i also give them a 1-5 star rating after the author's name (5 stars being the best, of course).
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling *****
My 2nd step into the world of Harry Potter. I think the 1st book was better, but this has still got to be the best fiction ever written. Absolutely amazing. I lose myself in another world every time I dive in and I can’t rip myself away from this book.
(Re)Understanding Prayer – Kyle Lake ****
Kyle died in a 2005 baptism accident and I’ve heard from so many people that he was an such a unique guy! I learned a lot about prayer from this book. Kyle was one authentic and transparent pastor.
Developing the Leaders Around You – John Maxwell ****
This had the practicality of and usefulness of a business school text book but was also easy to read. Excellent must read for anyone leading a team! So good i'm going back through it to start putting into practice all that i learned.
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ – John Piper ***
Good book to read to renew our awe in Jesus. really short and easy read.
How Soccer Explains the World – Franklin Foer ****
This was a really interesting book and fun for me to read. It's basically a study in Globalism via the soccer cultures all over the world. Brilliant! The last chapter was the best as it was a breakdown of why conservative Americans have an agenda of hatred for soccer... eye opening and brilliant! Anyone who is interested in soccer and world culture will love this book.
A New Kind of Christianity – Brian McLaren ****
I always love reading McLaren. He is one of my favorite authors. This is perhaps the most challenging of all his books. Challenges all my assumptions and many things we're taught in theology classes in seminary. i also love his heart and his reason for challenging the status quo in search of truth. i recommend this book, but would recommend starting with some other McLaren books 1st.
Good to Great and the Social Sectors – Jim Collins ****
What an awesome idea. Since all of us churches and non-profits already strive to follow Collins' Good to Great principles anyway, why not give us our own book? That's exactly what this book is. It takes the genius principles and tweaks them for the social sectors. every social leader should read this.
Made to Stick – Chip and Dan Heath *****
Probably the best book i read this year! it is amazing! i couldn't get enough of it and it is extremely relevant for everything i do and will do in the future. it's basically great principles for how we can consistently make our ideas stick in people's minds and help them actually act on them!
God is the Gospel – John Piper ***
I'm a big Piper fan, but this definitely was not the best of his books. Maybe the worst? It felt like he wrote it in a weekend from some random notes he had around the house. it was just "ok" for me.
Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches – contributors include Mark Driscoll, John Burke, Doug Pagitt, and Dan Kimball ***
Finally got around to reading this while we were in Kenya. I really liked this conversational style book with the authors talking back and forth as they wrote. This book will make you think for sure. Unfortunately, Driscoll is the dark spot in the book... sounds like they invited a mean old fundamentalist pastor to contribute.
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown **
Decent story. Decently written. i wanted to see what all the hype with Dan Brown has been about. i must have missed it.
Angels and Demons – Dan Brown *
If the above book was just decent, then this book was no good at all. waste of time and not really even that entertaining.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey ***
i can see why it's a classic. Very practical and helpful. i need to be putting these habits into practice!
The Next Christendom - Phillip Jenkins ***
The concept is awesome & something we all need to be aware of. It is written more as an academic book though and fairly boring. Basically, the bottom line is that the Global Church and Center of Christianity is moving SOUTH. This will change things dramatically as the Southern Church will be driving things and not the American/Western church. I would love a 25 page summary of this book instead of having to read the whole thing.
He is There & He is not Silent - Francis Schaeffer **
I have never actually read a Francis Schaeffer book, so this one seemed like a good one to start with as he was "the man" for a couple decades. He had good stuff to say, but it was obvious that he was a champion writing for modern people still in the modern era. Unfortunately, most of his major points are now irrelevant in this new postmodern era (imho).
Emerging Churches - Eddie Gibbs & Ryan Bolger ***
Started reading this back in 06 and i finally finished. the 1st half of the book is GREAT! the 2nd half dragged on. Great job by these authors to pull together the main distinctions of emerging churches. a very helpful book overall.
LOVE – Mother Teresa ***
The best of Mother Teresa all in 1 book. Very inspiring. what an awesome lady.
The Power of Positive Thinking - Norman Vincent Peale **Straight from my late grandfather's shelf. Didn't know what to expect from this guy that my grandfather read religiously. Some of it was good stuff and some of it felt more like heresy.
The Hole in Our Gospel - Richard Stearns ***
Good, simple book from the President of World Vision. Nothing new, but all good reminders. Pretty recent facts, stats, and stories.
BELIEVE – Desmond Tutu ***
Great stuff from Tutu. This guy is always inspiring.
The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch *****
One of the best books i read this year. Audio book on the way up to NY for Christmas. This Carnegie-Melon professor had terminal cancer and a few months to live. So he wrote this book of everything he would want to say to and pass down to his young children. FULL of practical wisdom. It felt like i was reading a modern day Proverbs (although pretty sure this guys isn't a follower of Jesus).
The Emerging Church - Dan Kimball ****
My parents gave me this book as a birthday gift when i was back in college. i started it then and finished it just this week. Great stuff from 5 years ago from Kimball. Level headed guy who gets it. A VERY simple intro to postmodernism and how the church can react to it.
The Cost of Discipleship - Dietrich Bonhoeffer ***
Classic. Many would say a top 10 Christian book of all time. I wouldn't rank it that high, but it was definitely a great book about living "radically" from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. After that part of the book it kind of drug on and didn't feel very relevant.
Das Kapital - Karl Marx ***
So close to the Way of following Jesus and the life of Jesus. Yet, SO FAR away in the end. Without Jesus this gets pretty jacked up. I see what Marx was getting at and it could be a beautiful thing... instead he just made it ugly with the killing people thing and all.
Grasping God’s Word - Duvall & Hays ***
I read most of this for a hermeneutics seminary class but finished it this week and it's a lot of great practical stuff for understanding reading the Bible.