Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Clear, concise, hope-infused. Ramsey's 7-step plan is simple to understand, difficult to follow (not because of an error on his part, but because of my own sin nature), but brings great results. Even as I tackle step two (get out debt), I have been encouraged to see God provide and help me save money for future expenses (like the $1300 plane ticket I just purchased) rather than spend each pay check as it comes in. I'm already reaping the benefits of budgeting and saving. I'm sure I'll refer to this book many times over the next few years as I read the testimonies of God's provision in other people's lives and as I progress through the steps. I highly recommend this book.
Culture Warrior by Bill O'Reilly
Very interesting read. I learned a lot about the key members and philosophies of the secular-progressive movement. If you want to be more well-informed about the liberal leanings of society, or want to better understand O'Reilly's show (he refers to ideas in this book all the time), read this book.
Wobegon Boy by Garrison Keillor
A huge disappointment. I grew up listening to Keillor's radio broadcast A Prairie Home Companion, so I expected I would enjoy this book. However, the plot meanders to nowhere in particular and even though that's typical of "Stories from Lake Wobegon," this one wasn't even interesting. Perhaps, Keillor should stick to the short story genre. In addition, Keillor's cynical descriptions of Dark Lutherans and the loose lifestyle of his central character got annoying. I almost stopped reading several times, but kept hoping it would get better, which it did not. I wish I hadn't wasted my one fiction book for the month on this one. Can I express my disappointment in any more ways?
Flyboysby James Bradley Powerful and moving. I cried several times while reading this book and even while just thinking about the Flyboys. Bradley gives a brief explanation of Japanese history and describes the Japanese warrior's mindset before and during the war. He explains the American justification for the atomic bomb and napalm bombings; however, he does not excuse American war atrocities during the expansion west, in the Philippines, and during the war. (And I agree. The US military did some pretty horrible things to the American Indians and other nations we were trying to establish colonies in.) He recounts the true, heroic stories of American pilots, including former president George W. Bush, during the Pacific theater in World War II. He focuses on telling the recently de-classified stories of the torture, execution, and mutilation of US pilots on Chichi Jima. The pilots' families were never told the details of their sons' horrific deaths, and some parents died without ever knowing what happened. This book is well-researched and powerfully written. I think every American should read this book. I have a much deeper appreciation for the veterans of World War II and the difficult decisions our government and military leaders had to make. I also better understand the Japanese history and worldview that led to such a grusome war. This is one of those books that will haunt your memory and affect your thinking for a long time.