IVP - Strangely Dim - On Books

February 5, 2008

On Books

Friend and coworker Ellen Hsu tagged me in her family blog last week, so, inspired by her, I'm offering you a look inside some of my reading preferences. As you can see, for some of the questions I had a hard time limiting myself to just one book.

1. One book that changed your life: Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen (published by InterVarsity Press!). I read this after I returned from Cambodia in 2005. It reveals so clearly how deeply God's heart beats for justice, and it did a lot to further my thinking about the roles I can play in fighting injustice. Also Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey. I read this at a point when I was wrestling with why we pray. And, while Yancey doesn't offer easy answers or really many answers at all, his words and reflections and questions and honesty deepened both my desire to pray and my faith that prayer is essential and does, in fact, make a difference--more than we often know.

2. One book that you have read more than once: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Is it any wonder why? It's amazing.

3. One book you would want on a desert island: The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard, which I haven't actually read yet because I haven't had the quiet and space and uninterrupted time a desert island would afford to process what's in it. And I'd take Fred Van Dyke's teaching notes from the class he taught on the book a few years ago at my church.

4. Two books that made you laugh: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. Nobody has characters quite like Dickens. Also, the Mitford books by Jan Karon. I'm currently reading the second book, prompted by others I know who read the books and loved them, and by Lauren Winner's confession that the Mitford books played a role in her conversion from Judaism to Christianity. Maybe you have to have grown up in a small town as a pastor's kid like I did to really appreciate the Mitford books in your twenties, but whatever the reason--I just really like them. The quirky characters (some of whom will remind you of people you know!) and the trueness of small-town life and ministry that Karon has captured make me laugh.

5. One book that made you cry: Well, I don't know if I actually cried, but if I didn't I must have been close: When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge by Chanrithy Him. I read this before my first trip to Cambodia in 2005. It's hard to believe what some people have endured in their lifetime.

6. One book you wish you'd written: Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner. I love her writing style, the way the book is organized, her thought processes and the way she weaves together the different experiences of her life. And one more: The Words Under the Words, a collection of poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye. I'd love to write poetry like what's in this book.

7. Two books you are currently reading: A Light in the Window by Jan Karon (see #4) and Likewise's very own Life After Church by Brian Sanders, in preparation for our Likewise Donkey Congress on February 14. Stay tuned.

8. One book you've been meaning to read:
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. And about fifty others. But that's one that's at the top of the list right now.

Now it's your turn! Lindsay? Keith? Doug and Julie? Post your own answers on your blog, or leave us a comment about books you've read.

Posted by Lisa Rieck at February 5, 2008 4:18 PM Bookmark and Share


May I urge you to read Searching for God Knows What? I think I maybe love it more than Blue Like Jazz.

Comment by: Jenn at February 7, 2008 2:53 PM

Thanks Jenn! I've read Blue Like Jazz and liked it a lot--but I know others who, like you, love Searching for God Knows What even more. Maybe you can check back with me in a few months and see if I've read it!

Comment by: Lisa at February 12, 2008 1:15 PM

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Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

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