Last year my friend made a New Year’s resolution to read less, because she was tired of getting library fines from not keeping pace with all of the books she was requesting. In an effort to help you not be like my friend, here are four books worth reading in 2015. Because readers are leaders. And you’ll need stuff to talk about on a first date. So here they are in no particular order. There’s something for everyone.
1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
In case you can wait to see the movie until after you’ve read the book (which I’d recommend), then put this one at the top of your list. This is the true story of Louis Zamperini, an extraordinary young man who was shot down over the Pacific during WWII. An elite athlete, he crossed paths with Hitler during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. When WWII broke out, he joined the Army Air Corps. When his plane was shot down over the Pacific, he survived weeks in shark-infested waters with no food and water, only to get captured and sent to a Japanese prisoner of war camp. What Louis overcame is truly amazing, and his faith is inspiring. His story is deserving of the Hollywood treatment for sure.
2. Life with a Capital L by Matt Heard
Matt was my pastor for years at Woodmen Valley Chapel and is one of the most gifted communicators I’ve ever heard. This book is based on his sermon series on the book of John and explores what it means to be fully alive in Christ, not merely just a breathing, functioning human being. Matt talks about brokenness, beauty, the power of story, and heaven with unconventional illustrations and a unique blend of relating to the head and the heart. From an obscure painting in an art museum in Moscow to Thornton Wilder’s famous play Our Town, Matt shows us how we aren’t called to be more spiritual or religious, but we’re called to be more fully human.
3. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
I love historical fiction that is based on true moments in history, and this book uncovers the orphan trains that operated during the Great Depression. This is how Booklist describes the novel:
“A long journey from home and the struggle to find it again form the heart of the intertwined stories that make up this moving novel. Foster teen Molly is performing community-service work for elderly widow Vivian, and as they go through Vivian’s cluttered attic, they discover that their lives have much in common. When Vivian was a girl, she was taken to a new life on an orphan train. These trains carried children to adoptive families for 75 years, from the mid-nineteenth century to the start of the Great Depression. Novelist Kline brings Vivian’s hardscrabble existence in Depression-era Minnesota to stunning life. Molly’s present-day story in Maine seems to pale in comparison, but as we listen to the two characters talk, we find grace and power in both of these seemingly disparate lives. Although the girls are vulnerable, left to the whims of strangers, they show courage and resourcefulness. Kline illuminates a largely hidden chapter of American history, while portraying the coming-of-age of two resilient young women.”
It’s a fascinating story about a part of American culture that few people know even existed.
4. Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
You probably know comedian Jim Gaffigan from his Hot Pocket routine and because he’s one of the few comics who is “family-friendly.” This book details Jim’s love of food in all its forms: There’s a whole chapter dedicated to bacon, regional food specialties, and even a touching chapter about the importance of eating dinner together as a family. Of course he finds a way to add humor to The Last Supper, but even Jesus was a fan of eating! If you’ve watched any of Jim’s comedy routines, then you’ll “hear” him as your read. It’s a light read and great when you just need a laugh or something to distract you when there’s a screaming baby on your flight.
What books would you recommend others read in 2015?