Time for my annual roundup of what I read over the past year. While I’m often lousy at cataloging things, this list is easy enough thanks to Goodreads and their nice little iPhone app.
(If you just want to look at the list, go check it out over on Goodreads.)
I read 59 books this year. 36 were fiction, 23 were non-fiction. Most of that non-fiction was theology, with just a couple of biographies / histories thrown in. (I need to read some more history. I don’t read enough of it anymore.)
I rated far more things with five stars this year than I have in previous years. (15 books got 5 stars! That’s more than a quarter of everything I read!) I don’t know whether that means my rating standards are slipping or that my book selection standards are improving, but at least it means I have some good books to recommend.
There are five novels I gave five stars this year:
- The Fiddler’s Gun by A. S. Peterson – a fun Revolutionary War novel focused on the adventures of a teenage girl. (I’ve got the sequel, The Fiddler’s Green, sitting in my to-read pile… should get it read in 2013 sometime.)
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – a short Young Adult novel focused on two teenagers who are dying of cancer. It’s not as painful as it sounds, but it’s challenging and insightful.
- Redshirts, by John Scalzi – an odd sort of meta sci-fi romp that otherwise defies comparison
- The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr. – a fascinating fantasy story which I’m indebted to the Rabbit Room folks for recommending.
- Gathering String, by Mimi Johnson – a top-notch suspense/mystery novel whose author is a lovely lade I met once at a tweetup in Cedar Rapids.
On the non-fiction side, there were more 5-star books, but a few among those that particularly stood out:
- Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candace Millard – a fascinating tale of the election and assassination of President James Garfield.
- When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson. – This book of essays by the Iowa City author and professor is dense in the very best sense of the word. Thoughtful, insightful pieces on life and theology.
- An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land by William Stringfellow – powerful social critique of organizational and governmental “powers and principalities”.
I’m back at the reading for 2013, trying to finish up some Thomas Merton that I started back in December. If you’re so inclined, add me as a friend on Goodreads so we can interact about our reading throughout the year!