January 9, 2008
The 2007 Andys
Here are the 2007 Andys, based on what I read last year:
The Not-As-Bad-or-As-Good-As-People-Thought Award goes to the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. As I've previously written, it's not as reprehensible as many have made it out to be for its negative take on the church, nor is it as good a piece of literature as many of its fans think it is.
The Book-Most-in-Need-of-an-Editor Award goes to Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippett. While the book is stimulating and valuable, it wanders and lacks focus.
The Profundity-in-a-Readable-Package Award goes to The Crucifixion of Ministry by Andrew Purves. This is essential reading for anyone in ministry.
Best Book in the History Category is a tie between Mark Noll and Harry Stout. Noll's book is an extremely important study of the major weaknesses of American-style biblical hermeneutics during the Civil War--weaknesses which led to the demise of trust in the Bible by the nation at large in the decades after the war, and weaknesses which still haunt much of American Christianity today.
Stout's book is a devastating critique of the lack of moral reflection on when war might be justified and what its ethical conduct might entail by Civil-War-Era politicians, journalists and churchmen. Even my hero Abraham Lincoln is not left unscathed, though he is upheld as virtually the only person in the North or South who did not demonize the other side.
The Most-Educational-in-an-Entertaining-Package Award goes to Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss (though my wife says you'd need to be an editor to believe this is so).
Honorable Mention goes to the rest of the list. Maybe I'm just a soft touch, but I found them all valuable and enjoyable.
Most of my reading, of course, comes at the recommendation of others. If you'd like to suggest books for consideration for the 2008 Andys, I'd be glad to hear of them.