books i read on my sabbatical, part 1
Tuesday February 21st 2006, 12:28 pm
Filed under: books

during my 11 days in hawaii, i voraciously read 13 books. i am NOT a fast reader, so this says something about how much time i spent reading. in the following two weeks at home, i read two more (well, 1 3/4). it was an odd sensation to read more than a book a day for almost two weeks, then slow down to a more normal pace — it was actually frustrating to not be finishing books!

i put a couple strict guidelines on my reading for this time. the main guideline was that, in order to disconnect from thinking about ys as much as possible, the books could have nothing to do with youth ministry, church strategy, leadership or business. culling books from my “to read” pile before i left, this guideline eliminated many of the books i want to read right now. but the result was good for me, as i really did find myself disconnecting in a way that has left me very energized as i now return and dive back in.

i’ll break this into three categories: books i loved, books i thought were ok, and books i didn’t really enjoy.

let’s start with the great ones — books i loved:

, by anne rice. i’m sure you’ve all heard of this, so i won’t go into much detail. but it was probably my favorite read of the whole lot. rice’s attention to historicity and accuracy, combined with her ability to paint a scene so clearly that you can actually see it made this both devotional and un-put-down-able. her author’s note at the back of the book, telling her own spiritual journey, and the approach she took to writing this book, is worth the price of the book in itself.

, by dan brown. this is the prequel to brown’s bestselling da vinci code (see part 3). i figured it was time i actually read these (i bought them in hawaii, after running out of the books i’d brought). friends had told me they like this first book better than the da vinci code, and i couldn’t agree more. a massive thriller, i read ’til my eyes were blurry (i woke up one morning with the open book sprawled next to me on my bed). one of the things i really loved about this book was that, in a mystery involving a tension between science and faith, both were treated with respect. there were characters who were convinced in science alone, and others who were convinced of religion alone, and a few who were passionately in the middle. i wish this book were the bestseller, not it’s sequel.

, by phyllis tickle. ever since her first (and solidified by her second) presentation at the emegent convention, phyllis tickle has become one of my favorite people on earth. she wrote the four little books in “the farm in lucy” series as a wonderful storytelling way of talking about the church calendar. they are spiritual memoir meets high church meets farming with a family. i started with this volume, and will definitely be reading the other three very soon. i could not recommend this more highly.

, by christopher moore. when i read moore’s a couple years ago, i was blown away. it’s not quite fair to call him a humor writer, because he’s a talented novelist. but i read this book because i wanted to laugh. it’s a crazy story of whale researchers discovering a ridiculously funny (almost science fiction) reason for whales’ singing. as a fun bonus for me as i read it, the story takes place about 5 miles south of where i was staying in hawaii (which i had no idea when i brought it), and gave me all kinds of insight into the real local (not tourist) culture of maui’s west coast. no great impact on my life with this one — just a truly enjoyable read with multiple opporutunities to laugh out loud.

, by david anthony durham. i’d picked this up some time ago after reading about it in a time magazine “best books you probably missed last year” article. it’s the fictional story of an african-american teenager living in the “wild west” of america during the mid-1800s. gabriel, the boy, runs away from the homestead his newly married mother has just re-located to (away from city life) and joins up with a band of outlaws who take him all over the southwest. it’s a beautiful, and sometimes harrowing, account of another time period, told from a perspective not seen before. the only annoying thing was that the book used font changes to indicate change in story location — and i hate reading long passages in italics!

, by ian caldwell and dustin thomason. i got this book for christmas a year ago from a cousin, and had forgotten about it until i was packing for my trip. it’s a mystery in the vein of angels and demons or the da vinci code, but centers around an ancient manuscript called the hynerotamachia. there’s enough real stuff in the book to make it extremely interesting, and the writing has the same effect on me as watching an episode of 24 — i just have to read a bit more; ok, just a bit more. dinner can wait.

4 Comments so far
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I just read Anne Rice’s book a few weeks ago. I loved it also and have been recommending it to others quite a bit.

Comment by john chandler 02.21.06 @ 1:41 pm

I read the rule of four, or rather have been pecking at it for months and almost have it wrapped up.

An interesting tale. I thought the biggest flaw in it was that it wasn’t at all believable. As if any undergrad student would do that much work?

But it was a fun read!

Comment by adam 02.21.06 @ 3:23 pm

I loved “The Rule of Four.” I bought it on a whim because I needed something to read and had a hard time putting it down. I think I am probably one of the last people on earth who has not read “The DaVinci Code,” but I did read “Angelns and Demons” and loved it.

Comment by Deneice 02.21.06 @ 3:49 pm

Also loved the Anne Rice story

Comment by Clint Walker 02.24.06 @ 12:28 am

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