Books that changed me

Karin Sowada

Dr Karin Sowada is a museum curator, archaeologist, and a member of Standing Committee and Synod. She is a former Democrat Senator and was a delegate at the Constitutional Convention in 1998.

My dad's old passport
My Swiss-born father, Valentin Sowada, is a photographer who spent many years travelling through North Africa and Asia before arriving in Australia in 1956. He is the only person I know who has actually been to Timbucktoo. As a child, I loved reading all the visa stamps in his passport, wondering about the world beyond Australia.

Romer's Egypt by John Romer
Twenty years ago I bought this book in a Wynyard shop during a lunchbreak from a dreary desk job. Two years later, I chucked in my job, began studying Egyptian archaeology at Sydney University, and never looked back.

The Gospel in Revelation by Graeme Goldsworthy
I read this book and studied Revelation at the same time during a very formative stage of my Christian life. Goldsworthy's simple yet insightful writing, combined with Bible study, put in plain words God's overarching plan for the world. The explanation of the cosmic battle between good and evil, and Jesus' triumph on the Cross, profoundly influenced my worldview.

George Whitfield and the Great Awakening by John Pollock
One of my favourite books. The enthusiasm, drive and persistence of 18th century evangelist George Whitfield for the task of winning people to Christ is a constant source of encouragement. This book also helped me feel a deep link across the ages to all those faithful Christians who have gone before us. Whitfield is one of the people I most want to meet in heaven.

All Politics is Local and other Rules of the Game by Tip O'Neill
A must-read for any politician, aspirant and wannabe player, this book was written by a man who spent 60 years in public life, including ten years as Speaker of the US House of Representatives. Tip O'Neill's Rule # 2.11, "Don't Give Speeches that are Pure Bunk', should be mandatory for Synod.