Because life is a series of edits

Booklist 2012

In Books, Writers on December 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm

As we close 2012, I give you the 21 books I read this year (along with my rating of each out of ten). Here's to 2013 being a year of reading and big ideas for all. Happy New Year!


  • The Third Conversion: A Novelette by R. Scott Rodin –
    A small book on relational fundraising as told through a set of
    conversations between development officers. Meh. (4)
  • The Price of Everything: A
    Parable of Possibility and Prosperity
    by Russell D.
    Roberts –
    Really liked this book and its narrative approach to understanding
    economics. (8)


  • Samson and the Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin – I’ve
    read several of these “men and porn” books and this is the best of the
    lot. (7)
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren Winner –
    A quiet book that brought me up to speed on some sadness of my friend’s
    last few years. Lauren always writes well; I just didn’t know what to do,
    say, or how to help after reading it. (6)

March (1)

  • Mark:
    The Beginning of the Gospel
    by Michael Card – The second of a four-book
    layman’s commentary on the Gospels. No one makes Jesus and the disciples
    come alive for me like Mike does. (7)

April (1)

  • The
    Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin
    by Kris Lundgaard –
    Liked this book’s distillation of John Owens’ books, Indwelling Sin and The
    Mortification of Sin
    . Helpful. (8)

May (3)

  • American
    Government: Brief Edition
    by James Q. Wilson – A succinct and helpful summary
    of all aspects of our American form of government. Now if it would just
    work… (7)
  • A Patriot's History of the United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen – Enjoyable history
    text that leans way right at times. (7)
  • A
    People’s History of the United States
    by Howard Zinn– Enjoyable history text that
    leans way left at times. (7)

June (1)

  • I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe – Loved Wolfe’s writing and story of a small town
    girl who goes to a big-time college and learns some hard (and sad)
    lessons. I want my girls to read this before they leave home…and I
    don’t. (9)


  • Desiring
    the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation
    by James K.A.
    Smith – Best book I read all year. Smith is a very good scholarly writer
    with even better ideas about education. Thesis: “What if education wasn't
    first and foremost about what we know, but about what we love?” Yes. (10)
  • Treasure

    by Robert Louis Stevenson – Listened to this with Megan and the girls in
    the van on vacation this summer. A classic. (9)

August (0)

September (1)

  • Bad
    Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics
    by Ross Douthat –
    my other favorite read of the year, Douthat’s book about the state of
    American Christianity (and how and why it is what it is) blew me away in
    its historical, cultural, and theological analysis. Wow. (10)

October (2)

  • Making
    It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life
    by David Allen  – Listened to this on a road trip and
    was glad to do so – best stuff I know of for getting better at getting
    things done. (8)
  • New
    Sales. Simplified.: The Essential
    Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development
    by Mike Weinberg  – Dynamic debut from my friend on the
    meat and potatoes of making the sale. Applied much to my marketing and fundraising
    plans for Veritas. (8)

November (2)

  • The
    Baylor Project: Taking Christian
    Higher Education to the Next Level
    by Barry G. Hankins and Donald D. Schmeltekopf – Can a Protestant
    university be a first-class research institution and preserve its soul? Engaging
    collection of essays on how Baylor is attempting to do just that. (7)
  • Community:
    Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support
    by Brad House – Seemed almost too
    co-dependent and used way too much Christian-ese to make the argument for why
    and how life should be lived in small groups. (5)

December (4)

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens  – Wanted to
    like this one more than I did. Let’s just say it all makes sense when you
    realize Dickens got paid by the word. (6)
  • The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined by Salman Khan – Great analysis of the limitations of traditional
    public education; good ideas about teaching true mastery; bad ideas about
    what a complete education can and should be. (5)
  • Redemption: Freed by Jesus from the Idols We
    Worship and the Wounds We Carry
    by Mike Wilkerson – Liked this one a
    lot as a primer on how sin works and how the Gospel calls us to respond.
    Best part: Exodus is the key text considered. (8)
  • King Alfred’s English: A History of the
    Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do
    by Laurie J. White and Marika Mullen – Really liked this book and its engaging
    convergence of literary, historical, and philological studies of English.

(Peruse booklists from previous years here: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006.)

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