Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 books in 2010

Someday I'll write a better piece on how 2010 has been for me. Suffice it to say that it has been a great year: I learned so many things and matured in so many ways. Which is not to say that I already know a lot in life; clearly I still have a long way to go, and to call myself mature is to make a mockery of those who truly are. But, like many of you, I'm excited with whatever it is that 2011 holds. Each year, after all, is an opportunity God gives us to know Him more, to experience His grace, and to honor Him with whatever it is we do, be it our work or study (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Now I'm going to enumerate the books I was able to read, not to brag about them--because, really, the fact that I had read a number of non-medical books means that I sacrificed valuable time otherwise spent studying, and that's no reason to be proud, I tell you--but to document them. My memory fails me, and if I don't list them down, I might just forget them. Books have also been helpful tools for my growth, both spiritually and intellectually. And this year has given me the chance to read excellent works of people I have come to admire. It was, for example, Dietrich Bonhoeffer who taught me to sacrifice my all for Christ, and St. Augustine who showed me a deep and deepening passion for God. I also enjoyed works of literature; they make the best entertainment because, unlike TV shows, books allow me to imagine with the authors.

Like other bloggers, I'm listing down the top 10 best books I read (in full) this year.

1. Holiness by JC Ryle

Holiness (Abridged): Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots (Moody Classics)
An edited compilation of sermons by JC Ryle, it revisits basic Christian doctrine with emphasis on the meditation and understanding of God's Word. It warns the believers to have a clear grasp of God because false doctrines are getting popular, so pervasive in fact that they get manage to get into the the realm of the Church. A Christian classic, this one.

2. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Satanic Verses: A NovelTwo human beings survive a plane explosion, and as they plummet to the ground, they transform into supernatural beings: one becomes an angel, the other the incarnation of Satan. It's a parody of sorts of religion, and this explains why Salman Rushdie is now in hiding: Islamic fundamentalists have a standing order to kill him. As a literary work, it's beautifully written. Reviews call Rushdie one of the best English writers of our time. I would have to agree.

3. The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

The Death of Ivan IlyichTolstoy explores death in this masterful work. Like I always say, doctors will profit from this work greatly.

4. The Right To Die?: Caring Alternatives to Euthanasia by Mark Blocher

The Right to Die?: Caring 
Alternatives to Euthanasia The book starts out by outlining a Biblical definition of death. The second chapter deals with Jack Kevorkian and the horrors he has caused. The third deals with the abuse of language to justify assisted suicide. The chapter I liked best is the fifth chapter where Blocher answers the question on whether death is a right, a duty, or an inevitability. The next chapter deals with the issue of having natural limits on personal freedom—this time, on death. The other chapters deal with the role of physicians at the end of life. In the penultimate chapter, Blocher doesn't veer away from answering hard questions on euthanasia and medical futility.

5. The Chief: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons by Lance Morrow
The Chief: A Memoir of Fathers and SonsI was named after Lance Morrow, a Time Magazine essayist. In this piece, he writes about his father who used to work for a very powerful man. It's deeply personal--he talks of his departure from religion, his feelings towards his family and his work, and he does these without getting too corny.

6. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Gilead: A NovelAn old, faithful pastor who hails from a family of preachers writes to his young son. If you want to encourage your pastors, this would make a truly heartwarming gift!

7. Prisoner for God: Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Boenhoeffer

It's a collection of letters, poems, and essays written from the prison cell by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor and theologian who participated in the German resistance against Nazism.What drew me to Bonhoeffer was his faith and love for the Savior.

8. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Bel Canto (P.S.)The book that ushered me to the world of opera. The most powerful men of an unknown country are held hostage for months by rebels who are too nice to be holding guns. In their midst is an opera singer whose voice can melt even the hardest of hearts.

9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeIt's a book about a nerd, a geek, or whatever you call such people who like puzzles and numbers and are inept at socializing. A truly funny yet insightful novel.

10. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoThis tells the story of a big, fat, ugly, Latino boy who likes computers and comic books. He also happens to like girls. Very much. But the girls don't want anywhere near him.

These are the books I read, listed chronologically. (I haven't finished those marked with asterisk).

Confessions by Augustine*
The Speed Reading Book by Tony Bunzan*
Disgrace by J. M. Coetze
The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoyevsky*
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
No One Writes to the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez
The Soul's Quest for God by R.C. Sproul
Marry Me by John Updike.   
The Right To Die?: Caring Alternatives to Euthanasia by Mark Blocher
The Trick of It by Michael Frayn
The Chief: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons by Lance Morrow
Holiness by JC Ryle
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.
Bridge to Terebithia by Katharine Paterson
The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare
Focus by Arthur Miller
Scared by Tom Davis
A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
Sermon on the Mount by Sinclair Ferguson
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
The Crucible by Arthur Miller*
Just read "Willa" and "Graduation Afternoon" (Just After Sunset short story collection) by Stephen King
Dietrich Boenhoeffer's Prisoner for God: Letters and Papers from Prison
Jim Winter's Depression: A Rescue Plan
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
The House of Meetings by Martin Amis
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubne
The Other Hand by Chris Cleave
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell*
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk*
The Chronicles of Clovis by HH Munro
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
Broken Music by Sting*

Next: my top 10 films.



Anonymous Ben Anthony Lopez said...

Wow, Kuya Lance! You read a lot! Even in med school. How do you do it?

Sat Jan 01, 07:48:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

I read most books during the Christmas, summer, and sem breaks, with a clear resolve to take my mind off academics for a while.

Tue Jan 04, 05:02:00 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kuya, i've been looking for the satanic verses everywhere!! would you lend me the book if you have one? :D mike

Tue Jan 04, 04:05:00 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

Sure, Mike. It's with Manong subong.

Tue Jan 04, 08:55:00 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kuya lance, have you read tony buzan's mind map book? his mind maps saved me when i was taking neuroana. hahaha.

by the way, great list! your post inspired me to finish my reading list.

Chrisptopher (the nerd) in the curious incident i think has asperger syndrome. i have a patient with the same condition. he also hates hugs like Christopher:)

-precious lao

Fri Jan 07, 02:06:00 AM GMT+8  
Blogger Lance said...

Flordeline Precious Lao: Not yet, but the second half of his speed-reading book talks a lot about mind maps. Very practical, I should say, except I don't do mind maps a lot. Ang bagal kong magcolor.

Yes, Asperger's it is. Have you seen the movie, Adam? The lead actor has the same condition.

Fri Jan 07, 04:30:00 AM GMT+8  

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