It’s been a while since I’ve recommended some good vacation reading here on E2R. Here are six diverse books I have recently enjoyed
This biography of the apostle of grace is a treasure. It makes the stories of Acts come alive and gives the reader a rich insight into the life of the world’s most famous letter writer. Paul has always been one of my favorite Biblical characters, but after reading Pollock’s biography I feel I know him better than ever. The humanity of the man – his generous heart for others and his irrepressible urge to share the good news of Jesus – shines on every page.
Apart from being good history, The Apostle is also a detailed travelogue. We learn, for instance, why Paul’s boat foundered on the shores of Malta and why he was persecuted in some cities but not others. This is the best biography I have read in 2015.
It’s very simple; if you loved The Shack, you’ll probably enjoy Eve. If you didn’t – if you were not happy with the portrayal of God as a black woman in Young’s 2007 bestseller – then you’re not going to like how he appears in this book. Personally, I think Eve is a tour de force, a masterful piece of writing and story-telling.
What’s it about? Eve is the story of a young, broken woman who washes up on an island between worlds and becomes a witness to the fall of man. I particularly liked the portrayal of the serpent’s treachery. So cunning, so subtle, it reminded me of C.S. Lewis’s classic tale Perelandra. My only gripe with this book – and it’s a small one – was its technological inconsistencies. For instance, the island dwellers possess amazing devices that can transport a person to other worlds, but to haul a shipping container out of the sea was a challenge that required the brute power of beasts.
The second half of this story is about a man named Stephen who was raised in the New Guinean highlands by an angel. If I hadn’t known that in advance, I might not have got through the brutal first half of the story which recounts the harrowing abduction of Stephen’s mother by tribes of the mysterious Tulim valley.
Outlaw is a mind-blowing “what if” story. What if the love and grace of God came to one of the darkest places on earth?
(Read my review of Dekker’s AD 30 here.)
Earlier this year the boats of the Volvo Ocean Race stopped in our city. Their visit inspired me to read Peter Nichol’s classic tale about the history of this around-the-world race.
It started like this: In 1966 Sir Francis Chichester became the first person to solo circumnavigate the globe. He traveled west to east, via the great capes, and stopped one time in Australia. As a result of his trip nine men independently came up with the same idea: “I’m going to be the first to solo circumnavigate nonstop.”
In the summer of 1968, these nine men set out to win what had become a race. (It was dubbed the Golden Globe and it became the forerunner to today’s Volvo Ocean Race.) But only one made it back. Gale-force winds, boats sinking mid-ocean, incredible loneliness and madness combine to make A Voyage for Mad Men one of the best true-life adventure stories I’ve read.
I read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books when I was a child and I recently read them all again. They’re classics, but the one I most wish they would turn into a movie is The Long Winter. This is the true story of how the pioneering Ingalls family and the town of De Smet nearly starved to death during a harsh South Dakotan winter in 1880-1881.
Picture a town buried in snow with no food, no fuel, and no way in or out. The hero of this story is Laura Ingalls’ future husband Almanzo Wilder. He and a friend risk a trip across the trackless prairie in search of rumored wheat. Will they find it? Will they return before the next blizzard strikes? Well, obviously they did because I just told you she married him. But even knowing the outcome it’s still a great American tale, and one that deserves to be as widely read as Mrs. Ingalls Wilder’s other stories.
I have a confession to make: I hate guns, yet I am a Bob Lee Swagger fan. Who is Bob Lee Swagger? He’s a fictional sniper and total gun nut who stars in a series of books by Stephen Hunter.
Sniper’s Honor is the latest and arguably the best in the series. Much of the story is set in an obscure corner of Ukraine during the final days of World War 2. A beautiful Russian sniper called Ludmilla “Mili” Petrova has been sent to shoot a German general. But everything goes pear-shaped and she disappears from the historical record.
Seventy years later Bob Swagger sets outs with a journalist to uncover what happened to Mili. But powerful people are determined to keep Mili’s story secret and Swagger soon finds himself involved in something far more dangerous than a historical fact-finding trip. A great page turner!
My six-year-old son and I read this together last night. Iggy Peck Architect is a rhyming book that was honored as one of TIME’s Top Ten Picture Books of 2007. It’s easy to see why. It’s the story of Ignatius Peck, a boy who was born to build stuff, and how that dream was nearly crushed by his schoolteacher. But everything works out when a calamity helps the teacher to realize that Iggy’s passion is a gift to be nurtured.
This book is ideal if you have creative children aged 5-9.
I know what you’re thinking. “Paul reads Laura Ingalls’ books and Bob Swagger stories and children’s picture books? I don’t see a theme.” The theme is I’ll read anything good.
Anyway, those are my recommendations. What are yours? What books can you recommend for the coming holiday season?