The Sabbath // Abraham Joshua Heschel.

With relentless energy Abraham Joshua Heschel seizes the soul and announces the beauty and grandeur of Sabbath: Here comes the queen and bride of humankind! She “is a bride, and its celebration is like a wedding” (54). But Sabbath is also a queen: she commands attention and graces presence. The legal and spiritual weights ofContinue reading “The Sabbath // Abraham Joshua Heschel.”

Brave New World // Aldous Huxley.

Summer 2005, after finishing seventh grade I spent long hours at ELITE Pre-SAT bootcamp. I don’t remember a lick of any of their thousand-dollar tips or whether they helped. But I do remember this: hating Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I don’t think I even finished it. Why ELITE thought it was a goodContinue reading “Brave New World // Aldous Huxley.”

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn 3) // Brandon Sanderson.

What an ending of the first Mistborn trilogy. Bravo, Sanderson! Bravo! Cheers to you too, Michael Kramer and your captivating Audible. The Final Empire (book one) is a hero’s journey with the underdogs (Kelsier, Vin, and the crew) facing some overpowered tyrant (the Lord Ruler). The Well of Ascension (book two) is the unfettered teasingContinue reading “The Hero of Ages (Mistborn 3) // Brandon Sanderson.”

Sapiens // Yuval Noah Harari.

Sapiens, the book that took Yuval Noah Harari from an eccentric history professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem to a superstar scholar with worldwide fandom and movement called “Sapienship.” I’ve seen Sapiens on bestsellers and friend’s recommended reads, but I never picked it up. Actually, I rarely pick up new bestsellers or top reads ofContinue reading “Sapiens // Yuval Noah Harari.”

The Writer’s Diet // Helen Sword.

Lately I’ve been feeling my writing sluggish; it reads like thick moss. I’ve hit writer’s block and slumps before, and most of the time they smooth out with time and grit. But I decided to try my hands on something quicker—a diet of sorts. True to the title, The Writer’s Diet dishes out the minimum,Continue reading “The Writer’s Diet // Helen Sword.”

The Courage to Be // Paul Tillich.

Selected as one of the Books of the Century by New York Public Library, there’s something profound and particularly piercing about The Courage to Be that sized thousands. Paul Tillich touched a nerve by diagnosing modern humanity’s central problem as anxiety, particularly the anxiety of doubt and meaninglessness. Paul Tillich stands as one of theContinue reading “The Courage to Be // Paul Tillich.”

Contact // Carl Sagan.

“Interstellar is by far the best sci-fi movie,” said Sooho.With an amused look, “No, you need to watch Contact,” replied the professor. And so he did. He understood why the professor said “need” but not “no.” Contact’s literary life is a bit unusual. Initially, it was drafted as screenplay in 1979 and had contracted withContinue reading “Contact // Carl Sagan.”

Death of a Salesman // Arthur Miller.

It must’ve been sometime early high school when I saw my sister finish the last moments of Death of a Salesman (1985) starring Dustin Hoffman. After all these years the ending still lingers in my memory like impressions on soft clay: he grabs his fedora, mumbles to himself, quietly blows a kiss goodbye to hisContinue reading “Death of a Salesman // Arthur Miller.”

As Kingfishers Catch Fire // Eugene H. Peterson.

During this extended season of constant movement, Eugene Peterson and his sermons have been faithful companions. When I need a word, when I don’t want a word, he finds a way to touch with surprising accuracy. Drawing from the whole counsel of Scripture, these select 49 sermons from 29 years of faithful preaching to ChristContinue reading “As Kingfishers Catch Fire // Eugene H. Peterson.”

A Gift of Love // Martin Luther King, Jr.

An orator with few peers, Martin Luther King, Jr. towers as a shining example of speech and homiletics (the art of preaching). What I would give to hear him speak in the flesh! I remember in elementary school watching a recording of his famous “I Have A Dream” speech before MLK holiday. Despite my barelyContinue reading “A Gift of Love // Martin Luther King, Jr.”

That Hideous Strength // C.S. Lewis.

When I first read That Hideous Strength I was bored by its slow and uneventful pace: it lacks the brevity of Out of the Silent Planet and poetic depth of Perelandra. Or so I thought. This second reading brought out so much more. Though I would still rank it third out of the trilogy, itContinue reading “That Hideous Strength // C.S. Lewis.”

Perelandra // C.S. Lewis.

I’m embarrassed to admit that the first time I read Perelandra I did not enjoy it. I would like to fully recant my previous sentiment with wholehearted repentance: Perelandra is a brilliant stroke of theological rumination. I think before I was on the heels of Out of the Silent Planet‘s more adventurous narrative that IContinue reading “Perelandra // C.S. Lewis.”

Fifty Famous Stories Retold // James Baldwin.

Time to time I break away from theology to read fiction, but I was already too preoccupied with many other books. So, this short collection was the perfect choice with short stories not much longer than a few-minutes read. I’m not sure how famous these are since I probably only heard about 10 of theContinue reading “Fifty Famous Stories Retold // James Baldwin.”

A Little History of the World // E.H. Gombrich.

Art historian by training, E.H. Gombrich is not the obvious choice for writing a children’s book on the history of the world. He sort of stumbled onto it and wrote marvelously, entertaining children and adults for decades. While a doctoral student at University of Vienna in 1935, a friend in publishing approached Gombrich to skimContinue reading “A Little History of the World // E.H. Gombrich.”

Love, Henri // Henri Nouwen.

It took a long time to finish this index, but I’m grateful I did. Henri Nouwen was a gem of humanity, and his precious letters show that. I’ve always wondered how Nouwen and his books were incredibly in touch with humanity. Was it because he was a modern-day mystic? Was it because he studied psychology?Continue reading “Love, Henri // Henri Nouwen.”

Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism // Kathryn Tanner.

What has Wall Street to do with Jerusalem? What has the stock exchange to do with the Great Exchange? What has economics, specifically finance-dominated capitalism (FDC), to do with Christianity? Well, when the stakes are this high, a whole lot. Lives and the very fabrics of societies are being undone at the seams by theContinue reading “Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism // Kathryn Tanner.”

The Handmaid’s Tale // Margaret Atwood.

It’s been about 10 years since I first read Margaret Atwood’s masterful The Handmaid’s Tale (1985). It’s one of the earliest books I’ve read that left a memorable mark during a time when I loathed reading — yes, there was a time when I loathed reading. At the tail end of high school, I readContinue reading “The Handmaid’s Tale // Margaret Atwood.”

Eats, Shoots and Leaves // Lynne Truss.

Here’s a book about cringing at misplaced apostrophes and commas, about being sticklers, about Aldus Manutius the Elder (1449-1515) and his innovative printing standards, about raw potential energies of semicolons and colons, about the high duty of a writer to her audience, about itches and sensibilities — in short, a book about punctuation. I bet,Continue reading “Eats, Shoots and Leaves // Lynne Truss.”

Telling the Truth // Frederick Buechner.

How is it that I only just read Frederick Buechner? What captivating prose! I must read more by him. Telling the Truth is a short work on the art of preaching. It’s a sort of manual, but it reads like literary time-travel that highlights critical points of telling the truth. We muse with Pilate andContinue reading “Telling the Truth // Frederick Buechner.”

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn 2) // Brandon Sanderson.

I went into the second book of the first Mistborn series with some hesitation—I was pretty disappointed by Frank Herbert’s Dune Messiah, the sequel to Dune. Brandon Sanderson did not, however, disappoint. The impossible is done: the Lord Ruler—a god—is defeated! But his last words to Vin and her crew are chilling: “You don’t knowContinue reading “The Well of Ascension (Mistborn 2) // Brandon Sanderson.”

Out of the Silent Planet // C.S. Lewis.

After Till We Have Faces, I’ve been feeling… C.S.Lewis-y. Poor Ransom! Caught up in an interstellar mission without training or consent! Is a philologist or linguist even an acceptable person for the job? Apparently, he is. What happens when a philologist is taken captive by a mad physicists and an old, forgotten nemesis to Malacandra?Continue reading “Out of the Silent Planet // C.S. Lewis.”

God, Sexuality, and the Self // Sarah Coakley.

After a lifetime of ground-breaking and ground-laying systematics and philosophical theology, Sarah Coakley returns to one of her earliest theological itches with the theological courage to write and publish on tabooed subjects—the messy entanglement of sexuality, gender, desire, the Spirit, and the trinity. The product, God, Sexuality, and the Self, opens her ambitious four-part systematicContinue reading “God, Sexuality, and the Self // Sarah Coakley.”

Systematic Theology Volume 1 // Katherine Sonderegger.

Many theology books are instructive, some delightful, and a few inspiring, but precious rare ones set a fire so deep within that it both burns me thoroughly and is impossible put out. Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology Volume 1 is such fire. “Theology awakens a grateful heart.” (vii) This is particularly true of Katherine Sonderegger’s firstContinue reading “Systematic Theology Volume 1 // Katherine Sonderegger.”

Theology and the End of Doctrine // Christine Helmer.

In 1984, George Lindbeck, professor of theology at Yale University, published The Nature of Doctrine, a short manifesto that succinctly summarized a new way of doing theology: the so called “postliberal theology.” The proposal is simple: theological formation is best modeled after cultural-linguistic development. In other words, learning theology is like learning a language: oneContinue reading “Theology and the End of Doctrine // Christine Helmer.”

The Final Empire (Mistborn 1) // Brandon Sanderson.

That’s it. I’m sold. I am a fan: Mistborn is simply… amazing. Thank you, Brandon Sanderson. Thank you, Michael Kramer (Audible voice). In this epic fantasy or high fantasy, Sanderson fills a world full of magic, metal, politics, and the age-old struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed. There is the underdog, Vin the streetContinue reading “The Final Empire (Mistborn 1) // Brandon Sanderson.”