It’s that time of the year again when I display my geeky side and cast my mind over the books I’ve read in the past 12 months.
Each year I try to justify my nerdish tendencies. This year I shan’t bother to elaborate too much – feel free to read my previous attempts here, here and here – but I’ve personally found it helpful to plan roughly what I want to read each year, so that I can ensure I’m getting a balanced diet; reading the kinds of books I might otherwise be tempted to avoid, and making sure I’m not just overdosing on one genre.
To be honest, this year I’ve not followed my plans as much as in previous years. Most of my reading has been dictated by necessity rather than choice. But with the M.A.’s completion fast approaching, I live with the hope that I may regain some sense of choice over my reading plans!
That said… a couple of observations.
- For the first year ever I’ve reached (and exceeded) my goal of one book a week – 55 completed.
- I’ve no idea how many books I started this year, since I’ve read copious poems, articles and chapters of books for various essays, and didn’t bother noting down the books I had neither inclination nor intention to finish.
- A literature class bumped my fiction quota up considerably!
- I soon realised I wasn’t going to read any drama this year, but needed to read a fair chunk of literary criticism for a class I was taking, so I switched the category title.
- The Christian/Secular divide wasn’t easy to discern this year (how do you categorise the collected works of Gerard Manley Hopkins or T.S. Eliot for example?) so is a little arbitrary in places. It’s a division I don’t much like anyway! But it’s loosely helpful to make sure my head’s not stuck in religious literature the whole time.
- I didn’t read any books on leadership (I find them rather boring, truth be told!) though I’ve read loads more articles and listened to podcasts on the subject this year.
- I also didn’t complete any books on marriage, though I restarted Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage. But again, I’ve read a number of articles and listened to podcasts – and spent time with my wife! And I resisted the urge to put all the books on divorce and remarriage into the ‘Marriage’ category! Skewing the stats to make the numbers look like I was a great husband, would only have provided a temporary ego boost, before you glanced down the list of books!
So here’s a rough breakdown of my how my reading faired this year, and also the list of books I read. I always intend to review books and never get round to it – but if you want my opinion on any, just ask:
|Category||Aim (%)||Achieved (%)||Variance|
- Alldritt, Keith – Eliot’s Four Quartets
- Beck (ed.), James – Two Views on Women in Ministry
- Bell, Rob – What we Talk About When we Talk About God
- Blenkinsopp, Joseph – Wisdom and Law in the Old Testament: The Ordering of Life in Israel and Early Judaism
- Burke, Trevor – Adopted into God’s Family
- Camp, Claudia – Wisdom and the Feminine in the Book of Proverbs
- Chandler, Matt – The Explicit Gospel
- Copan, Paul – Is God a Moral Monster?
- Cornes, Andrew – Divorce and Remarriage
- Crenshaw, James L. – Old Testament Wisdom: An Introduction
- Delillo, Don – White Noise
- Delillo, Don – The Angel Esmeralda
- Dell, Katharine – Get Wisdom, Get Insight
- Donovan, Jeremey – How to Deliver a TED Talk
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor – Crime and Punishment
- Duvall, J.Scott and Hays, J. Daniel – Grasping God’s Word
- Eliot, T.S. – The Four Quartets
- Erswine, Zach – Preaching to a Post-Everything World
- Fee, Gordon and Stuart, Douglas – How to Read the Bible for all its Worth
- Foster Wallace, David – Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
- Gish, Nancy – Time in the Poetry of T.S. Eliot
- Greene, Graham – The Heart of the Matter
- Hybels, Bill – Just Walk Across the Room
- Instone-Brewer, David – Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible: The Social and Literary Context
- John of the Cross, St – Ascent of Mount Carmel
- John of the Cross, St – The Dark Night of the Soul
- Johnson, Adam – The Orphan Master’s Son
- Joyce, James – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
- Keener, Craig – …And Marries Another
- Kramer, Kenneth – Redeeming Time: T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets
- Kreeft, Peter – Christianity for Modern Pagans
- Manley Hopkins, Gerard – Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
- Medearis, Carl – Speaking of Jesus: The art of not-evangelism
- Miller, Donald – Father Fiction: Chapters for a Fatherless Generation
- Murray, John – Divorce
- Partridge, Alan – I, Partridge: We need to talk about Alan
- Peers, E. Allison – St John of the Cross
- Phillips, Caroline – The Religious Quest in the Poetry of T.S. Eliot
- Rajan (ed), Balachandra – T.S. Eliot: A Study of his Writings by Several Hands
- Rossiter, Joanna – The Sea Change
- Sinnot, Alice – The Personification of Wisdom
- Smith, Zadie – White Teeth
- Sproul, R.C. – Can I Have Joy in my Life?
- Spufford, Francis – Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can make surprising emotional sense
- Stibbe, Mark – I Am Your Father
- Stott, John – The Cross of Christ
- Thomas, Gary – Sacred Pathways
- von Rad, Gerhard – Wisdom in Israel
- Vonnegut, Kurt – God Bless You, Dr Kevorkian
- Warren, Rick – God’s Power to Change your Life
- Wenham/Heth/Keener – Remarriage After Divorce in Today’s Church: Three Views
- Westermann, Claus – Roots of Wisdom
- Witherington, Ben – Jesus the Sage
- Zacharias, Ravi – Jesus Among Other Gods
Note: there’s one book missing from my list because it’s not actually been published yet. But rest assured, it will be released soon and then I won’t stop recommending it!!