2022 brought some new adventures and unique circumstances. My family made a big move to Oklahoma and I became a preaching minister. I did not read as much as I normally do in a year as I adapted to my new location and new role. But I always want to share the books I read with those who are interested. This year, I seemed to be mostly in the biography/memoir genre which is what interested me. So, here is a short list of what I have read this year. I will include my favorites at the end with images so you can hunt down a copy.
Pandemic, Inc. by J. David McSwane
If you want to know why we were in a pandemic for the last couple of years and what was done for this and why we are in the situation we are in, McSwane wants to deliver answers. An investigative journalist, J. David McSwane tracked down all he could to find out where the money went to mitigate this pandemic. I was a bit disappointed in this book. I wanted more answers. He devotes a whopping 2 brief mentions of Anthony Fauci and blames all of it on President Donald Trump. While I admire his desire to find the truth, his bias wouldn’t allow him to truly get to the bottom of it…even if he does follow the mismanaged money by those who claimed to want to help our nation and world.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
A memoir of a twelve-year-old boy who had to grow up fast and become a soldier in Sierra Leone. He began fighting for the army to attack rebels and began to forgive himself for the terrible things he had to do to survive. He went through rehabilitation for his drug addiction as well as his indoctrination about war. It was a powerful story. I felt truly sorry for this young man’s life.
Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach
This is the story of how a young man who was raised by gay parents. His mom who divorced his dad and married her female partner and his dad who was a closet homosexual. Through all this, his hatred for Christians later softened as he learned to love the Lord and inquire about Jesus in the Bible. He is now a Christian minister who tries to teach how to love the LGBT community while staying faithful to what Scripture says about living our lives free from sin. Highly recommend reading this book for ministers trying to teach their congregations grace and to love our neighbors no matter their sin.
How I Learned to Rock My Life by Peter and Dede Dankelson
During the pandemic, Peter became famous for his happy guitar videos of him playing his favorite AC/DC songs and other rock songs on his guitar. Peter is 22 years old and has undergone 37 surgeries in his life to correct birth defects from Goldenhar Syndrome. He is very inspirational in telling his story and how he has overcome any adversity through his love of the guitar and rock music. I started following his story on Instagram in 2020 with Pete’s Diary and then the news of his book came and I asked for it for Christmas last year. I enjoyed reading this book and still watch his videos online. He makes me smile when I see him smiling and rocking along with Van Halen, AC/DC. and other bands. Pick this book up on Peter’s website PetesDiary.com.
Every book can teach us something. The list above taught me a lot. I also read a ton of commentaries on different books of the Bible as well as my Bible. I did not include them. But here are the two I recommend the most this year.
Just Tyrus by Tyrus
If you follow professional wrestling like I have in the past, you may know this man better by his previous persona, Brodus Clay. But if you know him now, he is just Tyrus. A large, destructive force in the NWA and current World Heavyweight Champion. This book is his story about growing up without a dad, becoming a bouncer for Snoop Dogg, and then big time pro wrestling force. I really appreciated Tyrus’ honesty and his story about getting to be a wrestler as well as now a commentator on a couple of shows on Fox News The Five and Gutfeld! There is language the squeamish may choose to want to skip, but if you’re looking for heart, Tyrus’ heart shines through in this memoir.
Tortured For Christ by Richard Wurmbrand
This is not a new book. In fact, it has been around for 50 years. But I only recently obtained a copy at the urging of a friend at Eastern European Missions and had to read it. Richard was imprisoned for 14 years in Communist Romania. He was tortured and maimed because of his faith and his evangelism in the underground church and because he stood up to the communists in the 1940’s and proclaimed Communism and Christianity incompatible. His bold statement meant he would be sent to prison. It was there that he witnessed and experienced cruel torture. But he also grew to love the Communists as Christ loved people in this world and only wanted them to know Jesus even more. This book is his story of how someone could love his captors and torturers. I highly recommend this book as I was also given the recommendation. Wurmbrand’s story is inspirational and encouraging and should put Western Christians to shame for our (many times) lack of faith.