Books

A Summary of 2011 Reading

Here's a summary of some of the high and low points in my reading last year. Maybe it will help you determine what to read (and what to avoid!) in 2012. 

Most helpful spiritually:

The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin - Kris Lundgaard
John Owen on the Christian Life - Sinclair Ferguson
Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul - Octavius Winslow
Apostasy from the Gospel - John Owen
Red Like Blood: Confrontations with Grace - Joe Coffey & Bob Bevington

Best theology:

John Owen on the Christian Life - Sinclair Ferguson
The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God - John Frame 
Trinitarian Spirituality: John Owen and the Doctrine of God in Western Devotion - Brian Kay 
The Triumph of Grace: Augustine’s Writings on Salvation – N. R. Needham (though I haven't finished it yet)

Worst theology:

Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lives - Rob Bell

Best biographies:

Augustine of Hippo: A Biography - Peter Brown
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt - Edmund Morris

Best novel:

Saturday - Ian McEwan

Most enjoyable:

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction - Alan Jacobs
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt - Edmund Morris
Friendship: An Expose - Joseph Epstein

Most unique:


Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

Most thought-provoking:

Trinitarian Spirituality: John Owen and the Doctrine of God in Western Devotion - Brian Kay
Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation - James K. A. Smith


Most disappointing: 

What Dreams May Come - Richard Matheson
How to Write a Sentence (and How to Read One) - Stanley Fish

My top recommendations for our church members for 2012:

Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well - Randy Newman
The Meaning of Marriage - Tim and Kathy Keller 
King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Story of Jesus - Tim Keller 
Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself - Joe Thorn
Red Like Blood: Confrontations with Grace - Joe Coffey & Bob Bevington

What did you read in 2011 that you would recommend to others? 

6 comments:

Michael Wright said...

Excellent list.

Number one on my recommendations list would be "The Valley of Vision" hands down.

Second would probably be "A Tale of Two Sons" by MacArthur.

Lee Dodd said...

Best Theology:
The Holiness of God, RC Sproul
The Marrow of Modern Divinity, Edward Fischer
Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin
Worship in Spirit and Truth, John Frame

Most helpful spiritually:
Mortification of Sin, John Owen

Others I enjoyed:
Fair Sunshine, Jock Purves
Heaven Taken by Storm, Thomas Watson

Best Biographies:
This Was John Calvin, Thea Van Helsema
George Whitefield, Arnold Dallimore
In the Light of Eternity: Leonard Ravenhill, Mack Tomlinson

Amanda said...

I read a ton of books about twins in 2011, but it's not really necessary to mention them here.

I really want to read the Kellers' new marriage book. I'm not sure if I want to read the marriage book by the Driscolls even though I really liked their Peasant Princess series.

mwh said...

I was required by my employer to read a Stanley Fish book a while back; I was not impressed either.

I currently have my nose in two small F. F. Bruce books. I'm certainly his most loyal--and possibly only--fan, but his irenic style works for me (ironically).

Brian G. Hedges said...

Michael: I also loved Valley of Vision and return to it fairly often.

Lee: Thanks for all the recommendations. Finishing Calvin's Institutes is one of my goals for 2012!

Amanda: The Keller book is the best all-round book on marriage I've read. Most comprehensive in covering difficult issues with wisdom. Also best grounding in good theology. My only complaint is that it's sloppily written in a few places. Looks like it could have had better editing and it lacks the literary beauty of Mike Mason's book The Mystery of Marriage. As for Driscoll, I've only skimmed and spot-read. The strengths of their book seem to be their vulnerability about their own struggles and their frank discussion about sex. Others have given plenty of critique, which you've probably already seen. I'd say it's not the first book on marriage I'd hand most people, but it could be very helpful in certain situations.

Thanks for all the comments!

Brian G. Hedges said...

Oh - and mwh (Didn't mean to leave you out!): I largely agree with your appreciation for F. F. Bruce. I've recently been in his commentary on the Thessalonian letters. Whatever else may be said about him, Bruce was a faithful workman with the text.