Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Book Log

An overdue update...

Planet Narnia – Michael Ward
Currently reading. Got this as a gift via an Amazon voucher from my lovely international team, after my boss overheard me talking about it (I think!). Fun reading literary criticism again. In case you haven’t heard of this, Dr. Michael Ward argues that Narnia is based on the seven heavens of medieval imagination. Chapter on Sol was particularly compelling!

A Praying Life – Paul Miller
I have surprisingly few books on prayer, and so thought a refresher would be good. This one exceeded my expectations. I can safely say there’s probably no other book on prayer like this one. Miller applies the gospel to our prayer life and makes us want to pray. Could have more on praying for things we don’t naturally incline to (eg. churches in faraway lands we know little about). But very much recommended.

Why There Almost Certainly is a God – Keith Ward
Great little book which gently but devastatingly takes apart Dawkin’s thesis. Witty, readable, philosophically inclined. Ward is a liberal Christian, so I have fundamental disagreements with him, eg. universalism, but worth a look for the discerning reader.

Beginning Well – Gordon T. Smith
Intermediate level book on what conversion actually is. Something I’m trying to think about, being involved in international student ministry. Ecumenically-minded, drawing from many traditions. Probably needs reread with pencil in hand? For a more introductory book, see Stephen Smallman’s Spiritual Birthline.

Theology in the Context of World Christianity – Timothy Tennent
Missions professor, recently appointed as president of Asbury Seminary. Reflects on issues of concern to global Christians which might not necessarily be obvious to Western Christians, eg. sin as guilt or shame?, the relationship of the Bible to other sacred texts, Jesus as Ancestor in the African context.

The Lost History of Christianity – Philip Jenkins
Well-known author of The Next Christendom explores Christian history in the Middle East, Africa and Asia and so fills a gap, as most Christian history books on the market focus on the West. (This is definitely changing with a recent glut of books on this subject). I struggled at times because my knowledge was shown to be really lacking, eg. not quite sure what Byzantium empire is really all about. Billed as introductory but still not easy reading. Nonetheless, important book.

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
Yes, I know I’m really late on this one! But fascinating read even if his case is a bit overstated at points. See also critique of Gladwell’s thesis by Duncan Watts.

One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson
Took this on my recent mission trip as my light reading! Melancholy literary detective thriller, tracing how a road rage incident in Edinburgh changes the lives of everyone involved. I think I prefer her earlier book, Case Histories.

The Declaration – Gemma Malley
Interesting premise: what if we found a cure for aging? What would the world look like, especially with the threat of overpopulation? Good, but contrary to blurb, isn’t quite in the league of Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now. The writing occasionally relies too much on the omniscient narrator.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi BK! I was just reading your post on books you had been reading, and the first one caught my eye. I went to a public lecture put on by Regent College on Wed, and Dr. Michael Ward was the speaker! He spoke about the Narnia and planet connection, which I found absolutely fascinating. He mentioned that the BBC will be doing a documentary based on his thesis. Anyway, I just thought I would share that with you!

4:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm, forgot to mention, that it was Karen that wrote the last post...

4:43 pm  
Blogger BK said...

Hey Karen,

I figured...how many people do I know who live in Vancouver? :D

Btw, the BBC documentary has already been shown - it was pretty good, with a surprisingly pro-Christian slant. You don't see that often! He's about to become a chaplain here at one of the Oxford colleges.

7:10 pm  

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