I read more than most and every year I try to read a diverse selection ranging from theology to sic-fi. I have already read several books this year and I am looking forward to sharing some of those with you, but this post is for my top five of last year. Some of these are series and others are books published posthumously. I listened to four of the five while I was working on the Farm this summer. Audiobooks have become a new source of thought for me.
This series was slightly difficult to get into and can be very complicated, but the first three books are intriguing. As a Christian author Lawhead always underpins his stories with theology, symbolism, and redemption. The story follows Kit Livingstone, his grandfather Cosimo, and previous girlfriend Mina as they move through time and space via ancient portals called ley lines. Ley travel is a complicated thing and their are only vague guidelines, but a man named Arthur Flenders-Petrie figured out a way to map the lines. Realizing the value of this he kept the only copy of the map tattooed to his back . At first they thought the Map made of his skin was the most valuable thing, but as the story progresses it is realized that everything is pointing to a great discovery Flenders-Petrie made. This discovery is about life, renewal, redemption, and sacrifice.
Unfortunately, I have to wait until September of this year for the next book and the last comes out a year later. At least this means I’ll have something good to put on this years list.
Katniss Everdeen is annoying, confusing, and one of the most realistic heroines I’ve read lately. Her situation is unique, but the emphasis on the degenerate society and the important things in life strikes a chord. She is warped, and after the three years of seeing people die and loosing everyone and everything, she goes back to her home, rebuilds, and takes those things she was tormented by and grows because of them. She understands that the struggles she endured created a better world for her own children, the children she never thought she would have. She has hope. Life is full of struggles and as the world gets darker, we must fight harder.
Whether it is a complex plot or controversial idea, I enjoy untangling the mess of an author’s mind. Two years ago I read Atlas Shrugged and last year I decided to tackle the Fountainhead. For as much as I have read, this was the most unexpected book in a while. As usual Rand highlights the issues in society and confronts them in startling ways. In this book she addresses the Man’s nature, reason, and the cold strength of love. She approaches love in a startling way that says every person loves and lives in a way that resonates with their natures. Cold, perfect, and strong individuals love in a vicious way that suits them. I struggled with this novel. I read it and thought about it and read a little more. I hated it because in parts, like 1984, I was shocked at the characters’ actions. It forced me to think about the many issues that confront humanity from an atheistic perspective because of this it increased my gratitude for the resolution I am given in Christ.
My only regret with this book is that it was published posthumously and we will neither enjoy one of her wonderful works again and she will not know the brilliance of her work. This book is about a young writer who was dumped and lost inspiration to write until an old man writes from the island of Guernsey requesting information about the author of a book she gave to a used book store. Their letters tell the story of an island that survived occupation during World War II because of a book club. She ends up corresponding with the entire literary society and moving to the island to write an account of that time. During this time she meets a little girl and discovers the story of her parents, a German doctor and fiery islander. Her story is the redemption of the island and brings closure at the end of a dark time.
Death, personified, gathers souls and leads them to the afterlife, but during this time meets and extraordinary girl as he takes three of the people she loves. She tells her story through five books she stole and one she was given. As a German, she protects Jews, reads banned books, and fights with her enamored neighbor. It is funny, honest, descriptive, and sad. It is heart wrenching.
These are just a few of many books I enjoyed this last year and I hope you will enjoy them as well.