Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Books Books Books (3.0)

The past few years I have done a comparison of what I planned to read and what I actually read in addition to coming up with a specific reading list to read for the next year. This year has been a year of change and so I won't have a thorough reading list for next year (but I have ideas!). I started using audiobooks this last year and so my reading goals have become much more fluid. I read a total of 61 books this year, ("read" as in consumed with my ears or eyes). Italicized titles in this list are books that I listened to.

Between the World and Me (Ta Nehisi Coates)
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass)
The Fire Next Time (James Baldwin)
The Two Kingdoms (Brad Littlejohn)
Blood Rites (Jim Butcher)
Dead Beat (Jim Butcher)
Way of Kings (Brandon Sanderson)
Dracula (Bram Stoker)
Perdido Street Station (China Mieville)
Feet of Clay (Terry Pratchett)
Foundation (Isaac Asimov)
God Emperor of Dune (Frank Herbert)
Heretics of Dune (Frank Herbert)
Chapterhouse: Dune (Frank Herbert)
The Return of the King (JRR Tolkien)
A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess)
The Player of Games (Iain Banks)
Cibola Burn (James SA Corey)
Breakfast of Champions (Kurt Vonnegut)
The Idiot (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Interview With the Vampire (Anne Rice)
Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)
Underground Airlines (Ben Winters)
Sunshine (Robin McKinley)
Hillbilly Elegy (JD Vance)
Homebrew Industrial Revolution (Kevin Carson)
Evicted (Matthew Desmond)
Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell)
The Big Short (Michael Lewis)
Ender’s Game Live (Orson Scott Card)
The Last of the Doughboys (Richard Rubin)
Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe)
The City & The City (China Mieville)
A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald)
Boneshaker (Cherie Priest)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
The Anubis Gates (Tim Powers)
East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
Inferno (Dante)
Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
The Winter of Our Discontent (John Steinbeck)
Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
Railsea (China Mieville)
The Coming Storm (Michael Lewis)
The Fifth Season (NK Jemisin)
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke)
Lullaby (Jonathan Maberry)
New Spring (Robert Jordan)
The Census Taker (China Mieville)
The Devils (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)
Notes From Underground (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
The Wright Brothers (David McCullough)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Seth Grahame-Smith)
Artemis (Andy Weir)
A Game of Thrones (George RR Martin)
Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician (Anthony Everitt)
A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K Le Guin
Right Ho, Jeeves (PG Wodehouse)

Hardcopy: 21 books
Audiobook: 40 books

I started listening to audiobooks in late May and made it through 40 this year. If I extend it through and entire year, and get more disciplined at reading in my spare time, I hope to get through 100 books in 2019. This last year I largely quit reading theology. I plan on continuing a break from theology in the next year, with the exception of possibly turning Vos' Reformed Dogmatics into a devotional.

I read a few biographies I wasn't planning on this year. Because of that, I have decided to make next year heavy on biographies. There are a number of biographies that I want to read this next year: Dostoyevsky, Vos, Luther, Rasputin, Vlad, Cleopatra, Hannibal, Bill Waterson, JFK, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, and Lovecraft. These are the ones that have come to mind while looking ahead.

This year I finished the other 4 major Dostoyevsky novels and finally read Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. I want to continue to read Russian literature as well as branch out to French and Egyptian literature. I also plan on working through the other major Steinbeck novels, and while I'm running around American literature, possibly jumping into more F Scott Fitzgerald and taking my first steps into Hemingway. Steinbeck and Dostoyevsky were both situated as two of my favorite authors since this year rekindled my love of both.

NPR has a list of 100 sci-fi/fantasy books to read. When you break down all the series into individual books, it actually comes out to 352 (by my count). I have read 35 of them. 2019 will be a year where I will be hopefully making some progress on this list. This coincides with my plan to read through the Dresden Files (not on the list) again in preparation for book 16, and my desire to start exploring more steampunk books. China Mieville was a gem for me to discover this year. I read my first PG Wodehouse last week and I loved it. I hope to read my first Wendell Berry this week and I expect to love it as well. If that is accurate, PG Wodehouse and Wendell Berry are two other authors that, along with Kurt Vonnegut, I hope to read a lot of in 2019.

Two books that have come up through twitter that I hope to get to are the Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges and Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin. I also hope to finish the last book and a half in Dante's Divine Comedy. I was hoping to have them all finished this year, but life happened.

Looking back at the books that I finished, there were a number of books that stuck out to me. My favorite books of the year were: The Fire Next Time, Perdido Street Station, Neverwhere, Evicted, The Brothers Karamazov, The Winter of Our Discontent, Anna Karenina, and A Wizard of Earthsea. My least favorites were: Foundation, An Interview With a Vampire, A Tale of Two Cities, Moby Dick, and Artemis. I don't regret having read any books this year, however.

Looking forward to 2019, there are many books that I plan to read. I have learned to be flexible and hold these reading plans loosely, which is why this year is very non-specific for my goals. Lets see how I do. 2020 will be the year I plan on getting back into some more dedicated theological reading, but this next year I just want to relax. Shoot for the stars and fall into the ocean: that is my philosophy for reading in the coming year. What a deep and surprising ocean it will likely be.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Sacramental Elogy

Sacramental Elogy
by: J Edward Knox

- - - - - -

Part 1: The Washing Born of water and Spirit One baptism offered Into the blessed name Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Monday, June 11, 2018

Never Ending Sleep

Never Ending Sleep
by: J Edward Knox

- - - - - -

Open your eyes to a bright new day
Nothing left to want; still less to say
Eyes still drooping
From wearied restless sleep

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Remades And Human Dignity

I've been reading Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. I'm not exactly sure how to classify it. It is recommended on NPR's 100 must read sci-fi and fantasy list, it is recommended on a number of steampunk lists, and it is also a defining book behind the new weird genre.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Two Stories Of David And Saul

In my private devotions I just finished 1 Samuel. It's a fascinating book every time that I read through it. We see the rise of the age of the kings of Israel. Samuel warns the people that they should not desire a king like the nations, but the thrust of the book of Judges is that Israel needs a king. 1 Samuel is the story of the rise of the king of Israel.

Monday, May 28, 2018

What Is Love?

There is a scene in Black Panther where Ulysses Klaue is being interrogated. As he is taped to the chair he sings "What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more". Though intended as a mockery in the movie, it's a good question. Love is commonly appealed to, and very rarely described or defined. This is an unfortunate reality today. In order to actually love, we must understand what love is. The Apostle Paul can help us here.

Saturday, April 28, 2018


by: J Edward Knox

- - - - - -

A call to the sleeper,
Stir yourself awake
Rouse your spirit
Facing your grim reaper
Anguish he can take