A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I discovered this book’s existence when YouTube started giving me trailers for the movie based on it. The trailers intrigued me. Then somehow I found out the book’s backstory: The original idea belonged to an author named Siobhan Dowd. She died before she could write it, and her editor asked Patrick Ness to turn the idea into a book. That can’t have been an easy task, but he created a beautiful book. It’s about a boy whose mother has cancer. They yew tree in their backyard comes to life and helps him. It’s an unavoidably sad book, but it’s excellently crafted. The movie turned out great, too. It’s gorgeous and probably the best movie adaption of a book I have ever seen.
A Visual Guide to Bible Events: Fascinating Insights into Where They Happened and Why by James C. Martin, John A. Beck, and David G. Hansen
I impulsively bought a brand new copy of this book at the beginning of the year. I rarely spend money on books I know nothing about (especially new copies), but this turned out to be a worthy investment. As the slightly pretentious title implies, it is fascinating. It’s full of exactly the sort of information I like to learn. I kept reading things and going, “Why did no one ever teach me this before?!?!” It’s amazing how just a little historical or geographical knowledge can help Bible events make so much more sense.
Redigging the Wells by Monroe Hawley
I read this book five years ago for a college class, and it’s one of the few books I kept instead of selling back. I’d been wanting to reread it, and a sermon at church finally inspired me to do so. It’s a study of undenominational Christianity, and it’s a thorough, thoughtful look at the topic. Hawley does not purport to have all the answers, but he’s not afraid to consider the questions.
Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Difference, Solve the Crime! by Anna Nilsen
When I was younger, we used to check this book out from the library, and last year I got a copy for Christmas. I was very excited. A gang of art thieves has replaced almost every painting in a museum with a cleverly copied fake, and your job is to find the differences between the fakes and the real paintings to help stop the criminals. It’s a lot of fun and surprisingly difficult sometimes.
This House, Once by Deborah Freedman
This is a delightful picture book I discovered while at a bookstore with my friend Maria. It talks about what the different parts of a house used to be – the door was an oak tree, for example. The illustrations are soft and lovely, the writing is sweet, and I liked it a lot. Maria and I squealed over it.