Another month has come and gone, and with it more reading! As you know, I am always consuming books, whether they’re physical, digital or audio. Every month, I like to share a breakdown of everything I read, including the books I abandoned. I do this because it gives me an opportunity to introduce you to books you might not have had an opportunity to read while practicing the art of writing concise book reviews.
In April, I read 8 books to completion, and started a couple of others that I almost finished (but not quite). Here’s what I read:
- The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels by Michael D. Watkins
- The Flash Vol. 5: Negative by Joshua Williamson, Howard Porter, et al.
- What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves by Benjamin Bergen (this one comes with a language warning in the strongest possible terms)
- Batman: Hush by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee
- The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath
- Superman Vol. 5: Hopes and Fears by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
- Growing Down: Unlearning the Patterns of Adulthood that Keep Us from Jesus by Michael Kelley
- The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
I read The First 90 Days for the first time back in October of 2017, and was reading it again along with a few of my teammates at LifeWay. My second time around only confirmed my feelings on it. As for the rest, let’s get to it.
Books with pictures: Bats and bandages, a dark Flash, and a Super-family road trip
Batman: Hush is a fun story from the early 2000s that still holds up today, if you’re reading it for what it is: an action movie on paper. This story isn’t deep, but it did set up a lot of what’s still going today, including the resurrection of Jason Todd, the second Robin. Also, Jim Lee’s art is beautiful, especially when he plays around with watercolors. Sweet goodness…
The Flash being on the list reminded me that I’ve not been keeping my Goodreads up to date, at least as far as The Flash is concerned (I’ve actually read the other volumes in between the first and this one). WIlliamson’s ongoing story has been strong, if a bit slow-moving at times. I’ve been really glad to see the character treated well in this new run, especially since its one that is so easy to mess up.
Superman has a few lovely moments, but it’s mostly filler, both from a literal and figurative sense. A couple of the stories were written by the core team and are the standouts of the book: A multipart family road trip to see some key historical sites in America. Along the way, the Kent family discusses American values, religious liberty, compassion to veterans, and a number other hot-button topics. These elements are very well done (even if the interpretation of the famous “COEXIST” bumper sticker is novel), and it was refreshing to read a mainstream publication advocating for tolerance in the traditional and historic sense.
The power of words, the power of moments, growing in humility, and going full sci-fi nerd
What the F isn’t an edit on the title—that’s actually what it is. This is a book about swearing, which means it contains a lot of it. Therefore I don’t recommend it for many readers. But here’s why I read it and found it fascinating: it’s about the history of these words. How did the words that we consider “bad” gain that connotation, and why are such words not universally considered inappropriate? From that point of view, the book is intriguing, but like I said: there is a lot of swearing. So be forewarned if you choose to read or listen.
The Power of Moments contains significantly less profanity (although there is still some), and it is easier to recommend from that perspective alone. However, it’s the big idea of the book that is worthwhile: how do we create meaningful moments where people engage with us, whether from a marketing perspective or simply in human relationships, that matter? The book itself, like all the Heaths books, outlines the big idea in the first chapter or two and then spends the rest unpacking the concepts with examples, so the more efficiency-oriented among us will want to focus their energies there, but it’s an enjoyable read, and one I am considering how to best implement.
Growing Down is Michael Kelley’s latest, and one I might do a fuller review on at a later date. The central idea is that in order to become more Christlike, we need to become more childlike—that is, dependent. The book is thoughtful, engaging, easy-to-follow, and definitely one worth adding to your library as an aid to your efforts to disciple others.
Finally, The Long Earth is a just for fun read co-authored by Terry Pratchett. The book is built around the question of what happens when we discover that we’re not alone after all—but more specifically, not what if there are other forms of intelligent life, but what if there’s more than one earth? A multiverse, in fact, where every probability may have played itself out in the development of life.1 The book is not ha-ha funny like Pratchett’s other works, but it is as equally imaginative. I’ve started the second book in the series, but I will say: it’s a one-and-done series.
That’s it for this month’s round-up. Do you find these posts helpful? Do you have a suggestion for a book for me or someone else to read or want to share what you’ve read? Connect with me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know!
Here’s a look at what I read in:
- This phrase, of course, being a clue that it is written with a naturalistic evolutionary worldview in mind. ↵