Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet by Nathan Foster

I am reposting this 2014 review because the Kindle Edition is on sale for $2.99 until July 6th.
Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet by Nathan FosterSummary: A son seeks and finds more than just his father while climbing Colorado’s 14,000 ft peaks.

I am a pastor’s kid.  I never had the bad experiences, or rebellious backlash that some have.  But I understand some of the impulses and I have observed the fall out.

Nathan Foster isn’t a traditional pastor’s kid, but as the son of the well known and influential writer and speaker/teacher Richard Foster, he seems to fall into the PK category of feeling like he was sacrificed to the ministry.

Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet is a memoir.  Nathan Foster in his early 20s is married, still having a difficult life, living in Colorado and as a way to connect with his father, asks Richard to climb one of Colorado’s 14,000 ft mountains.

Having spent a decent amount of time backpacking in Colorado, and doing two 14,000 ft peaks (which nearly killed me). I was attracted to the stories of the hikes and conversations that happened on those hikes.

I have also read four of Richard Foster’s book, three more than once and think of him as one of those spiritual authors that everyone needs to read.

What I appreciated about the book is that Nathan is clear that he didn’t feel close to his Dad growing up, but he is not blaming him or writing a ‘tell-all’.  Instead he is focusing on what he learned from his father and their reconciliation.

The story plays out over 10+ years. Nathan does well, relapses, spends time with his father while getting clean, finds his own vocation and all the while continues to hike with his Dad. The focus is clearly on the positive relationship that they now have and this is exemplified by the fact that Richard writes an epilogue that give some of his thoughts on those hikes, but more importantly shows a father that is proud of his son and the man he has become.

This is not a long book. I read it in about 24 hours. It is an easy read but with real depth behind it. I am not sure it is a book for everyone, but I think it is worth reading if you have a distant relationship with a parent, or if you are trying to find a place in the world (especially if you are your 20s), or if you tend to experience God best through nature.

Wisdom Chaser: Finding My Father at 14,000 Feet by Nathan Foster Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition 

The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling by John Stott

I am reposting this 2010 review because the Kindle Edition is on sale for $2.99 until July 6th.

The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling  by John StottTakeaway: Discipleship is about following Christ in non-conformity.  Hearing from an elder who has lived the life is a great encouragement to continue on.

This is John Stott‘s last book.  He decided to retire several years ago and now has said he will no longer write (update: he passed away in 2011 at the age of 90).  So I think it is interesting that he is intentionally writing a book about discipleship and concentrating on areas that he thinks are often left unaddressed.

The book ends with a poignant chapter on death, similar to the last album by Johnny Cash.  Both Cash and Stott knew they were not long for this world.  The afterward says goodbye to the reader and discusses his will and legacy. In many ways, I wish he opened with this.  Because it gives more weight to the rest of the book.

However, if he started with death it might overwhelm the general theme of the book, Non-Conformity.  The title of the first chapter, he is calling us to be different as Christians.  Not just different from the world, but different because we were created to be like Christ. There is a good quote about the fact that we cannot live like Christ, unless we have Christ live in us. And I think that the living with Christ in us as the only way to achieve Christlikeness may be more counter cultural to the church than anything else in the book. We all know that we have transformed, but to really be transformed we not only have to strive after living like Christ, we have to submit to the Spirit that guides us.

Dust by Hugh Howey

Reposting this 2014 review because this book, and the two earlier collections that made up the trilogy are all on sale for $2.99 each on kindle (Wool Omnibus and Shift). Links to my reviews of the earlier books are at the bottom of the page.
Summary: The story comes to an end.

Hugh Howey broke into internet fame just three years ago when he published his short story Wool. Originally just conceived of as a 50 pages short story, Howey quickly wrote four more short stories that rounded out the original story into a full length book.

Then in 2012 and 2013 Howey wrote three segments that provided back story to the Wool series. (Collected they are almost 700 pages, but really are one book in three parts.)

The final book (thinking of Wool Omnibus as book 1, Shift Omnibus as book 2 and Dust as book 3) provides a satisfying conclusion.

If you have not read any of these, then this review won’t make sense. This is a post-apocalyptic story. The stories are set in underground silos after our world has been destroyed.

We found out in Shift the plan for the silos and how they were created. In Dust Howley is bringing it all back together and wrapping of the story. Mayor Jules has discovered the other silo and has made it back. She has to convince her society that their stable world would be better if they allowed it change.

At the same time Donald and his sister are working behind the scenes in Silo 1 to help Jules and her people.

In the end there is a conclusion. It is not completely satisfying, but it is a real ending (unlike everything else prior.)

This is a worthwhile series, but taken all together is nearly 1600 pages. I spread the reading out over a couple years but probably would have been better off reading them closer together.

Dust by Hugh Howey Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook

Audiobook is discounted to $1.99 with purchase of Kindle Book

Kindle Edition is part of the Kindle Unlimited Collection

$4.95 Audiobook Editors Pick Sale at Audible

Audible is having an Editor’s Choice sale. 10 Editors each picked 10 books to be on sale for $4.95. The sale runs until June 28th.

Bookwi.se has reviewed a number of the books (links are to the reviews and in my rough order of enjoyment)

Also reviewed by Bookwi.se, but not by me so I am listing separately

Also two that I have not read but have been highly recommended to me over the years.(sale link)

The Allure of Gentleness: Defending the Faith in the Manner of Jesus by Dallas Willard

Summary: The method of apologetics is intrinsically linked to the work of apologetics.

I like Dallas Willard. He has been very helpful if not always directly, certainly through the mentoring of a variety of other authors and teachers that I have been directly impacted by.

Dallas Willard passed away just over two years ago. This book was underway prior to his passing as a joint project between Willard and his daughter. She organized it based on a series of lectures that he gave in 1990 and supplemented in areas that he thought needed further development using other lectures and writings. In spite of that, this feels like a cohesive book.

Willard is trying to remind the apologist that the method (and life of the apologist) is important to the work of apologetics. In 1990, I think that was probably a much more needed message than today. We always need to be reminded of that, but I do not think that many apologists today would not agree with that basic summary.

Even so, the parts that I most resonated with was that basic reminder. (Although I kept thinking that Unapologetic did a better job communicating the point and at least parts of Vanishing Grace did a better job reminding the reader of the importance of grace toward the non-Christian. )

Looking for Alaska by John Green

I am reposting my 2012 review because the audiobook is today’s Audible Deal of the day and on sale (no membership required) for $2.95 today only.
Looking for Alaska

Summary: John Green’s first coming of age novel.  A high school student goes away to boarding school in Alabama and tries to find his place in the world.

I am on a John Green kick.  This is the third book in three weeks.  There is only The Fault of Our Stars until I have read all of his books. (The Fault of our Stars is on a lot of people’s best book or best teen book of 2012 lists.  There are also two more books that Green has either co-written or contributed to.)

All of Green’s books are in one way or another coming of age books.  This one is no different.  Miles leaves his home and the school where he does not really have any friends to go away to boarding school at the beginning of his junior year of high school.

As is normal, Miles ends up being best friends with his roommate and his roommates friends.  As they move through the year one event ends up dominating the year.  The whole books either counts down to it, or moves on from it.  I will not spoil the event, but I did not see it coming until it was almost there.  (I am gifted with an inability to predict what is going to happen in books.  I think that is a good feature, but my wife is always amazed I didn’t see things coming).

Ender’s World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender’s Game

Ender's WorldSummary: A series of diverse essays about Ender’s Game, from leadership and military applications to how it has impacted children’s literature and a lot in between.

There are very few books that I am intimately familiar enough to read a series of 13 essays and a number of Q & A’s from the author and really be engaged throughout. I have a review of the variations of the Ender’s Game story over the years (and I should update that now that I have seen the movie), a full review of the audio play version and a review of the most of rest of the books of the series. I am pretty sure I have read Ender’s Game in one version or another at least a dozen times. (Also Emily Flury has a review of the movie.)

I think unquestionably, Ender’s Game is Orson Scott Card’s best book. I have read most of the rest of Card’s book looking for a book to equal it, and while I really enjoy many of his books, none have resonated with me nearly as much.

Ender’s Game is the story of Ender Wiggins, initially a six year old boy that goes to Battle School to train as a soldier. The Earth has been attacked twice by the Formics (or Buggers depending on which version you are reading). And now soldiers are being trained from childhood to win the next war.

This is the first book I really adored and from the essays, it is clear I am not alone. There are three different types of essays here. Essays on leadership and military, essays on writing or literature and essays on cultural impact. This is not a book for anyone that has not read (and loved) the book. This is a book for not only the fan, but the fan who enjoys geeking out (and listening to others geek out) about minutia of plots points and how they felt when they read it.

6 Free Christian Kindle Books – June 18

One Thing: A Gospel-Centered Life on Mission by Ben Harrell

243 pages, 100% of 19 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

As followers of Jesus, we have one thing to do: to live gospel-centered lives on mission. Any mission, especially one of this magnitude, requires that we understand what is expected and where we are headed. Typically, books about mission focus on defining the mission and understanding the people and places where we serve. One Thing takes a different approach by examining through in-depth Bible study the type of people we should be as we participate on God’s mission. This mission is something that all believers and all churches get to be a part of. For some, that may be exciting to think of, for others that may be overwhelming. This study provides an opportunity to go deeper in the Word to answer two questions:

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? How do we make disciples of Jesus?

Empty: Living Full of Faith When Life Drains You Dry by Cherie Hill

208 pages, 85% of 61 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

Life can leave you at a loss for words. It has a way of suddenly casting you into the darkness of doubt. In these desperate moments, you find your soul being drained dry . . . you’re empty . . . and faith just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Faith loses out when you realize that God could have done something . . . and He did nothing. Your life is further emptied when you realize that even if you live the “Christian” life, things don’t always turn out the way you’d like them to . . . and that’s not the way you hoped faith worked. You don’t want God to comfort you in your troubles . . . you want Him to take them from you.

As God continually frustrates our faith with His constant inconsistency and ridiculously draining unpredictability, we resolve in the truth that He is the only one that truly understands our hurting hearts, empty lives, and searching souls.

To My Sons: Lessons for the Wild Adventure Called Life by Bear Grylis

130 pages, 84% of 94 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled

This humorously illustrated book is a collection of wisdom that renowned adventurer Bear Grylls wants to share with his sons about the risks, tumbles, and victories of a well-lived life.

Mountain climber, world-record holder, and internationally known television personality Grylls knows a thing or two about adventure. The greatest adventure he’s experienced, though, is raising his three boys. In To My Sons, Grylls shares the quotes, Scripture verses, and spiritual wisdom he has learned through the literal ups and downs of an exciting life. Featuring cartoons from well-known sketch artist Charlie Mackesy, this book is a poignant primer for boys and men of all ages.

Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp

193 pages, 94% of 118 reviews are 4 or 5-star, Lending Enabled, Previously Free

While skillfully identifying the deeper issues that keep relationships less than they are designed to be, Tim Lane and Paul Tripp show readers how to experience the other side of relationships as well. They convincingly testify of the power of God’s presence to bring believers to the place where:

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson Book 1)

I am reposting this 2011 review because the Kindle Edition is on sale for $0.99.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-3)

Takeaway: Fun young adult fantasy novel. Some serious themes but written in a way that is appropriate for 11 and up.

I have been reading a lot of fairly heavy theology recently.  The heavier the theology books I am reading, the more likely I need light fiction to off-set my brain.  I share a kindle account with some younger people.  And they picked up and read the Percy Jackson series last spring.  I have not seen the movie (although I probably will now) and really did not know anything about the books going into them.

I am a fan.  These are quick reads for an adult, I do not think I have spend more than 2 or 3 hours on any of them.  (I am in the middle of the fourth right now; all in a week).  I also think they are appropriate for kids age 9 and up (depending on reading level.)

The basic story line is that Percy Jackson is a bad student.  He is always getting in trouble, has ADHD and dyslexia.  He loves his Mom, but he knows he is making her life difficult because he is always getting in trouble at school.  Eventually we find out that one of the reasons Percy has a problem is that he is actually the half son of one of the Greek gods (a half-blood).

A New Kindle Paperwhite

Update: Ken Edgerly of Kindle Chronicles has a video, the only one I have seen, comparing the 2nd generation Paperwhite, 3rd Generation Paperwhite and the Kindle Voyager that I think is helpful to seeing what is actually changed.


Amazon quietly announced a new Paperwhite this morning. The new Paperwhite follows up on the original Paperwhite in 2012 and the second generation released in late 2013.

The 2015 Paperwhite keeps the same physical specifications as the first two Kindle Paperwhite generations and the same price.

The main differences are that the new Paperwhite has the same screen as the Kindle Voyager (300 dpi up from 212 dpi) and doubled the ram to 512 MB. The battery and storage space remain the same (and quite adequate).

The other differences are software. The new Bookerly Font that was released on the iOS apps recently will now be native on the Paperwhite. Also there will be a new layout engine that will more closely match the way print books look.