Sunday, January 1, 2017

Books Books Books

Looking back over the last year, I read a lot more than I did in 2015. The following is my projected reading list for last year. Books I did not get to are shown with strikethrough text. My projected reading list for 2017 is underneath the 2016 list.


Common Grace and the Gospel (Cornelius Van Til)
Grave Peril (Jim Butcher)
Kingdom Prologue (Meredith Kline)
Fellowship of the Ring (JRR Tolkien)
Black Like Me (John Howard Griffin)
The Road To Serfdom (FA Hayek)
Dune (Frank Herbert)
Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Thomas Piketty)
The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (Walter Marshall)
Mansfield Park (Jane Austen)
Christification (Jordan Cooper)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
**The Baptized Body (Peter Leithart)
Paul (Herman Ridderbos)
John WIlliamson Nevin (DG Hart)
The Desire Of Nations (Oliver O’Donovan)
Summer Knight (Jim Butcher)
Digital Gold (Nathaniel Popper)
The Homebrew Industrial Revolution (Kevin Carson)
Bourbon For Breakfast (Jeffrey Tucker)
(Books I read that were not on my official reading list)
Why Bother With Church? (Sam Allberry)
Baptized Into Christ (Jordan Cooper)
Sacred Bond (Michael Brown)
The Bounds Of Love (Joel McDurmon)
The Martian (Andy Weir)
Leviathan Wakes (James SA Corey)
Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
Ulysses (James Joyce)
The Law Of The Covenant (James Jordan)
Guards! Guards! (Terry Pratchett)
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Confessions (Augustine)
Caliban’s War (James SA Corey)
**Images of the Spirit (Meredith Kline)

** Books that I am currently in the middle of reading and will hopefully be finished with in the next week.



The Road To Serfdom (FA Hayek)
Bird Box (Josh Malerman)
The Four (Peter Leithart)
Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
Messiah The Prince (JK Wall)
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs)
Paul (Herman Ridderbos)
Summer Knight (Jim Butcher)
The Desire Of Nations (Oliver O’Donovan)
Abaddon’s Gate (James SA Corey)
The Sirens Of Titan (Kurt Vonnegut)
Dune Messiah (Frank Herbert)
The Homebrew Industrial Revolution (Kevin Carson)
Anathem (Neal Stephenson)
The Gift Of Death (Jacques Derrida)
The Coming Of The Third Reich (Richard Evans)
Howard’s End (EM Forster)
A Meal With Jesus (Tim Chester)
Defending The Faith (DG Hart)
Frankenstein (Mary Shelly)
The Things They Carried (Tim O’Brien)
Furiously Happy (Jenny Lawson)
Two Towers (JRR Tolkien)
Christification (Jordan Cooper)
Le Morte d’Arthur (Thomas Malory)
We Become What We Worship (Greg Beale)
Men At Arms (Terry Pratchett)
The End Of Protestantism (Peter Leithart)
The Aeronaut’s Windglass (Jim Butcher)
Mansfield Park (Jane Austen)

My list for 2017 is a much more ambitious list than 2016, but I have learned a few things over the past year that I think can help make 2017 more productive. In 2015 I only read one book at a time, and I only read 14 books. In 2016, I started off with the same method, but I was confronted with the problem of having books that took large blocks of time to effectively read with small blocks of free time that I was able to read. This meant that for the first few months I had a lot of small pockets of free time that I wasn't reading. So I started to always be in an easier to read book as well as one that took more effort. (Lesson: some books don't travel well.)

For 2017, I have tried to structure the list less rigidly (not having any books attached to specific months, for instance) and have quite a few more books to choose from at varying levels of difficulty. I am hoping that starting this way at the beginning will help me be a more productive reader. I also realize that between other obligations (book groups, Sunday school classes, etc.) and requests for book reviews on a friend's blog, I might deviate some from the list and/or read additional books. With three exceptions, all the books that I did not read in 2016 that were on my list made it into my 2017 list. The three that did not I still plan to read, but since I democratized my list this year, I simply ran out of room. 2018 already has a few books earmarked, essentially.

Looking back I am happy with the books I read (except for Ulysses...there's a point of pride here I suppose, but I hate that book and it sucked so much time and energy away from me). While a number of books I really enjoyed, four in particular I would consider my favorites: Dune, Jane Eyre, John Williamson Nevin, and Crime and Punishment. Dune has been a story that I have enjoyed since I was a kid and watched the sci-fi (yes, before it was syfy) original mini-series. The book made me fall in love with the story all over again. Jane Eyre and Crime and Punishment are two classics that I now love. Jane Eyre is a much more complex and gritty love story than what Jane Austen writes and Crime and Punishment has gotten me interested again in Russian lit (looking at you soon, Tolstoy). Both of these books were recommended by the same friend, which has made me implicitly trust her recommendations (don't let me down...). Finally, John Williamson Nevin is a theologian I have become increasingly more interested in. I didn't expect to be excited over a biography, but I absolutely loved it. These four books I see myself rereading at some point.

I've become involved in 5 book series: Lord of the Rings (Tolkien), Dresden Files (Butcher), City Watch (Pratchett), Dune (Herbert), and the Expanse (Corey). Because of this there are other books I want to start, but I want to finish or get caught up in some series before I get involved with any more. Too many books to read, and so I will keep stretching to read more. Here's to you, 2017. I hope you are a good book year.

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