Last night I officially reached my goal of reading 15 books in 2011. Most were physical books too, which makes me happy. Audiobooks are easier, but I love the feel of paper in my hands.
Before I continue on in my book-reading, which will include at least 2 more books this year (required for a class I'm taking at church), I'd like to quickly review some of the books I've read...
1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I love this series. I think I read them 15 years ago, but hadn't since and what a delight! So well-written, funny, engaging, and caused some very welcome theological mind explosions. Highly recommended!
2. "Dispatches from the Edge" by Anderson Cooper
Excellent book. I do really enjoy Anderson Cooper generally, so maybe I'm a little bias here, but the book is very well-written and was an eye-opener for me. Caused some tears for sure. I listened to the audio version which Anderson narrated himself. If I remember correctly, there's some brief unwholesome language and maybe an inappropriate scene or two. You can get a free copy from audible.com/american if you've never taken advantage of that offer before.
3. "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo
I think this was a generally good book. Enjoyable read. A good introduction to visits to/visions of Heaven. I would suggest other books more readily like "Visions Beyond the Veil" by H.A. Baker and anything by Heidi Baker, Kris Vallotton, Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Jack Taylor or any other person in the current move of the Holy Spirit.
4. "Becoming Jane: The Wit & Wisdom of Jane Austen" by Anne Newgarden
This is a small book, but beautifully laid out. The author provides quotes from Jane to emphasis the chapter topics. I have many favorite authors, but Jane Austen has to be my absolute favorite, I think mostly because she so perfectly understands human character. I fail often as a writer of fiction because I can't stand to write characters that have realistic flaws. I would rather them be completely submitted to Christ and even already in their eternal perfected state. :) But Jane...she writes people as they really are and then shows how their character is changed (or unchanged) by circumstances and experiences. They gain wisdom and apply it. So this book honors Jane nicely. And as a soon-to-be-first-time aunt myself, my favorite quote comes from the final Acknowledgments by Anne Newgarden: "And, of course, my thanks to the brilliant Jane Austen, whose life and words are always an inspiration, and who makes me proud to be a maiden aunt." Jane's life is, perhaps, a beautiful celebration of the richness of female singleness.