Sunday, April 22, 2012

Best Books I Read in 2011


The Walking Dead, Vol. 2: Miles Behind Us
by Robert Kirkman, et al.

I started reading some of "The Walking Dead" graphic novels after watching the first season of The Walking Dead on AMC in the Fall of 2010. I found the show so fascinating, that I had to see how close the story was to the comics. The first volume is fantastic, but the second volume in the TPB collections, Miles Behind Us is even better. The premise of "The Walking Dead" is centered around a zombie apocalypse. However, the books aren't about the zombies are fighting the zombies; they are about people and their relationships with each other and how those people react and what happens to those relationships in the most extreme circumstance.

And Then There Were None (Also known as Ten Little Indians)
by Agatha Christie

In preparation for directing the play, I did a lot of research. Besides reading the play several times, the start of my research began by reading the novel he play is based upon. And Then There Were None is one of Agatha Christie's most famous novels. I really enjoyed the book, until the end. Christie has this annoying habit of making it impossible to figure out who the killer or villain is. Sherlock Holmes wouldn't be able to figure out most of the stories that Christie wrote because she doesn't provide enough evidence for one to figure out the case. This can make for entertaining reading and is probably closer to real-life than most mysteries. However, when you like solving puzzles, it can be really annoying, too. However, despite my annoyance, I loved the book.


Mint Condition
by Dave Jamieson

I collected baseball cards from 1985-1990. Until I read Mint Condition, I didn't know that I collected during the boom of the hobby right before it busted because of over exposure. The book was a fascinating read that provides a history of the hobby as well as recognizing some key (mostly unknown) figures who made the hobby more than just a hobby. I also picked up on some trivia I didn't know before. For example, the first baseball cards were made not long after the Civil War.

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
I am partly a child of the 1980s. Ready Player One is a book that references all kinds of things from that decade: movies, books, songs, video games, and cultural fads. It's set in a dystopian future where most people in the world spend their time living in a virtual on-line world that is completely interactive. In this world, you can be and do anything. Most of the world's populace has become addicted to this fantasy world and do everything they can to stay engaged to it. The plot of the story revolves around a puzzle and an enormous treasure. The book is well-written and fairly easy to follow once you get pass and understand the exposition.


The Dragon's Tooth
by N.D. Wilson
The Dragon's Tooth is the first in a series of books about a trio of siblings who are fighting to keep united while discovering their parents were actually members of a super secret society that is dedicated to preserving knowledge and keeping "light" (as in goodness) in the world. A lot of the story takes place in a town called Ashtown, thus the subtitle. As for the story, think Indiana Jones crossed with all those conspiracies about Illuminati and other groups trying to rule the world and then add a dose of the supernatural. I liked this book even better than the first two Harry Potter books.

The Red Suit Diaries
by Ed Butchart
 A memoir from a man who spends his retirement playing Santa Claus during the year. His own story of how he became Santa is touching, but that story becomes even more significant as he regales the reader with tales about the people he has met and the lives he has touched (and those that have touched him) as Santa. Also, though this is a book about a man who plays Santa Claus, it's not just a Christmas-time book.


Primetime Propaganda
by Ben Shapiro
There is a severe liberal-progressive bent in the media. Middle-America has known it for years. Those in positions of media power usually deny that. Primetime Propaganda is the book that displays (with loads of personal first-hand accounts from the power makers as well as all kinds of statistics) the truth.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
by Donald Miller
I've been a fan of Donald Miller's writing since I read his first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance back in 2000. The guy's a gifted writer and storyteller. I don't always agree with his conclusions, but when reading Miller, I usually find myself re-examining my own life and checking myself with what the Bible says. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is the latest book from Miller. It's been out for a couple years now, but it's still relevant. The premise of the book is that our lives are a story and as the central character in our story, it's up to us to live the best story possible. I just wish I could have the resources to do some of the things that Miller does in this book (it's just not feasible for everyone to be able to take off and travel to South America or spend three months riding their bike from one coast to another).

The Reading Promise
by Alice Ozma

A librarian single-father wants to instill a love in reading in his youngest daughter. They make a deal that they will read together every night for 100 nights. After 100, why not 1,000? And so, they continue reading every night together for over 9 1/2 years until the daughter is all grown up and moves away to college. It's a fascinating book that's not just about books, good stories, and a solid education. At the heart, the book is about the relationship of the daughter to her father and The Reading Promise is a love letter to him.


Words Made Fresh
by Larry Woiwode
Words Made Fresh is a series of collected essays that tackles everything from guns to John Updike to Christianity to Shakespeare. Some of the thoughts are reminiscent of things you might have heard or read once upon a time, but those things are now restored in a different setting. Other ideas are completely new. The writing is captivating and the words are full of power. Words Made Fresh is the best book I read in 2011 and I highly recommend it.

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