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Friday, January 04, 2008
For those who care, I figured I would list the best books I've read and best movies I've seen this year.

Best Books of 2007

1. Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass (by Theodore Dalrymple)

- Dalrymple's flowery writing, combined with his amazingly astute observations of the culture in which we live, made this book of essays the best one I read all year. The author's personal anecdotes from his work in the slums significantly added to the book and made it nearly impossible to put down.

2. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church (by D.A. Carson)

- I also read The Truth War by John MacArthur, but Carson's book is much more gracious to the Emerging church movement, which is a necessity when dealing with brothers in Christ who are in error. Carson deftly analyzes the writings and words of the EC leaders (primarily McLaren) and holds them up to the "light" of the Bible. He spends some time praising the positives of the EC church prior to critiquing its weaknesses. Be warned: as with Dalrymple's book, bring a dictionary or an impressive vocabulary, for neither of these authors writes in the vernacular.

3. America Alone (by Mark Steyn)

- As anyone with even a limited knowledge of this blog knows, I tend to link to Mark Steyn's writing A LOT. All that started about the time I read this book. It is quite possibly the most important book of the year, detailing how it appears likely that America will have to go it "alone" in the present fight for the Western world (and culture). Europe is likely to soon cede their continent to radical Islam, mostly by means of birth rates. Most European countries are at the lowest of low birth rates, meaning that they will never recover. In other words, Italians will be a thing of the past in another 100 years. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia isn't just exporting oil, but also radicals and babies. Steyn is probably the wittiest writer I've ever come across, and his use of the English language for word gymnastics is utterly enjoyable. So, while the subject of his book is pretty dour, Steyn's brilliant puns and humor keep the reader smiling.

4. Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses (by Theodore Dalrymple)

- Another outstanding anthological compilation of Dalrymple's best essays, it is in the same vein as Life at the Bottom. He uses his astounding knowledge of all things (particularly literary works, art, and culture) to analyze the works of authors and artists; both past and present. This review does justice to the book like I could never do.

5. Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming (by Bjorn Lomborg)

- An eye-opening and extremely important book as it addresses the current hysteria of climate change. Lomborg affirms that the earth is unnaturally warming due to humans (something of which I am quite skeptical), but doesn't agree that it is a crisis. For example, more people will survive what otherwise would be death attributable to cold than will die from the increased heat. Also, warmer temps will cause more rain and better growing seasons in parts of the world, which will ameliorate the problems caused by droughts elsewhere.

6. In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas (by Theodore Dalrymple)

- I've recently posted a review of this book, but suffice it to say that it is excellent.

7. The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception (by John MacArthur)

- As mentioned above, I thought this book was perhaps a little too one-sided against the Emerging church. However, MacArthur's defense of truth is sorely needed in today's Christian church.

Best Movies of 2007

1. Bella (rated PG-13 for subject matter)

- Amazing pro-life movie that avoids any form of preachiness or detachment from the realities of child-rearing while strongly promoting the sacredness of life. Everyone MUST see this movie.

2. No Country for Old Men (rated R for graphic violence and a little language)

- A Coen brother masterpiece, but not for the faint of heart. Javier Bardem is one of the scariest villains I've seen in a movie for a long time. Brilliantly directed and acted, with the only issue (besides some unnecessary gore) being an imperfect ending. Very different from past Coen films. Engrossing like no other movie that I saw last year.

3. Gone Baby Gone (rated R for minor violence but very strong language)

- I really wish this movie hadn't been chock full of cursing, cause it is a powerful and thought-provoking film. It makes the viewer think about morality and absolute right and wrong (though it does tend to be a bit ambiguous on what final message the director wants to convey).

4. Rescue Dawn (rated PG-13 for war violence)

- Amazing true Vietnam POW story. Again, Bale delivers like few actors can.

5. Pan's Labyrinth (rated R for surprisingly graphic violence)

- Moving tale of a girl caught in the middle of war-torn 1940's Spain who dreams up a fantasy world to escape the trouble around her. For some reason, the director felt it necessary to make the real-world violence pretty graphic. Otherwise, one of the best movies of the year.

6. 3:10 to Yuma (rated R for moderate violence)

- Solid Western film, with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale at their best. Ending leaves a lot to be desired.

7. Eastern Promises (rated R for graphic violence and nudity)

- Gripping story of a nurse searching for the family of a dead girl and her newborn baby. Excessive male/female nudity and extremely graphic violence hurts an otherwise well-made and engrossing film.

8. 300 (rated R for violence and brief partial nudity)

- The graphic novel put to film, it depicts the story of the Battle of Thermopylae between the Spartans and the Persians. Glamorization of the violence mars an otherwise solid film about honor and duty.

9. World Trade Center (rated PG-13 for subject matter)

- Surprisingly apolitical, touching, and fair retelling of the events of 9/11 by Oliver Stone.

10. Transformers

11. Live Free or Die Hard

12. Bourne Ultimatum

13. 1408

14. American Gangster

15. Bridge to Terabithia

16. Rocky Balboa

17. World's Fastest Indian

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have too much time on your hands! ;-)

Darius and Elisabeth said...

And you have too much anonymity... who is this?

Darius and Elisabeth said...

I actually wish I had read twice as much... I'm hoping to double my reading this year. We'll see how that goes with a baby on the way.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables


Darius Teichroew's favorite books »