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2019 Reading, Compendium #5

A High View of Scripture? The Authority of the Bible and the Formation of the New Testament Canon by Craig D. Allert
See my prior review here.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
A quick engaging read. But honestly, Bryson’s prose is so breezy and clever that I’m inclined to distrust it.

Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Steve Coll
A knowledgeable, detailed overview of the CIA’s involvement in those regions over the past decade. Interesting stuff. Also annoying that the author and his editor apparently believed it to be necessary to include the periods in abbreviating Central Intelligence Agency as “C. I. A.” every single time it appeared in the book. Every. Single. Time.

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
Equal parts Stephen King and Michael Crichton. Really entertaining dystopian sci-fi/horror.

In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World by Pádraig Ó Tuama
Oh man, this one was good. Ó Tuama is an Irish poet and student of the New Testament with remarkable compassion and insight.

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch
Not bad, but not as groundbreaking as all my Twitter folks made it out to be. Practical advice, though.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
A classic memoir and philosophical text by a Holocaust survivor.

Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor by Jana Riess
Rachel Held Evans (RIP *sniff*) did it better.

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Dystopian YA where the twist is that blacks are the race in power and whites are just gaining their freedom. Not as much done with that twist as there should’ve been if that’s the key conceit of the novel, but it wasn’t bad.

The Kremlin Strike by Dale Brown
Sometimes you just gotta go for mindless entertainment.

The Overstory by Richard Powers
Mindless entertainment this one was not. A curiously-crafted novel with short stories that provide background for the main characters who drive the second half of the novel. All about trees. Yes, trees. Oh, and it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker.

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
A spy story written from the perspective of a female spy in the 1980s. Strong start, wanders and gets boring in the back half.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
An epic generational tale starting in 1920s Japan and Korea. Very enjoyable storytelling.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman
This was a really fun YA novel. In the near future, human suffering and death has been eliminated. To avoid population overgrowth, a special group of people are chosen as “scythes”, tasked with killing a certain number of people every year. Moral dilemmas ensue. I want to read the next book in the series!

The Fifth Column by Andrew Gross
Fairly basic adventure novel set in 1940’s New York focused on German spies living in the USA. Quick, light read.

Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel
I’m not Catholic, and I’m not that young. But Wiegel’s collection of “letters” on various topics of interest to the Catholic church were an interesting perspective for a Protestant like me.

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