Over the past week lots of wise people I know (like my friends Rich and Cat) have been blogging their “books of 2012.” I’m not normally one for bandwagons (unless I’m doing the driving), but as I flicked through my Kindle the other day I noticed that I’ve actually read some books this year, largely thanks to said Kindle. So, for what it’s worth, and with no hint of a unifying theme or any kind of order, here are some of my favourite books of 2012. At the very least it might give you some insight into the kinds of things that routinely find their way into my brain…
1. The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
OK, technically 3 books, but I can’t imagine you’d read just one of them. I read these ridiculously quickly, and the first book is way better than the film. The last book is a bit hard going (Katniss spends most of it trying to stop herself from crying), but I liked the ending. In fact, I think I liked the ending for all the reasons I really should have hated it… but I don’t want to spoil it.
2. The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
Recommended by my friend Michael Ots, this is CS Lewis’s musings on the future hope that Christians are waiting for. Rather than a detailed Bible study, Lewis offers us a “supposal” – a reflection on some aspects of the new creation. In particular, I loved the idea of the future being “more real,” and the variety of responses people have as they visit the new creation (not all of them positive).
3. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
This was my first time reading Dickens, and it’s a story I already knew well (largely thanks to the Muppets, whose rendition is surprisingly accurate). But I LOVE the way Dickens writes, and his way with words is what you miss out on in the innumerable film adaptations that were all over the TV this Christmas.
The story, with its challenge to the way we think about the poor and needy, is as current as it ever was. But it also raises a question about how our hearts change, and what might make the changes last.
4. Still Got It, Never Lost It!: My Story by Louie Spence
OK, this book isn’t exactly the intellectual highpoint of the list, but I love a good celeb biography. It’s a sparkly, lycra-clad story about how hard work and determination make one man’s dreams come true. And the Spice Girls.
5. Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius by Michael Michalko
6. Drops Like Stars: A few thoughts on creativity and suffering by Rob Bell
I don’t agree with everything Rob Bell has to say about everything, but in Drops Like Stars I think he gets it spot on. It’s a simple idea – an experience of suffering will often stir up creativity in us as it destroys our comfort zones and pushes us to see the future differently than we might have. Rather than offering answers to questions about why we suffer, Bell reflects on how a wise and loving God, “the God who wastes nothing” might work through our suffering.
You can now read Part 2…