What I’m Reading

As a professor, it probably comes as no surprise that I enjoy reading. It kind of comes with the territory. Then again, maybe some who read this page will be surprised at the somewhat random nature of the things I do read once you have a look below. There is a reason for that.

In my college and graduate years, I rarely read for pleasure. I simply didn’t think I had the time, so I focused on going deep with my assigned reading. There was nothing inherently wrong with that and, to be sure, I learned a lot with that approach. But I also missed out on a lot, since it is absolutely not the case that I (or you) don’t have the time for pleasure reading. That is a myth. Thankfully, I realized that early on in my doctoral years. That’s when I rediscovered my love of reading broadly — and as my whims led (as Alan Jacobs commends), which is what I make a practice of doing now. I find non-work-related reading particularly life giving, although admittedly there are some fuzzy boundaries with some books.

How do I get through so many books? Well, I don’t actually think this list is that many, so there’s that. I also don’t consider myself a particularly fast reader (nor is that the goal with joy-reading). Like everyone, I’m a busy individual. Yet pleasure reading can fit virtually anywhere. Here are two major ways I have discovered to fit reading into time I didn’t know I had:

  • Audiobooks: Some people feel hesitant to say they’ve “read” a book when in fact they listened to it. But I reject that entirely. Why? Because for much of western history — even up through the early 18th century — the act of reading was usually the same as the act of listening, since reading was generally an audible and public act (see here for a useful and brief survey). So if you listen to an audiobook, claim it! You have read it. Generally, I listen to audiobooks when I’m exercising, commuting to campus, or doing housework.
  • Kindle: Now, I don’t read everything on Kindle and I am — in general — firmly against digital library building. However, just as there are many books I would never buy and read on a Kindle, so also are there many books that I would never buy and read in physical print. Well, maybe not “never,” but not likely. That is where my Kindle has opened up new horizons of reading for me. In the five years since I’ve owned my Kindle, I’ve read countless books in the ten to fifteen minute period right before I go to sleep — books I probably never would have read otherwise.

So here’s a list of books I read in recent years. Note that this does not really include “work books” that were part of my academic research. Most or all of this is closer to “interest” reading, listed roughly chronologically as to when I read them throughout the year.

2020 Reading

  1. Marty E. Stevens, Leadership Roles of the Old Testament: King, Prophet, Priest, and Sage
  2. Roger Scruton, Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition
  3. C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength (The Space Trilogy, #3)
  4. George A. Kiraz, The Syriac Dot: A Short History
  5. George A. Kiraz, The New Syriac Primer: An Introduction to the Syriac Language
  6. Sebastian P. Brock, An Introduction to Syriac Studies
  7. Takamitsu Muraoka, Classical Syriac for Hebraists
  8. Mark Kurlansky, Paper: Paging Through History
  9. Fred Lapham, An Introduction to the New Testament Apocrypha
  10. Rachel Jankovic, Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches
  11. Tremper Longman III, Immanuel in Our Place: Seeing Christ in Israel’s Worship
  12. Gregg Hurwitz, Into the Fire (Orphan X, #5)
  13. Gregg Hurwitz, Trust No One
  14. Pierce Brown, Red Rising (Red Rising Saga, #1)
  15. Pierce Brown, Golden Son (Red Rising Saga, #2)
  16. Pierce Brown, Morning Star (Red Rising Saga, #3)
  17. Titania McGrath, Woke: A Guide to Social Justice
  18. Eric H. Cline, 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed
  19. Eric H. Cline, Digging Up Armageddon: The Search for the Lost City of Solomon
  20. Douglas Wilson, Future Men: Raising Boys to Fight Giants
  21. Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
  22. Richard Brash, Christian’s Pocket Guide to How God Preserved the Bible
  23. Ben Shapiro, The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great
  24. Jason Goodwin, Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire
  25. Tom Standage, A History of the World in 6 Glasses
  26. Weston W. Fields, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Short History
  27. Michael Reeves, Enjoy Your Prayer Life
  28. Matti Friedman, The Aleppo Codex: The True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the International Pursuit of an Ancient Bible
  29. Jemar Tisby, The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism
  30. Mark A. Noll, God and Race in American Politics: A Short History
  31. Mark A. Noll, The Civil War as a Theological Crisis
  32. Simon Schama, The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000 BC-1492 AD
  33. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
  34. David Walton, Three Laws Lethal
  35. Jocko Willink, Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual
  36. Stephen King, The Stand
  37. Stephen King, Pet Sematary
  38. Stephen King, The Shining
  39. Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  40. Dane C. Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers
  41. Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
  42. John Barton, A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths
  43. Benjamin J. Noonan, Advances in the Study of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic: New Insights for Reading the Old Testament
  44. Michael P. Theophilos, Numismatics: Greek Lexicography and the New Testament
  45. Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
  46. Shelby Steele, Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country
  47. Alan S. Bandy, Understanding Prophecy: A Biblical-Theological Approach
  48. Brent Nongbri, God’s Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts
  49. Ariel Sabar, Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife
  50. Dirk van Miert, The Emancipation of Biblical Philology in the Dutch Republic, 1590-1670
  51. Norman Lebrecht, Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947
  52. James Eglinton, Bavinck: A Critical Biography
  53. Barry Scott Wimpfheimer, The Talmud: A Biography
  54. Rod Dreher, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents
  55. Roger Scruton, How to Be a Conservative
  56. Judith Flanders, A Place For Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order
  57. J. I. Packer, Weakness Is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength
  58. Diane Langberg, Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church
  59. Christopher B. Krebs, A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus’s Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich
  60. Ernest Cline, Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2)
  61. Géza Vermès, The Story of the Scrolls: The Miraculous Discovery and True Significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls
  62. Brandon Sanderson, The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)
  63. John Grisham, A Time to Kill (Jake Brigance, #1)
  64. Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)

2019 Reading

  1. Louis Glinert, The Story of Hebrew
  2. Gregg Hurwitz, The Nowhere Man (Orphan X #2)
  3. Michael Crichton, Dragon Teeth
  4. Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles #1)
  5. Daniel Gordis, Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn
  6. Douglas Brinkley, American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race
  7. Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole, Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza
  8. Mark Gignilliat, A Brief History of Old Testament Criticism
  9. John A. L. Lee, The Greek of the Pentateuch: Grinfield Lectures on the Septuagint 2011-2012
  10. Tom Holland, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World
  11. Gregg Hurwitz, Hellbent (Orphan X #3
  12. Gregg Hurwitz, The Intern (Orphan X #3.5)
  13. Gregg Hurwitz, Out of the Dark (Orphan X #4)
  14. Jeffrey S. McDonald, John Gerstner and the Renewal of Presbyterian and Reformed Evangelicalism in Modern America
  15. Anthony Esolen, Defending Boyhood: How Building Forts, Reading Stories, Playing Ball, and Praying to God Can Change the World
  16. Greg Lanier, How We Got the Bible
  17. Jesús Pelaez and Juan Mateos, New Testament Lexicography: Introduction, Theory, Method
  18. Raymond B. Dillard, Faith in the Face of Apostasy: The Gospel According to Elijah and Elisha
  19. C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia #6)
  20. C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia #7)
  21. C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy #1)
  22. C. S. Lewis, Perelandra (Space Trilogy #2)
  23. C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy #3)
  24. Alec Motyer, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Loving the Old Testament
  25. Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism:  Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
  26. Ellis R. Brotzman and Eric. J. Tully, Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction
  27. Matt Perman, What’s Best Next
  28. David W. Daniels, Did Jesus Use the Septuagint?
  29. Alan Noble, Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age
  30. Peter J. Gentry, How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets
  31. Aaron Chalmers, Interpreting the Prophets: Reading, Understanding, and Preaching from the World of the Prophets
  32. Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles #2)
  33. Patrick Rothfuss, The Slow Regard of Silent Things (Kingkiller Chronicles #2.5)
  34. George R. Stewart, Earth Abides
  35. Stephen King, The Stand
  36. Rick Brannan, ed., The Acts of Pilate and the Descent of Christ into Hades
  37. O. Palmer Robertson, The Christ of the Prophets
  38. J. V. Fesko, Reforming Apologetics: Retrieving the Classic Reformed Approach to Defending the Faith
  39. Marty E. Stevens, Leadership Roles of the Old Testament: King, Prophet, Priest, and Sage
  40. Tremper Longman III, Confronting Old Testament Controversies: Pressing Questions about Evolution, Sexuality, History, and Violence

2018 Reading

  1. Ernest Cline, Ready Player One
  2. Isaac Asimov, Foundation
  3. Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
  4. George R. R. Martin, Game of Thrones (5 vols.) – finished from 2014
  5. Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
  6. David Murray, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture
  7. Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park
  8. Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive 1)
  9. Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
  10. Christopher Ash, Zeal without Burnout
  11. Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning
  12. David Crystal, The Gift of Gab
  13. Dennis E. Taylor, We Are Legion (We Are Bob), Bobiverse #1
  14. Roger Crowley, 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and the Clash of Islam and the West
  15. Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews
  16. Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
  17. Brian Sanderson, Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive 2)
  18. Stephen King, It 
  19. Alan Jacobs, The Pleasures of Reading in the Age of Distraction 
  20. Daniel Hyde, In Living Color: Images of Christ and the Means of Grace 
  21. Karen Kelsky, The Professor is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your Ph.D. into a Job 
  22. Kevin DeYoung, Crazy Busy
  23. Julia M. Vick, Jennifer S. Furlong, The Academic Job Search Handbook 
  24. Timothy Z. Winter, The Shepherd Leader at Home 
  25. Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  26. Michael Allen, Sanctification
  27. Gary Burge, Mapping Your Academic Career
  28. David Powlison, How Sanctification Works 
  29. Therese Huston, Teaching What You Don’t Know
  30. Ronald Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
  31. John R. Taylor, Linguistic Categorization
  32. John Currid, Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament
  33. Dirk Geeraerts, Cognitive Linguistics: Basic Readings
  34. Eve Sweetser, From Etymology to Pragmatics: Metaphorical and Cultural Aspects of Semantic Structure 
  35. A. Mohler, P. Enns, et al., Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy 
  36. Miles Van Pelt, Basics of Biblical Aramaic
  37. John R. Taylor, The Mental Corpus: How Language is Represented in the Mind 
  38. Takamitsu Muraoka, A Biblical Aramaic Reader With an Outline Grammar
  39. Dirk Geeraerts, Words and Other Wonders: Papers on Lexical and Semantic Topics
  40. Pietro Bortone, Greek Prepositions: From Antiquity to the Present 
  41. David Firth, 1 & 2 Samuel: An Introduction and Study Guide 
  42. Robert Kraft, ed., Septuagintal Lexicography 
  43. John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God
  44. John Byron, Joel N. Lohr, eds., I (Still) Believe: Leading Bible Scholars Share Their Stories of Faith and Scholarship 
  45. Takamitsu Muraoka, ed., Melbourne Symposium on Septuagint Lexicography 
  46. Victor Tcherikover, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews
  47. Melvin K. H. Peters, ed., XII Congress of the IOSCS, Leiden 2004
  48. Mark Boda, The Heartbeat of Old Testament Theology: Three Creedal Expressions
  49. Vyvyan Evans, The Crucible of Language: How Language and Mind Create Meaning
  50. Géza Vèrmes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English
  51. B. H. Kennedy, The Revised Latin Primer
  52. Henry St. J. Thackeray, Some Aspects of the Greek Old Testament


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