Now that I am no longer participating in a major online group, I thought I would try and turn my attention once again to putting up more blogs. Since I graduated from seminary, I can now read what I want. Left to my own devices, I would probably just read fiction and escape into a world that doesn’t offer as much stress, but I have found that I need to read non-fiction also and keep up with my own intellectual growth. What works for me is to rotate fiction and non-fiction. Today, I would like to introduce to you a tool that I have been using for a while now that helps me keep track of the books that I want to read. I have posted a new link on my blog will take you to Google Books. The link is under “Blogroll” (although I might move it later) and says “”My Google Library.” Google Books has allowed me to stay more organized in regards to books that I hear about and want to check out. Here is the problem for me: I only have so much time and I am quite convinced that if I read every book recommended to me that I would not have enough time left in the rest of my life, even if I quit my job. I always have people tell me, “You need to read this; it’s a good book!” Well, there are lots of good books and I am not interested in reading good books. I am interested in reading the best books. That’s really all the time that I have.
As far as fiction goes, I have on order the ninth book in the eleven-book Timeline 191 series by Harry Turtledove. According to the Wikipedia article, “Timeline-191 is a fan name given to a series of Harry Turtledove alternate history novels, including How Few Remain as well as the Great War, American Empire, and Settling Accounts series. The name is derived from Robert E. Lee’s Special Order 191, which detailed the Army of Northern Virginia’s invasion of the Union in September 1862 during the American Civil War. The divergence occurs when Union forces do not find a copy of Special Order 191, on September 10, 1862. The novels detail the consequences of this up until 1944 in the alternate world.” The ninth book in the series is the second book in the tetralogy, Settling Accounts and it is entitled, Settling Accounts: Drive To The East. After I finish my current read, I will be delving into this book and hope to have the entire series finished by the end of the year. I have been reading this series since 2007! As I said, seminary never really let me read what I wanted to so while I was in class, so I stopped reading fiction and pretty much only read assigned books with a few exceptions. After I finish the “191” series, I hope to read the two books that I have not read yet by John Grisham, who is, without a doubt, my favorite author. The two I have not yet read are Ford County, which is a collection of short stories, and his new upcoming book, The Confession.
As far as non-fiction goes, I have two loves/interests. The first, of course, is theology. I want to keep up my interest and keep myself informed and balanced on this subject. This is the book I am currently reading called The Christian Atheist. It was given to me by a friend for graduation. So far it is very good. I also have on order Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs which was also recommended to me by a friend. This book would fall into one those “exception” categories I was talking about. Every now and then, a book comes along that I just want to read more than what my system will allow. Because of the nature of this book being in short chapters, I will probably read it on the side while I am reading other books. Generally, I only read one book at a time, unless they are two very distinctly different books. I once tried reading two fiction books at the same time and ended up getting the stories crossed.
The other love/interest is history, particularly American history. Because of this, I have set a goal of reading a book on each of the Presidents of the United States…yes, even the bad ones! I have currently read one on Washington, Adams, and Jefferson and will be reading one on James Madison after I finish Drive To The East.
As you can see, my reading list keeps me quite busy. I am hoping that, at some point in my life, I will enjoy reading more than television, but that has not happened…yet. I would encourage all of you to be veracious readers, most importantly, of God’s Word, but also, of other books as well. I have met Christians who will not read anything other than Christian non-fiction. Not to be critical, but generally speaking, these have been some of the most unimaginative people I have ever met. Reading fiction really keeps my imagination in the right place and it also helps me escape to a world that is unfamiliar and engaging. Like I said, fiction is my favorite. Another thing that I would suggest is to read books that you know you will probably disagree with. If you click on the link, you will see that one of the books on my list is Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities by Roger Olson. I heard Olson interviewed on “Converse With Scholars” a while back and was very impressed with his knowledge of this subject and made a point to read him, even though I know I will probably not agree with him. How else can I engage in a conversation with someone of a more-Arminian persuasion if I do not know anything about the subject? Reading something you disagree with also fires up your own imagination and helps you to continue to think critically. So check out my Google Books library and let me know what you think.