May Reading Log

Here is a rundown of the 7 books I read May.  It was a fun month with varied titles but a number of memiors.  June will be another big month because I’m nearing the completion of a few books.  Here’s a look at May’s log.

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario

It's What I DoThis is the type of book that fascinates me.  It is a crisp memoir with a story to tell.  Addario recounts her career as a photojournalist in the war-torn world after September 11.  With the use of words and pictures she details events and people from the Congo to Afghanistan to Libya.  The book is printed on high quality paper and includes selected Addario photographs.  It’s part memoir and part portfolio.  Yet, don’t let that fool you, it is still a full length book.

Addario is open about her ambition – which leads to heartache and capture. She is honest about the effect her career had on her family and other relationships.  She is also honest about the times in which she was captured by those whom she was seeking to photograph.  Powerful stuff.

Every Town A Sports Town: Business Leadership At ESPN, from the Mailroom to the Boardroom by George Bodenheimer

Everytown A Sports TownI’m simply going to say I loved this book.  I had it finished less than two days after it arrived on my doorstep.  I grew up with the emergence of ESPN and loved thinking “Oh, I remember that!” throughout the book.

It is promoted as a business leadership memoir.  Yet, it is done much better than most books touted as such.  You will not find the book broken down into principles and bullet points common to most business leadership books.  Rather, this book is heavy on memoir.  It tells the story of ESPN from its infancy.  Along the way, insights are easy to find.

Bodenheimer was first hired to work in the mailroom of the young company.  His biggest responsibility was picking Dick Vitale up from the Hartford airport.  As the company moved from a small start-up to a corporate juggernaut, Bodenheimer eventually found himself at the top of the ladder.  It is a really well-written story.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Glass CastleI still don’t know how I feel about this one.  Walls has time and time again vouched for the accuracy of the memoir.  Yet, the entire time I read the book I asked, “Did that REALLY happen?”  I think it did really happen but the propensity to ask the question hindered my enjoyment. That’s my problem and not a fault of the book.

The book tackles serious issues.  As a three-year-old Walls stood  on a chair to reach the stovetop to boil a hotdog. Her pink dress caught on fire, and she was horribly burned. After a few days in the hospital, Dad showed up and lifted her from the hospital without paying the bill.

Thus begins a memoir that shows you how Walls’ parents loved her while also neglecting and abusing her.  You see the role of addiction.  You see the role of mental illness.  It is at times beautiful and many times disturbing.

Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today by Adam Hamilton

Making Sense of the BibleAdam Hamilton holds a unique place.  He is one of a small group of preachers I enjoy hearing preach.  While driving I listen to Hamilton’s sermon on my iPod.  I find it hard to simply sit and listen to other preachers without getting work up – but I can sit and enjoy Hamilton.  We have different styles.  We have different theologies.  Yet, I enjoy his preaching and respect his pastoral heart.

Would I recommend this book to you?  Depends on what you’re looking to find in the book.

The strength of this book it’s ability to take complex scholarly discussions and boil them down into clear, concise and readable chapters.  One who as passed a introductory college course on the Bible will find nothing new here.  Yet, it is engaging and readable.  Are you looking for an readable summation of scholarly debates on the Bible?  Yes, I would recommend this book to you.

After the summation of complicated issues Hamilton often puts his interpretation and viewpoints forward.  Are you looking for a book in which I would agree with EVERY interpretation and viewpoints?  No, I would not recommend this book to you.

The book has good content and provides a platform for a great discussion.  If that appeals to you – it is worth the read.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Stephen KingI picked up this King volume because it appears on the favorite books list of many writers.  I thought to myself, “It’s worth a shot.”

It is entertaining from start to finish.  The first half of the book is a lucid biography of King’s life as a writer.  The second half of the book is a lucid writer’s manual.

My favorite quote from the book: “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”  The more I think about it the more I chuckle.  If you are interested in the craft of writing it is well worth you time.  You do not need to be a fan of King.  I’m not but still thoroughly enjoyed his thoughts.  Disclaimer: The book does use foul language from time to time with no apparent reason.  A personal frustration as reader.

1984 by George Orwell

1984-book-coverI’m making a concentrated effort to read or reread modern classics this year.  This Orwell classic is one I had never read before.  How did I never get assigned this book in school?

I’m a fan of dystopian novels.  This book does not disappoint.  Orwell created the original “Big Brother” story.  Written 60 years ago, but this book is still fresh and hauntingly plausible in some ways.  What if your thoughts, words, and actions were monitored and controlled by the ruling party?  Would you go along?  Or would you rebel?  The main character in Orwell’s novel chooses to rebel.

Tribal Church: Lead Small, Impact Big by Steve Stroope and Kurt Bruner 

Tribal ChurchThis is a reread for me sparked my numerous recent discussions on leadership within the church I’ve had with friends.

I appreciate Stroope and Bruner’s approach.  They tell the story of their church (Lake Pointe Church in Rockwalll, TX) and encourage readers to keep the focus small by focusing on tribes.  These tribes include self-leadership, the leader’s family, life group tribes, leadership tribes, elder tribes, generation tribes, and more.

I personally loved that Stroope and Bruner begin with the tribe of the leader’s own family.  It must start there.

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