2011 Faculty Favorite Recommendations
Inhabiting the Cruciform God by Michael J. Gorman
Recommended by: Scott Adair
Why would you recommend this book to others?
"This book is scholarly, but not pretentious. Gorman has a straight-forward writing style that provides easy access to his interpretive conclusions, which are sublime, inspiring, and demanding. For example, he understands Paul's view of saving faith as participation with Christ -- co-crucifixion. This sharing in Christ's suffering, his kenosis, leads to participation in the divine nature, or theosis. In the end, Gorman's analysis of Paul's gospel is a healthy blend of biblical exegesis, systematic theology, spirituality, and ethics. He accomplishes all of this in only 173 pages."
The Poems of Sidney Lanier
Recommended by: Dr. Kevin Klein
Extraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice
Recommended by: Lori Klein
Why do the Kleins recommend these books?
"I have loved the poetry of Sidney Lanier since I first encountered his writings. Lanier fought in the Civil War for the South (during which he contracted tuberculosis in a Northern prisoner of war camp), and returned to the devastated landscape of his native Georgia following the war determined to find a way, despite his chronic health problems, to provide for his wife and three sons. Lanier never wallowed in self-pity of the 'Lost South' and instead found comfort and cause for celebration in God's creation, both in the beauty of nature, and the transcendent qualities of man. Lanier particularly elevated what most considered the humble and despised aspects of God's creation -- swamps, bayous, and poor 'cracker' whites and freed blacks. These he showed as beautiful, even noble, in their simplicity and striving ifor little more than quiet survival.
"Lanier also set his talents to the task of expressing his love for his wife in verse throughout their marriage. Having made a living for his family through sixteen years of post-war economic depression and chaos, having given his maturing sons stories of honor and hope, even and especially when encountering adversity or defeat, he died of his war-time disease in 1881 at the age of thirty-nine. His life's work endures. I highly recommend his efforts." -- Kevin Klein
"Condoleezza Rice and I grew up in the same city, ten years, a few miles, and an absolute world apart. Birmingham, Alabama is a city infamous for her terrible struggle with race relations, but it is home to both of us. Dr. Rice's book is the story of her family, of her hometown, and of how deeply she believes in 'transformation through education.'
"My copy of this book is covered with notes, littered with turned-down pages. I loved seeing parts of our lives that were similar and learning about how her parents worked so hard to provide her with opportunity and support. I know so well the difference that education has made in my life, and it was compelling to see how much education changed the narratives of the Ray and Rice families. I also enjoyed learning more personal details about this remarkable public servant-- her skill and discipline as a pianist (which came from her mother), her obsessive passion for football (which came from her father), even her foray into ice-skating as she took advantage of spending her summers in Denver. Of course, I was also fascinated to read her inside accounts of political events that have shaped the last few decades, and pleased to catch up on where she has been since leaving public service." -- Lori Klein
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
Recommended by: Dr. Rebecca Weaver
"If you have ever lived in or visited this section of Africa, you need to read each of the books in this series. I love the way the author places you in the country of Botswana through his word pictures and dedication to the vernacular of the people. I think you really need to start with the first book in the series, Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, so you can meet each character in time-ordered sequence. Precious Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni will become your new best friends!"
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Recommended by the Brackett Library student workers
"Although fictional, this story of the unlikely friendship between two women exposes what life is really like for many women in the Middle East. It was heartbreaking, but inspiring. This book was even better the second time than the first!" -- Elena Moore
"This is a really uplifting and moving story about something that is really happening! Everyone should read it to help them understand a culture that is very different from ours." -- Nicole Dill
What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, MD
Recommended by Peggy Huckeba, Academic Director of Physician Assistant Program
"The ideas in this book have changed the way I live, especially regarding what I eat (and don't eat!). Of course God would instruct His children in how to live to the fullest physically (as well as spiritually), but we don't often look to His word for those directives. In His complete love for us, He provides ways to be healthy in all areas, including our physical health. This book is a study of God's plan for physical health -- supported by traditional medical research."
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
Recommended by Shirley Williams, Technical Services Librarian
"This is the true story of a remarkable young teenager in Malawi who would not let poverty and severe famine keep him from learning what he wanted to know. When he was forced to drop out of school because his parents could not afford the fees, he went to a library in the town and studied diagrams in science books written in a language he could not understand (English). Using scraps from the local junk yard, he succeeded in constructing a windmill which produced electricity for his family and changed his life."
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Recommended by Janice Hurd, University Registrar
"Many today are searching for something, searching for something that will answer our religious discontentment. Some of us believe we have found a solution to our searching through our faith and love for God. This author, Francis Chan, has put together a book that addresses these issues and provides us with some guidelines that will make us look further into our relationship with God. The purpose of the book says the answer is found when we start falling in love with God. Read this book and let it challenge you to learn about the love mentioned in Matthew 22."
Ramses: Son of Light by Christian Jacq
Recommended by Dr. Dale Manor, College of Bible & Religion
"I'm in the middle of the third volume of this series which puts a narrative spin on the life and times of ancient Egypt, using Ramses, who was the longest reigning monarch of ancient Egypt, as the focus of the story. Often we read the raw data of 'life in ancient times' without the fabric of human interaction and emotion. Jacq puts 'flesh' on those times, incorporating historical events and people (as well as fictional, of course) to produce an interesting, and thought -provoking historical novel."