Reading is such a foundational way to grow and broaden our horizons. Below is a list of books read by my friend Adam Driscoll. In this guest blogpost he shares the books he read in 2017 with a brief review of each. Take a look and find a couple you like and grab them to read them. My next post will be all his books he plans to read for 2018. Keep in mind… these are just the highlights of what Adam read this year…. I’m sure he read much more than this.
Adam Driscoll’s List of Books Read in 2017 with Brief Reviews
- Becoming Human – Jean Vanier
In a world that equates strength with perfection, Vanier exposes that a core component of humanity is fragility and humility. This book pierces through the strongest armour of facade and exposes the reader to their own weaknesses. Best book of 2017. A must read.
- Flourishing – Miroslav Volf
Based on lectures from Yale Divinity, Volf explains how our globalized world needs religion in order to thrive. Quite the opposite of seeing religion as a hindrance to human flourishing in globalization, pluralistic political environments must yield to the virtues of religion in order for humanity to soar. A thick read but timely for our current cultural challenges. Thumbs up!
- From Brokenness to Community – Jean Vanier
A booklet based on a lecture given by Jean Vanier in regards to forgiveness and reconciliation inside the church and community. A must read for ministry leaders and parishioners.
- Present over Perfect – Shuana Neiquest
Wrestling with ambition, goals, and being in control, Shauna is incredible vulnerable in this work and in so doing speaks some of the inner workings of her readers too. With short chapters that read like journal entries, you’ll be wondering if she may have found your very own. Great read.
- The Shack
I finally read this in order to be a part of a High School English conversation. Having to wrestle through the first 50 pages as I connected with the father, Mack – having the same aged children as him, I was astounded at the genre and the theological insights of the book. I believe the book serves the purposes for which it is intended – to peak curiosity, to make profound theological conversations accessible to a wide range of readers and to help people wrestle through pain, brokenness, and healing through faith. Thumbs up for sure – as long as we respect the genre of the book and try not to make it more than it intended to be.
- The Road Back To You
If you’d rather life be easy, not have to think through why you do things, and avoid some of your hidden motivations and deepest fears – than avoid this book. It will have a last impact on how you live for the rest of your life. An introduction to a self-assessment tool called The Enneagram, this book tackles each of the types in each chapter. Get to you know yourself better and the premise/promise is that through knowledge of self and others, we can learn to be more generous and compassionate toward them too. This is a game-changer book for those who dare to read and discover.
- Discipleship in the Present Tense
James Smith is one of the sharpest minds of our time. With one foot inside the Christian Education sphere and one foot outside, he is able to help us ‘fish’ discover that we are in an ‘ocean’. A compilation of essay on discipleship, coming out of the reformed tradition, Smith provides insights into the shortfalls and places we can leverage in modern day discipleship. If you’re youth ministry or Christian Education, Smith is a must read.
- A Way Other Than Our Own – Walter Brueggemann
A devotional for the Lenten Season of the liturgical calendar, Brueggemann provides theology via poetry. His devotionals are provoking and beautiful.
- Reality, Grief, and Hope: The Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks – Walter Brueggemann
Contrasting the empire of Jerusalem circa 500 B.C. with the empire of America in 2001, Brueggeman takes what I would call a “prophetic risk” by explaining how thriving religion does not equate with thriving empiricism. Using the prophetic tasks of Jeremiah to Israel, he calls not just people but a whole nation to wake up to the reality, grieve in repentance, and receive the hope that comes – only after acknowledgement and grief. An excellent read for pastoral leaders.
- Reclaiming Conversation – Sherry Turkle
An eye opening research and dialogue of the impact of the smartphone on students, families, and human development. Turkle’s writing is brilliant and her applications are immediate for families trying to figure out how to incorporate healthy practices for technology in the home.
- The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien
A profound insight into the life of soldiers in Vietnam and profound application to the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burdens of people today. This book on one level serves a memoire and on the other helps us have compassion for our neighbour by acknowledging that sometimes just getting out of bed means carrying a back-breaking amount of burden.
- Scary Close – Donald Miller
A timely read for me in my journey, I resonated with Miller’s personal struggle of success and hunger for affirmation. His opening paragraph is something that I have experienced personally. So how do we begin the process of letting people get scary close? How do we practice vulnerability and nurture trust. For ministry and business leaders, a must.
- East of Eden – John Steinbeck
This book is simply a masterpiece of fiction. Brilliant character development with plot twists and unforeseen events – this is sheer brilliance to be enjoyed and marvelled.
- When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi
A memoire of a neurosurgeon who saved many lives from a brain tumour, contracts a brain tumour and reflects on his life as surgeon, husband, and now patient. Keep your kleenex handy – I literally bawled as I couldn’t put this down.
- The Complete Short Stories of Flannery O’Conner
Grotesque, crude, visceral, and raw – O’Conners writings are not for the faint of heart. They are a collection of short stories that see each and every protagonist undone emotionally, spiritually, and often physically. O’Conner works are both a microscopic look at the evil inside of humanity and a macro-reflection of societal prejudice.
- Generous Spaciousness – Wendy VanderWal-Gritter
Conservative perspectives these days are hardly known for their compassionate posture. However, this book attempts to carve out a new (and much needed) approach to conversation between conservative communities and the LGBT community. A brilliant read and a bold, first-through-the-wall kind of writing that hopefully will nurture engagement and conversation in a warring culture. Just read it.
Feel free to leave a comment with your favourite reads of 2017 and why you liked them!
Adam Driscoll attempts first to be a follower of Jesus, is a husband to Angela, and a parent of three. He is learning to bridge theology and leadership through engaging conversation and relationship. With a growing heart for the spiritually frustrated and homeless, Adam’s heartbeat is to inspire a discovery of the whole community that is found in reconciled relationship between self, God, and others. He serves as the Director of Spiritual Development for a K-12 Christian School and resides in Moose Jaw, SK.