I asked my kids to pick their two favorite books from this school year and here is what they had to say:
This school year we studied Church history. I enjoyed many of the books I read year because of their historical and spiritual significance. My ten favorite books were: Till We Have Faces and The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, Pontius Pilate, by Paul L. Maier, Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy, by Penelope Wilcock, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, by Ruth A. Tucker, What if Jesus Had Never Been Born, by D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe and, The Jesus I Never Knew, by Philip Yancey. Out of these, my top two would be Pontius Pilate and What if Jesus Had Never Been Born.
Pontius Pilate, by Paul L. Maier, is a historical novel about Pontius Pilate—a person who is well known, but at the same time relatively unknown. You may know of Pontius Pilate for his part in the death of Jesus, but have no idea what the rest of his life was like. Although this book is a biography of sorts, it cannot be considered non-fiction. The author stayed as close to the truth as possible, but since not much was recorded of Pontius Pilate’s life, Mr. Maier had to improvise the details. Pontius Pilate also portrays what life was like for Jews living in Judea under the control of the Romans. It is written from a Roman perspective, which I found very intriguing. This book offers an interesting historical perspective on life in Judea during the first century.
What if Jesus Had Never Been Born, by D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, is a fascinating book. The purpose of the book is to prove this truth: “Had Jesus never been born, this world would be far more miserable than it is. In fact, many of man’s noblest and kindest deeds find their motivation in love for Jesus Christ; and some of our greatest accomplishments have their origin in service rendered to the humble carpenter of Nazareth. (What if Jesus Had Never Been Born, Introduction page).” This book helped me understand how morally corrupt society was before Jesus came, and how Christianity changed everything. The authors demonstrated how much more corrupt society would be today, without Christ’s advent. I found this book very intriguing, I highly recommend it.
My two favorite books this year were The Best of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton and Going Solo by Roald Dahl.
The Best of Father Brown is a compilation of Chesterton’s short stories featuring the character, Father Brown. Father Brown is a priest-detective who has an interesting way of solving mysteries. In most of the stories, I didn’t recognize the clues to solving the case, but Father Brown always figures it out. I prefer this kind of mystery/suspense style of book as compared to the gothic novels featured in this school year.
Going Solo was my other favorite book of Core 200. The author, Roald Dahl, is best known for his book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Going Solo is his autobiography. Dahl was a Royal Air Force pilot, in the African theater, during World War II (my favorite time period to learn about). He survives some pretty amazing encounters with the enemy. This is an action-packed tale, and Dahl grabs the readers attention with his colorful writing style. This book isn’t just for us guys, my sister enjoyed it, too!
A note from Shelley–I really enjoyed this year of books, too. Like Gretchen, I’d have a hard time singling out just two that I thought were the best. I have to admit that I kind of enjoyed reading the classics–Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe. A couple of these titles I remember being required to read in highschool (I don’t remember enjoying them, however :).
Out of all of the Core 230 books, I think I’d pick The Hawk and the Dove, by Penelope Wilcock. Frankly, I had never spent much time thinking about life as a monk–so the setting of this series was unique for me. I enjoyed the characters and their struggles to submit to the life they chose. It is really a wonderful book. I did delve into the series (there are a few other titles that follow The Hawk and the Dove) and didn’t find it quite as enchanting as this first set of books. Like most sequels, the best story was the first story.