Archive | 10:36 PM

Best Books Read in 2009

27 Jan

This is a “top ten” “top eleven”  list based on books read last year.  I read 89 books in 2009. So maybe it should be a “top nine” list, with one two runners-up.  Your list of the best books you read last year would be very welcomed.

Notes From the Tilt-a-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World by ND Wilson.     I liked this book so much I bought some to push onto  friends.   And I am not a great fan of carnival rides.  It reminded me of Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  Except wilder and more theologically potent.

Eifleheim by Michael Flynn.  Intelligent, thoughtful,  historical sci-fi. What if first contact with aliens happened in the German woods of 14th century Christendom just before the outbreak of the plague?  This is a wonderful read.

Fidelity: Five Stories by Wendell Berry.  Relationships in a rural context.  In these stories  people know one another for decades and interact not only with people but with the natural world around them.  I come from a similar background and am living that way, sort of.  My best friendships are decades old, and we have lived in the same house our whole marriage.  We are after intangible wealth.  These stories are, too.

Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of CS Lewis by Michael Ward.  Medieval cosmology and  Christendom with lots of great future reading ideas all mix in Ward’s thoroughly researched, explained, and still interesting thesis: Lewis wrote each Narnia tale with a layer of medieval heaven in mind.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks.  Our library did not have the new expanded, revised version.  The original is still chock full of musical experiences, patient stories,  diseases, and coping strategies our brain uses that music can help. Neurology is so interesting, and there is so much to still discover about how God made us.  As a mother and teacher, there were some interesting ideas to glean to help me help others.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel.  A wonderful alternative world Victorianish steam punk fantasy about airships and a young man who lives to work with them.  First in a trilogy. The second was not as good, but still inventive and fun.  Warning: Another series by Oppel, based on talking dinosaurs which turn  into other types of animals in one generation, has too much cutesy fantasy and too little fact–that series may appeal to naive 8-yr-olds.

Villette by Charlotte Bronte.  This was my second time through the book.  I can not yet quote the opening paragraphs as one of my friends can.  The only story with which I am acquainted where the main character, who is also the narrator, keeps a veil over the feelings closest to her heart.

Dandelion Fire by ND Wilson.  Yes, the same ND Wilson who wrote Tilt-aWhirl.  This is the second in a trilogy–the third book, The Chestnut King, was released this week and we are waiting for it to arrive so we can ignore school for a couple days and plow through it.  OZ is not the only place you can get to from Kansas. And the witch in this one is even scarier than the one with flying monkeys. The kids and I love this series.

Joy at the End of the Tether: The Inscrutable Wisdom of Ecclesiastes by Doug Wilson.  Doug is ND’s father, in case you are wondering.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and joy.  I need to re-read this.  It is short and thoughtful.  It makes sense.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.  Another one to re-read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Peel Club by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  I read this on the flight out to Tuscon after my brother’s death  and while writing what I spoke at his memorial service.  It has a happy ending.  It takes place in London and on Guernsey.  Part of our (very extended) family lived there during WW II so I wanted to see if the book lined up with letters I have read which were written during that time.  It does.

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