Friday, January 2, 2015

Reading Highlights from 2014

   I know, I know, I'm a little late in doing this. I've been toying with a reading post for about a month now. I thought it would be interesting to sit down every once in a while and just talk about stuff I've been reading. Yet, whenever I had a chance to sit down, I never really knew what to talk about. Then I figured the end of the year would be the optimal time to test such a post. That came and went. Now I'm a week late, and I'm going to force myself to do it. Therefore, here are some of my reading highlights: books that I either really enjoyed, thought were powerful, or just have something to say about.

   1. Mein Kampf by Adolph Hitler
   I got the idea to read this book on a whim. I was looking for another book in the library, and having a bit of difficulty in finding it, when I stumbled upon this. I hadn't read Hitler's magnum opus before, though I had not heard good things (it's Hitler, what do you expect?). I decided, after finding my other book, to give Hitler a chance. This is one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. It is racist, sexist, crazy, and yet thoughtful. Hitler definitely had his philosophy well worked out, as disturbing as it was. This is an important historical work of literature, even though its not very well written and it is full of bad, bad ideas. I'm not sure why this is first on my list, other than that it is the most recent book I've read so it is fresh on my mind.

   2. On Writing by Stephen King
   This is a great book. It's a fun read, it's full of good material, and King is a great writer. He entertains even when talking about grammar, and he makes you think about how to better the writing craft. If you are a writer, you should probably read this book.

   3. A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd
   This is a great book. It's the story of a Pastor's Journey toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace. With that said, this is a non-fiction book, but it is still gripping. Zahnd challenged me to look at my life and look at the way I view the Bible to see if they match up with Jesus. A great book.

   4. Unwritten by Charles Martin
   My mom read this book first, then gave it to me saying I would enjoy it. It's the story of a celebrity who gets so messed up she tries to kill herself, but is rescued by a hermit. The hermit, who used to be something of a celebrity himself, offers to help her disappear of the radar. She accepts. The rest of the book involves the story of how she tries to sort her life out (with the reluctant help of the hermit, of course). This book tells a great story and contains some powerful philosophy. I would advise this one to writers as well.

   5. The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket
   I really did not like this book. It is the ninth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events and the rest of the books, as expected, are quite sad. The ending of this one, I felt, was just unnecessarily bleak. However, I know wonder if that was the point. Snicket seems to be pointing at our entertainment and our view of others. We quibble over mindless differences, then turn to entertainment full of violence and messy eating. Disgusting.

   6. The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
   I read/listened-to a lot of classics through the year, but I think this was one of the best. Its the story of Pinocchio, the little wooden marionette who wants to be a real boy. Interestingly, the story is comprised of short stories, with each chapter forming a story all on its own, more or less. The chapters fit together to tell an overall story as well, making it fascinating experience for the reader. After finishing this story, I think I had stumbled upon a essential-read among the children's literature genre.

There, those are some of my reading highlights from last year. What about yours? What books did you read last year? Any good ones? Any bad ones? Comment below and tell me about it!

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