25 June, 2013

Reading List

Seriously, we've only blogged TWICE in 2013?  Dang.  It's like we had a baby and our grip on life flew out the car window like that coupon for a free DQ dipped cone you weren't holding on to tight enough.  That wasn't based on a real life event that's stuck around for over 20 years or anything...

Reading has always been a passion of mine (Ben).  I'm an only child, if you didn't know, and I often had a lot of free time on my hands when I was younger.  When Mom had enough of me bugging her, the neighbor kids weren't available and I'd gotten bored playing with my cat, you'd usually find my nose buried in a detective story.  I loved The Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators and others.  In college, I discovered the ultimate detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes and read the exhaustive collection about 7 times (no exaggeration).

To be specific, I've always loved reading FICTION.  Non-fiction = school and I wasn't a big fan.  For several years now I have recognized what a disadvantage this is and have worked to remedy the situation.  It's hard for me.  To increase the difficulty level, my ADHD makes it challenging to focus on material that doesn't interest me.  What I mean is oh wow it's getting really cloudy outside and I'm feeling hungry I have to want to learn something and not just be entertained by a gripping plot.

When you walk into an average American pastor's office, he usually has at least a few bookshelves completely filled with books on ministry, counseling, theology, commentaries, etc.  It's impressive.  I cry a little inside because I know I'll never be like that and to be honest, those offices make me feel like there's something wrong with me.  You would walk into my hypothetical office and see Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Percy Jackson, Eragon, Redwall, and every Stephen Lawhead and Raymond E. Feist book they've ever written. HOWEVER, to my joy, I've discovered that I very much enjoy reading about cross-cultural ministry and church planting.

I also like biographies.  Edmund Morris's Theodore Rex (Teddy Roosevelt) was amazing and I'm working on Jon Meacham's American Lion (Andrew Jackson) right now.

I thought I'd share what I (Ben) have been reading in the recent past.  The list is heavily stacked towards fiction but hey, I'm trying!

- Houses That Change The World by Wolfgang Simson - I'm reading this right now and will need another highlighter before I'm through.  Lots of great insights on what the church used to look like, what it has become in many parts of the world and a call to simplify.  Controversial, but much of this book resonates deeply with me.

- Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter & Matt Smay - a book on how these guys do church in Denver, CO.  I read this and thought, it's Ag√≥ra but in a different city and about 15 years down the road!  I actually considered going there for a year to intern but God moved me in a different direction.

- Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander - wonderful Celtic folktales retold in the 1960's for kids.  I read these as a kid and they FINALLY released them for Kindle.

- The Darkwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist - if you like fantasy (magic, elves, dragons, swords...) you have GOT to read Feist.  Start with Magician and don't stop until you read his 30th and final novel that was just released.  I both love and hate my brother-in-law for introducing me to this author a few years ago.

- The Riftwar Legacy by Feist

- J.R. Tomlin's novels of Scotland - historical fiction on the times of William Wallace, quite sad and violent at times but still gripping

- The Demonwar Saga by Feist

- Legends of the Guardian King by Karen Hancock - Christian fiction, medievalish, a REALLY creative perspective on Christian life contrasted by other faiths (essentially Judiasm and Islam)

- The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy - I love this novel and the movie

- Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas - if you are a parents of a boy or boys, I HIGHLY recommend this.  It helped me to understand myself better, and I believe I will be a better father to my son because of this book.

- Bright Empires by Stephen Lawhead - Fantasy but not fantasy.  It's difficult to categorize, but imagine being able to travel between dimensions that take you to different places and times in "Earth's" history

- The Chaoswar Saga by Feist - the final trilogy about the fantasy world this author created decades ago

- Inferno by Dan Brown - MUCH better than The Lost Symbol, which was almost worse than Digital Fortress (my least favorite novel by Brown)

Thanks for reading about what I'm reading :D