Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Reviews: Summer Reading

I realize its Oct 12th... but I read so much this summer that I wanted to share/recommend but never got around to posting. So, this was my summer reading list (thru Sept actually, but I think fall just officially got under way)... in short review form:
  • Crossing Cultures by Patti Lane... I pick this book up our our church's summer Leadership Conference after attending the breakout session Patti taught. She shares from years of insight about how to relate cross-culturally with respect, with humility, with a learner's attitude, and in a way that glorifies Christ. Thumbs up, recommend it!
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire... I "read" this via audio-book this summer during lots of road trips. I decided on it after seeing it on the High School Required Reading List and remembering that I'd always meant to read it. I am not really good at picking up on spiritual metaphors, but I LOVED this book and all the hidden meanings and indirect commentary about the spiritual nature of humanity. In fact, loved it so much that I walked out of the play at intercession because I was so disappointed in how they had left out everything I'd love from the book so far. (don't stone me all you Wicked play lovers!) Thumbs up, recommend it (the BOOK that is)!
  • What is the What by Dave Eggars... I grabbed this book to prepare for my summer trip to Sudan with Seed Effect. I was educated through reading not only about Sudan, the harsh civil war there, and the aftermath, but I also got to read the story of a refugee's journey in the U.S. Refugees are something new(er) on my radar and I've been trying to learn as much as I can about their lives. So, bonus-- learned about Sudan & refugees. Thumbs up, recommend it!
  • Dreams of My Father by Barak Obama... I figured since he's our president, I probably should hear his story. I read his other book back in the spring which was a lot more about his goals and aspirations for our country's potential. This book was a portrait of his childhood, his make-up, his history (up until going to Law School). He was asked to write it after becoming the first black man to become the head of Harvard's Law Review. Its tone is pre-political and I enjoyed it! Sure, read it.
  • Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker (see my previous full post review here.)... glowing reviews from me. Super-thumbs-up, everyone should read it!
  • Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali... this was a re-read for me. I had first read Infidel in 2007 and was moved by the descriptions she told about the lives of women in the Muslim World. This time, I re-read the book looking at her story as the memoir of a refugee. She lived as a refugee almost her entire life, from one country to the next. Both in African countries, and the West. Her stories about refugee life alone (regardless of religion) are POWERFUL. I was glad I took the time to change lenses and receive a new kind of heartbreak from this book. Thumbs up, recommend it!
  • Outcasts United by Warren St. John... I picked this book to help my refugee education too. Its the story of a women in a small town outside of Atlanta who started a soccer team for refugee youth. They are discriminated against, persecuted, mistrusted, and mistreated. Its a sad story, but has some hope as they overcome those obstacles. Apparently its being turned into a movie. Sub-par writing, if you ask me, but the story itself makes for your motivation to keep reading. Sure, read it.
  • Tortured in the Name of Islam by Setaareh Shahbazz... Oh my word, this was a tough book to read. Super short, a complete personal essay about a woman who became a follower of Christ in Iran and who was ultimately imprisoned for it. It is her spoken testimony written on paper. Its rough, detailed, sad, and yet inspiring at the same time. To see how she was able to persevere and to witness Christ to her captors was amazing. Warning, she's not a writer, but her story is powerful. Thumbs up, recommend it!
  • Christians Evangelistic Pocket Guide to Islam by Malcolm Steer... Andy's band and I read this before our trip to Turkey this September as part of our training. It's about 50 pages. Super basic. But super helpful. Boils the top issues down to a simple explanation and a simple response. Sure, read it.
  • Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay... This was a great follow up book for me after having read Hatmaker's Interrupted in July. It picked up where she left off with what God was doing in my heart about getting more outside my comfort zone and into community and service (outside the 4 walls of the church). Our church is going through the "Tangible Kingdom Primer" as a whole church this fall, so I wanted to read the "prequel" so to speak. Thumbs up, recommend it!
  • Muslims Next Door by Shirin Taber... I read this short practical book about how Muslims are just about everywhere in the U.S. and we should treat them with love and respect. Taber gives practical steps to help us be educated about this culture, this religion, and how we can be kind and not offensive. Sure, read it.
Nothing I would say "don't waste your time reading". Which means I guess I chose well this summer.