As a grad student, much of my reading time is consumed by required reading (composition and reading theory lately), but I do keep a stack of books by my bedside and relish every chance I have to read for pleasure. My favorite books this year covered a broad gamut:
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling: The highly anticipated seventh and final book in the beloved series didn't disappoint. Not only did the plot points get resolved satisfyingly (if surprisingly), Rowling's hints at Christian symbolism in the first six books came to full fruition in this book. My husband and I enjoyed the series together on audio CD and found the final book to be a profound spiritual experience--not to mention a great read. Read my Spectrum review here.
2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert: A memoir of one woman's spiritual journey that hit me directly in the deepest places of my soul. Read Katrina Emory's Spectrum review here.
3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver: Part memoir, part investigative journalism, novelist and essayist Barbara Kingsolver chronicles her family's first year of being locavores, living off of the land they call home. It changed my eating habits, gave me a new respect for my food sources, and made me long for a bigger kitchen. Read Heather Isaac's Spectrum review here.
4. The Language of God by Francis Collins: A highly-respected scientist presents evidence for faith and how theistic evolution can offer a reconciliation between faith and science for those, like myself, who tire of having to ignore all of the informational signs in natural history museums. Read Marc Wagner's Spectrum review here.
5. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss: A lyrical and poetic story of love and relationships across generations, this book was a perfect accompaniment to a summer in Paris.
6. Seeking a Sanctuary: Adventists and the American Dream by Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart: I actually haven't finished this one yet but am savoring it slowly and enjoying the experience greatly. This was the featured book at the Adventist Forums conference this fall, and I bought the book after meeting the writers and being deeply impressed with their insights into Adventism past and present (and even the likely future). Read Gary Land's Spectrum review here.
A few new ones adorn my bedside table for the new year:
- Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Friedman
- The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
What were your favorite books this year?
Daneen Akers is the Spectrum online reviews editor. She'd love to hear from you about review ideas and is contemplating starting a Spectrum online book club--any thoughts?