Books of 2010: First Half

I’m posting my books read lists every six months these days. Since January 1, 2010:

Blaylock, Russell. Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients. Talks about how diet can cause cancer and how it can also be used to treat cancer, or at least assist a traditional course of treatment. Big on supplements and a near vegetarian diet. Generally accessible, though a few more charts and lists of recommendations would have been appreciated. You basically have to comb through the chapters to create your own plan of attack.

Crawford, Matthew. Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. A political philosophy PhD quits a cushy think tank job to start a custom motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, VA. Make the case for working with your hands as a true source of knowledge, versus people becoming “knowledge workers” that actually do very little thinking. It’s part defense of the skilled trades, part indictment of the modern credentializing system we jokingly call “education,” and part Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Does your work actually add value or just shuffle paper around? This book will make you want to quit your job and strike out on your own.

Dunham, Craig and Doug Severn. Twentysomeone: Finding Yourself in a Decade of Transition. Decent book, though I am 32 right now so some of the stuff seemed pretty basic. Loved the “100 Things to Do” and the suggested reading lists in the back though. I actually added a few of their recommended books to my own list.

Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity. Challenging apologetic for Lewis’s brand of Christianity. Its reputation as a classic is well deserved.

McKay, Brett and Kate. The Art of Manliness. Clever little based on the very popular blog. Good discussions about Ben Franklin’s virtues, a solid recommended reading list, and overall decent reference book.

Miller, Donald. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. My new favorite Don Miller book, and that says a lot. Miller made a name for himself about 6-7 years ago with his memoir Blue Like Jazz, which gained a large following in the under-35, Christian but bored with evangelicalism, politically liberal crowd. Miller’s subsequent books were less successful (though I happened to regard his Searching for God Knows What as his best work), and having achieved a life goal of being a New York Times best selling author, Miller went into a deep funk. He was snapped out of it when two indie filmmakers contacted him about making Jazz into a movie. What Miller learned about good screenwriting and creating a character for film he channels into life lessons, with great results for his own life and hopefully the readers too. Like most of Miller’s work it’s engaging, funny, and tear-jerking as well. And if you read closely, he’s structured the book like a screenplay, with three acts, inciting incidents, and positive and negative turns. Clever devil. Highly recommended.

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