Book of the Year 2014

I’m pretty sure these are the best books I read this year!

Last year, I kept a record of every book I read here on Kouyanet. This year, I didn’t try to review everything I wrote and even when I did, I sometimes forgot to use the right tag; as a result, my list of reading for this year looks rather sparse.

That being said, I have read a good number of books this year, certainly more than one a week.

For non-fiction the highlights have probably been:

  • A Single Swallow: Following An Epic Journey From South Africa To South Wales, a fascinating combination of travelogue and natural history. When we lived in Africa, I was always amazed to see the swallows appear, knowing that they had flown all the way down from Europe without having to bother with Air France. Anyone who is interested in Africa or birds will enjoy this book; and those of my friends who are fascinated by both, simply must read it.
  • 100 Days to Victory: How the Great War Was Fought and Won 1914-1918 takes an interesting approach to the history of the First World War. It picks 100 significant days across the course of the war and analyses the events that took place in some detail. This approach provides a fascinating mix of detail and big picture. If you are looking for something to give you background on events of 100 years ago, this is a good place to start.

Regarding fiction, this year’s great discovery has been rediscovering the novels of Anthony Price, which have recently been republished on Kindle. Price writes spy fiction, which is intermixed with archaeology and Second World War history. It sounds complicated, because the books have complex plots – but they are superb. Perhaps the best thing about them is the way in which the same cast of characters are weaved through the books; growing and developing as the novels move through time. There are twenty books in the series, and I’ve got about six more to go. I’ll be genuinely sorry to finish the series.

This year, two Christian books have stood head and shoulders over all of the others.

Let me be blunt. If you are studying for Christian ministry in any form and this book is not on your reading list, you should ask your professors why not! (OK, it only came out in June this year, so it might take a while to catch up). If you are involved in leading missionary work within a local congregation, then you need to read this. If you are a mission agency leader or board member and this isn’t on your ‘to read list’, you are failing in your responsibilities. It’s that good.

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