1. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder is the first book I read this year, and I really should have reviewed it sooner because it made such a great impact on me. This is one of the most inspiring and convicting books I have ever read. It is a biography of Dr. Paul Farmer, a medical anthropologist and specialist in infectious diseases. It begins with his work in Haiti, where he founded a hospital and health center called Zanmi Lasante. From there he went on to work to cure multi-drug resistant tuberculosis all over the world, as well as lobbying for reforms with the World Health Organization and many, many other accomplishments. This book is what inspired the word "Plow" as my word of the year, because I was so struck by how tenacious he was in his work, refusing to back down or give up- really, I don't say this lightly- amazing. This is the book that I would press into your hands and say that you Must Read This Book!
2. Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan Definitely challenged by this book, completely agree and am convicted by the higher call of following Christ . . . however, although he does his best to clarify that it is grace that saves us and that we serve a God of love whom we don't have to serve out of fear, I had a hard time not feeling a little bit hopeless.
3. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick A quick read. I heard about this book on npr, and though it has an interesting plot the story was lurid and every character completely driven by sex. Some redemption at the end.
4. The Holy Wild: Trusting in the Character of God by Mark Buchanan I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of Buchanan. He has the heart of an artist. Here is an interesting comparison to the comment on the arts from Crazy Love that I blogged about earlier:
One of the strongest evidences that we are not resting much in God or risking much for God is the lowly state of the arts among Christians. The Spirit brooded over the formless void and conjured living things, intricate and exotic things, from a poem. If that same Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, also lives in you and me, why aren't we more creative? Lovers of God should, by osmosis, know an irrepressible urge to be poets, artists, artisans. We should make things and make them well. Canadian writer Michael St. George was asked when he first became a poet. He thought a moment, then said, "When did most of us stop being poets?"Tell me- what book must I read this year? I would love some suggestions!
. . . One thing that stifles the artistic impulse in us is we try to hard. . . . We want what we do to have a meaning, a moral, a message. . . . But just walking from the front door to the sidewalk, I get the impression that God isn't overburdened with the same impulse. He just likes making things . ..