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Top Books of 2010

Book Reviews Collection cover image

2010 was a good year for books. For me it was a strange year–a year in which I read less widely than I am accustomed to, but perhaps read more overall. Work on my new book had me reading a whole lot in a single direction and so much of that reading never appeared as reviews on this blog. Nevertheless, I still read many great books and thought it would be beneficial to keep with tradition and put together a list of some of my favorites.

I will offer my usual caveat in saying that these are almost certainly not the 10 best books of 2010 in any objective sense–but they are my favorites. Here they are, in no particular order:

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr – Carr picks up threads from a lot of other books and tells us what the Internet is doing to our brains. This is far more than an expansion on his infamous article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” He doesn’t write as a Luddite or as someone lost in ignorance–he writes as a computer enthusiast who has begun to wonder just what all this technology is doing to him and to us. Very few people are thinking about these things, so his book hit hard.

Son of Hamas by Mosab Hasson Yousef – This is one of two biographies to hit the bestseller lists this year that culminated in the hero of the book becoming a Christian. In this book Mosab Hasson Yousef, a son of one of the founders of Hamas, writes about life on the inside of a terrorist organization. And he writes of becoming a traitor to that cause and eventually a convert to the Christian faith. [my review]

Hero by Michael Korda – Hero is a much-anticipated biography of T.E. Lawrence, known more popularly as Lawrence of Arabia. While I found that the man himself did not interest me all that much, I couldn’t help but be drawn into his life through this superior biography. The first 100 pages were difficult going, but the book then opened wide and I found myself intrigued by this eccentric British hero.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – This may be the most unusual book to appear on the list of my favorite books. In 1951 Henrietta Lacks, a thirty year-old African American woman, died of cervical cancer, her body ravaged by the disease. Shortly before her death, and apparently unknown to her, researcher George Gey took a biopsy of her tumor and, for the first time in history, managed to culture an immortal line of cells. This line soon became known as HeLa and since the 50′s has been sold commercially and used in a remarkable variety of experiments. Rebecca Skloot compellingly tells the tale of this woman: her life, her death and her ongoing legacy.

Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas – This big biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer has become one of the year’s top sellers within the Christian market and for good reason. Metaxas offers “a comprehensive review of one of history’s darkest eras, along with a fascinating exploration of the familial, cultural and religious influences that formed one of the world’s greatest contemporary theologians.” It’s well-written and looks at a fascinating individual who lived in a fascinating time. That’s a recipe for success. [my review]

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – Of all the books I read in 2010, this is probably the one I enjoyed reading the most. I sat down with it in the morning and pretty much read straight through until bed time. It tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a man who is way larger than life. This is the second of the books on this list that rocketed onto the bestseller list and that tells the tale of a remarkable conversion to Christianity. It’s pretty much a must-read. [my review]

Other books I enjoyed:

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 18)

    A La Carte: The pursuit of (which) happiness? / Don’t hastily choose elders / The evangelistic nature of awe / What you read builds who you are / Till he was strong / A father’s threads of living faith / Logos deals / and more.

  • Lets Hear It For the Second Parents

    Let’s Hear It For the Second Parents

    While today we tend to associate step-parents with divorce, in previous centuries they were almost exclusively associated with death and with either widow- or widowerhood. In an era in which lifespans were shorter and, therefore, a greater number of parents died while their children were still young, there was a distinct and honored role for…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 17)

    A La Carte: Honor good fathers and bad fathers alike? / Don’t give up, dad / How I respond to pride month / 5 myths about the pro-life movement / A seminar on biblical counseling / How do I know if I’m one of the elect? / Kindle deals / and more.

  • The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    Just as Olympic athletes cannot realistically expect to win a gold medal unless they strictly discipline themselves toward victory, Christians cannot hope to prevail in the Christian life unless they take a serious, disciplined approach to it. Yet lurking in the background is always the temptation to hope that we can have the result of…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (June 15)

    A La Carte: Learn to rest in God’s justice / 3 reasons why your small group is not a church / How can I be a godly father? / Gender in the void / Are images of Christ OK? / The getting of wisdom / and more.

  • Making Good Return

    Making Good Return

    I don’t think I am overstating the matter when I say that this has the potential to be one of the most important books you will read. It’s a book that may shape years of your life and transform the way you carry out one of the key roles God assigns to you…