Yes, I know, it’s the first day of spring. Yes, I know the whole “2022 book list” thing expired about four months ago. But here I am anyway, posting my reading list from last year. It’s something I’ve made a habit of for several years now. (You can look at my last few years worth of joy-ride reading here.)
I do this for two reasons. First, I know that I certainly like to snoop on other people’s reading lists. I’m always trolling for new ideas and I always find goodies from other people. Second, I like to keep myself informed of my own reading pace. I use Goodreads to track my books and usually set a “reading challenge” goal for myself each new year, which lets me see my own pace.
Of course, joy reading means you can’t be dogmatic about it. For whatever reason, I read fewer books in 2022 than the previous two years. And I’m already fifteen books deep in 2023. So be it. I don’t over-analyze my own reading habits. The rule is simple: Read all sorts of things, all the time.
I usually make up some fake awards as a sort of summary of highlights and lowlights, so here are this year’s winners:
- Best for My Brain: Given some of my own training and interests, I was bound to like this book, but Brock and Sutanto’s Neo-Calvinism was really just excellent stuff.
- Best for My Heart: I really loved reading slowly through Holmes’ A Theology of the Christian Life. Highly recommended for the theologically inclined.
- Book I Remember the Least: Jacob’s Breaking Bread with the Dead. Sorry. I know this opinion is Verboten, but I think most of Jacobs’s work is overrated.
- Surprisingly Useful: Bobby Jamieson is a friend of mine and he didn’t pay me to say this. Nor do I mean that I wasn’t expecting Bobby’s book to be useful. But I read his The Path to Being a Pastor to consider recommending to my students and actually found it very instructive and edifying for myself. Well done.
- Most Over-Rated: Stavrakopoulou’s God: An Anatomy. I think this book was supposed to be some kind of creative breakthrough in biblical studies, but it turned out to be a fairly dull experiment in Amelia Bedelia pseudo-metaphorical interpretation.
- Nerdiest: Duncan’s hilariously titled Index, A History of the was really as good as you would hope. Fully of historical nuggets and rampantly fun prose.
- Most Likely to Make You Break into Song: Llewellyn’s How Green Was My Valley is a beautiful but tragic memoir about the change of an era in a small, Welsh coal town. Read with tissues at hand.
The Full List (by category)
Bible & Theology
- Dean R. Ulrich, Now and Not Yet: Theology and Mission in Ezra-Nehemiah
- Francesca Stavrakopoulou, God: An Anatomy
- Russell D. Moore, The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home
- Cynthia Long Westfall, Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Mission for Men and Women in Christ
- Graeme Goldsworthy, According to Plan
- Christopher R. J. Holmes, A Theology of the Christian Life: Imitating and Participating in God
- Peter J. Gurry and John D. Meade, Scribes and Scripture: The Amazing Story of How We Got the Bible
- Kevin DeYoung, Men and Women in the Church: A Short, Biblical, Practical Introduction
- Kevin DeYoung, What is the Mission of the Church?
- Bobby Jamieson, The Path to Being a Pastor: A Guide for the Aspiring
- Aimee Byrd, Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
- Rachel Joy Welcher, Talking Back to Purity Culture: Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality
- John G. Crawford, Baptism is not Enough: How Understanding God’s Covenant Explains Everything
- Michael J. Kruger, Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church
- Douglas F. Kelly, Creation and Change: Genesis 1:1-2:4 in the Light of Changing Scientific Paradigms
- Cory C. Brock and Nathaniel Gray Sutanto, Neo-Calvinism: An Introduction
Philology & Linguistics
- Peter Martin, The Dictionary Wars: The American Fight of the English Language
- Jonathon Green, Chasing the Sun: Dictionary Makers and the Dictionaries they Made
- Dennis Duncan, Index, A History of the: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age
- Klaus-Uwe, Introduction to Cognitive Pragmatics
- Stephen J. Nichols, R. C. Sproul: A Life
History & Politics
- Simon Goldhill, What is a Jewish Classicist? Essays on the Personal Voice and Disciplinary Politics
- Crawford Gribben, Survival and Resistance in Evangelical America: Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest
- Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation
- Alan Jacobs, The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis
- Richard V. Reeves, Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male is Struggling, Why it Matters, and What to Do About it
- Matthew Rose, A World After Liberalism: Philosophers of the Radical Right
- Simon Jenkins, A Short History of Europe: From Pericles to Putin
- David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays
- Jeremy Wade, How to Think Like a Fish and Other Lessons from a Lifetime in Angling
- Tristan Gooley, How to Read Water: Clues & Patterns from Puddles to the Sea
- Anthony Esolen, No Apologies: Why Civilization Depends on the Strength of Men
- Doug Wilson, Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life
- Alan Jacobs, Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind
- Malcolm Gladwell, Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know
- Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
- Gary L. Thomas, When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People
- Debbie Mirza, The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist
- Aundi Kolber, Try Softer: A Fresh Approach to Move Us Out of Anxiety, Stress, and Survival Mode
- John Grisham, The Whistler (The Whistler 1)
- John Grisham, The Judge’s List (The Whistler 2)
- John Grisham, The Boys from Biloxi
- John Grisham, The Guardian
- Gregg Hurwitz, The Survivor
- Gregg Hurwitz, Dark Horse (Orphan X 7)
- Gregg Hurwitz, The Tower
- Stephen King, Salem’s Lot
- Fredrik Backman, Anxious People
- Richard Llewellyn, How Green Was My Valley
- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (HP 1)
- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (HP 2)