Friday, January 2, 2009

Favorite Books of 2008

David posted his favorite books for 2008, so I guess I may as well do the same.

First, here are all the books I read last year, listed alphabetically by author. This doesn't include newspapers, magazines, or restroom graffiti:

  1. Anonymous - The Way of a Pilgrim and the Pilgrim Continues His Way
  2. Bauby, Jean-Dominique - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  3. Brother Lawrence - The Practice of the Presence of God
  4. Bruce, A.B. - The Training of the Twelve
  5. Coleman, Robert - Des Meisters Plan der Evangelisation
  6. Coleman, Robert - The Master Plan of Evangelism (3rd? 4th? reading)
  7. Coupland, Douglas - All Families are Psychotic
  8. Dorsett, Lyle - A Love Observed: Joy Davidman's Life & Marriage to C.S. Lewis
  9. D'Souza, Tony - Whiteman
  10. Gaines, James - Evening in the Palace of Reason: Bach Meets Frederick the Great in the Age of Enlightenment
  11. Gresham, Douglas - Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis
  12. Harris, Robert - Enigma
  13. Harris, Robert - Fatherland
  14. Henry, Marguerite - White Stallion of Lipizza
  15. Hopko, Thomas - Christian Faith And Same Sex Attraction: Eastern Orthodox Reflections
  16. Iweala, Uzodinma - Beasts of No Nation
  17. Kolakowski, Leszek - Metaphysical Horror
  18. Neighbour, Randall - A Pocket Guide to Coaching Small Groups
  19. Lewis, C.S. - A Grief Observed (2nd reading)
  20. Lewis, C.S. - The Problem of Pain
  21. Long, Jimmy - Emerging Hope: A Strategy for Reaching Postmodern Generations
  22. Machiavelli, Niccolo - The Prince
  23. Nouwen, Henri - Beloved
  24. Nouwen, Henri - Can You Drink the Cup?
  25. Nouwen, Henri - In the Name of Jesus
  26. Pollan, Michael - In Defense of Food
  27. Reich, Christopher - Rules of Deception
  28. Rice, Anne - Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt
  29. Rice, Anne - Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana
  30. Richards, Jay (ed.) - Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition
  31. Robinson, Marilynne - Gilead
  32. Salinger, J.D. - Franny and Zooey
  33. Sayer, George - Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis
  34. Scazzero, Peter - Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
  35. Skinner, Betty Lee - With Integrity of Heart and Skillful Hand
  36. Tarnas, Richard - The Passion of the Western Mind (2nd reading)
  37. Thigpen, Paul (ed.) - My Daily Catholic Bible: Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition 20-Minute Daily Readings

9,441 pages. Seems like I ought to be a lot smarter, wiser, and more Godly than I am after all that. What's that verse about always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth?

In any case, here are my five favorites. I won't call them "best," because a book might be "best" for a particular purpose, but still not my favorite. And I won't include the Bible, because it's the obvious best and favorite. Of the 36 that remain, my faves as of this particular moment are:

  • #6 Coleman - A classic is a classic is a classic. Profound principles in a compact package.
  • #21 Long - Super insights into pomo people and times, and how to minister in this culture.
  • #28-29 Rice - Miraculously uncheesy imaginings about the days of Jesus before his ministry.
  • #31 Robinson - Transcendently beautiful Pulitzer-prize winning novel of forgiveness and transformation.
  • #36 Tarnas - A history of philosophy that reads like a novel and makes sense of the mess.
And the favorite among the favorites? That will have to wait for another post.


  1. Thanks for the list. That's a lot of books, especially because I know you probably read an equal amount in newspapers and magazines.

    A few observations/questions:

    1. You really DO like Nouwen
    2. So, was the Diving Bell book the autobiography he was "writing" in the movie? Either way, that story is incredible.
    3. That's funny that you read Coleman's book in German.
    4. Is Tony related to Dinesh?
    5. I'm interested to hear your thoughts on Scazzero's book.

  2. 1. Nouwen's books are so short that 3 of them barely add up to 1 by anyone else. Plus, he seems to show up a lot at my local library sale, so that's why I read so many.
    2. Yes. One reason I don't go to too many movies is that they often send me off to read related books. That's what happened here, but this is a short book ... about the length of a Nouwen.
    3. I read it while on my trip to Vienna. You do get a different perspective when reading a different language ... kind of like reading different English translations of the Bible.
    It's funny that you think it funny. It shows the inherent weakness of our educational system. At one time, college-educated people routinely read books in other languages, didn't they? (Or do I take college professors to be the norm, rather than their alumni?)
    4. I don't know. The book is semi-autobiographical, and the author is very clearly not pursuing Christ. If they are brothers, it may be something like the Hitchens siblings.
    5. We can talk about it. I really need to review it to figure out what I think about it, even though I read it recently. It was recommended to me and given to me, and I know a lot of people are reading it. I'm having a little trouble connecting the front of the book with the back of the book, and I'm having trouble connecting the recommendation to practice the Daily Office with the realities of my daily life. But as I said, I need to give it another look-see.