Maybe I’ll start posting these every time again… but for now I’ve got a long-ish list of books I’ve finished already this year. Particular standouts are in bold. Here goes nothin’:
All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment by Hannah Anderson
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler
Virgil Wander by Leif Enger
The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby
Tisby carefully and methodically lays out the complicity and often encouragement that the American church gave to personal and institutional racism. A painful but needed reminder that we have a long way to go and a lot to make right.
The Killer Collective by Barry Eisler
Becoming the Gospel: Paul, Participation, and Mission by Michael J. Gorman
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch
The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem
We Need Each Other: Responding to God’s Call to Live Together by Jean Vanier
Vanier is a Catholic humanitarian who founded a federation of communities dedicated to caring for people with developmental disabilities. I’ve heard and watched a couple interviews with Vanier and his holiness and humility are immediately evident in a way that’s incredibly rare. (His On Being interview with Krista Tippett is a great one.)His book is similarly humble and holy.
Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield
My Traitor’s Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience by Rian Malan
Written prior to the end of apartheid in South Africa, Malan, a white South African journalist, tries to come to grips with the system of white supremacy that to him seems both wicked and unchangeable.
Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham
The Text of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Biblical Hebraica by Ernst Wurthwein
Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty by Gregory A. Boyd
Boyd makes the case that doubt can enhance faith, and that at times the need for certainty can be more damaging than helpful. I’m right there with him on that one.
Paul: A Biography by N. T. Wright
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Award-winning science fiction. Imaginative in a way that only the best sci-fi is.
Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream by Carson Vaughan
Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?: Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock by Gregory Alan Thornbury
A well-written and -researched biography of one of the truly fascinating characters of early contemporary Christian music.
All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung
Flee, Be Silent, Pray: An Anxious Evangelical Finds Peace with God through Contemplative Prayer by Ed Cyzewski
Cyzewski makes the case for contemplative prayer being not just helpful but necessary, and makes it sound easy enough that even this long-time evangelical feels like I should take up the practice.
At the moment I’ve got another long one going: Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. (1200 pages!)