Posts Tagged ‘reading’

So I will admit it. There are times when I take life way too seriously and occasionally that means a diversion is in order and when I think diversions, it usually involves a book. To me for a book to be a diversion, it has to be fiction and here’s where I usually run into trouble. You see I am the kind of reader who finds a favorite writer, reads everything they write and then move on to find someone else. I’m at that point right now. I am a huge Michael Crichton fan, but of course, Crichton passed away several years ago and I have read his entire collection. I needed to find a new author and I kind of still do.

You see the issue for me is the issue of darkness. I do not like explicit darkness in the books that I read. I had heard great things about a major author most of you have heard of. I had read one of his books years ago and thought it was pretty good. I especially appreciated his extremely short chapters which make it easy for someone like me who doesn’t have a lot of reading time. This year I went to our local library’s book sale and picked up a whole collection of the author’s work and started to read the first book in the series. It was so dark and explicitly dark, giving brutal gory details of sinister crimes. I could not finish it and didn’t even attempt the other books. What a waste and what’s worse is I can’t really justify donating them to anywhere else because I don’t want to pass the darkness along.

I’m reading a new book by a pretty prolific younger author and I have to admit I am getting pretty hooked. It’s the same kind of book Crichton wrote, a thriller that dances on the edge of sci-fi with enough science to make the concept plausible making the reader question could this really happen. Then about 100 pages in, I get this gory scene complete with explicit descriptions of brutality and my question is why. The writer clearly knows how to spin a compelling tale, this thing is a page turner, but I don’t know if I want to finish, and that is what spawned my question? Why all the darkness? I’m not a prude or a pharisee but I have to know, why do we have to do so far. It seems like writers feel like they need to give is either gory brutality (even Crichton hit this at times) or explicit sexuality and frankly, I need neither. It seems to me that a good writer doesn’t need all that. Give me a few details and my mind will connect the dots, I don’t need you to spell it out for me.

Look guys this world is dark enough, when I go to a book, it’s a diversion. I’m not saying it has to be all lollipops and rainbows. As a matter of fact, I love a good thriller, but leave something to the imagination. We don’t need all this darkness.

Our world is dark enough. Write something hopeful, where he good guys win once in a while. Give me a hero who wins and a villain who loses. Let the good guy get the girl and for goodness sake, don’t give me an anti hero. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but in my world good ought to win.

Just curious as to what you are reading these days. I have read a couple excellent books over the last couple years.

Needless to say I am reading the Bible. Last year I did a study of the parables of Jesus and while I continue to read them, this year I am on a simple cover to cover devotional plan. I calculated that if I read four chapters a day I will be able to read though the scripture in a little less than a year. I’m an advocate of reading for distance, when reading for devotions.

Last year I read Erwin McManus’ book The Artisan Soul three times. (I read for myself then again to prepare to lead a book study and then with the group.) It is a phenomenal book and a must read for anyone in creative ministry.

I also read Manuel Luz’ wonderful book Imagine That. I met Manuel at a creative ministry conference and he has some amazing ideas. This is another must read.

I just finished The Creative Call by Janet Elshimer. This is definitely more of a work book and I read it for possible use with my church creative arts team.

My current read is Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. This is a business book written by one of the founders of Pixar. Laced among the stories of Pixar are solid creative business principles. This is great stuff.

Lastly, here is a freebie, written by yours truly, Ministering to the Creative Soul. I would love to get your thoughts on it. It’s also available for Kindle and in print on Amazon.

On my stack to read is Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller.

Leaders are readers, what are you reading?

Tell a better story, live a better story…

What are you going to do?

When I first heard about the book Blue Like Jazz, I wasn’t terribly interested, then I found myself in an airport bored out of my mind so I went looking for something to read. I saw it and picked it up. I read it before my plane landed at home. It became very influential on me. In the book Miller takes an honest look at his life following (or trying to follow) Jesus.

Then he wrote another book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years that opens another window onto the journey. Making a movie about Blue Like Jazz (coming out in limited release soon) forced Miller to look at the story of his life and came to the realization that he didn’t just need to tell a better story, he wanted to live a better story.

I didn’t always agree with every conclusion Miller came to, but it wasn’t up to me to agree (or disagree) anyway. These books are a man telling his story and reading them forced me to look at the story of Jesus my life tells and made me want to live a better story.

What kind of story are you living?

I really pushed myself to read this year, of course getting my Kindle didn’t hurt at all and neither did Seth Godin’s Domino Project putting out several small concise books which really helped boost my total.

I also found a gem in Thomas Nelson’s which provides free Christian books to bloggers in exchange for a review (positive or negative). If you’re a blogger, this is one that is highly worth checking out.

Here’s my list for this year.
1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years—Donald Miller
2. Linchpin—Seth Godin
3. Peaks and Valleys—Spencer Johnson
4. The Final Summit—Andy Andrews
5. The End IS Now—Rob Stennett
6. Poke The Box—Seth Godin
7. Heaven—Randy Alcorn
8. Relentless—Robin Parrish
9. Tales from the Revolution—Seth Godin
10. Revolutionary Leadership—Tri Robinson
11. Graceful—Seth Godin
12. Disrupt: Think the Unthinkable—Luke Williams
13. Shoeless Joe—W.P. Kinsella
14. Do the Work—Steven Pressfield
15. Riven—Jerry B. Jenkins
16. Anthem—Ayn Rand
17. Self-Reliance—Ralph Waldo Emerson
18. Unleashing the Idea Virus—Seth Godin
19. The Idiot—Dostoyevsky
20. Read This Before Our Next Meeting—Al Pattampalli
21. The War of Art—Steven Pressfield
22. Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness Engineering—Dan Zarella
23. The Man Who Knew Too Much G.K. Chesterton
24. Imaginary Jesus—Matt Mikalatos
25. The 3 most powerful presentation techniques of Seth Godin by Alfons Grabher
26. Too Close to Home by Lynette Eason
27. We Are All Weird by Seth Godin
28. The Gift of the Magi (Short Story) by O Henry
29. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
30. The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook by Jeff Kinley
31. With by Skye Jethani
32. A Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
33. George Washington Carver by John Perry
34. You Are Talented by Patrick Kavanaugh
35. The Flinch by Julien Smith
36. Proverbs Reconstructed by Gus Dallas
37. Quitter by Jon Acuff
38. Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
39. Running A.M.O.K. (proof read for print) Dave Weiss
40. The Bible by God

As you can see in number 39. I also published my own book this year, a compilation of the best posts on this blog re-edited and enhanced along with a good bit of new copy and fully illustrated. If you’d like to read it, it’s available through Amazon for both the Kindle and as a print book.

Of course the most important book I read this year was the last one. The Bible. I read this on a one year plan and it was great. As a pastor I read the Bible a lot, but to be quite honest, it is easy to fall into a trap of reading just for something to preach, engaging in the one year Bible discipline really helped me to get the grand scope of the book all over again. I really encourage all my readers to do this, as a matter of fact, if you’d like to join my wife and I on our journey through the Scriptures in 2012, this is the plan we will be using.