Saturday, December 31, 2011


On this final day of 2011, I will get back into the “business of blogging” with a review of some of the books I read this past year.

33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners by Jonathan Franklin. This is a riveting account of the men trapped in a Chilean mine collapse 2300 feet underground for about 9 weeks.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Henrietta Lacks was a poor woman from Clover, Virginia. Though she died of cervical cancer in 1951, her cells became the first immortal human cells. In the opening chapter we are told that Henrietta’s cells went into space to study the impact of zero gravity on human cells, and that one scientist estimates “that if you could pile all [Henrietta’s] cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons – an inconceivable number given that an individual cell weighs almost nothing.”

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Lauren Hillenbrand. Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini who survived 47 days at sea following the downing of his aircraft. He was “rescued” by Japanese soldiers and became a POW, suffering under some of the most brutal conditions of the war. Hillenbrand gives limited attention to Zamperini’s conversion to Christ during the famous post war Los Angeles Crusade of Billy Graham.

Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Topic by R. C. Sproul

How to Write a Sentence: and How to Read One by Stanley Fish (I guess I need to re-read this one).

History and Fallacies by Carl Trueman. This is a critique of how we understand history.

Ship of Ghosts by James Hornfischer. This book chronicles the history of the USS Houston, its sinking and the imprisonment of many of her crew during the early days of WWII.

A World Lit Only by Fire by William Manchester. Reads like a novel.

Stiff – The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. Absolutely intriguing, but not for the squeamish.

The Children’s Blizzard by David Laskin. One of the worst blizzards to hit the prairies fell on January 12-13, 1888. It was called the Children’s Blizzard because many children were sent home from their one room schoolhouses at the onset of the storm. When the blizzard ran its course, more than 100 children lay dead in the snow.

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