A few months ago, our blog guru, Sam, asked me to write a post about five of the Best Books of 2014. He probably asked me this because I’m a writer. And I read pretty much all the time. But also because I think reading is a way to expand the mind, to experience things on the page that we can’t always experience in person. So I carefully chose books that I think will broaden your views of poverty, community, and what it means to serve “the least of these.” (I also chose just four books, because, as you’ll see, some of these took a little longer to get through … and also because I’m a rebel!)
Enough talking. Let’s read!
1. The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence
(Gary A. Haugen and Victor Boutros)
I’m going to be really, really honest with you. This book was hard to read. It easily took me twice as long to read as most books, because every few pages I would have to put it down and walk away. Written by the founder and president of International Justice Mission (Haugen) and a federal prosecutor (Boutros), the pages are filled with devastating stories of how violence is systematically destroying people in poverty. Not just people, though. Children. And therein lies my disclaimer. It’s hard enough to read about violence. But violence done against such innocent victims is enough to keep you up at night.
So why am I recommending this book? Because violence against children should keep you up at night. And Haugen and Boutros don’t stop at stories of violence; they also delve deep into stories of redemption. This is a book of both tragedy and hope. I hope it will serve as a wake-up call — as well as a call to action.