England Travel Journal – Supplemental Reading List

Duke Humfrey’s Library, Oxford

I don’t think I have ever published a reading list after one of our study tours, but this trip merits a change in procedure.

You can find the pre-trip reading list here.

What we saw and learned during the trip led to more reading. Also, I forgot to mention in our previous reading list the most important book on which we relied for finding Alfred the Great sites.

So, here is the supplemental list:

King Alfred: A Man on the Move, by Paul Kelly. This is the most comprehensive book we could find on the sites in England related to Alfred the Great. Kelly also has a great blog devoted to the great man.

Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis, by George Sayer. I downloaded this book from Amazon after we visited Lewis’s home, and I couldn’t wait to read it each night before bed. Sayer was one of Lewis’s students and thereafter a friend. I found Sayer’s biography even more engaging than Lewis’s autobiography, Surprised by Joy, but that may have been in part because we had just been in Lewis’s home.

In the Eye of the Storm: A Biography of Gregory the Great, by Sigrid Grabner. I didn’t get to talk much about Gregory the Great in this travel blog, except to say he sent Augustine to Canterbury, but Gregory was truly great a man. If all the popes had been as humble and committed to the Lord, Catholic church history would have been very different.

Queen Bertha and Her Times, by Elizabeth Harriot Hudson. I become very interested in Bertha as I dug into the story of Augustine of Canterbury. Like Clotilde, wife of Clovis, she changed history by helping lead her husband, Aethelberht, King of Kent, to the Lord. I’m about a third of the way through this book, and it is an interesting read.

I sense we are not done with English kingdom history at the GSB blog. GS

What Are You Reading?

Last year I fell short again of my goal of reading 50 books in a year.

It’s a lofty goal I have reached only a few times, but one that stretches me, which is a good thing. One of the reasons I fell short last year was I spent entirely too much time reading the news. I sometimes spent an hour consuming the news on my iPhone before I got out of bed in the morning. 

Sure, some of that reading was focused on COVID-19 and the pandemic, which was useful in my job, but much of my reading was also about current events, and sometimes about celebrities, the Kardashians included. 

And here’s the thing, when I finished reading the news, I never felt I had accomplished anything of any importance. I was up-to-date on the events of the day, but the next day there would be a new set of events, and I would repeat the process, taking the click bait of interesting and usually misleading headlines, and gleaning facts of no particular usefulness.

Continue reading “What Are You Reading?”

Best Books I Read in 2020

1. The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton. G.K. Chesterton is the greatest writer you’ve never heard of, and if you have never read him you cannot imagine what you are missing. Tagged “The Prince of Paradox,” Chesterton has a way of turning a sentence back on itself while clearly expressing a thought you never thought and you never would have thought to write. Chesterton is at his best in this book, which C.S. Lewis called the best apologetic he had read and which influenced Lewis’s conversion.

2. Beyond Bullet Points, Cliff Atkinson. What, might you ask, does a book about Powerpoint have to do with the kingdom of God? Well, it has to do with work—my work as an attorney—and work has everything to do with the kingdom of God. This book swims against tide, arguing that text on a slide does not a powerful presentation make. In fact, Atkinson argues that text actually divides the reader’s attention between the speaker and the slide, making the communication less effective. His suggested solution is worth the price of the book.

3. The Destruction of Jerusalem, George Holford. Written in 1809 by a British lawyer and member of parliament. This book shows how Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem was fully realized in 70 A.D. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. is one of the most important historical events for Jews and Christians alike. For Jews it marked the end of the Jewish sacrificial system; for Christians it marked the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24 and puts much of what many Christians worry about as a future event firmly in the past. 

Continue reading “Best Books I Read in 2020”

What I’m Reading (June 2, 2016)

LibraryAs I’ve mentioned here before, one of the secrets to reading faster is to read multiple books at the same time.

When you are not in the mood to continue reading one you pick up where you left off on another.

Reading multiple books at one time also challenges me to read on more subjects simultaneously.

It is the difference between eating a steak or eating a dinner that includes all the major food groups.

As you can see from the list below, my major food groups currently include leadership,  legal (my job), theology, writing, history, and self-improvement. That’s a pretty well-rounded meal.

  1. Cross-Examination: Science and TechniqueLarry Posner & Roger Dodd. If you are a trial attorney, this is a must read. This the best book on cross-examination I’ve ever read. This is my second time to read it. If you are not a lawyer, never mind.
  2. The Elements of EloquenceMark Forsyth. This is a very well-written book about writing well, and if you read the book you will understand why what I just wrote is very funny.
  3. The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal SuccessAndy Andrews. I’ve heard about this book for years and thought it was time to check it out. It’s a book about leadership presented in the form of historical fiction.
  4. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and SchoolJohn Medina. Fascinating book about how to get more out of your brain. Who doesn’t want to be smarter?
  5. A Public Faith: How Followers of Christ Should Serve the Common GoodMiroslav Volf. I love Volf. I met him last year. Deep thinker with a positive eschatology.
  6. Bonhoeffer: Prophet, Martyr, Pastor, Spy, Eric Metaxes. I’ve been a big Metaxes fan since he expertly confronted power with Truth at the National Prayer Breakfast, which The Wife and I had the honor of attending. Metaxes is an excellent writer and holds the reader’s interest through a long, detailed book with his insight and sharp humor.