Continuing the series from 2015 and 2016, here’s the list of books I read in 2017. I know this is coming a bit late, please, bear with me. I already discussed and pondered on some of the books listed below in this post sometime during the year. I intend to write quarterly posts on the books I’ve read during with year with my thoughts, lessons learnt among other things.
- Esther – John Piper
- The Race of Faith – R.C. Sproul
I discussed a bit on the two above named books (mostly on #2) in the aforementioned post. Since then R.C. Sproul has passed on. One of the things I have had to think and write about albeit briefly is the subject of faith – too often it is said that one should just have faith (which is really belief) but not in what. Sometimes, things can get misconstrued. A concise definition of what one means never hurt anybody however unnecessary it may seem. Faith in what, whom?
I think the title of RC Sproul’s book is somewhat familiar and self-explanatory. He addresses subjects like the Race of Life, what is Faith? And then with respect to the Christian Faith, what is it that we believe by going on a short exposition of the Apostles Creed. It’s a good and short read on what it means to be a Christian. More than just repeating statements like ‘Jesus is Lord’ or other similar ones, more than just mental assent, fundamental understanding of the gospel is required. Can you explain to another the basic tenets of what you claim to believe?
- Unashamed – Lecrae
We all have a story and this is his One of the things he tried to do which is really part of his story is explain his ‘transition’ on his musical content.
- The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
I enjoyed reading this. I love it when I check out a purported classic and it’s actually great like ‘Price and Prejudice’ that year. Who doesn’t like spending their time productively, not me.
- Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream to The Sun – Sarah Ladipo Manyinka
I think I read one of the author’s books last year. This one was very short and thankfully not a waste of time. Aging in a ‘foreign’ land with no family or real support system. Things can be hard. The book ends with a glimmer of hope.
- What Did You Really Expect? – Paul Tripp
A book on marriage, expectations, realities and purpose. What do you get when 2 human beings, redeemed or otherwise are involved in an institution such as marriage? We have expectations, conscious or otherwise, and there are realities that need to be faced and addressed. Marriage is a union of two (un)saved sinners in a fallen world. What kind of marriage are you committed to having? The vertical relationship (between you and God) directly impacts all other horizontal relationships (between yourself and other people) especially your spouse.
- Not By Sight – Jon Bloom
Jon Bloom is a fantastic writer. Old and familiar lessons pondered on and freshly squeezed with some new insights and provoking thoughts. This was a slow read for me. One can enjoy the book taking one story/chapter per day or week like a devotional or like a normal book reading. It’s quite readable and he’s got quotes for days. I might just write a couple of musings posts from some of them.
“It’s the things unseen that are the most important things.”
“In truth, the ideas and images in men’s minds are the invisible powers that constantly govern them.” – Jonathan Edwards
“The important thing about a man is not where he goes when he is compelled to go, but where he goes when he is free to go where he will… The choices of life, not the compulsions, reveal character.”
- Elon Mush Biography – Ashlee Vance
Now this is one of two books I’m glad I read last year. I read it towards the end of the year and it was very interesting, enlightening and challenging. One of the things I like about the book was that the author added some criticism (of Elon Musk and his work) by other people – has he really invented or introduced something dramatic with his Tesla and SpaceX ventures or does he just happen to get better results – are we getting to the marginal part of the inventive curve of humankind? – The second question especially made me ponder. I think it was good that the author included them as some of them are important things to ponder on.
Prior to reading this book, I had only heard the name and it was good catching up. I think it has helped me appreciate more some of the feats that SpaceX is achieving in the space industry. Elon Musk has done some great things in his lifetime and this is his story but NOT told by him.
- A Third Testament- Malcolm Muggeridge
“The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.” – Malcolm Muggeridge
I have heard Ravi Zacharias use this quote in one or two of his Podcasts – Let My People Think. You should check it out if you don’t already. He has also referred to him as one of the greatest journalist of his generation, so I set out to read one or two of his books and this is the first one.
In this book, he explores the spiritual wanderings of Augustine, Blake, Pascal, Tolstoy, Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky. Once I saw the name Bonhoeffer as one of those he wrote one, I made up my mind to read this book and it was worth it. It was quite a short read but an enlightening one. I hope to get my hands on the biographies of all this men and even read more on them but I already have two of them – Augustine’s Confessions and Bonhoeffer’s Biography by Eric Metaxas which I have been reading for almost two years now.
Augustine on comparing God’s gifts to us to a man giving his girl a bracelet had this to say;
“If she so delights in the bracelet as to forget the giver, that is an insult to him, but if she so delights in the bracelet as to love the giver more, that was what the bracelet was for…
We take for granted the slow miracle whereby water in the irrigation of a vine yard becomes wine. It is only when Christ turns water into wine, in quick motion, as it were that we stand amazed.”
The quote above right there is amazing. The truths embedded in those few lines. How true is it that we humans are quick to forget, to lose our wonder, to take for granted.
For me, the following quote was the most thought provoking and track stopping. I think Kierkegaard’s sister or one of the others said it to her brother, one of the subjects of the book when she wanted to become a nun and give away her sizable inheritance away and other worldly pleasures.
“If you do not possess the strength to follow me, at least do not hold me back. Do not show yourself ungrateful to God for the grace he has given to a person whom you love.”
What books did you read last year? What books have you read this year? Have you read any of the books I mentioned?
I gave away a copy of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis via the blog last year would be giving away one or two books in the coming months. Any particular takers from the list above? Although more than half of them are soft copies.