I set a goal this past year to read one book a week. And, other than the two weeks in Anaheim I did ok maintaing that pace checking in at 48 books read (not counting the Bible – which I think ought to be read in its entirety (at a minimum) by every Christian, every year. You’ll see comments on most books below.
Bible & Commentaries
The Holy Bible English Standard Version (ESV) – it should go without saying that the Bible is at the top of every Christian’s reading list, but sadly, the American church is in the sad state of shape it’s in because it is often unsaid and, therefore, the Bible is unread. My goal was to read through the Bible three times this past year – I missed my goal, having read it through 2.5 times.
The Message of 1 Corinthians by David Prior
1 Corinthians by John Calvin
Colossians and Philemon by N.T. Wright
The Message of Colossians and Philemon by R.C. Lucas
On the New Testament (A Book You Will Actually Read) by Mark Driscoll
On the Old Testament (A Book You’ll Actually Read) by Mark Driscoll – both of these books by Mark Driscoll are well worth the read. They’re short, to the point and very readable.
The Way of Ignorance: And Other Essays by Wendell Berry – good book, provocative
Moral Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture by Christian Smith – one of the best books I’ve read. Can be slow as the material is dense and I’m not a sociologist.
Longing to Know by Esther Lightcap Meek – another home run book. Addresses in everyday language the question of how we know what we know.
Who Do You Say That I Am: Christology and the Church edited by Donald Armstrong – a nice collection of articles by various writers addressing the person and work of Christ. Helpful for those seeking to understand the uniqueness of Christ in our age.
Household of God (Biblical Classics Library) by Lesslie Newbigin – One of my all time favorite books by one of my all time favorite authors. This was about the 5th time I’ve read this cover-to-cover.
The Heidelberg Catechism: A New Translation for the Twenty-first Century by Lee C. Barrett III – a nice update of a classic Reformation catechism. Not worth the money, though – instead, go to the devotional section on this blog and read this year’s devotionals based on the Heidelberg Catechism
Kierkegaard for Beginners by Donald D. Palmer – an ok intro. Accessible to the Average Joe who wants to know more about an interesting man.
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions edited by Arthur G. Bennett – an all time favorite. I’ve read this too many times to count.
John Calvin: A Heart For Devotion Doctrine & Doxology edited by Burk Parsons – well worth the money.
To Die Is Gain: The Triumph of John and Betty Stam by Mrs. Howard Taylor – interesting story told very tepidly. Too bad.
Convergence: Spiritual Journeys of a Charismatic Calvinist by Sam Storms – Good book for the thoughtful Christian wanting to integrate their Charismatic experience with sound theology.
The Yankee Years by Joe Torre – an interesting look into the life of one of the best managers in baseball.
Christianity and Culture
Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church by Michael Horton – Hit book of the year. Very challenging to the American Christian world. Must read.
Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church by Reggie McNeal – good intro to “missional church.” Not much to offer, though, for those who’ve had some exposure to the theme.
No More Spectators: The 8 Life-Changing Values of Disciple Makers by Mark Nysewander – so unremarkable that I cannot even remember 1 life-changing value, let alone 8.
Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth by Jeffrey Satinover – A must read if you wish to engage the cultural question of homosexuality.
Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today’s World by Richard J. Mouw – A bit disappointing. I was hoping for something more substantial from such an intriguing title and a sharp author.
In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life by Sinclair Ferguson – High hopes based on other works by Ferguson were not met in this book. It is a fine book, though, and worth reading.
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith by Timothy Keller – As usual, Keller shines in this book. Well worth the money.
Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Timothy Keller – Very good book and analysis of cultural idolatry.
In the Footsteps of Paul by Ken Duncan – a photo journalistic book portraying images from Paul’s missionary journeys. A very nice coffee table type book.
Note: Genghis Khan is one of my favorite historical figures. His military accomplishments are unparalleled in history. The Conn Iggulden books are historical fiction – exceptionally well written.
The Devil’s Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe by James Chambers
Mongol Warlords by David Nicolle – didn’t think to much of this book. Perhaps it was because I’d read it late it the game on Genghis, but, actually, I don’t think it was well written book.
Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection by John Man
Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden
Genghis: Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden
Genghis: Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden
With the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon walk I was intrigued by the men who traveled into space. The Piers Bizony book was a nice treatment of the moon landing. The Neil Armstrong book was a wonderful portrayal of a seminal figure in American history. The book, “Magnificent Desolation”, about the life of Buzz Aldrin, was a dismal portrayal of a man whose life is aptly described in the title – don’t waste your money.
One Giant Leap: Apollo 11 Remembered by Piers Bizony
The Last Man on The Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America’s Race in
Space by Donald A. Davis
First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen
Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon by Ken Abraham
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell – save your money, here’s the point: successful people are generally not self-made men/women. They are, in fact, often the beneficiaries of hidden advantageous, extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies not generally available to the larger populace. One interesting observation: it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice in your field to achieve excellence.
Rising from the Plains by John McPhee – on my all time favorite list. An interesting integration of western geological formation with narrative. A very good read.
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific - Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel – fantastic book about a surprisingly interesting topic – also on my “glad to have read” list.
In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson – now, my favorite Bryson book.
The Winners Manuel: For the Game of Life by Jim Tressel – good book on leadership and reproducing leaders.
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan – I saw the movie and had hoped the book would be better – it wasn’t.
Note: When I travel – and only when I travel – I read Louis L’Amour books. He is one of my favorite storytellers and I love the Southwest/High Sierra states.
High Lonesome by Louis L’Amour
Radigan by Louis L’Amour
Under the Sweetwater Rim by Louis L’Amour
The Trail To Crazy Man by Louis L’Amour