December Reads – 2018

Is it strange that I’ve been reading so many books about art theft lately? It’s just such an interesting area of true crime that you don’t hear about much.

 

1. El Deafo by Cece Bell

My students are obsessed with graphic novels, and I find many of those books annoying (sorry, Dog Man). This book is an exception. One of my students requested a copy of it, and I ended up telling him he would have to wait until I finished reading it first. The author tells the story of her own childhood as a student who was deaf. She highlights the challenges of being a student who is deaf or hard of hearing in a truthful and humorous way that all kids can relate to. This was a quick, delightful read.

 

2. The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel (audiobook)

This book tells the true story of the men who worked during WWII to protect and rescue artwork. These men risked their lives to save the culture of people and nations. At times I had a difficult time focusing on the information because of the many details and length of this book, but overall I really enjoyed it. Also, I watched the movie based on this book and thought it was excellent!

 

3. Hallelujah: A Journey through Advent with Handel’s Messiah edited by Cindy Rollins

I used this book as a guide through the advent season this year. I loved how the book explained the traditions behind advent. Each day, there were several Bible verses to read which were paired with 3-10 minutes of Handel’s Messiah.

 

4. Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

The author readily admits that she did not base this story strictly on history. Keeping this in mind, I enjoyed this atmospheric, fictional retelling of how Charles Dickens wrote his beloved “A Christmas Carol.” This was a great light read for the holiday season.

 

5. The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser

This book took me a long time to finish because I kept getting distracted by other books. I kept coming back to it though and found it interesting to read about Boser’s experiences investigating the Gardner heist, which is the largest unsolved art theft in the world. It’s amazing to me that after all these years none of the art has been recovered and no one has been arrested for the crime despite the numerous theories and possible suspects. This books pairs well with the new podcast “Last Seen,” which also investigates the Gardner heist.

 

6. The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books by Nancy Guthrie

I started this study in the summer but didn’t finish up the last couple chapters until this month. I really enjoyed this study and how it connected the wisdom books with the gospel and New Testament.

 

Book I abandoned:

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

The mystery of this story intrigued me, but I found the romance too annoying. I just couldn’t do it.

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