Because life is a series of edits

Booklist 2010

In Books on December 20, 2010 at 8:23 am

Just in time for any last-minute Christmas shopping needs, here's the list of books I read this past year. (For years past on the blog, click here: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006.) Enjoy.

January (4)

  • Luther the Reformer by James M. Kittelson – enjoyable and theologically astute biography of Martin Luther; balanced approach to a man given to extremes (good and otherwise). (8)
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy – fast read about a man and his son surviving a post-apocalyptic world; the feeling of futility is real, but the redemption not so much. (7)
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahir – liked this story about a couple from India and their first generation American-born children adjusting to both worlds; movie not as good. (7)
  • Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver – good writing and interesting characters make this multi-narrator novel satisfying, especially as it moves to convergence in final chapters. (8)

February (0)

Wow. I read, but I apparently didn't finish anything.

March (1)

  • Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student by Miriam Grossman – well-written and documented (and so needed). (8)

April (0)

Coaching baseball. About the only thing I read was my players' box scores.

May (3)

  • The Ten Commandments: Manual for the Christian Life by Jochen Douma – well-written and thoroughly Reformed commentary essential to teaching God’s Ten Words. (10)
  • The Space Between: A Parent’s Guide to Teenage Development by Walt Mueller – Mueller produces an accurate summary of teenage-dom; some good convergence and quotes, but if you know teenagers at all, it’s nothing too surprising or new. (6)
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – not a big fan of multiple character narration, and the first half of this story about a missionary family and their hypocritical husband/father was less than enjoyable, but it got better the less he was mentioned. (5)

June (6)

  • The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson – initially afraid this would be the small town memoir I always wanted to write; instead, it was a mean, hyper-cynical look at rural America. Boo. (3)
  • Baseball is a Funny Game by Joe Garagiola – older book by a St. Louis boy who made good in the Bigs; not the best writing by any means, but baseball’s baseball, so it was okay. (5)
  • Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Sharra – a novel about the people and events leading up to the Revolutionary War; my first book of historical fiction, but definitely not my last. (9)
  • Cannery Row by John Steinbeck – curious novella set in California’s Monterey by one of my favorite novelists; a quick read with little resolution, but the characters alone are worth it. (7)
  • The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr – one of the most important, best-researched, and well-written books I’ve read in ten years; what the Internet is doing to our brains is scary. (10)
  • Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World edited by Heidi Hayes Jacobs – series of essays on “essential education for a changing world,” the contents of which are both thought-provoking and overly pragmatic. If unbridled technology in the classroom is your cause, here’s your bandwagon. (7)

July (4)

  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright – for a theologian of Wright’s academia, he is an unbelievably readable writer; all Christians should read this to separate fact from fiction inherent to their eschatology. (9)
  • The Final Forest: The Battle for the Last Great Trees of the Pacific Northwest by William Dietrich – older book read for Summer Seminar Washington on the logging/environmental debate in the Pacific Northwest; writing wanes a bit in the end, but overall very helpful in understanding the debate that shapes that region. (7)
  • The Journey by Peter Kreeft – short, enjoyable allegory filled with pithy points on philosophy and worldview; a good (and accessible) book for believers and skeptics alike. (8)
  • Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton – listened to this fun pirate tale on CD with the girls; a bit on the PG-13 side, which should make it just right for a summer movie coming soon (6)

August (4)

  • Voyager: Seeking New Worlds in the Age of Discovery by Stephen J. Pyne – story of the Voyager space probes contextualized within voyages of discovery throughout history; a little long at times, but space stuff fascinates. (6)
  • The Case for Civility: And Why Our Future Depends on It by Os Guinness – much-needed take on the place of religion in American society; eloquently written and intelligently argued (which is exactly why most politicians will never understand it). (8)
  • The Discomfort Zone by Jonathan Franzen – Webster Groves native’s/bestselling novelist’s personal history; good writing about growing up in St. Louis, but sad and unfulfilling. (6)
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – first of an adventure/sci-fi trilogy that garnered rave reviews from our sophomore literature students (no small feat); where were books like this when I was in high school? (7)

September (1)

  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – writing so good you barely notice how dysfunctional and depressing Albert Lambert and his family really are; just a little redemption, please? (8)

October (2)

  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – the story of Katniss and her battle with the Capitol continues (though this one dragged a bit compared to the first). (5)
  • Next by Michael Crichton – there are too many characters to keep track of and the story is all over the place and silly at times (talking animals, etc.), but Crichton’s always interesting when it comes to fictionalizing science (in this case, transgenics). (5)

November (3)

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – the final book of The Hunger Games series, the ending of this kids’ version of Running Man was not predictable, but not really fulfilling either. Glad I read it, but glad it’s over. (5)
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King – quick read (half a day) over Thanksgiving about a young girl who gets lost in the woods and experiences the best paranoia KIng can come up with. (5)
  • Half Broke Horses by Jannette Walls – this prequel to Walls' Glass Castle (which I liked) is really her grandmother's memoir written as fiction. Deep characters, great writing, powerful story. (8)

 December (8)

  • Re:Thinking Worldview by J. Mark Bertrand – helpful book on worldview written by an English major rather than a philosopher of theologian (though he's not bad at those, either); different. (8)
  • The Universe Next Door by James Sire – this classic text on worldviews and religions is succinct and to the point concerning the beliefs that have shaped our world; every Christian should read this. (9)
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – couldn't remember having read this before, so I pulled it off the shelf for abeautiful picture of a man coming to terms with God and his sovereignty. (8)
  • Jack by George Sayer – a biography of C.S. Lewis by one of his university friends; a little dry in general, but okay (Lewis is a hero). (6)
  • Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey – Pearcey totally destroys the whole sacred/secular and public/private dichotomies; Francis Schaeffer in female form. (10)
  • Fasting: A Neglected Discipline by David R. Smith – a helpful little old-school (1954) evanglical book on the purpose, benefits, dangers, and methods of fasting. (7)
  • God's Chosen Fast: A Spiritual and Practical Guide to Fasting by Arthur Wallis – another small book (110 pages) on the discipline of fasting; this one has more practical details and how-tos. (7)
  • Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Faithfulness and Homosexuality by Wesley Hill – HIll, a gay Christian, explains why celibacy is the only choice for homosexuals who want to walk with God; beautifully written and biblically sound, this book is a must-read for the Church today. (10)
  1. I’ve been reading N.T. Wright’s books this year (Simply Christian, Surprised by Hope & presently After You Believe). I’ve enjoyed all three but especially Surprised by Hope. I had been coming to those conclusions as I’ve engaged life in God’s Kingdom and reading Wright’s book helped give me a greater picture of Kingdom and resurrection life.
    Surprised by Hope is a fabulous book that I wish everyone would read.

  2. Impressive list. As always, I’m envious of the extent of your reading.
    However, I bet I saw MANY more reruns of Star Trek the Next Generation than you did this year.

  3. Appreciate the back-up endorsement of Wright, Rob. Have you read his more academic works (Jesus and the Victory of God, The New Testament and the People of God)? Just curious.
    Nick, indeed, you put me to shame when it comes to the Next Generation (though I did watch the first Star Trek movie again after I finished the book on Voyager if that counts for anything).

  4. I haven’t read his more academic work Craig, only the three, The Lord and His Prayer & The Challenge of Jesus. I figure at some time I’ll get to those.

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