It’s not too late to wish you a happy new year? Yes, happy new year!
I began thinking about this article sometime last year but for some weird reason I haven’t brought myself to actually sitting down to write. But we are only 31 days into 2018 and there’s a whole like 343 days to come. So, it’s not late at all.
My reading target for last year was 26 books. I only managed 16 books. In this post I’ll share the titles of the books and a brief synopsis on each.
- A biography of Gladys Aylward by YWAM ministries
Gladys was a missionary to China. She was what we’d call a house help and used her wages to save up for the train trip to China. She was short and only came to appreciate her height when she fit in so well with the Chinese she worked among. Hers is a story of complete trust in God’s direction in what is unknown and uncertain. God protected her in the unknown land. At one point the missionary who received her passed on and she was left alone. She trusted God for strength and wisdom to obey him. Finally, she went back to her home town London sickly and eventually died.
The story of Gladys shows just how much cost has been paid in the advancing the gospel. May we also be found faithful.
- Let me be a woman by Elisabeth Elliot
This was the second time I read this book. Anyone who knows me closely knows that I admire Elisabeth Elliot greatly. I have learnt a number of things on biblical womanhood from her and she speaks greatly to the writer in me.
Let me be a woman is a great read in helping one embrace the place of women as God designed it, and also what is expected of a married woman in the family. When I read this, I felt ready to marry. 😀
- A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
This was among my compulsory texts in my European Literature unit in my last semester in school. It’s fictional and with many twists. It is set against the backdrop of the Indian Independence movement and based on Forster’s experiences in India in the 1920s. It is a huge interesting read. Don’t hesitate to grab a copy in case you ever come across the book.
- An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen
This was one of the set books I read in high school. It is a play written in Norway based on the events of the industrial revolution movement. It focuses on the theme of oppression of the lower class by the upper class in the society and the manipulation of the compact majority by the ruling political class .
The play is full of humor and sarcasm. My best line is where Dr. Stockmann tells his brother, Peter Stockmann, who Is the town mayor- “You are the most disgusting scum I’ve ever come across.” Don’t ask for reasons!
- Just as if I’d never sinned by J. C. Ryle
This book is a collection of Ryle’s sermons on the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone apart from works. For those justified, we have peace with God and we stand before Him ‘Just as if we had never sinned.’ (Romans 5:1) By believing and putting our faith in Jesus and the finished work of the cross, we are justified.
- King Oedipus by Sophocles
I bet you all pronounced the name of the writer wrongly. The ‘l’ should be pronounced as ‘i’. It is tragic play with the main character having an error of judgement. He kills his father, ends up marrying his mother without knowing, then finally gorges out his eyes before going into exile. He pronounces judgement on himself without knowing he is the reason Thebes is experiencing a plague. It is a thriller and can be read in a sitting.
- Metamorphosis and other stories by Franz Kafka
What would you do if you woke up one day and found that you’ve become a giant insect? Weird, right? So, in this novel, Gregor, a firstborn son, wakes up to finding himself an insect. He can’t go to work anymore and the family has to bear the burden and shame of their son a giant insect. Eventually he dies and the family is relieved of the burden. Certainly, one of the weirdest stories I’ve read.
- Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Again, I know you read ‘Godot’ wrongly. Letter ‘t’ is silent. This is a tragicomedy play with two characters who keep waiting for Godot whom they hope will change their lives. They engage in meaningless talk and activities as they wait but eventually Godot doesn’t show up. The play is an emphasis on the absurdity and meaninglessness of life.
- The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
Piper emphasizes on preaching that has the glory of God as the goal, the cross of Christ as the ground of preaching and the power of the Holy Spirit as the gift of preaching. He also emphasizes on expository preaching as the best way to let God’s word speak for itself without the preacher’s bias and in order to proclaim the whole counsel of God. He finally studies Jonathan Edwards, a famous Reformed preacher of the 1700s in the last chapters.
This is a good read for every church minister and all those who care about the sanity of God’s word. Shai Linne, in his song ‘Expository Preaching’ recommends the book.
- The Lion and the Jewel by Wole Soyinka
This is a play about a girl who forfeits marrying a young ambitious village teacher who is civilized in order to be married as the third wife by the village chief and keep the traditions. It describes the African traditional and sort of bashes the white man’s way of doing things. Good for your entertainment!
- The Trial by Franz Kafka
This is a very sad story portraying political injustices and corrupt systems. The main character is arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority after a series of court hearings that never make progress. He does not even get to know the nature of his crime! The writer is known for writing sad stories like you realize with his other book ‘Metamorphosis’ that I already mentioned.
- Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman
This is a must read for every believer. It shows the importance of belonging to a local church and just how membership plays out – the obligation of members of the same local church to each other.
- What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert
This is a profound walk through of what the gospel of Jesus Christ is as revealed in the scriptures. It talks about man the sinner, Jesus Christ the Savior, what man’s response to God’s love should be and what the Kingdom of God is. I recommend this to every Christian!
- The Master Trainer by P. T. Chandapilla
This is a small book that sensitizes on the importance of discipleship and how it should be done, with Christ being our model and example. It is important for Christians to multiply through making disciples and this makes the book very fundamental in Christian communities.
- Miraculous Healing – Why does God heal some and not others by Henry Frost
The title is self-explanatory. It is by far the best material I’ve read on the subject. It has real life examples on people who got divinely healed and others who were not healed even after much prayer and offers a biblical basis on why God does heal some people and doesn’t others.
- Discipling – How to help others follow Jesus by Mark Dever
This is a short straight to the point read on helping others follow Jesus by doing to them spiritual good, as we live in view of eternity. This was particularly helpful because of the work that I do.
Yes, they also count. I read numerous articles last year. On average I’d read like three in a day. Well, that’s not daily, but for most days of the week. These were on various topics and they largely complemented my bible reading as well as informed my faith.
That’s it for now. In the next post I’ll explain why I chose the books and why I think I did not achieve my reading target.
PS: I wasn’t creative enough to come up with a better title.