Today’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is “The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover” (submitted by Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse).
Fortunately, I’ve been recording the books I read for the last couple of years…so here are the books I loved recently and recommend to everyone!
1—The Benedict Option
Everyone should read this book. Right now.
It’s about living as a Christian in a world that’s hostile to Christ, and the very fact that the author’s background is different than mine (Catholic-inspired Orthodox) challenged my preconceived notions and made me think more deeply about how I can live intentionally for Christ in my everyday life.
Yeah, read it!
If you only read one book on evangelism – ever – read this one! I’ve read it twice now, and the down-to-earth advice and practical perspective both challenge me and comfort me that it doesn’t have to be this hard.
Everybody likes good news, right? And Jesus is the best news of all! Just…translating that for other people can be a bit difficult.
3—Ice Station Zebra
This book starts out kinda slow…but it sure picks up!
If you aren’t yet afraid of the North Pole, this book will fix that…and also make you afraid of submarines and all the different ways both of these things can kill you.
An unreliable narrator, a conspiracy mystery, and a glorious climax all join in to make this a fantastic story!
4—The Guns of Navarone
When I finally read this, I said, “Why have I been putting this off?!”
Alistair MacLean delivers action, tension, and fun every single time…and this gripping story of a specialist team on a high-stakes secret mission in World War II is no exception! (It’s also a little gut-wrenching!)
Writing spiritual themes into fiction is so very hard.
It’s easier if the entire story is centered around “what does it mean to live the Christian life?”
Vessels of Honor is the best example I’ve ever seen of Christians living in a fallen world and struggling through as best they can. The members of this church are broken, sinful, hurting…adulterers, idol worshippers, liars. And yet that’s all of us…and God calls us to extend His grace to all of them, whether or not they will accept it.
Moving to the lighter side, this short story is for anyone even remotely interested in Westerns, great sidekicks, family feuds, slapstick, lightweight romance, and wry humor.
7—The Screwtape Letters
C.S. Lewis’ classic about the elder devil coaching his tempter-in-training nephew is so much more meaningful once you’ve experienced the other side – the Christian walk – first-hand…the struggling, the painful growth, the periods of bland coasting, etc.
Lewis’ portrayal of blind, self-consuming evil is also spot on…which is why That Hideous Strength is still my favorite novel of all time.
This is a classic. Therefore slow and boring, right?
Only the beginning! Once the stage is properly set, we launch right into the pithy dialogue between the different fascinating characters…and explore through their actions the classist, racist, superstitious, and foreign mindsets of these 12th century Brits.
Plus there are fight scenes and lots of derring-do! Try it out.
9—The Hand of Oberon (Chronicles of Amber)
This is part of the Chronicles of Amber (which everyone should read BTW) and I gobbled it up because it’s part murder mystery. (Also features a royal family of like 14 princes and princesses, all split into factions and maybe possibly going to kill each other!)
This was a fascinating examination of around-the-world myths surrounding the were-wolf, and their historical context (and basis).
It’s also a horrifying exploration of human evil.
Honorable Mention: Nomad of the Emirates
Finally: an alien story written from a third-culture kid’s perspective.
I kept mentioning this story to my dad, since he’s a missionary kid with a home that no longer exists…and it’s so hard to get Americans to understand the world from a broader frame of reference.
If you want to experience some of that broader frame of reference, try this book.
Honorable Mention: The Body in the Library
Agatha Christie is dependable for a good mystery “buzz.” This is one where I was so sure I had solved it…and then the twist hit me and I said, “That’s so clever how did I not see that!”
She’s currently bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.
Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Solider! You’ll also receive occasional updates on her latest reading and writing adventures.