the best of 2006, part 1: the books

saw a wonderfully subjective and scattered post listing ‘the best things of 2006’ by j.r.briggs, and decided to create my own list. but my post got too long, so i’m breaking it up into multiple parts, which i’ll post one-per-day over the next few days.

part 1, now, are my picks for the best books of 2006, in random categories i made up…

my favorite christian book in 2006
tie, between everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die, by david crowder and mike hogan, and christ the lord: out of egypt, by anne rice. crowder and hogan’s book, which i gushed about here, blew me away on many levels. first (and probably most important to me), i truly enjoyed reading it. and i wanted to read every word. most books tempt me to skim at some point. i never once wanted to do that in this book. i wanted to savor every word, because the writing was so freaking good. the book also went outside the box in what the communication form known as “book” can do. see my longer review for more on that. and, then, i just loved what the authors actually had to say (which helps). the anne rice book, which i gushed about here, was the favorite of the 15 i read on my sabbatical (which puts it in a special place in my year). captivating and devotional, it’s a page turner about jesus. i await the next installment like some people awaited the next lotr movie.

my favorite non-fiction book of 2006
night, by elie wiesel. of course, this book didn’t come out in 2006; i just read it in 2006. so it’s probably more accurate to say it’s my favorite non-fiction book i read in 2006. wiesel’s book was one of six i bought at the holocause museum this past summer, and i still hardly have words for it. i posted my first-pass thoughts about it here, and it helped inspire one of my more controversial posts of the year. this is one of those 10 books (whatever the other 9 are) that should be required life reading for every human being.

my favorite fiction book of 2006
a long way down, by nick hornby. this was the first book i read in 2006, i suppose, since i read it during last year’s holiday trip to detroit. here’s my original posted review. this had all the stuff i love in good fiction: fantastic stories — in this case, four interweaving stories, plus a story common to the four central characters, great characters, some humor, some weepy sad or sweet stuff, and just plain great words and sentences. mmmm. thinking about it makes me want to read it again.

book that changed my life in 2006
the china study, by t. colin campbell and thomas campbell II. i will never see food the same way. i will — i hope — forever alter the way i eat. here’s what i wrote about it when i read it.
honorable mention in this category: scot mcknight’s embracing grace. the book itself gave me a good nudge along my knowingly overdue journey of developing a more satisfying understanding of salvation. but what really pops it up to the honorable mention status was the combination of reading the book, then having scot come to our junior high pastors summit and talk about it, then have the 20 inquisitive minds of the summit talk about it for 2 days. my understanding of salvation will never be the same.

best reads for youth workers in 2006
tie, between the primal teen, by barbara strauch (which didn’t come out in 2006, i just read it in 2006), and contemplative youth ministry, by mark yaconelli. strauch’s book isn’t about youth ministy, and it didn’t even release in 2006 (i just read it in 2006), but the implications for youth ministry (and for parenting) are truly immeasurable. i’ve been thinking about this book all year — literally — and it has shown up in my seminars at the nywc, in my 7th grade guys small group leadership, and in several posts, including my review of the book, and this controversial post from a couple weeks ago (though i don’t specifically reference the book, it’s an example of the fact that i’ve been thinking about it all year long). yaconelli’s book, which i originally reviewed here as part of the book’s blog tour, is — imho — the most significant youth ministry book in the last ten years, at least. i really hope every youth worker, paid or volunteer, point-person or van driver, protestant or catholic, will read this book and be shaped by it.

any further suggestions or nominations or disagreements?

still to come:
part 2: the music
part 3: the movies and tv
part 4: the family moments
part 5: the blogs

9 thoughts on “the best of 2006, part 1: the books”

  1. I’m so with you on ‘Night’ being “required life reading for every human being” … I read it for the first time a couple years ago and have read it a few times since… it definitely puts things in a different perspective and all.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  2. I agree with you about Anne Rice’s book, I am currently reading it and it is a great read. I am on a break from school and am trying to do some “fun” reading instead of “text” reading. Next on the list is a Stephen King book and “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom. Happy New Year Marko!

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  4. I loved Christ the Lord too. That was interesting. I also liked Heat by Bill Buford about working in Babbo’s kitchen. I don’t know if anything else I read was written this year. Oh, U2 by U2 was incredible. As well as Lencioni’s business stuff.

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  6. A Long Way Down–wow. I listen to the audio book early in the year, and found it interesting, funny at times, very poignant at others. Then a friend killed themself this years, and the book took on a whole new meaning. Makes you wonder how much all the people around us are hiding.

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  8. I just read “Night” in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. It was one of the best books I’ve ever read. The highlight would have to be his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech at the end. “Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.” Amazing.

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