Ten of my favorite reads in 2009

I thought it would be appropriate to look back over the books I read in 2009 and pick out a few of my favorites.  Keep in mind what follows is my list of favorite reads in 2009 not books published in 2009. And the list is not in particular order or rank.

1) John the Baptizer by Brooks Hansen:

No matter your faith background, or lack of it, or your knowledge of the Bible, or lack of it, I highly recommend John The Baptizer.  Its blends the historical and the literary in ways that defy genre and subject matter to create a powerful story.

2) Right Time, Right Place by Richard Brookhiser

For anyone wanting to understand the conservative movement, and its flagship magazine, Right Time, Right Place is a must read.  And anyone interested in becoming a journalist/writer would do well to read it. But at its heart is a more humane vision: that being true to your ideals and friends is what’s important.

3) The Everafter War by Michael Buckley

With the Everafter War Michael Buckley again shows why this series has won the acclaim and popularity it has.  Each book has just the right amount of humor and seriousness; of plot and character development mixed with satire and slapstick.  He keeps the reader guessing – although both the traitor and the master are pretty easy to spot – and despite all the silliness (and the YA audience) the characters are surprisingly well developed. It is just an ideal light read for me and for kids of all ages.

4) The New Policeman by Kate Thompson

So whether you are fascinated by Celtic lore, love traditional Irish music, or just enjoy creative storytelling, there is plenty to like in The New Policemen.  Thompson’s love of Ireland – its culture, history, people, and land – comes shining through and it is infectious.  When combined with a unique adventure story it makes for enjoyable reading. I recommend it for readers young and old.

5) Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden

This is something of a big complicated mess.  And yet it is a big complicated beautiful mess.  And not to sound cliche, but ain’t that life?

6) Leap Over a Wall by Eugene Peterson

Eugene Peterson takes the story of David and reveals the important theological insights it offers in accessible and yet poetic language. Each chapter is a short read but packed with insights into the Christian life and deep thoughts about what it means to be human.

7) Children of Odin by Padraic Colum

So whether you are looking for an accessible introduction to these myths, something interesting for the younger readers you know or if, like me, you just like exploring myths and ancient stories check out the Children of Odin.

8) The Sorceress by Michael Scott

If you have been living in a cave and haven’t stumbled on this series yet, and you like fantasy adventure, I highly recommend it.

This is one of those great series where each book seems to get better and each wait for the next one to come up seems more intolerable.

9) The End of Secularism by Hunter Baker

If you are interested in the subject of secularism or the interaction of faith in the public square you will want to read this book.  It can serve as a useful introduction or an interesting argument/debate kickoff for those with more of a background in the subject.

10) Secret Son by Laila Lalami

Secret Son has many traditional elements: coming of age; rags to riches to rags; East meets West; family versus individual identity; fate versus free will; etc.  But it has a simplicity and honesty that makes it fresh and avoids cliche or a preachy tone.

So there you have it. Ten books I really enjoyed in 2009. What were your favorites in 2009?

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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