“The Best Book I Read in 2018”: Work, Art, Poetry, Identity

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What’s the best book you read in 2018? We posed this question to our Intersect contributors, and we’ll share their recommendations over the coming weeks. (Read list 1list 2, list 3 and list 4.)

Today, Intersect contributors highlight books on work, art, poetry and identity.

Editor’s Note: You can download two Intersect-exclusive ebooks from Bruce Ashford for free. Details>>

The Right—and Wrong—Stuff: How Brilliant Careers Are Made and Unmade
by Carter Cast (PublicAffairs, 2018)

Scott Hildreth

Scott Hildreth: The Right—and Wrong— Stuff by Carter Cast is a sobering reminder that it is possible to have gifts, talent and opportunity but to wreck your career (or ministry).

The book shows how people sabotage their professional lives by neglecting skill development, cultivating bad attitudes, being lazy or relying too much on what worked before.

Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation 
by Josef Pieper (Ignatius Press, 1990)

Brandon Terry: In this short collection of essays, Josef Pieper provides a helpful look into the contemplation of beauty. Pieper’s goal is to show that the greatest things in life are those in which a person is able to stop in the midst of life’s busyness and receive the gifts offered within the deepest realities of life.

This book is a great starting point for those who desire to create art by showing them how to encounter the beauty in the world from which they create art. However, it is also an great encouragement for those seeking spiritual growth through the disciplines of rest and mediation on the beauty of God. All-in-all this book is simply a refreshing (if somewhat challenging) read about beauty and life that serves as a great refreshment in the midst of more academically focused books.

Paradise Lost
by John Milton

Josh Herring

Joshua Herring: The beauty of Milton’s poetry brought me back to the wonder of epic poetry; I’m listing this one as my favorite because this year I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be made in God’s image “male and female.” Milton addresses this question (and so many more) with beauty and grace by showing us Adam and Eve in the Garden and outside of it.

The questions we are wrestling with in 2018 are nothing new, and Milton is a wise guide for thinking through implications of what it means to be a man or a woman.

Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of our Identity in Christ
edited by Melissa Kruger (The Gospel Coalition, 2019)

Christy Britton

Christy Britton: This book was edited by Melissa Kruger and has ten different contributors. It equips us to combat our culture’s attempts to define our identity on it’s terms. Our identity is defined by Christ, and Identity Theft not only reminds us who He says we are, but challenges us to live boldly in our identity.

Each contributor brought a unique angle to the conversation and I loved getting to learn from new voices. I’ve loaned my copy to several friends and they have all loved it as well. Do yourself a favor and read this in 2019!

What is your favorite book of 2018? Comment below and let us know!

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Center for Faith and Culture

The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture seeks to engage culture as salt and light, presenting the Christian faith and demonstrating its implications for all areas of human existence.

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