For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr by Duncan Hamilton. The best nonfiction book I read in 2016, and maybe the best book of any kind from 2016. Mr. Liddell’s life, told from a mostly secular perspective, but wth great respect and appreciation for his faith and his God-given goodness and perseverance, is an inspiring read. I was deeply moved to read about what God can and will do with one man who determines to follow Him.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. More disturbing than inspiring, although the book had its inspirational moments. It’s hard to believe that injustices like those chronicled in this book
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. This book and the next one on this list, about ultra-marathons and ultra-marathoners, are odd picks for a sedentary 59 year old reader, but I’m always interested in being introduced to worlds and communities that are foreign to me. The world of ultra-marathon running was certainly that: foreign and fascinating.
Running Man by Charlie Engle.
Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto by Tilar Mazzeo. Wonderful biography of a Polish heroine.
The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller.
Happiness by Randy Alcorn. Everything you ever wanted to know about a Biblical perspective on joy and happiness, including quotes from every conceivable writer who ever wrote anything about happiness and the pursuit thereof.
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by Wendy Welch. Almost every reader has had the thought, even if only a passing thought, of how fun it would be to own a bookstore. This book tells all about the pitfalls and perils of running a bookstore while still managing to make it sound like fun.
Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis by Abigail Santamaria. I’ll admit that I was somewhat disillusioned with Ms. Davidson-Lewis who seems to have been exactly what many of C.S. Lewis’s friends and associates thought she was: a woman who was out to seduce and marry Mr. Lewis before she was even divorced from her first husband. And she was deeply involved with Scientology, of all things, in her younger pre-Lewis days. But still, she seems to have been a complicated and multi-faceted woman, and the love of Lewis’s life. So I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.
The Boy Who Became Buffalo Bill: Growing Up Billy Cody in Bleeding Kansas by Andrea Warren. Excellent children’s biography of the great showman, illuminating Bill Cody’s life as well as the times he lived in.
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams by Phillip Zaleski. In this one, I was disillusioned, or enlightened, mostly about the strange life and theology and philosophy of Mr. Charles Williams, who seems to have been a Christian and at the same time a very confused and odd man. Tolkien, Williams, Barfield, and the two Lewises, Jack and Warnie, were a motley crew, and according to this telling of the story, Jack (C.S.) Lewis was the only thread that held them together as the Inklings.