Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer reading list

I've had plenty of time during the break, much of which I've spent catching up on my reading. These are the books I've finished recently:

1. Going Public With Your Faith by William Carr Peel and Walt Larimore. Locally published by OMF Literature, the book stresses the importance of being witnesses of Christ in the workplace. The authors argue that effective evangelism can be accomplished by daily living for Christ at work. It exposes the pervading scenario of Christians living dual, often irreconcilable lives (1) at work and (2) in church.

The main idea is that, as working people, our ministry is our work. The book progresses by showing the general steps of effective evangelism. I'm glad to say, however, that the authors didn't miss out, but in fact stressed, that genuine conversion is solely God's work. The gospel presented is also Biblical and is not watered down.

While most, if not all, of the examples in the book are for American readers, the principles are the same. This book has personally been a great encouragement to me, and I highly recommend it. (Thanks for the book, Maridel!)

2. Night by Elie Wiesel. It's a tragic personal account of a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp. As a young Jewish boy, Elie Wiesel was forced to work in the camp with his father. During those darkest moments of history, he witnessed the death of his family and the loss of his innocence. Many times in the book, he struggled with the existence of God. If God did exist, why did He allow this much suffering?

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He wrote:
"This day I had ceased to plead. I was no longer capable of lamentation. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused. My eyes were open and I was alone—terribly alone in a world without God and without man. Without love or mercy. I had ceased to be anything but ashes . . . ."
This is among the saddest books I've read thus far. Don't read this when you're depressed.

3. Fatelessness by Imre Kert├ęsz. It's also about a young boy, this time a Hungarian Jew, who was also detained in several German concentration camps: in Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Zeitz. The account is masterfully written by this Nobel laureate—a bit detached and more detailed than Night, but nevertheless just as powerful. It ends with perplexing questions brought about by a man's struggle to explain why some things happen in this world:

"Why did they not wish to acknowledge that if there is such a thing as fate, then freedom is not possible? If, on the other hand—I swept on, more and more astonished with myself, steadily warming to the past—if there is such a thing as freedom, then there is no fate—and I paused, but only long enough to catch my breath—that is to say, then we ourselves are fate . . . ."


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4. Saturday by Ian McEwan. This is the first of McEwan's novels that I've read, and I couldn't put it down. It's a fictional account of the life of a neurosurgeon (of all professions!) on one fateful Saturday. I'm amazed at the author's ingenious skill at telling many stories, beginning with the smallest of details, then telling a different story altogether, without being detached from the original one. He does this with unparalleled fluidity.

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The book is also well-researched, full of medical jargon that will excite soon-to-be doctors, a major reason why I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's very . . . inspiring.

5. Black by Ted Dekker. This is the first book in the trilogy (Black, Red, and White). A man lives in two different realities. When he sleeps in our world, he dreams of being in another world—a paradise established in the future. But he isn't just dreaming: his dream is actually another reality. When he sleeps in that reality, he is transported into the present reality; so, in effect, he never really gets to sleep. The twist is when he learns of a virus that's about to be released on earth that would wipe out the entire human race. He realizes that the two realities do have a connection, and so he does everything to stop that virus from being released.

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It's exciting to read because there are many Christian undertones: the story of creation, the sovereignty of God, and the believer's delight in his/her Maker. The novel's main character also grew up in Manila, so expect to read of allusions to Philippine culture and living. The book is fast-paced and incredibly funny. Ted Dekker is a creative story-teller.

6. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel by Susanna Clarke. Adjudged as Time Magazine's Book of the Year in 2004, the book is a story of two magicians (from whose names the title was derived) who resurrected magic in England. The book is thick but nevertheless full of interesting characters, my favorite of which is John Uskglass, the Raven King. Don't forget to read the footnotes because they're funny. Clarke has woven quite a story here, with interconnected characters and ingenious magical applications.

3 comments:

  1. inggit ko sa imo mga ginabasa a!

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  3. kuya lance, i just finished reading night by wiesel... its so depressing... then i remembered na nabasa mo na gali... hay, ka depressing gd tuod..mike

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