As a recent but now avid fan of books, I thought I would say a little bit about the books I have enjoyed most in 2016.
To the Lighthouse- Virginia Woolf
This book, through the character of Mr Ramsay, exposed the prideful and approval seeking ways of my own heart, as well as giving beautiful descriptions of the unfulfilled longings that plague the world this side of the New Creation, such as this:
‘To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have- to want and want- how that wrung the heart, and wrung it again and again’.
It remains the only piece of fiction to have made me cry and will be on my list to reread in 2017.
Housekeeping- Marilynne Robinson
This book forces you to read it slowly, with almost every word pregnant with meaning. There are phrases from this book that play around in your mind long after you have stopped reading.
‘If I had one particular complaint, it was that my life seemed composed entirely of expectation.’
‘To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow’
Evocative and beautiful.
Master and Man and other Stories – Leo Tolstoy
Wonderfully crafted stories, each with a moral application. “How Much Land does a Man Need?” is particularly powerful and challenging.
The Complete Short Stories – Oscar Wilde
This collection is worth buying for ‘The Selfish Giant’, Wilde’s imaginative retelling of the Gospel for children, alone.
T.S Eliot Collected Poems 1909-1962
The more time I have spent with these poems, the more I love them. The complexity of the prose means that there are new things to gleam from each reading. Sometimes baffling but always worthwhile.
Confronted by Grace- John Webster
A collection of sermons from the late John Webster. With a wonderful economy of words, Webster shows the beauty of the Gospel. His Sermon entitled ‘Waiting Patiently’ based on James 5:7-11 is my most reread passage of any book this year.
The Weight of Glory- C.S. Lewis
A brilliant collection of Addresses by C.S. Lewis. Great writing, and profound insight into the human heart.
Christ our Life – Michael Reeves
This book made me stop and worship often, it made me rejoice in Christ and long to know him better. Michael Reeves writes theology that not only fills your mind with Christ, but shifts your heart towards him. This book shows Christ is much more beautiful, much more glorious than I naturally think.
I cant wait to start my 2017 pile.