January 4, 2011
The 2011 Andys
You've been waiting anxiously for a year since the last awards were given out. Who will receive the coveted 2011 Andys for the books from my reading list? Who will walk on stage to claim the prize, to thank their parents, their mentors, even their editors? Well, the wait is over. The winners are . . .
The Audacity Award goes to Rodney Stark's God's Battalions for even attempting to defend the Crusades. He actually about pulls it off in this fascinating book.
The Putting-Drama-into-Ideas Award winner is Jim Belcher for Deep Church. He shows the strengths and weaknesses of both emergent and traditional viewpoints, making us long to have this tension resolved. He skillfully supplies a resolution with his third way.
The Best Book My Boss Wrote goes this year to Robert A. Fryling for The Leadership Ellipse. Monofocus is impossible in leadership. This book explains how that's so, why that's so and why that's a good thing.
The Most-Unexpectedly-Delightful-and-Imaginative Book is Yann Martel's Life of Pi. The first third, while very interesting, may seem slow. But then, suddenly, everything starts happening and turns into a fantastic voyage.
The Most-Objective-and-Even-Handed-Book-of-Scholarship Award is James Bielo's Words upon the Word. It would have been so easy for a scholar to turn an ethnography of evangelical Bible study into a harangue against the arrogance, ignorance, anger and hypocrisy of conservative Christians. Bielo does none of that, treating his subjects with respect while offering clear and measured analysis.
Best-Sentimental-Sports Book is awarded to Gary W. Moore for Playing with the Enemy. Yes, it's a bit saccharine, as you might expect from an amateur author (and son of the main character), but it's a compelling story nonetheless and very much worth your while.
The Setting-the-Record-Straight Award goes to James R. Payton Jr. for Getting the Reformation Wrong. He does a masterful job of setting up the misimpressions we have and then correcting them with history at its readable best.
So, now what should I read in 2011? You tell me. I await your suggestions.