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2019 Reading, Compendium #4

Goodness, I’ve let this go a while without providing a list. Here we go…

Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America by Darren Dochuk
A fascinating look at how the oil industry worked hand in hand with evangelical Christianity to shape America in the 20th century. Read Heath W. Carter’s 5-star review over at Christianity Today.

The Rule of Law by John Lescroart
Meh. This series has gone on far too long at this point.

My Antonia by Willa Cather
Easily my favorite of Cather’s Prairie Trilogy.

The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt: The History of a Civilization from 3000 BC to Cleopatra by Toby Wilkinson
The book wasn’t quite as long as the empire. Still trying to get my head around a legitimate empire that spanned millennia. Astounding.

Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
I remember almost nothing about this book.

On The Neurobiology of Sin by Lazar Puhalo
A short treatise by an Orthodox bishop addressing, among other things, homosexuality and transgenderism. Reads like an undergraduate-level paper on genetics combined with a couple weak blog posts on theology. I was disappointed.

The Inner Kingdom by Kallistos Ware
A collection of essays from an Eastern Orthodox bishop.

God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America by Lyz Lenz
I have a complicated relationship with this book, but I think it has some good insights about the church in the Midwest.

Last Day by Domenica Ruta
An interesting concept for a novel that never really came together.

Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin
Now this one was well worth reading. A beautiful novel about a medieval Russian “holy fool”. Rod Dreher has a nice piece about it if you want to read more.

Normal People by Sally Rooney
Maybe normal people are boring. Or at least this book was.

Reading Romans Backwards: A Gospel of Peace in the Midst of Empire by Scot McKnight
Start at the end of Romans, Dr. McKnight says, understand the context and audience, and then work your way back to get a better perspective on what the doctrinal passages mean. Interesting.

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
Picked up at random off the library shelf. A fantasy novel from a Middle Eastern Muslim perspective. Enjoyed it, though didn’t feel like the last third held up to the promise of the first two-thirds.

The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race by Willie James Jennings
Oh man, this one was thick. A hard read but some good insight.

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
The other book I read by Wilson the past couple months. Sort of a cyberpunk fantasy novel set in the Arab Spring in Egypt. Dug it.

The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity by Kallistos Ware
A historical and doctrinal primer by one of the esteemed bishops of the Orthodox Church.

Stokely: A Life by Peniel E. Joseph
A biography of Stokely Carmichael, the founder of the Black Panther Party. Knew nothing about him before reading the book. Quite a charismatic guy.

What Is a Girl Worth?: My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics by Rachael Denhollander
I knew this woman was a hero for publicly coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Nasser. What I didn’t realize before reading the memoir was how integral she was in every part of building and executing the case against him. So much to love about this book and its heroes, Rachael and her faithful husband Jacob.

Dignity: Seeking Respect in Back Row America by Chris Arnade
This one really merits its own post. Arnade traveled the country exploring “back row America” and its people. Gripping personal narratives and photography.

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