10. Meeting of the Waters, by Fritz Kling
9. The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein"The Meeting of the Waters identifies seven trends having a major impact on the Church around the world—and on every Christian at home in every country..." This book challenged me to think about what missions could and should look like in this rapidly changing, technologically charged world.
8. The Waymaker, by Michael D Warden"This is a book about love and devotion. Enzo, the dog, is the narrator. He watches over his man, Denny, and Denny's wife and daughter. Enzo is true love and loyalty. He is belief in the hearafter. He is the truest friend and protector. This is a story of love told through tales of racing and the the unfiltered love your best canine friend." Although some parts of this book were very uncomfortable (language, adult content), what made it a winner for me was the perspective - giving me glimpses into a worldview with which I can't relate, but in a gentle, not-so-offensive way. I'd be interested to give another one of his books a try.
7. In the Company of Others, by Jan Karon"With the rediscovery of the Book of Dei'lo, the lines of war have been drawn across the Inherited Lands. Behind their fortified walls, the forces for good and evil are massing for the ultimate conflict, pitting the two Languages of Power against one another in open battle for the first time..." Exciting adventure read and at the same time, an allegory that challenged me spiritually.
6. My Seventh Monsoon, by Naomi Reed"Father Tim and Cynthia arrive in the west of Ireland, intent on researching his Kavanagh ancestry from the comfort of a charming fishing lodge. The charm, however, is broken entirely when Cynthia startles a burglar and sprains her already-injured ankle. Then a cherished and valuable painting is stolen from the lodge owners, and Cynthia's pain pales in comparison to the wound at the center of this bitterly estranged Irish family. In the Company of Others is a moving testament to the desperate struggle to hide the truth at any cost and the powerful need to confess. Of all her winning novels, Jan Karon says this 'dark-haired child' is her favorite-a sentiment readers everywhere are certain to share." Although heavier than her other books and thus a bit of a departure from the typical Mitford-style story, people you like and who feel like they could be your neighbors made this a delightful read.
5. The Trophy Chase Trilogy, by George Bryan Polivka" 'The seventh monsoon was the hardest of them all. I sat on the back porch of our Himalayan home and stared as the rain streamed down all around me. I had never felt so hemmed in – by the constant rain, by the effects of the civil war and by the demands of home-school. As I sat there and listened to the pounding on our tin roof, I wondered whether I would make it through. I wondered whether I would cope with another 120 days of rain. And in doing so, I began to long for another season . . .’ From the view point of her seventh monsoon, Naomi Reed takes time to look back on the seasons of her life. As she does so, she shares with us her journey of faith and mission and reveals poignant truths about God and the way he works his purposes in our lives through seasons." I love missionary stories and this one is very authentic, heart-warming and spiritually challenging. I found Naomi's story inspiring.
"In this Pirates of the Caribbean meets C.S. Lewis epic adventure, Packer Throme is a failed seminarian turned master swordsman with eight small tasks on his to-do list:4. 40 Loaves: breaking bread with our Father each day, by C D Baker
1.) Save fishing village from poverty and starvation
2.) Win heart of long-time love, Panna Seline
3.) Honor dead father
4.) Stow away on pirate ship
5.) Find the Firefish -a creature everyone thinks is a myth
6.) Avoid a deadly assassin
7.) Stop a war
8.) Redeem self from spiritual disgrace
Completing such a short list should be easy... right?"
This trilogy was simply delightful: a fun read, spiritually provocative, exciting... I immediately passed the series long to my kids and I think from Anna on up, they all enjoyed it, too!
“ 'Why don’t I have more faith?' 'Why am I so bored with Jesus?' 'Why are Christians so hard for me to like?' There are many questions we’re not supposed to ask when playing by the religious rules. It makes people uncomfortable. So why is it that Jesus invited questions and even asked some of them himself? What is it that you’re afraid to ask God?..." I loved being challenged to ask hard questions and finding that even if I didn't know the answers, I grew to better know my God in the simple asking.
2. One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp"...a mysterious girl from Sri Lanka moved to town in the summer of 1979, Shelby (nicknamed Turtle) invited her to a secret haven: the Blue Hole. Turtle had no idea how much that simple gesture would affect the rest of her life, or the lives of those she loved. In a time when America was technically well beyond the Civil Rights era, there were those in Turtle's small Appalachian town who rejected the presence of someone different. And in just one summer-in a collision of love, hate, jealousy, beauty, and a sacred, muddy swimming hole-nothing and everything changed." Heartwarming, heart-breaking and yet still hopeful... definitely thought-provoking... this is another one I passed right along to my teenagers, as this story really makes you think about the unexpected consequences of what seemed like such a simple action... at first.
"Drawing heartbreaking beauty out of the simplest of details, Ann Voskamp invites you into her grace-bathed life of farming, parenting, and writing---and deeper still into your own life. Here you will discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to thanksgiving, a way of living so you are not afraid to die, and a way of becoming present to God that brings you deep and lasting joy." Ann's blog is a must daily read for me. I've been participating with her Multitude Mondays - 1000 Gifts now for almost 2 years. This is a beautiful book, best digested slowly and thoughtfully. I'm looking forward to reading it again this year.
" ‘The Himalayan view from our back porch was normally breathtaking but that day I sat there and wondered. Ten years of civil war, a deteriorating health system, an economic crisis and a political stalemate. It was a background of hopelessness for the lives of our Nepali friends and the community that we lived in. In such setting of pain and darkness, how could God reveal his nature? And how could he call me by name? I wasn’t sure. I didn’t think it was possible.’ From within the uncertainty of Nepal’s civil war, Naomi Reed continues the story of her family’s desire to train Nepali physiotherapists and share God’s love in word and action. Her honesty and genuine longing to see God’s purposes and sovereignty make this unforgettable reading." I've already written a review of both of Naomi's books - and I found this one more powerful than the first. One of the things I most enjoyed was her very authentic transparency - I feel like I could sit down over a cup of tea and just visit with her. I've been privileged to correspond with Naomi a few times over the course of this past year - and I still get that same impression... maybe some day...
(Note - 2011 is the year I read the book... not the year the book was written, and with the exception of the Trophy Chase Trilogy, all book descriptions can be found at Shelfari.com.)