Great writers are consistent readers.
That’s what I’ve heard and seen from many a credible wordsmith, so I’m taking it as truth.
This past year was full of revisions and preparing to publish my book, The Variable Life: Finding Clarity and Confidence in a World of Choices, as well as lots of writing for various publications—which I just shared in Articles I Published Around the Internet in 2016.
I did a lot of reading, too:
- quality writing all over the web (mostly in the handy read-later app Pocket)
- a couple dozen books (yes, by the way, audiobooks count)
While I’m seeing the publishing process through for The Variable Life (all signals point to an official book release around March 2017), I’ve still got a hearty library list waiting for my attention. So 2017 seems like another year full of inspiring subject matter for both reading and writing. I hope it is for you, too.
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As we close out the year, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at books I read in 2016. Take a look:
#WeirickReadingList: Books I Read in 2016
Prince Caspian – C.S. Lewis
Fun romp into the British wit and adventurous storytelling written to children, but for adults.
- “Welcome, Prince,’ said Aslan. ‘Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?’
I – I don’t think I do, Sir,’ said Caspian. ‘I am only a kid.’
Good,’ said Aslan. ‘If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been proof that you were not.”
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – C.S. Lewis
To the end of the earth and beyond—that’s where the kids go to find reward more priceless than any treasure.
- “’Shall I ever be able to read that story again; the one I couldn’t remember? Will you tell it to me, Aslan! Oh do, do, do.’
‘Indeed, yes, I will tell it to you for years and years.’”
Loveology: God. Love. Marriage. Sex. And the Never-Ending Story of Male and Female. – John Mark Comer
- “Don’t get married because you think he or she is ‘the one.’ Trust me, they’re not. There’s no such thing! But do get married when you see who God is making somebody to be, and it lights you up.”
The Silver Chair – C.S. Lewis
- “You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you.”
The Last Battle – C.S. Lewis
- “’You see,’ said Aslan. ‘They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out. But come, children. I have other work to do.’”
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
- “Not being violent enough could cost me my body. Being too violent could cost me my body. We could not get out. I was a capable boy, intelligent, well-liked, but powerfully afraid. And I felt, vaguely, wordlessly, that for a child to be marked off for such a life, to be forced to live in fear was a great injustice.”
Fight: The Christian Case for Nonviolence – Preston Sprinkle
- “God’s people should never celebrate military power, and we certainly shouldn’t find our hope and security in it. If God warned Israel against having a strong military—and it was God’s nation—how much more should God’s people today not put stock in the military prowess of a secular country?”
Out of the Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis
- “…How could we endure to live and let time pass if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back—if we did not know that every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory and that these are that day?”
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- “Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why – Bart D. Ehrman
What’s the point of believing what you do unless it can stand up to criticism and literary analysis? Mixed thoughts about this one, but a worthy read to get outside the religious bubble many of us often stay within.
- “The Bible, at the end of the day, is a very human book.”
Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living – Shauna Niequist
- “You can make a drug—a way to anesthetize yourself—out of anything: working out, binge-watching TV, working, having sex, shopping, volunteering, cleaning, dieting. Any of those things can keep you from feeling pain for a while—that’s what drugs do. And, used like a drug, over time, shopping or TV or work or whatever will make you less and less able to connect to the things that matter, like your own heart and the people you love. That’s another thing drugs do: they isolate you.
Most of us have a handful of these drugs, and it’s terrifying to think of living without them. It is terrifying: wildly unprotected, vulnerable, staring our wounds right in the face. But this is where we grow, where we learn, where our lives actually begin to change.”
Perelandra – C.S. Lewis
- “A man who has been in another world does not come back unchanged. One can’t put the difference into words. When the man is a friend it may become painful: the old footing is not easy to recover.”
Assimilate or Go Home: Notes From a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith – D.L. Mayfield
- “But we say knowledge is truth, knowledge is superior, knowledge is power. Even though we don’t mean to, our culture values education and right doctrine to the point that we have excluded the vast majority of the world. When did the lie come into the world that unless we were taught by brilliant, educated men we could never hope to understand what God’s vision for the world was? When did we start to exclude the majority of people the world over from ever experiencing God? When did a building, a pastor, and even literacy skills become paramount for people to become disciples of Christ? Perhaps when we stopped hanging out in Calcutta.”
- More: God Loves Oppressors and Abusers?
The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited – Scot McKnight
- “What must be emphasized in all of this is the difference between trusting Christ, the real person Jesus, with all that that naturally involves, versus trusting some arrangement for sin-remission set up through him — trusting only his role as guilt remover.”
Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way – Shauna Niequist
- “Change is one of God’s greatest gifts and one of his most useful tools. I’ve learned the hard way that change can push us, pull us, rebuke and remake us. It can show us who we’ve become, in the worst ways, and also in the best ways. I’ve learned that it’s not something to run away from, as though we could, and I’ve learned that in many cases, change is not a function of life’s cruelty but instead a function of God’s graciousness.”
- More: Be a Person Who Grows
Searching For Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church – Rachel Held Evans
- “I get lots of emails from people…who fit right into the church until…the divorce, the diagnosis, the miscarriage, the depression, someone comes out, someone asks a question, an uncomfortable truth is spoken out loud.
And what they find is when they bring their pain or their doubt or their uncomfortable truth to church, someone immediately grabs it out of their hands to try and fix it, to try and make it go away. Bible verses are quoted. Assurances are given. Plans with ten steps and measurable results are made. With good intentions tinged with fear, Christians scour their inventory for a cure.
But there is a difference between curing and healing, and I believe the church is called to the slow and difficult work of healing, We are called to enter into one another’s pain, anoint it as holy, and stick around no matter the outcome.”
That Hideous Strength – C.S. Lewis
Didn’t realize how culturally timely this is until I actually read it.
- “Isn’t it absolutely essential to keep a fierce Left and fierce Right, both on their toes and each terrified of the other? That’s how we get things done.”
#WeirickReadingList: Audiobooks I Listened to in 2016
Small Victories: Improbable Moments of Grace – Anne Lamott
- “Then it came to me: I was asking the wrong question. The right one is: Where is God in gang warfare? And the answer is, The same place God is in Darfur, and in our alcoholism, and when children are bullied: being crucified.”
A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway
- “You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
On the Road – Jack Kerouac
- “So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
- “What if you love knowledge for its own sake, not necessarily as a blueprint to action? What if you wish there were more, not fewer reflective types in the world?”
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference – Malcolm Gladwell
- “When people are overwhelmed with information and develop immunity to traditional forms of communication, they turn instead for advice and information to the people in their lives whom they respect, admire, and trust. The cure for immunity is finding Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen.”
- More: How to (Actually) Change People and the World Around You
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
“In the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
The Prince – Niccolò Machiavelli
Doing a little research/mental preparation for the next four years.
- “Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see but few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion.”
- What was your favorite book in 2016 Share in the comments below.
- Coming up next: 16 Favorite Albums of 2016
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