Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Year in Books

As I was trying to figure out what would be appropriate for the first post of the year, I thought about the important role of books. Books tell a lot about a person, and for a moment I wasn't sure I could be vulnerable enough to make this list. But for lack of a better idea, I thought I'd share. I'd appreciate your recommendations at the end.

In roughly chronological order (since I am usually reading more than one book at a time, this was pretty much impossible to figure out), here is a list of the books I read this year, with a few comments:
  • Orthodoxy, by G. K. Chesterton. I enjoyed this, especially some of the earlier chapters. Chesterton has a delightful sense of humor.
  • Philosophical Problems of Quantum Physics, by Werner Heisenberg. I think more practicing scientists should seriously reflect on the philosophy of the science. I don't think I actually finished this book due to end of year business, but it was interesting while it lasted.
  • Blue like Jazz, by Donald Miller. Thought-provoking and a good read. Can't remember exactly when I read it.
  • Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech. I'm glad I finally got around to reading this, upon recommendation of a good friend.
  • The Same Stuff as Stars, by Katherine Paterson. Young adult book about a girl in a struggling family. Another good read, and not as depressing as it sounds.
  • Everything Must Change, by Brian McLaren. You should read this if you want to be involved in discussion concerning the emerging church. See my posts on this book for further comments.
  • The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief, by George M. Marsden. I learned so much reading this book that has stuck with me. Especially highly recommended to those who are in academia.
  • My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok. Intense but very good. I expected no less from this good author. If you've never heard of him, you have some good reading ahead of you.
  • The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard. This is my all-time favorite of the year (probably of the decade!). Tremendously encouraging. Read it, if you haven't already.
  • Persuasion, by Jane Austen
  • The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I picked this up to help me get through finals week. I think this was the third time through, but I hadn't read it since high school, so I really enjoyed the richness that I'd forgotten about.
  • Also some poems by Emily Dickinson and Wendell Barry
  • Of course, I have also spent quite a bit of time with physics and math textbooks,mostly regarding but not limited to quantum mechanics.
Books I'm reading (yes, this habit of mine does make my bedside table rather top-heavy):
  • The Two Towers, by Tolkien. Once again, this is a re-read.
  • What the Best College Teachers Do, by Ken Bain. (Upon recommendation by my housemate)
  • Hinduism, by H.L. Richard (upon recommendation by my Dad)
  • One World: The Interaction of Science and Theology, by John C. Polkinghorne. I picked this up at a used book sale for reading on the bus (because it was relatively light-weight) and found myself not wanting to put it down when I got off the bus.
Here are some books that I hope to read in the near future (hopefully in the coming year)
  • Knowing Christ Today, by Willard
  • The Spirit of the Disciplines, by Willard
  • Shakespeare's Sonnets
  • The Return of the King, by Tolkien
This last list is shorter than it should be: partly because I am tired right now and can't think of any others, and partly because I need some recommendations!

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