Iola kicked us off with a great list on Friday. I'm in awe of Iola's reading speed and haven't read nearly the volume she has this past year.
I read more non-fiction and Biblical reference/commentaries than I do fiction so have split my list in half, well thirds in fact.
In no particular order but I will start with 5 Fiction reads that had me spellbound.
The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee
A fictional account of the Queen of Sheba and the effect she had on King Solomon and his empire.
You can read my review here: Sheba
Spirit Bridge (Book 3 of the Well Spring Series) by James L Rubart
This is a wonderful series that so powerfully demonstrates spiritual warfare in a fictional context that is uplifting, challenging and thrilling in its suspensefulness.
You can read my review here: Spirit Bridge
Stranger Things by Erin Healy
It has all the hallmarks of a Healy novel: gripping suspense, characters grappling with their external and internal worlds and an insider's perspective of the "thin places" where the natural and supernatural intersect.
You can read my review here: Stranger Things
Hacker by Ted Dekker
Interesting that this also featured on Iola's list.
This is classic Ted Dekker: exploring the visible and invisible as he takes the reader on a heart-pumping thriller of a ride.
You can read my review here: Hacker
The Evolution of Serialisation
One aspect of the ebook world I really enjoy is reading novels in a serialised form. I find it fascinating we've gone back to how people first read Dickens (weekly episodes in the newspaper) and the like except in a digital form. This may not work for the truly prolific reader who devours books in a few hours, however, the weekly addition of 70 to 100 pages works well for me.
I expect in time we'll see additional features to this concept such as imagery, video, etc to make it more appealing.
I read a number of novels both Christian and secular including Operation Zulu by Ronie Kendig, Chronicles of Steele: Raven by Pauline Creeden and The Fuhrer's Daughter by Joshua Graham.
I've been in a season of reading a lot on intimacy with God and prayer. I'm pleased to see an increasing number of books being released on these subjects. It's very easy in our busy lives to get distracted from the wonder and joy of communion with God.
I can mention lots of books here but I'll restrict myself to three:
A Diary of Private by John Baillie
This was first released in 1949 and it is a small book of 64 prayers, a morning and evening prayer for 31 days plus two for a Sunday. Yes, it is full of "thees' and 'thous' which we typically don't use in modern services. I've found saying these prayers a wonderful way of commencing my prayer times during a day as it helps me take my mind off myself and focus on Him.
Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.
This was a wonderful book that outlined how God in creating us all with different personalities expects our spiritual journeys will also vary. The author even explores how each broad personality type (think poor man's Myer Briggs) engages spiritually.
Mulholland challenges us to understand that holistic spirituality requires incorporating elements of the individual, corporate and social dimensions into our walks. I needed to read that as increasingly I've become frustrated with my "walk" but now realise that the personal dimension far outweighs the other two and hence, I have an imbalance which limits my growth.
Soul Keeping by John Ortberg
This beautifully written book helps the reader understand the soul's significance and how to care for it.
You can read my review here: Soul Keeping
I've read two fabulous commentaries that I wanted to mention.
The Book of Acts, a Commentary by C. Peter Wagner
At the time Wagner wrote this commentary there were 1,398 other books on Acts. So his one focuses on two particular aspects of Acts:
1. Power ministries, ie, supernatural acts of healing, prophecy, etc.
2. Missiological issues involved in the cross-cultural expansion of Christianity
It's not a verse-by-verse commentary but is still a hefty volume (circa 500 pages). It is written in layman's terms and does an excellent job relating Paul's epistles to his travels documented in Acts.
You can read my review here: Acts.
Exalting Jesus in Ephesians (Christ-Centred Expository Commentary) by Tony Merida (+David Platt & Daniel Akin)
For all intents and purposes is a verse-by-verse commentary and provides good explanations of each verse. It is geared to providing practical understanding and each chapter ends with a series of in-depth questions challenging the reader to further explore the concepts outlined and apply them to their life.
Ephesians is one of my favourite books of the Bible as Paul goes to great lengths to explain what we have as a result of Jesus living, being crucified and resurrected and then outlines how we should live. And it has that great series of verses near it's end on spiritual warfare!
What's not to love about it!
I've read a few Ephesians commentaries that lack depth but this one in a relatively few number of pages (288) is both very challenging and readable. Merida does a good job bringing in other commentators work so the reader gets to hear from a number of extremely qualified voices.
Okay, that's me. I'm sure looking forward to the next in the series of Top 10s.
Wishing everyone in the ACW community a blessed Christmas and here's to a fun and invigorating 2015.
Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter