A Happy New Year and Some Good Reading

January 5, 2015 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Books and Movies | Leave a comment

On the surface, I want to wish all my readers a happy new year for 2015, but really I am just checking in so you don’t begin to think I’m dead!  It’s been few months since I’ve written.  Life seemed to have a different pace during those months, so that writing took a back seat to many other things.  2014 was a year with lots of changes for my family and church.  The biggest change, as you can guess from the previous post of many months ago, is that our daughter graduated from high school and has moved on to college.  She is doing well, and we are excited for her.

I often take time in January to post a note about the best books I’d read the previous year, so I want to do that here.  Reading, like blog writing, was a much neglected discipline in 2014.  I completed fewer books than I have in many years, and wrote only one book review in this blog.  But here are the things I found most worth the time to read.  Maybe you will enjoy them too.

The two most interesting books I read were Candice Millard, Destiny of the Republic and Allison Pataki, The Traitor’s Wife.  Millard’s book is history, written so that it reads like a novel.  It’s the story of the election and assassination of President Garfield, coupled with some of the technical advances of the day, that, if used correctly, could have saved his life.  The inclusion of Lister’s discoveries in Europe, which American doctors refused to follow, and the research of Alexander Graham Bell was the most interesting part of the book.  Garfield is a fascinating chapter in American history that is mostly forgotten.  It was assigned reading for Amber’s freshman English class, so I decided to read it with her; that was a good decision.  Millard has also written a book about Theodore Roosevelt, so it is now on my reading list.

The second book is a novel of historical fiction, but the story was well researched.  It is about the wife of Benedict Arnold and the influence she had on him.  It does not claim to be history, but there are many who believe his wife’s influence is what persuaded this American war hero to turn on his country.  Pataki’s development of the title character’s temperament and spirit makes the story both fun to follow and believable.  If you read American history or historical fiction,  you will probably like both of these books.

The best Christian book I read this year was Alistair Begg and Sinclair Ferguson’s,  Name Above All Names, which is a great, albeit brief, laymen’s theology of Christ.  I have also been rereading John Stott’s The Cross of Christ, which is amazing; however, it is a slow pondering read, and I have not finished it yet.  Maybe it will be on my best of 2015 list.

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