Get Real (John Leonard) – I heard an interview with the author on Steve Brown, Etc. and was hooked. The basic thrust of the book is that as the gospel grabs our hearts it will also flow out of our lives in a natural way in our interactions with others. Ah, may that good news get further into my hard heart.
The Abolition of Man (C. S. Lewis) – On the surface, this is a critique of British public education in the mid-20th century. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? But the concerns expressed go far beyond that narrow application for Lewis was rightly pressing “the doctrine of objective value, the belief that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, to the kind of thing the universe is and the kinds of things we are.” Well worth thinking through and wrestling with.
The Great Divorce (C. S. Lewis) – I hadn’t read this for 20 years and was glad to dust off my old copy. This is one of Lewis’ lesser known works of fiction, an allegorical tale of a bus ride from hell to heaven. A classic quote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”
Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (C. S. Lewis) – This is something of an autobiography for Lewis. But it is something of an extended reflection on his gradual conversion to Christianity as well. Understandably, one of his friends quipped that it might have been called Suppressed by Jack because of the amount of material left out. That said, there are no few grand quotes such as this, “A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere…God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.”
Comforting Hearts, Teaching Minds (Starr Meade) – The subtitle sums the book up well as “Family Devotions Based on the Heidelberg Catechism.” Certainly, the book could be used in that way with readings for each of the 52 weeks of the year, Monday through Saturday. That said, this is what I used in my own personal devotion time through much of 2014. And with great delight.
C. S. Lewis: A Life (Alister McGrath) – the ECPA 2014 Christian Book Award Winner (Non-Fiction). A well-written and thoroughly researched new biography of “Jack” Lewis. McGrath’s argument as to reconsidering the timing of Lewis’ shift from atheism to theism to Christianity is worth hearing. A great addition to the library of Lewis fans.
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (J. I. Packer) – Ever ask these questions? “If God is in control of everything, can Christians sit back and not bother to evangelize?” “Does evangelism imply that God is not really sovereign at all?” This is a classic (for good reason) from J. I. Packer that grapples well with these questions and gives satisfying answers.
Total Truth (Nancy Pearcy) – This grand work continues the Francis Schaeffer-inspired project begun with Pearcy’s earlier book (co-written with Chuck Colson) How Now Shall We Live? It’s a great introduction to worldview analysis, one well worth reading repeatedly. Which I did again this year.
The Warden and the Wolf King (Andrew Peterson) – The fourth and final book in the Wingfeather Saga. How can I describe this series? Think of it as a blend of part The Princess Bride and part The Chronicles of Narnia but well able to stand on its own as a great work of fantasy. Our family has enjoyed each of these and spent delightful hours in read-alouds.
Pembrick’s Creaturepedia (Andrew Peterson) – An encyclopedia of the creatures inhabiting the fictional world of Anniera, the setting of the Wingfeather Saga (see above). Pages full of witty and creative entries with amusing illustrations throughout.