Last year my favorite Christmas gift was an Amazon gift certificate. When I had a quiet moment, I snuck on the computer and fantasized about all the books I would buy. Then, I did it! It felt like – well – Christmas.
So, here they are, my favorite reads of 2011. True, they are mostly nonfiction. It is a new trend for me, but probably no surprise to you. Here they be.
Peace, A History of Movements and Ideas – David Cortright
I have been looking for a book like this for some time and loved reading it. It is a scholarly approach to the history of peace and traces various movements throughout modern history including internationalism spurred by President Wilson, the rise of fascism, and contemporary issues like nuclear proliferation, the situation in Darfur, and conflict transformation. I began the year reading this and it was a great foundation. I have others in this genre if you would like suggestions.
The Help – Kathryn Stocket
I finally got on the bandwagon and read this book. I enjoyed the relationship development and a few scenes in which I laughed out loud. I feel wary about books where a white person initiates the redemption of people of color, but I felt by the end of the book that the characters were partners in the book. Even living in the northwest, I remember my grandmother talking about the “help” and there was something redemptive in hearing stories from the perspective of laborers. And – you already know this – it is better than the movie.
The Gospel According to U2: We Get to Carry Each Other – Greg Garrett
I met the author of this book, Greg Garrett, a couple of summers ago when I took a “writing for peace and justice” workshop at Ghost Ranch, Abiqui, NM. After reading his auto-biography, “Crossing Myself” about his re-conversion to Christianity (WHICH I LOVED), I picked up this book. It is a thoughtful look at the lyrics of U2 and lays out their musical/theological history with a play list accompaniment. I thoroughly enjoyed it – and stretched it out over a few months.
The Horse Boy – Rupert Isaacson.
This is a poignant and true story about a boy with autism who has an affinity with horses. Although the book is nonfiction, it reads like fiction: lyrical and engaging. Rowan and his family travel across Mongolia in search of horses and healers; anything that can relieve his troublesome autism. This is a compelling book a family’s tenacity and love for their child and of the possibilities of different ways of connecting with the world.
Finally, I have a favorite blog post I’d love to share with you IF you have a high tolerance for inappropriate. It is, shall we say, edgy and with absolutely-hands-down, horribly crass vocabulary. But, the post itself may be the funniest thing (aside from the aforementioned rudeness) I have read in years. So, if you want to read it, find me on FB, send me a message, and I promise to send it to you.