Monday, January 2, 2012

Beloved Disrepair

My bedroom threshold. It is the great divide between the acceptable and the forbidden.

Let me explain.
On my side of the threshold stand my bookshelves. They are loaded with fictional classics from Dickens, Bronte, Tolkien, Orczy,and Hugo, as well as non-fiction gems from Piper, Mohler, and DeYoung. Want to borrow a book? Pull up a chair and have at it.

But cross the threshold holding one of my books without my permission, and I become the Balrog.

I love my kids...and I love my books.
When I ask for a book for birthday or Christmas, I mean I want a book that doesn't have the cover ripped off
or the corners bent
or the the dust jacket missing.
I want it to be there when I want to read it
and re-read it.

When I pick up The Hobbit--my Hobbit--and find that the front cover is gone,
I start to rumble.
And it ain't pretty.
When I find that one of my books has mysteriously found its way to a living room end table,
I start to grumble.
And I look around at the downstairs bookshelves packed double deep from floor to ceiling,
and I wonder why the kids can't find something interesting on their bookshelves.

The kids can see the red glow of my indignation coming down the hall.
And just like Gandalf and company, wisely, they run.
Fly, you fools!

I love my books...and I love my kids.
So my indignation subsides.
I turn a blind eye to my curled pages...
("Just where exactly were you when my book and your water were trying to occupy the same space?!?!?!)
and I am thankful that my books are in disrepair.
Beloved disrepair--
for a book that is not worth reading
is simply not worth owning.
Below, you will find my 2011 reading list: 72 books in all.
And I must draw your attention to a couple of them.

As for non-fiction, the most important book I read this year was Elias Chacour's Blood Brothers. It changed me. Told from the viewpoint of a Palestinian Christian during Israel's fight for statehood, this autobiography documents the unacceptable treatment of Palestinians--who were there first--at the hands of , not so much the indigenous Jews, as the European Jews who moved in and staked their claim on already occupied land. I cried. Today, Chacour still fights for peace in this war-torn region.

The Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson, was a sleeper hit, in my opinion. I had inadvertently stumbled across this little gem while shopping for a good book for my then 10-year-old son. He plowed through the first two books (On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darknessand North or Be Eaten), and then we read them aloud. Don't be fooled by the offbeat humor. This is a powerful tale, and I couldn't finish North or Be Eaten without crying. Jake already finished Monster in the Hollows, which is up next in the Saga, and the rest of us can't wait. It's a beautiful story.

Give Me This Mountain by Dr. Helen Rosaveare
Generous Justice by Tim Keller
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
Fire Breathing Christians by Scott Alan Buss
Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce by John Piper
Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle
Out of the Depths by John Newton
Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
Marks of the Messenger by J. Mack Stiles
The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock
Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Scandalous by D.A. Carson
Hawk That Dare Not Hunt by Day by Scott O'Dell
Five Thousand Year Leap by Cleon Skoussen
Prayer of the Lord by R.C. Sproul
Divorce Dilemma by John MacArthur
Jonathan Edwards: Lover of God by Owen Strachan and Doug Sweeney
Thirty One Days to a Better Understanding of Prophets and Prophecy by Mark Weaver
Magna Carta by James Daugherty
The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Jesus You Can't Ignore by John MacArthur
Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer
Ink on His Fingers by Louise Vernon
It is Well by Mark Dever
Think by John Piper
Common Sense by Glenn Beck
I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
Willing to Believe by R.C. Sproul
Priority of Preaching by Christopher Ash
Lord Foulgrin's Letters by Randy Alcorn
Lady Molly of Scotland Yard by Baroness Orczy
Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
Mr. Pipes and the Songs of the Reformation by Douglas Bond
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin
The Big Three by Dr. Henry Morris
A Palestinian Cry for Reconciliation by Naim Stifan Ateek
Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
Word-Filled Families by John Barnett
Book of Dragons by E. Nesbitt
The Stone and the Glory by Greg Harris
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant by Terry Felber
Appointment in Jerusalem by Lydia Prince
The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson
Genesis in Time and Space by Francis Schaeffer
Dragons of Lonely Island by Rebecca Rupp
End of the Law by Jason C. Meyer
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard Maybury
Blame it on the Brain by Edward Welch
The Ministry of Intercession by Andrew Murray
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson
Just Jane by Nancy Moser
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Latham
Aunt Dimity: Snowbound by Nancy Atherton
Expository Listening by Ken Ramey
On Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck
North or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser
Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Give Me Liberty: the Uncompromising Statesmanship of Patrick Henry by David J. Vaughn
Ashamed of the Gospel by John MacArthur
Get Out of Our House: Revolution by Tim Cox
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier


  1. I'm half tempted to challenge you to a book-reading contest in 2012. But that might be a hastily-entered endeavor. :)

    The Blood Brothers book sounds particularly intriguing.

  2. Only hasty for me, as I would lose, I'm sure. :)

    I'll set out Blood Brothers for you to borrow.

  3. Thanks, Noel! I could never read all these books, but I'll endeavor to pick one or two. We just found Andrew Peterson's books, too. Very excited about them.

  4. You're going to LOVE them, I think. And I'm told by my 11 year old that there has to be a fourth one coming. Yay!

  5. well there went all my pbs credits....

  6. Glad to see you added a bit of art history in the mix :) (I, Juan de Pareja)

  7. Oh Scarlett, you know I am woefully lacking there!!! And if you have any other good art read-alouds, PLEASE send them my way. We read the tulips book that was the one that inspired Maddie's speech (I think), and it was beautiful, too!