"It’s an old question, but a good one . . . What were your favorite books this year? List as many as you like … fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, science-fiction, business, travel, cookbooks … whatever the category. But, really, we’re all dying to know. What books were the highlight of your reading year in 2007?"
Here are some books I've read in 2007 and especially enjoyed:
***Julie and Julia--A Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell (non-fiction)
in which a 29-year-old faces 30 by challenging herself to cook all the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. The love-hate project inspires colorful writing. She admits to "talking like a sailor" -- and she does! I had to skip right over some of her grossly detailed descriptions of preparing some unorthodox foods -- to me at least! It's hilarious, engaging, and fun read! Interest in cooking is optional. This book stands on its own.
***Blowing My Cover by Lindsay Moran (non-fiction)
was difficult to stay with at times, but I'm glad I did. This is the story of life as an undercover CIA agent disillusioned after 9/11. She struggles with the knowledge that the President wanted to go to war and the CIA had to provide information to support his decision.
***The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown (non-fiction)
Love her writing--so literate with precise vocabulary. The sham of the British aristocracy is quite revealing. In describing Diana's father Brown writes "As he aged he took on the look of raw sausage."
As I read, I was swept along in Brown's wonderful words, cadence, and tone. The story ends as we know it must. The story is full---Diana's mental health problems overwhelm her life and those near to her. The tragedy of her life emanated from deep within her.
***The Preacher and the Presidents by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy (non-fiction)
delineates the depth and breadth of Reverend Billy Graham's role with U.S. Presidents from Truman ("easier to be strident than subtle") to G.W. Bush. In moments of doubt, BG understood that he must believe the Bible or leave the ministry. We know his decision as he prayed "Father, I am going to accept this as your Word by faith."
The authors describe '50s Protestant faith as "civil religion" substituting for deep, abiding faith. BG emerged as a ministerial leader who dynamically brought the Word of a living God to the general public. He lived with conviction and simplicity. President Eisenhower believed that the courts should handle civil rights questions. He asked BG to work with ministers to raise questions from pulpits to keep politics out of civil rights.
When William Randolph Hearst decided to cover BG in his newspapers and magazines, BG became well-known. Henry Luce, himself the son of a missionary, covered BG in his premier publications raising BG to national prominence.
He had an amazingly deep involvement with the Nixon White House and the Nixon image. He was present at the two-hour meeting -- the longest of Nixon's two terms--where the infamous 18.5-minute gap occurred in the Nixon tapes. H.R. Haldeman's notes of that time reveal that there was discussion of Jews in media and ways to control them, replace them, and reduce their impact. Disappointed with Nixon's dishonesty with him, BG decided to play a lesser role regarding policy with Presidents following Nixon, though he has great friendships with them. The authors noted that "Nixon never lost the ability to look into the camera and make the truth wince."
"Just As I Am" is BG's trademark hymn.
***Schulz by David Michaelis (non-fiction)
Biography of the creator of "Peanuts" comic strip and the empire built around it. The parallels of his life events and the themes in the strip is quite revealing. Charles Schulz was depressive, petulant, and insecure throughout his life. He had four children, two marriages and countless flirtations with young -- usually blonde --women. His great success yielded great wealth and waves of fulfillment bounded by poor sense of self. He was not very likable in his latter years. Michaelis has produced a high-interest, inviting read about a haunted, unhappy man.
***Mornings On Horseback by David McCoullough (non-fiction)
Absorbing biography of Theodore Roosevelt's grandparents, parents, siblings and the personal side of his life.
***The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (fiction)
Humorous novella of Queen Elizabeth II's new habit of extensive reading for pleasure and how it leads to assumptions about her developing Alzheimer's Disease.
It is a hilarious send-up that ends with the Queen's surprising announcement of her abdication so that she can write--not necessarily publish, but write for her pleasure.
Fast-paced and funny!
***The Lumiere Affair by Sara Vorhees (fiction)
Wonderfully engaging book about a female reporter at Cannes Film Festival and her search for the truth concerning her separation from her mother at a young age. Excellent read--a true page turner.
But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15