In March, between a Spring Break trip and getting a new job, I only read two books. Frankly, neither one of them was that great. So I thought I’d bunch them together with April for my normally-monthly post about best books.

Without Fail by Lee Child
I could copy and paste every Jack Reacher novel. They’re mindless and there’s mystery and fighting and problem solving and what not. Fun if it’s your thing, miserable if it’s not. This plot was the rescue of the Vice President. It is what it is.

What Unites Us by Dan Rather
Remember Dan Rather, anchor of the CBS evening news? Well he wrote a great little book called What Unites Us, where he talks about various policy issues and attempts to outline how common belief around those issue has historically brought us together. But the really fun part of this book were the memoir-ish parts. Rather reflects on his life as a child in the Houston Heights and there is something about those memories that brought the policy discussions to life. He leans left on most issues, but I think anyone would enjoy this book for its content and tone.

Sisters First by Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager
Speaking of memoirs, these stories by the famous (infamous?) Bush Twins was surprisingly good and even, at times, poignant. From childhood to present day they retell some memorable moments from their perspective, give little peeks behind the Bush Family curtain, and are honest about the challenges that come with living under a microscope. It feels vulnerable and authentic and is a really good read. In fact, it was probably my favorite of these five.

The Bible Jesus Read by Phillip Yancey
Yancey is a treasure, a terrific thinker and writer. Moreover, he is a beautiful feeler. I thought this book was going to be a semi-academic treatment of the Old Testament (the Bible Jesus read). What it actually was turned out to be really heartfelt look at the complicated, mysterious, confusing, and faithful passages of the Old Testament — in particular the Psalms, the Minor Prophets, Job, etc. It connected more at the heart level than the head level. It wasn’t what I expected, and that was probably a good thing. This wasn’t my favorite book I read all March/April, but it was the best one.

The Shack by William P Young
I am fourteen years late getting to this book, the still controversial book that ruffled conservative theological feathers and gave every self-publishing author hope of cranking out that best-seller. I will say this — at times it reads like a self-published story. The writing is good (not great). The theology is good (not great). But the story is great. I think it has resonated for years because it hits close to home for so many people — especially those who have grieved. If you’ve a decade and a half late getting to it like I was, go ahead and treat yourself.

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