few or as many as you like, just use the categories as a chance to broaden your horizons a bit. Happy reading! 

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