The year in books

There were a few books this year that left me in thought, or challenged me, or inspired me. I read a lot of non-fiction. I listen to a lot of fiction. These are a few that stood out.

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry was one I picked up, read some, put down and left, and then went at it again. I had listened to the previous books in the series, but I wanted to read this one. McMurtry was an incredible author. His characters stay with me. The story is magnificent. I was glad I read this one.

Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead was on my wish list for awhile. Amazon came out with a limited series, so I thought I would go ahead and read the book. Less than 100 pages in I was exhausted. The drama and trauma of the story wore into my soul. Emotionally, it’s one of the most impactful books I’ve read since The Color Purple.

I’ve listened to the Holy Post Podcast for years… and you should too. This podcast voices what I’ve had in my heart and mind for years: “What in the world happened to the church I thought I knew???” Skye Jethani is one of the hosts on the show and I picked up one of his books, With. Jethani is a great writer and this book is a quick read. Our walk WITH God directly impacts our walk WITH people. It is full of good reminders for me.

Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler is honest, transparent, and deeply moving. It is full of real emotion about the mixed up world of modern evangelicalism and still finding hope in God.

How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith is a look at how America has handled the conversation on slavery and racism by going to different geographical places in the U.S. He visited the Whitney Plantation, which I visited, so I took those stories he told with me on my journey. His visit to Monticello and encountering the tour guide who was an ex-Navy seal was eye-opening. The idea of PLACE is important and I don’t understand it enough. We keep griping (as white Americans) about people want to “erase history.” It’s a bogus claim. We’d do better to learn MORE history! Clint Smith helps in that journey.

From Strength to Strength by Arthur Brooks fit well with my year and where I am in my life. Earlier this year I lost my dad. It part of processing my loss, I thought about how much time I might have left, all things going well. I have probably less than one third of my life to live, so how will I live this “LAST THIRD.” Brooks had given some speeches on this topic over the last few years, along with a couple of articles. This is a culmination of his work and it fits in my ideas for “Last Third Living.” I want to live my life giving out and finding ways to impact people and my world beyond my life. This book helps bring some clarity.

These words guide me from Brooks: Love people, use things, worship the Divine.

Pentecostal Orthodoxy by Emilio Alvarez needs to stay with me. It is a sharp challenge to live my life as I was brought up… a Pentecostal… and join that with how I worship now in the Great Traditions. I need the challenges of staying true my Pentecostal roots while loving liturgy and the traditions of the Church through the centuries. Both belong in my life.

Your turn… What books stick with you from 2022?

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