Richard. Watership Down.
After seeing the movie
(a wonderful movie by the way), I put it in the back of my mind as a
"someday must-read". But low and behold, there it was under
the Xmas tree. (more)
How to Read a Book.
in 1940, and then again in 1970, this is a great book for any college
or university student who would actually like to learn and not just
jump hoops. (more)
Mitch. Tuesdays With Morrie.
A truly inspiring work
about the sportswriter Mitch Album's deepening relationship with his
dying former college professor, Morrie. I was moved by (more)
book about Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition to Antartic in 1913. Shackleton
is a remarkable tragic hero whose story is told with great care by Alexander.(more)
Bailey, Kenneth E.
The Cross and the Prodigal.
Bailey's knowledge of
Middle Eastern peasant culture illuminates the parable of the prodigal
John. Elegy for Iris.
The Iris of Elegy
for Iris is Iris Murdoch, author and modern-day philosopher. This
one book, although not a page-turner, caught my attention .(more)
Binchy, Maeve. Evening
I've enjoyed her
observant descriptions of ordinary people. Her novels also have this
optimism in them that I enjoy.(more)
The Cost of Discipleship.
As much as I don't
feel a total affinity with his theology, I felt drawn to what lay underneath
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's words and beliefs. (more)
Borg, Marcus. Meeting
Jesus Again for the First Time.
I read this book in
a very unlikely location the waiting room of a Winnipeg hospital.
Borgs words were a balm that day. Borg stresses that relationship
to Jesus (more)
In his third memoir
Fredrick Buechner tells of how after making a career switch from teacher
to writer he stopped living his own life and instead tried to live his
children’s lives. (more)
Telling the Truth.
A pastor weeping,
his face in the mirror reflecting back to him the demise of his life...
An old woman laughing dizzily at the preposterous news of pregnancy...
Is this the gospel you know?(more)
Bukowski, Charsles. Post
This is an autobiographical
novel of Bukowski's 12 years (the entire 60's and more) working for
the U.S. Postal Service. (more)
Thomas. Desire of the Everlasting Hills.
The life of Jesus of
Nazareth comes alive in this historical work that reads like a novel.
Cahill is an historian but his writing style is catchy and inviting
Julia. The Artist's Way.
book takes its reader on a journey of self-discovery and self-recovery.
Peter. Jack Maggs.
have called Jack Maggs a post-colonial re-telling of Dickens'
Great Expectations. (more)
Peter. Oscar and Lucinda.
I had heard about this
book first as a movie and after seeing it twice in one weekend, I vowed
to myself that I would read the book version as soon as possible. (more)
Carey, Peter. True
History of the Kelly Gang.
Carey takes us
inside the life of Australia’s favourite outlaw, Ned Kelly. Carey
uses broken English and little punctuation to tell the story of how
Ned Kelly became wanted and hunted by the police.
I was surprised by how
much I enjoyed this book. It's a murder mystery set in the late 1890's
in New York City. The plot revolves around a psychologist who (more)
Bruce. Rabbi Jesus.
An imaginatively vivid
yet informed biography of Jesus of Nazareth by the noted scholar Bruce
Chilton. Jesus is lifted out of the two-dimensional stereotype of tradition
Paulo. The Alchemist.
an interesting fable of the ins and outs of a spiritual journey. His
book reminded me of the spiritual reality that surrounds our everyday
Paulo. By The River Piadra I Wept.
A love story with
a spiritual twist or a spiritual tale with a love twist - the coming
together of these two themes creates a myth that stands in and above
Paulo. The Fifth Mountain.
The Fifth Mountain
tells the story of the biblical prophet Elijah, bringing to life
the conflicted thoughts and actions of a gifted man known otherwise
only through the Old Testament. (more)
Thomas H. The Chatham School Affair.
I found The Chatham
School Affair by Thomas Cook to be an engaging read. The author tantalizes
us by weaving the past and the present into a mysterious pattern that
draws us in. (more)
Covey, Sean. The
7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.
A book for teens
in my top three picks of the year, you may wonder? Yes it’s true.
Before you write me off as juvenile, hear me out, because it’s
a great book for adults too. (more)
Stephen R. First Things First.
I found a wise guide
this year in Stephen Covey whose books The Seven Habits of Highly Effective
People and First Things First put principles to work (more)
Jim. Being Dead.
From the author
of Quarantine, a bizarre, intriguing tale about a naked couple
found dead on an American East Coast sand dune. (more)
and Howard C. Cutler. The Art of Happiness.
I found my heart being
warmed as I read this down-to-earth, practical, wise book. Definitely
written for "everyone" in mind, it is not difficult to read, and has
Robertson. Rebel Angels.
A delightful comedy
about a group of professors, students and one millionaire and their
work to create an opera. (more)
Pierre Teilhard. Divine Milieu: An Essay on the Interior Life.
A small and unassuming
book but intensely packed with a theology of grace, love and an openness
to creation and the movement of God that reaches down into (more)
Charles. A Christmas Carol.
I found Charles Dickens'
classic tale of old miserly Ebenezeer Scrooge's tragedy and redemption
to be evocative. Scrooge's unyeilding cynicism and stubbornness (more)
Charles. Bleak House.
I was apprehensive
at first, thinking the 19th Century language would be inaccessable but
was surprised at how drawn into the story I became (more)
Charles. Oliver Twist.
For me, reading Twist
was a welcome revisitation of the very fine "Oliver Twist" TV-movie
presentation by the BBC broadcast here during Christmas week 1999. (more)
Fyodor. Crime and Punishment.
I had this novel sitting
on my shelf waiting to find the courage to read it. I assumed the writing
would be daunting, but because Crime and Punishment was a classic it
was important to read (more)
George. The Mill on the Floss.
Written in the
1850's by a woman, this novel tells the story of a young woman trying
to live with authenticity and integrity at a time when respectability
mattered more (more)
Pilgrim is an intriguing
character in Timothy Findley's latest novel, Pilgrim. He appears
in1912 as a suicide survivor in the swiss clinic of Burgholzi, run by
Carl Jung. (more)
James. The Contemplative Heart.
My annual two-month
summer vacation is usually plagued by a lack of focus. Not this year,
thanks to The Contemplative Heart by James Finley
James. Palace of Nowhere.
James Finley writes
a concise compilation of Thomas Merton's thoughts on contemplation.
Fox, Michael J. Lucky
The paradox of
this book caught me immediately – Michael J. Fox, beset with early
onset Parkinson’s Disease, considers himself a lucky man. (more)
A comic yet ultimately
serious novel by British author Michael Frayn about a middle-aged art
historian/philosopher, Martin Clay. (more)
Charles. Cold Mountain.
unconventional love story of an injured, solitary veteran who learns
about human character while walking home from the Civil War. (more)
Paula. Jesus of Nazareth.
This book reads like
a historical whodunnit, exploring two odd facts about Jesus
life: that he was killed by the state for sedition, and that his followers
were not. (more)
Richard E. The Disappearance of God.
examination of the Hebrew Bible Friedman shows how miracle, divine control,
and divine presence gradually occur less and less in the Bible. (more)
me deepest about the struggle to hope and the temptation to despair.
It is so easy to allow the dragons of external circumstances to distort
our humanity (more)
Judith Skelton. Robertson Davies, Man of Myth.
Because Davies is one
of my favourite authors, it was a labour of love to read this tome.
Tenzin. Freedom In Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama.
Trixie, my purring
cat, made a habit of sitting with me as I read Freedom in Exile,
the story of the Dalai Lama. Her ritual was so regular I started wondering
if the cat felt she was sitting in the presence of the Dalai himself.
Ursual. Stones from the River.
Ursula Hegi writes
a gripping novel set in a small German village during WWII. Trudi is
the dwarf narrator of the story (more)
Helene. 84, Charing Cross Road.
I read this book
and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street and got inspired by Helene's
desire to read. She was self-taught, guided largely by a love of English
On Beulah Height.
On Beulah Height
was one of the year's best reads for me. Hill's exceptional writing
style was at once vividly comic and dramatic. The characters are so
Hinton, S. E. The
claims best book of the year in my mind because of its disturbingly
real portrayal of lives in gangs. (more)
Johnson, Wayne. The
What looks like
a short and fast read turns out to be packed full of quirky characters
that carry both humour and meaning. It is rare that I laugh out loud
when reading but delving into (more)
Jon. Wherever You Go, There You Are.
A wealth of practical
images are offered in the hope of practicing the discipline of mindful
observation. Watch your breath, and imagine the world in you!(more)
Thomas. Open Mind, Open Heart.
This book by "Father"
Thomas Keating helped to clarify and inspire me to explore again the
practice of contemplation or "interior silence". (more)
Sam. Hymns to an Unknown God.
I was struck by
Keen's integrative maturity which weaves the mythological truths of
traditional religion with our individual thirst for the sacred (more)
Jon. Into Thin Air.
A riveting story
of the tragedy surrounding the 1996 Mount Everest ascent. (more)
Das. Awakening the Buddha Within.
My overwhelming memory
of this book is that it evoked a meditative awareness as I read it.
I remember sitting on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, on my holidays, (more)
Wally. I Know This Much Is True.
I was intimidated
by the sheer size of Wally Lamb's book- nine hundred pages. I read it
quickly, in fact, frantically because I got
caught in the truth of it.(more)
Wally. She's Come Undone.
Hands down winner
for the most engaging novel of the decade. Its a dark story of areally
screwed up woman, but if you can be patient through the darkness, it's
Madeleine. Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.
Perhaps we can
walk on water, we’ve only forgotten how. It is this type of faith
that Madeline L’Engle exudes. In Walking on Water, L’Engle
reflects on the question of what it means to be a Christian artist.
Doris. Briefing for a Descent into Hell.
woman. This is a riveting novel that unfolds on several levels: an intriguing
story, a disturbing psychosis, a confrontation with the reader. (more)
Lois. Number The Stars.
This is a historical
fiction about a family in Holland in World War II, and how they help
some Jewish friends. It is dramatic and engrossing. (more)
Lois . The Giver.
The Giver by
Lois Lowry is a book about a fictional community where sameness and
lack of pain is engineered and highly revered
Thomas. The Undertaking.
An undertaker recounts
some of his many experiences with death. Lynch uses his poet's eyes
to see the meaning and depth hidden within different people's experience
of death. (more)
Ann-Marie. Fall On Your Knees.
Fall On Your Knees
breaks out of the "Canadian Novel" into something universal.
A story full of sadness and grief but one that avoids the typical approach
to lives "hard done by".(more)
Abraham. Paul and the Thessalonians.
The reason I enjoyed
this book so much was that it took me behind the scenes of the apostle
Paul's book to the Thessalonians (more)
May, Gerald G. The
We all carry a
thirst within us - our desire for love. May calls it "the great
yearning of life". Yet ironically, what we most long for, we already
Gerald . Will and Spirit.
I re-read this book
this year because I didn't feel that my reading last year did it justice.
I was happy that I did because in a small way this book changed my life.
Frank. Angela's Ashes.
This was a very engrossing
story, a memoir about the author growing up dirt poor in Ireland. As
you read of the terribly tragedy of their lives, you don't know (more)
Patrick. Martha Peake.
by Patrick McGrath is a gothic tale of a monster of a man whose daughter
Martha turns out to be an American Revolutionary War heroine. (more)
Miles, Jack. Christ:
A Crisis in the Life of God.
theological ideas, are usually inviting and excite my imagination and
so when I started to feel at odds with the character of Christ I didn’t
quite know how to interpret my experience.
Rohinton. A Fine Balance.
This amazing novel set
in 1970s India is about the lives of four unlikely friends who
meet each other by chance. (more)
Rohinton. Such A Long Journey.
Such A Long Journey
is a richly textured prodigal father story set in Bombay, India that
seems relevant basically in any culture. A well-intentioned father alienates
I enjoyed this
hope-filled theology of the Spirit. Moltmann speaks out of a transforming
experience of grace in his own life. His learning comes alongside, and
facilitates life-stirring interpretation. (more)
The Way of Jesus Christ.
A thoughtful look
at who Jesus is in the Christian tradition and who he continues to be
for his disciples. Moltmann presents a Christology for people who are
on the way, (more)
Theology of Hope.
Hope is one of the most complex theological books I have ever read.
I’m sure I could read this many times and still go away baffled.
Murdoch, Iris. The
Iris Murdoch weaves
threads of well-intentioned but awkward relationships in exploring the
idea of whether a modern person can live ethically and with meaning
outside established religion. (more)
Norris, Kathleen. The
This is a small inspirational
book in which Norris writes of her understanding and experiences of
the spiritual in the daily or "quotidian", in the Benedictine
break last year, I decided to read a book that would not be a direct
part of my research and writing. (more)
Oppel, Kenneth. Silverwing.
Silverwing and Sunwing,
by Canadian author Kenneth Oppel, is an excellent series of books about
a colony of bats (more)
Pears, Iain. The
An excellent, morally
ambigious, art mystery tale on two fronts, from the Jonathan Argyll,
Flavia di Stefano series by Iain Pears. An exhibition painting is stolen
Chaim. My Name is Asher Lev.
May and James
Fowler mentioned this book as a good example of faithfulness. I
was intrigued by the premise of a young Jewish artist being (more)
Gates of Fire.
Gates of Fire
is the historical retelling of the Greek Spartan’s battle with
The Persian king Xerxes’ armies at Themopalae. On his deathbed
the squire Zeo recounts the story of this battle and the story of his
steals the best book honour in my mind because of the perfect parallel
of comedy and seriousness. If there is an amazingly moving part, alongside
there is sure to be some humour to lighten you up.
Robert. Calculating God.
I really enjoyed this
science fiction book. It's about aliens coming to the Royal Ontario
Museum in Toronto to compare notes on evolution (more)
Sawyer, Robert. J.
Called the opposite
of the Planet of the Apes, Hominids revolves around an evolved
Neanderthal called Ponter Boddit, a quantum physicist, who makes an
accidental visit to Sudbury, Ontario (more)
I've wanted to
read something of Dorothy Sayers for a long time. What a great read!
Like Iris Murdoch, you get the sense of a lively intelligence
the story. (more)
or The Modern Prometheus is a phenomenal book that explores many
themes that are relevant for today including the relationship between
parent and child, (more)
Huston. Why Religion Matters.
What struck me first
about this book was the ease with which Huston Smith brought the reader
into the complex and often hostile relationship between spirituality
and science. (more)
John Shelby. Why Christianity Must Change.
I enjoyed reading
this book, particularily reading about scripture again. It was like
rediscovering a world I left behind in 1990.(more)
John. East of Eden.
An epic, mythic
tale of the Trask and Hamilton families in 19th Century America that
reaches far into the issues of love and hate, fate and choice. (more)
Milton. As A Driven Leaf.
One of my most satisfying
reads this year; I read it twice. Click here
for my response to the book. (more)
Robert Louis. Kidnapped.
This classic book was
an intriguing read. It's a wonderful romping adventure story of a young
man who comes upon poverty and must look for help from his rich (more)
J.R.R. The Hobbit.
and I are in agreement that probably the most exciting book weve
read in 2001 (which were not quite done yet), is The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien. (more)
Tolkien, J. R. R.
The Two Towers.
The Two Towers,
how could I reject this book? Wonderful morals are hidden in each page.
Amazing adventure and peril keeps you excited and frightened even after
the end. (more)
Tolkien, J.R.R. The
Lord of the Rings.
I was particularly
intrigued by Tolkien’s choice to change the focus from Frodo to
Samwise in The Two Towers and The Return of the King.
Jim. The Read-Aloud Handbook.
a very inspiring and convincing case of the value of reading aloud to
Susan. The Holy Man.
When someone at my yoga
class mentioned she had enjoyed reading The Holy Man, several
others chimed in, saying this was a book everyone should read. (more)
Mark. Huckleberry Finn.
I read this book
to my 11 year old son Erik and it had us in stitches much of the time.
I liked the irony and humour with which Twain critiques society in this
Evelyn. The House of The Soul.
Months after I had read
The House of the Soul, I kept returning to Underhill's helpful
comparison of our lives to the two stories of a house. It's the work
that she (more)
indepth study of the Christian mystic tradition and practice is still
considered a classic, even though it was first published in 1911. (more)
Evelyn. The Spiritual Life.
Underhill explores an
understanding of the spiritual life which is neither self nor achievement
focused but rather points us beyond the narrow ideological and (more)
Guy. The Englishmans Boy.
Set in the 1920s
in Hollywood and the Canadian West, this historical work of fiction
gives flesh and bones to a tragic part of Canadian history - the Cypress
Hills Massacre. (more)
M. G. The Book of Secrets.
The Book of Secrets
is a richly layered novel from the beginning. The narrator, a retired
Asian school teacher living in East Africa, is given the discovered
Wilber, Ken. A Brief
History of Everything.
I liked this book because
it was accessible and humorous. I found the stages of individual and
collective evolution to be helpful. And I deeply appreciated the union
Wilber, Ken &
Treya Killam Wilber. Grace and Grit.
The day that I
finished this book, I went for a walk and on the ground, I spied the
"queen of hearts" from a playing card deck. (more)
I read this book to
do some thinking about the meaning of Easter for myself. I really enjoyed
the way Williams portrayed the Easter experience in a very human (more)