Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Top Ten Books of 2009

Despite my efforts to read 30 books this year, I have only achieved 26. Maybe next year I will reach my goal. Anyway, below is my list of the top ten books I've read this past year:

#1 - Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

This is, without a doubt, the best theological book I have ever read. Chesterton dives into pools of miraculous thought that had never even crossed my mind. You'll feel like you should read every chapter about ten times if you want to fully grasp the meaning of what he's writing. It is an amazing book, and a must read for everyone.

#2 - The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien

I have no doubt that The Silmarillion is one of the most beautiful books ever written. It goes through the history of Middle Earth in gorgeous depth and detail. Most people complain that it is slow, and that they had a hard time not losing interest. I couldn't disagree more. The beautiful descriptions and stories that make up this historical fiction are profound and breathtaking. The book is studded throughout with gems of melancholy beauty and cool, pure grief. It is stunning, and worth many hours of your time.

#3 - Bleak House by Charles Dickens

The mood, feeling, and underlying current of suspense in this book is perfectly wound up in it's name, Bleak House. I believe that Dickens was at his height when he wrote this one. It is every bit as good as David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations. If you don't read it you are missing out on a rare, thrilling treat. And don't see the movie before you read the book!

#4 - Knowing Christ Today by Dallas Willard

This book is brilliant. Willard argues against the current day trend of disregarding knowledge, and writes about how our relationship with God has to be thoroughly based in it. It is very much worth reading.

#5 - Four Faultless Felons by G.K. Chesterton

This is the most fun, fast-paced book I've read this year. It makes me thirst for more Chesterton. He winsome light and laughter has won my book-worm heart, and thus he is by far my favorite author. The wonderful thing is that I have only read four books by him thus far, and have an entire Chestertonian world just waiting for me.

#6 - Watership Down by Richard Adams

This is not the first time I've read Watership Down, and it just gets better and better. Richard Adams is a masterful writer, and this book has one of the best climaxes of all time. Who would have thought that one of the greatest books ever written would be about rabbits? That is just a tribute to Adams' incredible ability to bring vague worlds to vivid life.

#7 - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I had known the story of Jane Eyre for a long time before reading the book. I tend to dislike reading books that I've already seen a movie adaptation of, but do not let your knowledge of the book's twist keep you from reading it. Jane Eyre is wonderfully thrilling, and the romance is second to none. The movie versions have not done it justice. It is Bronte's best book. (Do not read Villette)

#8 - Middlemarch by George Elliot

Middlemarch is a wonderful read. The love story is masterful, the characters are original; it is altogether brilliant.

#9 - The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

This book is amazing and beautiful. It is about a man in Hell who takes a train ride to Heaven, and other than that I will not try and tell you what it's about. Lewis has a soft touch in his books that sets you longing for paradise. But this one puts your longing a bit deeper, and closer to the heart.

#10 - The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

This book is just fabulous. The movie doesn't do it justice by half. It turned everything around to where there was not a tenth of the depth and underlying feeling and moral that make the book so moving and wonderful. It's an excellent work of classic literature, and every bit worth your time.

Here is the full list of the books I've read in 2009 -

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Christus Victor by Gustaf Aulen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
Four Faultless Felons by G.K. Chesterton
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Middlemarch by George Elliot
Adam Bede by George Elliot
Howards' End by E.M. Forster
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Tess of the D'Uberveilles by Thomas Hardy
The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
The Wise Woman by George Macdonald
The Golden Key by George Macdonald
The Quest of the Fair Unknown by Gerald Morris
Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
The Land by Mildred D. Taylor
Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor
The Road to Memphis by Mildred D. Taylor
Leaf By Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Knowing Christ Today by Dallas Willard
The Calling of Dan Matthews by Harold Bell Wright

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