Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

Mmmm ... four books of the year

A committee of WORLD writers chose these books, spread among four categories, that should be ‘chewed and digested’

Photo by Matt Rose

<em>Mmmm ...</em> four books of the year
You have {{ remainingArticles }} free {{ counterWords }} remaining. You've read all of your free articles.

Full access isn’t far.

We can’t release more of our sound journalism without a subscription, but we can make it easy for you to come aboard.

Get into news that is grounded in facts and Biblical truth for as low as $2.99 per month.


Already a member? Sign in.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has also been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books: His latest is Abortion at the Crossroads. Marvin resides with his wife, Susan, in Austin, Texas.



Please wait while we load the latest comments...


Please register or subscribe to comment on this article.

Laura W

I wish you had been more qualified in your recommendation of Strange New Things. True, it may be much more than we would expect from a mainstream publisher, but that doesn't make it good. I just read it this week, and I found the whole thing quite depressing.

I was somewhat bothered by all the casual profanity and matter-of-fact descriptions of private parts, but not enough to discontinue reading. But then the whole thing about his relationship with his wife deteriorating just made her look incredibly weak and him look completely clueless. (Which is admittedly a popular stereotype of male-female relations, but I'd expected a bit more from them--the characters and the author both.)

And on top of that, the theology portrayed is a confused jumble that seems to mostly focus on his desire to teach them to live good lives, except that they already seem to be doing that, so it's rather unclear whether they need God at all. At that point, the only reason I finished the book was to get some sort of resolution to all the unfinished questions, only to find that the book is the sort that ends abruptly with most of them still unanswered. So definitely not a book I would recommend myself.


I wish Marvin had given a Not Family Friendly warning for the Novel of the Year award winner, "The Book of Strange New Things." Based on this World Magazine award we checked the audio version out at the public library for our recent road trip as a family. We made it through the steamy sex scene in the back seat of the car (after all, they were married to each other), and the repeated f-words (realistic dialogue of unbelievers?), but we finally shut it off when the missionary began pleasuring himself in the shower ("and the sem*n flowed"). [Note how the commenting plugin won't even let me use the technical term for a man's seed, which the book used.]  Maybe it's different when you are reading a book alone, but when someone is reading the book aloud for the entire car and family.... In the future, please consider family friendliness for your book reviews.