Here are the 29 books I read in 2010 with my rating and a brief review of each. My favorite read of the year (besides the Bible) is a tossup between the Naked Gospel and Outliers. My least favorite read of the year goes to Live Sent by Jason Dukes. Here they are in the order I finished them.
The Baseball Fanatic by Louis D. Rubin Jr (3) This is a very light read with baseball quotes from people connected to the game. Good for the coffee table or even a more private reading spotâ€¦
The Search for God and Guiness by Stephen Mansfield (4.5) This is a great story about the history of the Guiness family and their surprising influence on Ireland because of their faith. Makes me wish I enjoyed the taste of Guiness. A very engaging story for any history buff.
Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind by Charles Nicholl (3) This is a tough read that I had to push through. Iâ€™m intrigued by da Vinciâ€™s life, but this book is fairly dry and pretty long. Iâ€™d only recommend this for the bold (or those with a lot of extra time on their hands).
Live Sent by Jason C Dukes (2) I was given a free copy of this to review and Iâ€™m glad I didnâ€™t spend any money on it. It wasnâ€™t a difficult book, or even long, but it was a hard read for me just because I was bored with the content and didnâ€™t feel like it had anything original in it.
The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley (5) Fantastic book! Not for the faint of faith though. This will get you questioning things about your faith that may make you uncomfortable. But to those who are willing, it will totally rock how you view Jesus and will inspire you to reread your Bible in ways you never have before. Loved it.
Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun (4) If you donâ€™t currently do any public speaking and have no desire to, then skip this one. However, to those of us that speak publicly on a regular basis, I found it very helpful. Scott tells lessons he has learned from his own experiences and it was insightful for me to learn from.
The Prehistory of the Far Side by Gary Larson (3) I love Far Side comics, and this book shows them with early editions of the cartoons as well as explanations of why Gary drew what he did. Very interesting for those of us that like the behind the scenes look at people who create art.
The 60 Second Leader by Phil Dourado (3) This is another bathroom book. Each chapter is in short bits, so it is easy to read and come back to without skipping a beat. Not the most riveting book on leadership Iâ€™ve ever read, but it did have a few interesting stories in it and it is a good reminder for ideas youâ€™ve probably read elsewhere.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (3) Kind of a sci-fi fictional story. I didnâ€™t particularly care for the message behind the book, but the story was fairly engaging. I have heard a lot of people talk about this book so I wanted to read it for myself.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine Lâ€™Engle (3) A classic book that is often talked about. It is an easy read but the story seemed rushed to me. And a little bizarre.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (3) I listened to the audiobook of this and hated it because of the guys voice. If I actually read it I would probably have liked it much more. It is an emotionally tough story for any parent so donâ€™t read this if you are looking for a good summer read by the pool.
Aliceâ€™s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (3) I read this because it is obviously a classic and I wanted to experience it for myself. And I quickly wondered why this is a classic. Letâ€™s put it this way: it is categorized as â€œliterary nonsense.â€ That should say it all. Iâ€™d recommend you watch the Johnny Depp movie first and then see if you want to read the backstory on it. This book has all the characters without any real plot to speak of.
Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll (3) Read my above review for Alice in Wonderland. Ditto
The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel (3) A disappointing book for me. I was expecting a lot more based on the intrigue of the title and the author. The best part is the last section of the book.
Old Wivesâ€™ Tales by Thomas Craughwell (3.5) Actually fairly interesting. This is another light read that you can pick up anytime. Amazing how many of the urban legends that they address in the book come up in conversation. A good light read.
Divine Foreknowledge by James K. Beilby (3.5) If you arenâ€™t a theology buff then this will bore you to sleep. If you ever wanted to go to Bible College, then read away. This is my favorite nonessential issue of Christianity and the book gives you four perspectives on the topic of Godâ€™s foreknowledge. Keep a dictionary handy though as you are going to learn a lot of new words!
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (5) Terrific book. This has become my favorite Gladwell book. Iâ€™d recommend this to anyone. Why do some people succeed and others donâ€™t? Gladwell answers it through stories and case studies and gives you a lot to think about.
The Inferno by Dante Alighieri (4) This is another literary classic and I think it is well worth the read. It is poetry that is translated from Italian, and Iâ€™d strongly recommend the Ciardi translation with his intros to each chapter. Iâ€™d consider this a medium to hard book but it is broken up into short chapters and the story moves quickly. If you like classics, youâ€™ll like this. This is the first book of Danteâ€™s Divine Comedy and it is a journey through hell.
Rework by Jason Fried (4.5) An easy read (because itâ€™s well written, not because itâ€™s shallow) that challenges some of the normal ways of viewing business. Reminded me of my favorite leadership book, The Contrarianâ€™s Guide to Leadership. This is a great read and I highly recommend it. Rare to find a book with such great ideas and such an easy readability.
Hipster Christianity by Brett McCracken (5) A terrific book wrestling with the question of whether or not we should try to make Christianity cool or abandon it as uncool. Probably the best book making sense out of the Church in America. I highly recommend this read to anybody.
The Purgatorio by Dante Alighieri (4) See my review above for Danteâ€™s Inferno. This is the second book of the three that make up the Divine Comedy. Surprisingly, this was my favorite of the three.
The Paradiso by Dante Alighieri (3.5) See my review above for Danteâ€™s Inferno. This is the third book of the three that make up the Divine Comedy and was surprisingly my least favorite. This one has a lot of Catholic doctrine in it.
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell (4) Gladwell has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Not my favorite of his books, but it is a collection of his essays from The New Yorker and as such provides a nice shotgun of ideas to digest.
Drive by Daniel Pink (4.5) He completely rocks your thinking about how people respond best and to which type of motivation. If you lead anybody, employees or kids or anyone else to who you have influence, this book is a must read.
Treasured Poems by Mary Sanford Laurence (3) A good intro to poetry. Provides a good snapshot of a handful of famous poets. They arenâ€™t written by Mary, just compiled.
The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard (3.5) A classic work of theology with very thought provoking sections but itâ€™s WAY longer than it needs to be.
The Day Metallica Came to Church by John Van Sloten (4) An easy and powerful read. His idea of â€œco-illuminationâ€ has found a permanent spot in my vocabulary.
In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (4) A motivating look at what our Christian faith should look like. He changes the focus from not doing bad things to instead focusing on the things we should be doing. If your version of Christianity doesn’t involve a healthy dose of risk, this is a good read for you.
The Bible by God and His friends (5+) In 2010 I read through the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) using the Route 66 reading plan that Central went through together. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the NRSV.