50 One Sentence Book Reviews (Part 1)
Currently I have 2 jobs. By day, I work in social media for the cause of world missions. By night, I clean toilets. One of the advantages of working a job at night that requires little cognitive exertion is that I am able to occupy my mind however I wish. In the early days of cleaning offices I started by filling my iPod with my favorite jams and singing along at the top of my lungs (I’ve been surprised more than once by late-working employees in the midst of belting my off-key renditions), but when you are working 6-8 hours alone at night music can get kind of boring. So I eventually switched to prayer, listening to sermons, and audiobooks. Over time, my attention span has expanded and I am now able to consume an insane amount of content each week.
Between sermons, the occasional music track, and lots of Bible I have listened to around 30 some odd books. That number, in addition to those I’ve read the old-fashioned way (you know, with my eyes) adds up to 49 books so far this year—it will be 51 by the end of the year. They are mostly Christian non-fiction and theology but I squeezed some classic fiction in there too.
I present to you the first 25 one sentence book reviews, ordered by date of completion
1. Invitation by Aram and Basyk Tchividjian – Biography of Billy Graham. He was one cool dude.
2. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller – More pseudo-Christianity from Miller. The main point: God’s only interested in your life having a neat story.
3. Radical by David Platt – This one was kind of frustrating to me. He basically says “You need to live for to the eXtreme for Jesus,” but continually qualifies it with, “but not too extreme guys!”
4. Dracula by Bram Stoker – Very long and very good, but DON’T READ THIS BOOK WHILE WORKING ALONE AT NIGHT IN A DARK SCARY WAREHOUSE! #hewantsmyblood
5. The Leadership Secrets of Billy Graham by Harold Myra and Marshall Shelley – The secret: Accountability and integrity.
6. Anna Karanina by Leo Tolstoy – Rich Russian ladies are never happy.
7. The Baptism and Fullness of the Holy Spirit by John R. Stott – The New Testament demonstrates that baptism of the Spirit as a subsequent experience to salvation is not normative for the Church age, but was only for the transition period.
8. The Divine Affections by Jonathan Edwards – True Christian conversion will produce humility, heart change, and hatred of our own sin.
9. Your God is Too Small by J.B. Phillips – He reasons backward, if the world did need a savior what would he look like? Turns out he would look a lot like this Jesus fellow.
10. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom – This woman had incredible faith in the face of some incredible circumstances in Holland during WWII.
11. Leadership 101 by John C. Maxwell – I honestly don’t remember anything about this book, but it’s on my list so I must have read it.
12. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand – The crappy version of Atlas Shrugged.
13. Jesus: The Only Way to God by John Piper – Short book with snappy little arguments for the exclusivity of Jesus.
14. The Life of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards – Get a glimpse into the mind of a missionary who walked humbly before God.
15. Lies My Pastor Told Me by Cole Brown – This guy was not happy to find out that what he was taught in his Charismatic church was unBiblical.
16. Of Prayer and the Christian Life by John Calvin – Technically, this is just part of Institutes. Read this if you want a deeper understanding of the integral role of prayer in your Christian life.
17. The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther – An erudite Luther eradicates the evil Erasmus, and no, your will is not free to choose righteousness.
18. The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges – How the pursuit of personal holiness is all about grace.
19. The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion by Tim Challies – Do you own your electronic gizmos or do they own you?
20. Starlight and Time: Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe by D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D. – Tries to reconcile the light we see from distant stars with young earth theory. Seemed plausible to me, but I didn’t understand all of the science.
21. Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer – Good news everyone, turns out you can be a Calvinist AND obey the Great Commission!
22. Saving your Marriage Before it Starts by Dr. Les and Leslie Parrot – Excellent book on marriage! Read this if you are engaged or thinking about getting hitched. Basically, clearly communicate expectations to one another.
23. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxes – Dietrich took care of business. This one reads more like an adventure novel than a biography.
24. Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend – Can ya tell I got married this year? This one had some good tips, but these guys are notorious for taking Scripture way out of context to prove their point.
25. More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell – Jesus was the Son of God. This is a good little apolagetic to give away to skeptics.
Okay, so most of them were two sentences, but don’t hold that against me. The last 25 will come later this week.
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What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
Do you set reading goals, or just kind of see what happens?
UPDATE: Make sure you check out Part 2 for books 26-50!