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Top Books of 2010

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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 Freak of Nature (and Nurture)

    A Freak of Nature (and Nurture)

    We are probably so accustomed to seeing bonsai trees that we don’t think much about them. But have you ever paused to consider how strange and freakish they really are?

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 28)

    A La Carte: Can Christians buy expensive things? / You are probably WEIRDER than you think / Our limits are a gift from God / Big dreams impress. Ordinary faithfulness delivers / The biggest problem in worship education / Children’s books / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 27)

    A La Carte: God doesn’t owe me kindness / Jordan Peterson’s “We Who Wrestle with God” tour / Does your church have an evangelist? / Putting Jesus first in a world of pleasures / Send help. My husband believes in me / and more.

  • Unite in Prayer with Persecuted Believers

    This week the blog is sponsored by Help The Persecuted. “Can I have a Bible?” The guard studied Qasem. “If you paint the walls of every cell in this prison, I’ll get you a Bible.” “Where is the paint?” And so Qasem, enduring what would ultimately be a three-year sentence for running house churches throughout…

  • Tell Me

    Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

    If you have spent any time at all on YouTube, you have probably seen videos of people hearing for the first time or people seeing color for the first time—videos of people who, through the miracles of modern science, have senses restored that had either been missing altogether or that had become dull through illness…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 26)

    A La Carte: How not to apply the Bible / 30 people in the New Testament confirmed / Taylor Swift and Christianity / But I did everything right / 10 reasons the Old Testament matters to Christians / Kindle deals / and more.