2011: The Year in Reading

I finished 44 books in the past year. There were a lot of good ones, and a few not-so-great ones. Here (in no particular order) are 10 that I would highly recommend:

Biblical Studies:

1. Jesus and the Victory of God by N.T. Wright. This is a large book, and not a fast or easy read, but it repays the effort spent on it.
2. The King Jesus Gospel by Scot McKnight. It challenges Christians to have a fuller understanding of what the gospel is (i.e., more than just salvation). I hope that it bears much fruit in the year to come.
3. Old Testament Ethics for the People of God by Christopher J.H. Wright. If you’ve ever wondered what God’s instructions to Israel in the Old Testament have to do with Christians today, this is the book to read.

Business and Leadership:

4. Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Henry Cloud. An unusually strong and deep entry from the business/leadership genre.

Cultural Studies:

5. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell. This was my first Gladwell book, and it won’t be my last. He’s a joy to read.
6. Gods That Fail by Vinoth Ramachandra. Idolatry is not dead. It has just disguised itself. Another book in the same vein that I read this year was Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller.

History:

7. Was America Founded as a Christian Nation? A Historical Introduction by John Fea. A historian looks at a perennial question. What he says is sometimes surprising, and it won’t completely satisfy those who want to quickly say “Yes” or “No.” I’d recommend this to every Christian with an interest in American history.

Memoir/Biography:

8. Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions by Rachel Held Evans. Evans speaks for a lot of people in her/my generation who grew up in the church and came to decide that things in this world are not always as they seem.
9. The Pastor: A Memoir by Eugene Peterson. Peterson has a lot of knowledge and experience when it comes to both writing and pastoring, and I’m grateful that he has chosen to reflect on his life as a pastor in written form.

Theology:

10. Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller. Christians especially ought to ask the question, “What does it mean to be just?” Keller gives answers for those who ask. Like many good biblical answers, they don’t make ideologues on the right or the left very happy.

Honorable Mention:

Okay, I said 10, but I got to the end and couldn’t leave off these two:

Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt

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