It was a pretty personally disappointing year of reading, both in terms of quantity (didn’t even average two/month) and quality (the least amount of theology and classics reading I've done in the past five years). In conducting the autopsy here, I realize that I simply tried to read too many books at once; as a result, I lost interest in several and found it hard to pick back up when and where I left off with a few.
New year, new rule: no more than three books (preferably of different genres) at a time.
Those qualifiers out of the way, it’s with great shame that I post my annual booklist, complete with notes and rankings (10 is highest) for each. In light of the thin offerings, perhaps a look through my previous years' lists (2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006) will aid in your search for a good book. Hope to do better in 2012 (please add your recs below).
January – June (0)
- Started Atlas Shrugged and about a dozen other books during this six-month period, but we moved/started a new life in Oklahoma, which is my only semi-legitimate excuse.
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – Absolutely dumbfounded by the fiscal prophecy of the first third of the book; the 1,000 pages dragged in the middle but still good. (7)
- The Case for Classical Christian Education by Douglas Wilson – A primer for anyone involved in classical Christian education; could do without some of the attitude, but okay. (7)
- The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo – Interesting read about Jobs and his role as innovator (not inventor) at Apple; some helpful strategy observations. (6)
- Repairing the Ruins edited by Douglas Wilson – Another of Wilson’s contributions, this one reads a little more moderately in terms of tone; good content. (8)
- Histories (volumes 1 & 2) by Herodotus – First two books I read on the iPad. Skimmed much of it, but parts made it a fascinating look into the ancient world. (6)
- Teacher by Mark Edmundson – Took 50 pages to get into memoir of Edmundson’s favorite teacher, but worth sticking it out; never get enough of these. (6)
- The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer – Skimmed through this once before, but had to read about/revisit more carefully the education I never received. (8)
- The Great Expectations School by Dan Brown – File under “Everything you’ve heard about urban public schools is true.” Sad take from a first-year teacher. (8)
- The Secret of Terror Castle (The Three Investigators #1) by Robert Arthur – Revisited (with my second daughter) my youth w/ Alfred Hitchcock-involved series; Investigators better than the Hardys. (7)
- Cardboard Gods by Josh Wilker – Nostalgic walk through 1970’s baseball cards with plenty of narcissism along the way; good idea, but could have been more. (4)
- Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki – Simple (but not simplistic) book that gets so much right about how people are motivated and enchanted; highlight of the fall. (9)
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – One of the saddest books I’ve read in terms of leadership and legacy. Jobs was a hero, but not for nearly as much as I thought. (8)
- Wisdom and Eloquence by Robert Littlejohn and Charles T. Evans – Lucid expression of classical Christian education from two long-time practitioners; well-written pedagogical gold. (9)
- Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places by Eugene Peterson – Read it too disjointedly, but this “conversation in spiritual theology” also seemed to wander a fair amount; still, some insights/moments. (7)
- Pastor by Eugene Peterson – Listened to this one and loved it. Peterson is both accurate and articulate in his description of his craft; best of the year for me. (10)