‘Tis the Season for Book Lists: Reading List for 2013

A couple of years ago I wrote up a reading list for myself. I am notorious for making up book lists and reading plans and then abandoning those lists for whatever strikes my fancy. For the past couple of years my reading has been all over the map, and not at all what I planned on reading.

Here’s the reading list I wrote in 2011 with notes about what I’ve read thus far:

My Reading List

Fiction:

  • Chinua Achebe: Things Fall Apart [2011]
  • Richard Adams: Watership Down
  • Mitch Albom: The Five People You Meet In Heaven  [2011]
  • Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Laurie Anderson: Speak
  • Julian Barnes: A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters   [note: started and abandoned in 2011]
  • Jorge Borges: Ficciones
  • Ray Bradbury: Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Albert Camus: The Stranger
  • Truman Capote: In Cold Blood
  • Willa Cather: Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • Miguel de Cervantes: Don Quixote
  • Tom Clancy: The Hunt For Red October   [2012]
  • James Fenimore Cooper: The Last of the Mohicans
  • Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment
  • Theodore Dreiser: An American Tragedy
  • George Eliot: Middlemarch, The Mill on the Floss
  • Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man
  • William Faulkner: Absalom! Absalom!, As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury
  • Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: Tender Is The Night, Babylon Revisited
  • Margaret Mitchell: Gone With The Wind
  • Robert Graves: I, Claudius
  • Thomas Hardy: Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  • Joseph Heller: Catch-22
  • Earnest Hemingway: A Farewell To Arms, The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Kazuo Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day
  • Henry James: Portrait of a Lady, The Turn of the Screw, The American
  • James Joyce: Dubliners
  • Ken Kesey: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Rudyard Kipling: Kim
  • Milan Kundera: The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • D.H. Lawrence: Sons and Lovers
  • Sinclair Lewis: Babbit
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love In The Time Of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Toni Morrison: Jazz
  • Bharati Mukherjee: Tree Bride
  • Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita, Pale Fire
  • Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Michael Ondaatje: The English Patient
  • Marcel Proust: Swann’s Way
  • Ayn Rand: Anthem, Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead
  • Erich Maria Remarque: All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses, Midnight’s Children
  • Louis Sachar: Holes
  • JD Salinger: Catcher in the Rye
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Gulag Archipelago
  • John Steinbeck: East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men
  • Bram Stoker: Dracula [2012]
  • William Styron: Sophie’s Choice
  • Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • Robert Penn Warren: All The King’s Men
  • Eudora Welty: The Optimist’s Daughter
  • Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence, The House Of Mirth

Drama:

  • Edward Albee: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot
  • Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler
  • Arthur Miller: The Crucible
  • Eugene O’Neill: Long Day’s Journey into Night
  • Peter Shaffer: Amadeus
  • George Bernard Shaw: Pygmalion
  • Neil Simon: The Odd Couple
  • Tom Stoppard: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead
  • Tennessee Williams: The Glass Menagerie

Poetry:

  • W.H. Auden
  • Anne Bradstreet
  • Robert Browning
  • Emily Dickinson
  • John Donne
  • T.S. Eliot
  • Robert Frost
  • Seamus Heaney
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Langston Hughes
  • Ben Jonson
  • John Keats
  • John Milton
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • William Carlos Williams
  • William Wordsworth
  • William Butler Yeats

Non-Fiction:

  • George W. Bush: Decision Points
  • G.K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy, The Everlasting Man
  • Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers [2011], What the Dog Saw
  • C.S. Lewis: The Abolition of Man, The Four Loves
  • George Marsden: Jonathan Edwards
  • Sarah Palin: Going Rogue
  • Mark Twain: Autobiography of Mark Twain [note: I started this one in 2012. Part 1 is 972 pages and I’m only 44 pages into 262 pages of introductory material!]

Christian Living:

  • Jerry Bridges: Respectable Sins, Transforming Grace [2011], The Disciplines of Grace
  • D.A. Carson: The God Who Is There: Finding Your Place in God’s Story
  • Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Choosing Gratitude [2011]
  • Kevin DeYoung: The Good News We Almost Forgot
  • D. Martyn Lloyd Jones: Spiritual Depression
  • Bob Kauflin: Worship Matters
  • Tim Keller: The Reason for God, Ministries of Mercy, Generous Justice
  • David Kinnaman: unChristian [2011]
  • Eric Metaxas: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
  • Beth Moore: Praying God’s Word [2012]
  • J.I. Packer: Knowing God
  • John Piper: Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy, Let the Nations Be Glad! Battling Unbelief
  • Paul Tripp: A Shelter in the Time of Storm [2011]

Planned Reading for 2013

This year, I want to be more strategic and disciplined about what I read, because I, once again, have grand plans for the reading I’ll do this year. I still want to read many of the books on the list I created in 2011, but some excellent books have been published or purchased since that I have added to my ever-growing list.

A few years ago I made the goal of reading one book a week (and I kept it for about two years!), but I’ve kind of slacked off from that pace of reading–and sadly, at times, reading in general. So this year, I am challenging myself again to finish one book a week.

Some of these books are really long (500+ pages) and I always find books throughout the year that I want to read but weren’t planned, so I’ve left myself some wiggle-room.

Fiction:

  • Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Laurie Anderson: Speak
  • Ray Bradbury: Something Wicked This Way Comes
  • Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov
  • Rudyard Kipling: Kim, Jungle Book
  • C.S. Lewis: Till We Have Faces
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love In The Time Of Cholera
  • Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • Michael Ondaatje: The English Patient
  • Erich Maria Remarque: All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses, Midnight’s Children
  • Louis Sachar: Holes
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn: The Gulag Archipelago
  • Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • Eudora Welty: The Optimist’s Daughter

Drama:

  • Eugene O’Neill: Long Day’s Journey into Night
  • George Bernard Shaw: Pygmalion
  • Tom Stoppard: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead

Non-Fiction:

  • Iris Chang: The Rape of Nanking
  • Malcolm Gladwell: What the Dog Saw
  • C.S. Lewis: The Four Loves
  • George Marsden: Jonathan Edwards
  • Eric Metaxas: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
  • Tony Reinke: Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books

Christian Living:

  • Jerry Bridges: Respectable Sins, The Disciplines of Grace
  • Tim Challies: The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment
  • Bryan Chapell: Holiness by Grace
  • Steve DeWitt: Eyes Wide Open
  • Kevin DeYoung: The Good News We Almost Forgot, The Hole in Our Holiness, What is the Mission of the Church?
  • Jonathan Dodson: Gospel-Centered Discipleship
  • D. Martyn Lloyd Jones: Spiritual Depression
  • Bob Kauflin: Worship Matters
  • Tim Keller: The Reason for God, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness
  • J.I. Packer: Knowing God
  • John Piper: Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, Let the Nations Be Glad! 
  • John Stott: The Cross of Christ

Books I’ve Read Recently*

*which is also interpreted as “the last six months”

I was a little shocked when I counted up all of these books and realized I had read 14 books in the last 6 months (three were read in the last three days, now that I’ve started vacation). I was extremely busy last semester and felt like I hadn’t read much, but an average of 2 books a month is still pretty good. I read a lot of light fiction because I couldn’t focus much on too difficult of reading, and even though I only read a few Christian Living type books all the way through within this time frame, I have read parts of many books that I still need to finish!

Non-fiction

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert

I read this book two or three times. It’s a great, short explanation of the gospel. I highly recommend this book.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne: a good minister of Jesus Christ by J.C. Smith

This is a very unusual biography because it doesn’t follow the normal, chronological order of a biography. Also, the author quoted seemingly randomly from sermons and letters from people who know M’Cheyne without giving context to the quotes. Frankly, I had a hard time following the book. I respect M’Cheyne’s ministry and have read some good quotes by him, but I didn’t have the mental focus to read all the way through the book, so after the first couple of chapters, I ended up skimming and just reading a few portions.

unPlanned by Abby Johnson

I thought this was a great book. This is the story of a Planned Parenthood director who made a dramatic turnaround to work for the Coalition for Life. I wrote about it extensively here.

Young Adult Fiction

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham

This was a good story and I recommend it. I was a little afraid the kid lawyer would be in the courthouse defending a case (unbelievable), but instead he had to rely upon the justice system and his lawyer parents to help him see the case through (much more believable).

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

I had heard my friend Jenni talk about this book for six years, because she taught it in her 7th grade English class, but I’d never read the book until now. It’s a great historical fiction story about an African-American farming family in the South during the Depression. This story deals with racism, lynching, and the benefits of owning your land. The main characters, the Logans, own their farm, but most of the other farmers around them are sharecroppers. The characters, dialogue, and story are all interesting, and I agree that this is a good book for junior highers. The only drawback to this story is that it ends abruptly without resolving the main conflict at the end of the story.

Let the Circle be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor

This is the sequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and the first couple of chapters wrap up TJ’s story from the previous book. This book dealt more with property ownership, the difficulties of starting a union for the farmers, and the challenges of a young girl who has a black father and a white mother, and the hardships Stacey faced when he was tricked back into slavery in the sugar cane fields. I enjoyed learning more about the characters and seeing them grow up, but I thought the story lagged through the middle and it picked up again right at the end of the book. Fortunately, the story resolved in the last chapter, because I was afraid the book would end without finding out what happened to Stacey.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

I really enjoyed this story about a young Korean orphan who learns how to make pottery from a master potter. The boy, Tree-ear has to face many challenges to deliver the potter’s special vase to the king’s palace. Set in twelfth-century Korea, the story teaches about the culture and about perseverance. This is another great novel for junior highers, and Jenni also taught this one in 7th grade English.

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson

I greatly enjoyed this long-awaited sequel to Chains, which I reviewed here. As you can gather from the title and cover art, the story is set during the Continental Army’s occupation of Valley Forge. The historical details are accurate and the story is very interesting, though it is sometimes graphic about the difficulties the soldiers faced.

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Based on the yellow fever epidemic that swept through Philadelphia in the summer of 1793, this story follows Mattie Cook as she flees the city after her mother contracts the fever, as she fights for survival, and as she reestablishes her life at the coffeehouse her mother and grandfather had owned. I highly recommend this book.

Adult Fiction

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

I read this book for the book club I started a few months ago. You can read all the posts here.

The God Hater by Bill Myers

I really enjoyed reading this allegory of salvation. A group of computer programmers create an alternate world and test out various systems of running the world, such as Evolution, Existentialism, and law-giving. The only model that works, as the atheist professor is chagrined to find out, is the law-giving and grace-saving one that parallels the Gospel.

Nick of Time by Tim Downs

I was very excited this book came out before I had to take a long plane trip from Guam to the States, as it helped pass the time on my Guam-Narita flight. As always, Tim Downs created a fast-paced story with snappy dialogue and unusual characters. This story seemed a little different to me from other Tim Downs novels, but I can’t quite put my finger on what’s different; I don’t think there was a much science in this one and that is something I like about the books. I still greatly enjoyed this book, though, and highly recommend it.

Although most of the Bug Man novels can be read in any order, you’ll understand this one best if you read Ends of the Earth first. In Ends of the Earth, Nick has to choose between cadaver dog trainer Alena and the plucky farmer Kathryn. Readers were able to read two alternate endings online and choose for Nick, so this novel follows Nick and Alena in the last week before their wedding. The mysterious death of a friend leads Nick to the Poconos to solve the crime, Alena follows, and after Nick rescues Alena from a would-be murderer, they return to North Carolina for their wedding. And we’re left with another cliff-hanger, so hopefully the next book will end with Nick and Alena’s marriage.

Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson

While this was a cute story about a childhood imaginary friend who becomes real when the little girl grows up, it was very light reading and not very impressive. It was good airplane reading, but I probably won’t be picking up another Patterson novel any time soon.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

This is the second choice for my little book club and I’ll post discussion questions soon. It wasn’t my favorite book ever, that’s for sure. I liked Tuesdays with Morrie much better.

During the Easter season, I read portions of Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross edited by Nancy Guthrie; Finally Alive by John Piper; and Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper.

I re-read these books for 11th Honors English: The Red Badge of Courage, Huck Finn, The Call of the Wild.

I am currently reading: Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick, and The Art of Divine Contentment by Thomas Watson.

Recommended books

A little while ago I wrote a post about some book lists and noted which ones I had read, and then I asked which books you think everyone should read. I’ve also been working to put together a list of books I think everyone should read.

Now, the books I have listed below were chosen based on a variety of factors. Many of these books are personal favorites that I have read several times. All of these books have made some kind of impression on me and have affected my view of literature and the world. In some cases, the worldview is overtly anti-God or amoral/immoral, but the book helped me understand other cultures and how other people think. The point of this list was to recommend a variety of books from a variety of perspectives, not to give recommendations of “squeaky clean” literature (though some are pretty free of graphic, offensive elements, they may have philosophical issues I don’t agree with).

With the exception of the poets and preachers, whose works I have only sampled (their body of literature being so large it is hard to read their complete works), I have read all of the works listed, so please feel free to ask, if you’d like a more specific analysis of the book.

I’ve chosen a wide variety of books for this list. Some are modern popular fiction; some are ancient epic poems. Some are “classic” modern fiction, with many potentially offensive elements; some are books by Christian authors generally written for a Christian audience.

I’ve also had to reconcile myself to the fact that this list is not going to be perfect. I’ve pondered the choices for far too long and keep making changes. Okay. Disclaimer over. Here’s the list.

Fiction:

  • Louisa May Alcott: Little Women, Little Men
  • Laurie Anderson: Chains, Forge
  • Jane Austen: Emma, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice
  • Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451
  • Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
  • John Bunyan: The Pilgrim’s Progress
  • Orson Scott Card: Ender’s Game
  • Kate Chopin: The Awakening
  • Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone
  • Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe
  • Don DeLillo: White Noise
  • Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities
  • Tim Downs: The Bug Man series
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes stories
  • Alexander Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
  • E.M. Forster: A Room with a View, Passage to India, Howards End
  • Thomas Hardy: Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter
  • Khaled Hosseini: The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Misérables
  • Aldous Huxley: Brave New World
  • Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
  • C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia, Space Trilogy, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce
  • Jack London: The Call of the Wild, White Fang
  • Lois Lowry: The Giver
  • Daphne Du Maurier: Rebecca
  • Baroness Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • George Orwell: 1984, Animal Farm
  • Alan Paton: Cry, the Beloved Country
  • J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter series
  • Salman Rushdie: Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Shalimar the Clown
  • Alexander McCall Smith: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective series
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Cancer Ward
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings
  • Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Mark Twain: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Jules Verne: Around the World in Eighty Days
  • Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Virginia Woolf: To The Lighthouse
  • Markus Zusak: The Book Thief

Drama:

  • Anton Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard
  • Johann Goethe: Faust
  • William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, The Tempest, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado about Nothing
  • Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest, The Ideal Husband

Poetry:

  • Dante Alighieri: Inferno
  • Beowulf
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Sonnets from the Portuguese
  • Robert Browning
  • Amy Carmichael: If
  • E.E. Cummings
  • Emily Dickinson
  • John Donne
  • T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land
  • Robert Frost
  • George Herbert: The Temple
  • Homer: Iliad, Odyssey
  • John Milton: Paradise Lost
  • William Shakespeare: Sonnets
  • Sophocles: Oedipus Rex
  • Edmund Spenser: The Faerie Queene
  • Walt Whitman

Non-Fiction:

  • Mitch Albom: Tuesdays with Morrie
  • James Bradley: Flyboys
  • Frederick Douglass: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt: Freakonomics
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of Anne Frank
  • Malcolm Gladwell: Blink, The Tipping Point
  • Ron Hall and Denver Moore: Same Kind of Different as Me
  • Marcus Luttrell: Lone Survivor
  • Greg Mortenson: Three Cups of Tea
  • Barack Obama: Dreams from My Father
  • Dave Ramsey: Total Money Makeover
  • Lynne Truss: Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  • Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own

Christian Living:

  • The ESV Study Bible
  • Valley of Vision
  • Jerry Bridges: Trusting God, The Pursuit of Holiness
  • Francis Chan: Crazy Love, Forgotten God
  • Henry Cloud & John Townsend: Boundaries
  • Mark Dever: What Does God Want of Us Anyway?
  • Kevin DeYoung: Just Do Something
  • Jonathan Edwards: sermons
  • Elisabeth Elliot: The Path of Loneliness, A Chance to Die: Biography of Amy Carmichael, Through Gates of Splendor, Shadow of the Almighty, Let Me be a Woman
  • John Fawcett: Christ Precious to Those That Believe
  • Greg Gilbert: What is the Gospel?
  • Nancy Guthrie: Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross; Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
  • Joshua Harris: Dug Down Deep, Stop Dating the Church
  • Ronald Horton: Mood Tides
  • Mary Kassian: Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild
  • Tim Keller: Prodigal God, Counterfeit Gods
  • C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity, God in the Dock, Surprised by Joy, The Problem of Pain
  • C.J. Mahaney: Living the Cross-Centered Life, Humility: True Greatness, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World (ed. Mahaney)
  • Carolyn Mahaney (and daughters): Shopping for Time
  • Carolyn McCulley: Radical Womanhood
  • John Piper: Desiring God, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, Don’t Waste Your Life
  • David Platt: Radical
  • Layton Talbert: Not by Chance
  • A.W. Tozer: The Knowledge of the Holy
  • Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
  • Philip Yancey: What’s So Amazing about Grace?

Books I Read in August-October 2010

New books (sadly, not very many at all)

I haven’t read many books since school started. It’s really sad. I comfort myself by saying I’m doing more of other types of reading, but it’s still pretty sad. I’ve had a hard time blocking off enough time to read steadily, and if I don’t read several chapters to get into a book I have a hard time plugging away. I’m in the middle of two or three books right now, so hopefully I’ll have more to report later.

Jonathan Edwards: The Essential Edwards Collection edited by Doug Sweeney and Owen Strachan

I’ve been slowly working my way through this 5 book introduction to the life and works of Jonathan Edwards. So far, I’ve read the first book (Lover of God), about half of the second, and parts of the other three. I’ve learned so much!

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

This is a powerful, true story about a wealthy couple, Ron and Debbie Hall, who befriend a homeless man, Denver Moore. The story was so gripping I read the entire book in one night, often sobbing uncontrollably at the sad story of Debbie’s battle with cancer and marveling at the unconditional love she showed to Denver. I highly recommend this book, and I hope it has as great an impact on your life as it did on mine.

Continue reading

February Book Review

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Clear, concise, hope-infused. Ramsey’s 7-step plan is simple to understand, difficult to follow (not because of an error on his part, but because of my own sin nature), but brings great results. Even as I tackle step two (get out debt), I have been encouraged to see God provide and help me save money for future expenses (like the $1300 plane ticket I just purchased) rather than spend each pay check as it comes in. I’m already reaping the benefits of budgeting and saving. I’m sure I’ll refer to this book many times over the next few years as I read the testimonies of God’s provision in other people’s lives and as I progress through the steps. I highly recommend this book.
Grade: A+

Culture Warrior by Bill O’Reilly
Very interesting read. I learned a lot about the key members and philosophies of the secular-progressive movement. If you want to be more well-informed about the liberal leanings of society, or want to better understand O’Reilly’s show (he refers to ideas in this book all the time), read this book.
Grade: A

Wobegon Boy by Garrison Keillor
A huge disappointment. I grew up listening to Keillor’s radio broadcast A Prairie Home Companion, so I expected I would enjoy this book. However, the plot meanders to nowhere in particular and even though that’s typical of “Stories from Lake Wobegon,” this one wasn’t even interesting. Perhaps, Keillor should stick to the short story genre. In addition, Keillor’s cynical descriptions of Dark Lutherans and the loose lifestyle of his central character got annoying. I almost stopped reading several times, but kept hoping it would get better, which it did not. I wish I hadn’t wasted my one fiction book for the month on this one. Can I express my disappointment in any more ways?
Grade: C-/D+

Flyboysby James Bradley Powerful and moving. I cried several times while reading this book and even while just thinking about the Flyboys. Bradley gives a brief explanation of Japanese history and describes the Japanese warrior’s mindset before and during the war. He explains the American justification for the atomic bomb and napalm bombings; however, he does not excuse American war atrocities during the expansion west, in the Philippines, and during the war. (And I agree. The US military did some pretty horrible things to the American Indians and other nations we were trying to establish colonies in.) He recounts the true, heroic stories of American pilots, including former president George W. Bush, during the Pacific theater in World War II. He focuses on telling the recently de-classified stories of the torture, execution, and mutilation of US pilots on Chichi Jima. The pilots’ families were never told the details of their sons’ horrific deaths, and some parents died without ever knowing what happened. This book is well-researched and powerfully written. I think every American should read this book. I have a much deeper appreciation for the veterans of World War II and the difficult decisions our government and military leaders had to make. I also better understand the Japanese history and worldview that led to such a grusome war. This is one of those books that will haunt your memory and affect your thinking for a long time.
Grade: A+

Earlier Posts on Books or Poetry

I’m Back, November 1, 2006, reviewing The Man Who was Thursday, Condi: The Condoleeza Rice Story, A Light in the Window, These High, Green Hills, and Jennie Gerhardt.

Magnetic Poetry, August 28, 2007.

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, August 30, 2007.

Introduction to Poetry, August 30, 2007.

Serious Humor, August 31, 2007.

January Book Review, February 4, 2008.