Books Read in November & December

Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset
A classic coming of age story that everyone should read. Kristin’s struggles with sin and relationships are portrayed with beauty and grace in this lovely historical novel. It was well translated and I plan to finish the trilogy. (9/10)

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

see other Twilight review here. (6/10)

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis

I only really like this book for the end, when the reader gets to see the dawn of Narnia. I guess I do enjoy the history and connectedness it brings to the series as a whole, it’s necessary but not as enjoyable as others. (6/10)

Death By Love by Mark Driscoll

This book is a collection of pastoral letters pointing different people to different aspects of the theology of the cross. Clear and straightforward, the letters themselves are generally marked with concern and godly counsel. The situations the recipients face run the gamut, but many are very dark, and they are considered with the gravity they deserve. At the end of each letter there is a section with theological FAQs to address aspects of the theology not dealt with in the letter itself. These took away from the beauty of the book for me, so I started skipping them halfway through. If you are looking for a book to remind you of how Jesus meets us where we are at the cross, I would commend this to you. (9/10)

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Flashing back to her time at a British boarding school, this book centers on the reflections of one woman as she nears the end of her career. Though the characters are continually reminded of their difference from the rest of society, the novel portrays universal experiences like relationships, love, and the loss of innocence with simple elegance. The plot is haunting in many ways, and leaves the reader to ponder life, death, and the power we have over our own fates, as well as the technological/societal implications of the book. I obviously enjoyed it a great deal. (8/10)

The Reason for God by Tim Keller
This is a reasoned apologetic for belief written by and for an urban, learned audience. Smarter and more convincing than most of the similar books in Christianity, it has a useful place in an evangelical’s library. Keller skillfully goes through the most popular arguments against faith and belief and generally handles them with grace and ease. Probably would not hand it to a non-Christian unless they were really interested in that sort of thing. (7/10)

The Warden by Anthony Trollope

I found this ethical dilemma charming, particularly because of the strong descriptions of each character. This was my first Trollope and I expected it to be… funnier? But, I liked it enough to give him another shot. (7/10)

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornsby
I like Hornsby but this book was really lousy. (3/10)

The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis
The beginning is weaker than most, but the plot and ending of this book is very fitting for the Chronicles. Many solid theological issues addressed with ease and grace, the parallels to life are strong, and the ending is sentimental but lovely for those who love Narnia. (9/10)

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

My sister adored this book, and I picked it up to appease her. I am very glad I did. Well-woven tale of loneliness, love and the things that tie people together. Written with multiple narrators and perspectives, the book feels in turn like a number of different genres, but it is well done and a good example of how the novel may evolve in the 21st century. (9/10)

5 responses to “Books Read in November & December

  1. I find it interesting that The Magician’s Nephew is your least fave Narnia book. . . it was by far the one I enjoyed reading over-and-over when I was a kid.

  2. K, I LOVED Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. I think it’s probably one of my favorite novels. It struck me as a sort of cross-cultural love story. Clone culture trying to figure out and mimic human culture, all set against a very ordinary British landscape. I started crying when I was about 3/4 of the way through, and didn’t stop until I was done. The floor around my bed was ankle-deep in crumpled tissues.

  3. Funny, I just bought A Long Way Down earlier this week. Never read Hornby before but have wanted to for a while. The Magician’s Nephew is the one Narnia book I’ve never read. I’m not sure why that is; I’ve read some of the others multiple times. Love the ending of The Last Battle, though Lewis showed his inclusivism in one somewhat troubling scene.

  4. A. I also loved History of Love.
    B. So glad that I’m not the only “smartie book snob” who has been sucked into the Twilight saga. If Sweet Valley High and the movie Underworld got together, this would be their baby.

  5. The second novel in the Barsetshire series is the funniest, IMO, but it’s harder to understand without The Warden.

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