This is the first year that I’ve published my “Top 10 Best Books.” I read a lot of different genres. My favorite by far is fiction. But I also read my fair share of theology, spiritual life, leadership, biography, etc. So here were the Top 10 books I read in 2010.
1. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (533 pp.). Rushdie’s classic magical realism novel on Indian independence from British colonialism in 1947. Rushdie has an amazing way of correlating the historical events surrounding independence to the main character Saleem Sinai’s life. An intense read.
2. Cutting for Stone – Abrahama Verghese (534 pp.) From India to Ethiopia to New York, this novel is a “through the generations” look at a unique family and collection of characters that practice medicine and try to do life amidst the best and worst of times.
3. The Border Trilogy – Cormac McCarthy. Technically three books (hence “triology”), McCarthy’s classic work chronicles the dusty lives of several cowboys who venture through the barren wastelands of the south into Mexico. Most of McCarthy’s works are intense and at times, dark. But since my grandfather was a real life cowboy, I owed it to him to read some gritty, beyond “Lonesome Dove” cowboy classics.
4. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand (457 pp.) The story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic Champion and WWII bomber pilot, who was shot down in the Pacific and survived a terrifying lost-at-sea struggle and an even more horrifying Japanese POW experience. An incredible story of human resilience. You’ll enjoy the “twist” at the end.
5. Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard – Dan & Chip Heath (320 pp.) The best book I’ve read yet on leading and managing change. The Heath brothers are masters at taking what seems complex and reducing it to simple, lasting principles.
6. Rooms – James L. Rubart (400 pp.) This book was a surprise for me. I normally don’t like Christian fiction. But this one worked me over like a “speed bag.” One reviewer said it was part The Shack (albeit with non-heretical theological implications) and part Screwtape Letters. That’s a fair statement. It’s a good book that Jesus used to guide me in some personal exploration of my own life and story this year.
7. Jim & Casper Go To Church – Jim Henderson & Matt Casper (169 pp.) A good book (frustrating at times) from the vantage point of an agnostic/atheist who explores some of the evangelical world’s headliner churches. It’s good to get an “outside” vantage point on how we do church in the U.S.
8. Relational Intelligence – Steve Saccone (200 pp.) Saccone does a great job helping us all become more relationally intelligent. His explanation of lack of relational intelligence (a la “The Michael Scott Syndrome” from The Office) is great. I recommend this book if you want to learn how to lead, influence, and relate more intelligently.
10. Where Men Win Glory – Jon Krakauer (450 pp.) The life of former NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. I enjoy most of Krakauer’s works, and this book was researched well and told with heart and grit.