Books I Would Give As Gifts (if we were exchanging gifts…which we’re not)

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday Topic:
Books I Would Give As Gifts (if we were exchanging gifts…which we’re not)

1.  The Prodigal God & Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller…I actually did get these two books (as well as 2-3 other titles by Tim Keller) for some of my family members a couple of years ago.  My father read and digested them, although I think he found them unsettling.  Never heard from anyone else on their opinions.  I have read both and found them quite convicting.

2.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett…I would press this novel into the hands of anyone who has not yet read it.  It’s an extraordinary book.

3.  Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling…I loved this series, and found it thought-provoking and compelling.  I would recommend it to anyone, but especially to those who object to it on religious grounds, because it is as full of biblical allusion and imagery as any J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis book.  To give it short shrift because it has “magic” in it is to insult the writings of Tolkien & Lewis as well, both of whom wrote magical fantasy series, and both of whom were Christians.

4.  My Grandfather’s Son by Clarence Thomas…This is one of the best memoirs I have read, and it resonated with me on such a deep level that several years after reading I am still moved by it, and still find it crossing my thoughts on a regular basis.  I would give this to anyone who loves memoirs, and probably (most especially) to someone who has taken issue with Clarence Thomas in the past.  I would exhort them to read this and then give me a sincere opinion of him as a man.

5.  Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly…O’Reilly is an accessible writer with a great interest in American culture, politics & history.  For someone not ordinarily interested in historical biography or other historical nonfiction, this is a great jumping off point.

6.  Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson…A tremendously compelling murder mystery series.  I am not typically drawn to murder mysteries, as they are so often given to an elementary formulaic style.  However, when the formula (and yes, there is one) is applied well, the stories have a complexity and richness that is intense & intriguing.  Stieg Larsson’s trilogy is exceptional, and I would gift it to anyone.

7.  The Vision of the Annointed  by Thomas Sowell…I have followed Sowell for years as a columnist, and would challenge anyone who leans toward a liberal politic view to read Sowell’s book.  He is a brilliant economist with a deep understanding of political economics, and he challenges you to really think through & understand politics on a much deeper level than is typical of most people.

8.  In Cold Blood by Truman Capote…True crime at its best.  Truman Capote’s writing is utterly captivating, and while the story is grisly and ghastly, it is so well told that it is utterly & completely captivating.  I enjoy reading true crime, am not personally bothered by gore & blood in literature.  However, it’s essential that it be written in a skilled & cohesive way.  Truman Capote delivers in spades, and because In Cold Blood has become a classic, and a standard-bearer for the true crime genre, I believe it is essential for anyone whose goal it is to be well read.

9.  The Water is Wide & My Reading Life by Pat Conroy…These “memoirs” are bookends to an absolutely stellar writing career, and one that that is not yet over.  They (in my opinion) provide as good a starting point as there is for introducing someone to the writing of Pat Conroy.  They are compelling and beautifully written, and I would press them into anyone’s hands as “must reads.”

10.  The Poet’s Corner: The One & Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family by John Lithgow…I am not one given to reading poetry for fun.  I have read a lot of poetry throughout my reading life, but it has (almost) always been for literature classes or examinations.  This is a poetry book that is fun and interesting, because it is a collection from all over, and because Lithgow adds his own commentary.  If there were any poetry book I would choose for someone (without knowing their particular interest), this would be it.

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