03 September 2015

A New Reading Queue for September

In the middle of last month, I posted a list of what I had already read and what I intended to read in August. I was mostly on track:
  • I had already read…
    • The Germans in Normandy
    • The Complete 101 Collection
    • Leading Like Jesus: 40 Leadership Lessons From the Upside-Down Kingdom
  • During the remainder of the month, I read…
    • The Girl Who Fell From the Sky — For the most part, I liked this book. Ms. Darrow, in some ways, is telling her own story of growing up as a bi-racial child. The novel is a unique way to talk about the struggles of "discovering" how other people see you differently than you see yourself.
    • 7 Women — A pretty good series of short biographies of women who had a significant impact on world history. I didn't think it was as good as 7 Men, but definitely worth reading. My review is here: Review of 7 Women
    • The Last Battle: When U.S. and german Soldiers Joined Forces in the Waning Hours of World War II in Europe — This was a well-written history of a little-known (to me, anyway) bit of World War II. Harding does a good job of bringing the characters to life. I really liked the book.
    • I started reading David and the Old Man, by William Zemba — This book was not on my list, but I had gotten it from the publisher, WestBow, as a review copy and wanted to get it out of the way. I finished it today (3 Sept) and must say I was very disappointed. First of all, it was poorly edited. In fact, if you were to see my notes through the book, the read something like: Was the editor asleep? Editor? Where is the editor? There were so many mistakes, thing I would expect from a self-published book, but this was published by a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. I can think of no excuse for such poor editing. Then, I just didn't connect with the story. The book is about the impact that anorexia nervosa had on Zemba's family and how family dynamics led to or exacerbated (I'm not sure which) the anorexia. I alternated between thinking that this family was totally dysfunctional and thinking that they were almost normal. In the end, I decided that there were some majors dysfunctions but their reaction to a son with anorexia was probably not atypical. The only reason I finished the book was because I had committed to do a review of it, otherwise it would have joined a very short list of books that I stopped reading.
  • I didn't read The Reason for God, by Tim Keller. I just wasn't in the mood for this book after reading The Last Battle.
So, what about September? Here's what I think:

A Spent Bullet: Louisiana 1941, Curt Iles — Curt is a friend and I hesitate to read and comment publicly on books written by friends. What if I hate the book? (It has happened.) Would I dare to critique it? Well, I don't think I have anything to fear — I started the book today and Curt had me hooked before the end of the first chapter. A Spent Bullet is a novel based on fact. During WWII, US troops were stationed in Louisiana for training maneuvers. Elizabeth, a local, and Henry, a soldier from Wisconsin, meet and … Amazon says it's more than a romance; Curt's a great story teller; I think I'll enjoy the book.

The Reason for God, Tim Keller — It stays on the list for September.

Open Your Hymnal, Denise K. Loock — A devotional book that uses Christian hymns to illustrate truths that Ms. Loock draws from Scripture. So far, it's good.

Seabiscuit: An American Legend, Laura Hillenbrand — This was Ms. Hillenbrand's first book and I've seen the movie several times. After reading Hillenbrand's Unbroken twice and then learning a bit about Ms. Hillenbrand herself, I've been wanting to read this book. It's a classic underdog story with a twist — the underdog is a race horse that … well, if you haven't seen the movie or read the book, do at least one of those. If the book is anywhere near as good as Unbroken or if it captures the story as well as the movie, this will be fun to read.

Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission, Larry McCrary, Caleb Crider, Wade Stephens, and Rodney Calfee — I'm reading this book in preparation for an Urban Church Planting training conference. I read a few parts of the book a couple of years ago and was impressed with its straight-forward and relatively simple approach to urban missions.

Cross-Cultural Partnerships: Navigating the Complexities of Money, Mary Lederfeitner — Anyone who has done ministry internationally knows that money and subsidy and dependency are issues that can derail good work very quickly. Lederfeitner seeks to help cross-cultural Christian workers navigate those dangerous waters and develop true partnerships that aren't based on western cash, at least not primarily based on money.

Without a doubt, there will be two or three other books added to the list before month's end, but that's a good start.

— What do you plan to read in September?

Run well, y'all,
Bob Allen
Kampala, Uganda