I’ve read plenty of books this year. Some good, some bad, some so bad that I forgot their names, but I’ve decided to make a list of the ten books that have meant the most this year to me.
By the way, this list is in no particular order.
- The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
In this humorous and perceptive exchange between two devils, C. S. Lewis delves into moral questions about good vs. evil, temptation, repentance, and grace. Through this wonderful tale, the reader emerges with a better understanding of what it means to live a faithful life.
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The most popular of C. S. Lewis’ works of nonfiction, Mere Christianity has sold several million copies worldwide. It brings together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks of the war years, talks in which he set out simply to “explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times.” Rejecting the boundaries that divide Christianity’s many denominations, Lewis finds a common ground on which all Christians can stand together, and provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear a powerful, rational case for their faith. It is a collection of scintillating brilliance that remains strikingly fresh and confirms C. S. Lewis’ reputation as one of the leading writers and thinkers of our age.
- Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller
“I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. I used to not like God because God didn’t resolve. But that was before any of this happened.” ―Donald Miller
In Donald Miller’s early years, he was vaguely familiar with a distant God. But when he came to know Jesus Christ, he pursued the Christian life with great zeal. Within a few years he had a successful ministry that ultimately left him feeling empty, burned out, and, once again, far away from God. In this intimate, soul-searching account, Miller describes his remarkable journey back to a culturally relevant, infinitely loving God.
For anyone wondering if the Christian faith is still relevant in a postmodern culture.
For anyone thirsting for a genuine encounter with a God who is real.
For anyone yearning for a renewed sense of passion in life.
Blue Like Jazz is a fresh and original perspective on life, love, and redemption.
I also recommend watching the movie, Blue Like Jazz. I’m not a fan of “Christian” movies because they tend to be so watered down and just dumb(although they do manage to get a message across), but this movie isn’t like that. It’s not watered down. The language is not toned down. It’s pretty realistic when it comes to walking away from God, and it gets the message across very well. Basically, it’s not like most “Christian” movies.
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires…
The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning … along with the houses in which they were hidden.
Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames… never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid.
Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think… and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do
- Looking for Alaska by John Green
Miles “Pudge” Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.”
Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.
- A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Study in Scarlet is the first published story involving the legendary Sherlock Holmes, arguably the world’s best-known detective, and the first narrative by Holmes’s Boswell, the unassuming Dr. Watson, a military surgeon lately returned from the Afghan War. Watson needs a flat-mate and a diversion. Holmes needs a foil. And thus a great literary collaboration begins. Watson and Holmes move to a now-famous address, 221B Baker Street, where Watson is introduced to Holmes’s eccentricities as well as his uncanny ability to deduce information about his fellow beings. Somewhat shaken by Holmes’s egotism, Watson is nonetheless dazzled by his seemingly magical ability to provide detailed information about a man glimpsed once under the streetlamp across the road. Then murder. Facing a deserted house, a twisted corpse with no wounds, a mysterious phrase drawn in blood on the wall, and the buffoons of Scotland Yard–Lestrade and Gregson–Holmes measures, observes, picks up a pinch of this and a pinch of that, and generally baffles his faithful Watson. Later, Holmes explains: “In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backward…. There are few people who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result.” Holmes is in that elite group.
- Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
relates the experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage. The Mariner stops a man who is on the way to a wedding ceremony and begins to narrate a story. The Wedding-Guest’s reaction turns from bemusement to impatience and fear to fascination as the Mariner’s story progresses
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider to destroy the One ring before it falls into the hands of Sauron.
- Street Boys by Lorenzo Carcaterra
It’s late September. The war in Europe is almost won. Italy is leaderless, Mussolini already arrested by anti-Fascists. The German army has evacuated the city of Naples. Adults, even entire families, have been marched off to work camps or simply sent off to their deaths. Now, the German army is moving toward Naples to finish the job. Their chilling instructions are: If the city can’t belong to Hitler, it will belong to no one.
No one but children. Children who have been orphaned or hidden by parents in a last, defiant gesture against the Nazis. Children, some as young as ten years old, armed with just a handful of guns, unexploded bombs, and their own ingenuity. Children who are determined to take on the advancing enemy and save the city—or die try
This is my list of the ten books that have influenced me the most this year, so what’s yours?