Saturday, January 01, 2011

2010 in Books

Reading Room
Inspired by last year's post, I will take the time to think about the books which I have read this year.  Since books shape the way I think so much, this is an excellent way to look back on the past year.

In roughly chronological order (starting with the books I listed as currently reading last year):

  • The Two Towers, and The Return of the King, by Tolkien. This was a re-read.
  • What the Best College Teachers Do, by Ken Bain. I read this book, recommended by a friend who is a graduate TA at Eastman, and definitely enjoyed it.  It was helpful to think about teaching methods and ideals, especially before I plunged into teaching my first course that summer.
  • Hinduism, by H.L. Richard Recommended by my Dad, this book is a brief look at that many-faceted religion.  A good starting place for understanding Hinduisum and those who follow it.  
  • One World: The Interaction of Science and Theology, by John C. Polkinghorne. This was one of the better 25 cent book sale purchases I made.  I'll have to look for more Polkinghorne!
  • Knowing Christ Today, by Dallas Willard.  If you like Willard, you should read this.  If you haven't read any of his books, start with the Divine Conspiracy, and then read this one. It is a good look at what it means to know God, and in typical Willard style, asks excellent questions and gives good answers.  For more on this book see a this post.  
  • Art for God's Sake: A call to Recover the Arts, by Phillip Graham Ryken.  A quick read, but thought-provoking.  See my two posts on this and other art-related topics here.
  • The Geurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer.  I recommend this interesting historical fiction book, which gives a glimpse of life on the channel islands during the war.  It is written as a series of letters.
  • Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God, by Francis Chan.  I read this book as part of a study group.  Chan's passion for God is wonderful to see, but due to certain attitudes expressed and potentially shaky theology I can't really say I recommend this book.   Perhaps I am simply not the target audience, but I found myself insulted and/or upset by quite a few sections in the book.  On the more positive side, from studying the book I did gain (I hope) a better understanding of God's incredible love for us.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain.  This was a long overdue read of this classic.  The middle section was a bit slow I confess, but overall it was an interesting look at that part of history.  
  • The Princess and the Goblin, and The Princes and Curdie, by George Macdonald.  A girl at my church was interested in these books, so I read them too (I think they were read aloud to me as a child).  If you haven't read any books by Macdonald yet, you are missing out. :)
  • Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation, by Isaac Asimov.  As you can see, I diverged from my usual reading to read this 'hard-core science fiction' series.  Set in the distant future but inspired in part by The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon, these books tell of the rise of an empire which has been planned out by the genius of a farsighted 'psychohistorian', who hopes to shorten the inevitable period of chaos following the fall of the previous galactic empire. 
  • The Samurai's Garden, by Gail Tsukiyama.  Another book sale buy.  Certainly not the best book I've read, but it did provide a glimpse at life in Japan during the first half of the last century.
  • Silas Marner, by George Elliot.  After I got through the first couple chapters, I enjoyed this book (the first I've read by Elliot).  I noted, however, that she seems to have a rather bleak view of humanity.
  • Sorcery and Cecilia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, by Wrede and Stevermer.  This book is not high quality reading, but it did provide an entertaining one-day read while on Christmas break.  
Books I'm reading (or hoping to get back too soon)
  • Surprised by hope, by N.T. Wright.  I have already written 4 posts on this book.  See them here.
  • The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, by Kiberlee Ireton.  This short book is one of my resources for my posting on the topic of the Church calendar.  
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by Rowling.  Yet another booksale purchase.  To answer your questions - no, I haven't read any of the others in the series (odd as this may seem).  
  • How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth, by Fee and Stuart.  I highly recommend this book.  The only reason I haven't finished it is that it is one of those books that needs to be read in stages, when the passages discussed can be studies alongside, and the techniques practiced.  
  • Praying, by Packer.  I have to confess I was slightly disappointed by this book.  It has good content, but sometimes it is slow going and I wish they had been a little more ruthless in the editing process.
Books I hope to read:
Rather than make another list -- do you have any recommendations?


  1. Good list. I enjoy George McDonald and the gentle way that he weaves theology into his fiction.

  2. I love How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, and I also read How to Read the Bible Book By Book. Great stuff!

  3. I'm glad you like these books too. :)

    Any recommendations?

  4. I always have to recommend I, Robot, in case you haven't read any of Asimov's robot stuff.

    For an amusing read, I recommend The Year of Living Biblically, by A.J. Jacobs.