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My 2018 Reading in Review

Time for a quick recap of my 2018 reading. I’ve done several reading posts through the year so this can just be a summary.

Thanks to Goodreads I can report I read 71 books in 2018. 33 of those were fiction, the remaining 38 were mostly history and theology, with a few biographies thrown in. Though I have a large virtual stack of unread books in my Kindle app, most of my reading this year was still dead tree books. (Maybe this year I can start plowing through the electronic ones…)

A few notable favorites for the year:

Her Gates Will Never Be Shut: Hell, Hope, and the New Jerusalem by Bradley Jersak
Meeting Brad Jersak and hearing him teach this past summer at the Water to Wine Gathering was a highlight of my year. In this book Brad sketches a truly hopeful view of final things, of an eternal city whose gates are always open and inviting. I need to go re-read this one.

The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone
I’m sure I wasn’t ready to read this one when it was published back in 2011. But to pick it up in late 2018 and read Dr. Cone’s insightful parallels between the cross on which Jesus suffered and the trees on which so many black people were lynched throughout American history was a powerful thing. I was struct by how the Bible is adaptable and interpretable (a more palatable word to some might be “relevant”) to such diverse swaths of the human experience.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
This one is a sort of alt-history crossed with Hidden Figures written from a strongly feminist viewpoint. Loved it. Next to pass it on to my daughters.

They weren’t all awesome.

Generally if I start in and after 40-50 pages I’m significantly unimpressed, I just put the book back on the return-to-library pile and pick up another one. Life’s too short to stick it out through bad books. There were a few clunkers, though, that I did manage to get all the way through and wouldn’t recommend. Two that stick out are Street Freaks by Terry Brooks (sci-fi writer trying cyber-punk and abusing every cliche in the genre) and The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey, which I wrote about earlier.

On to 2019!

I started the year thinking that I needed to burn through my Kindle and purchased book backlog. Then a week later I went to the library and borrwed four more books. Maybe I have a problem… but I guess it’s a good sort of problem to have.

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