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My 2014 reading in review

Well, with 2014 in the books it’s time for my annual little review of my reading. This was a busy reading year for me – 74 books equals the most I’ve read in a year since I started logging my reading back in 2007.

My fiction/non-fiction split was pretty heavily weighted in the non-fiction direction – 45 non to 29 fiction. That non-fiction was pretty well distributed, too, still a lot of theology, but a good bit of history, biography, and economics. (And economics was more than just Piketty. Go me!)

The full list is on Goodreads but here are some of the highlights:

The Best

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The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson

This is a beautifully-written memoir by a much beloved pastor and author. Peterson tells stories from his years of ministry, emphasizing the call to a simple, faithful pastoral ministry. (Such a breath of fresh air in the days of celebrity megachurch pastors!) This was the volume I gave away as Christmas gifts this year. Really good.

From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism by Darren Dochuk51e9jZtEImL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

A detailed history of the roots of American Evangelicalism, from the Oklahoma radio evangelists of the 1930s, through the migration to Southern California, through the rise of Billy Graham, and all the way to the Moral Majority of Jerry Fallwell. Dochuk’s history is quite readable and fascinating for a guy like me who grew up in evangelicalism but didn’t really know its roots.

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The Anglican Way: A Guidebook by Fr. Thomas Mackenzie

I chipped in on the Kickstarter campaign for this book back in 2013, and boy was it ever worth it. Thomas, pastor at Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, wrote an introduction to Anglicanism for those Christians who may not be familiar with the tradition. Fr. Thomas: almost thou persuadest me to become an Anglican.

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The Rook: A Novel by Daniel O’Malley

This was my last book of the year, so hopefully I’m not just biased because it’s fresh in my memory. This was a great read, though, if you’re into the sort of supernatural spy mystery/thriller sort of thing. Funny, moves quick, keeps things interesting. Looking forward to the second book in the series sometime next year.

That’s Not All

In addition to those titles I also gave five star ratings to some classics that I re-read (several of the Harry Potter novels, read out loud with the family) or read for the first time (To Kill A Mockingbird was a notable gap in my experience.)

A vast majority of the books I read this year garnered either four or five stars. I hope this is because I did a better job of not wasting my time on books that never captured my interest. The (100 pages – your age) formula has been effective this year. If, 60-ish pages in I’m not engaged and enjoying the read, I’m not going to feel compelled to keep reading it.

Up Next

I still have a pile (though not as sizable as it once was) next to my bed that will keep my reading well into 2015. Most likely I will be reading:

  • Prayer by Tim Keller. (It’s Keller. Duh.)
  • Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Unset. (A historical novel written in the early 1920s by a Norwegian author who won the Nobel Prize for literature. Obscure but highly recommended by those in the know.)
  • Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris. The next volume of his Theodore Roosevelt biography. The last one was excellent.
  • Paul and the Faithfulness of God by N. T. Wright. I got this one for Christmas last year and didn’t get very far. I think I’m ready to give it a go here sometime soon.
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson. Her follow-up to the excellent Gilead.

Happy 2015, everybody!

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