Last year I wrote a post on 10 books I wanted to read in 2012. Of the nine that I listed (the tenth was a request for a recommendation), I read three: Pride and Prejudice, G. K. Chesterton’s Autobiography, and Political Visions and Illusions. Another, N. T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God, I read about 300 pages of and decided to take a break.
Even though I’m glad I read many of the books I ended up reading instead (like Unbroken, which I hadn’t even heard of at this time last year), I think the act of setting the goal was good. So here are 10 books I’d like to read in 2013:
1. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I saw the musical and the movie this year, and enjoyed them both. And even though this book is well over 1,000 pages, I think reading it is an attainable goal. Especially since I’ve already read 600 pages so far.
2. The Triumph of Christianity by Rodney Stark. This is another one that I started reading in 2012, and would like to finish. Stark is a bold historian and an entertaining writer.
3. The Moral Vision of the New Testament by Richard Hays. This was on the list last year, but I never got around to it. I can’t let this one go, though; I’m sure I’d love it if I got into it.
4. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Another one from last year’s list. Whether I get to this one all depends on whether I can make it through Les Mis first.
5. The City of God by Augustine of Hippo. Maybe I’m too ambitious with this one, but it’s a classic of theology and political philosophy and I’ve only read bits and pieces.
6. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. A book on writing that everybody seems to recommend.
7. The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith. A contrarian book on evangelical hermeneutics. Maybe I’m a nerd, but I can’t get enough of this kind of stuff.
8. and 9. Center Church and Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller. I enjoy Keller’s perspective on just about everything he has a perspective on, and he came out with two books in the last six months that both look fantastic.
10. What Matters? Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth by Wendell Berry. Part of my ongoing effort to make up for a serious lack of education in economics. And Berry, unlike most people who write on economics, is a wonderful writer.
I’m sure I’ll end up reading some wonderful books this year that I have not yet heard of. My biggest challenge will probably be to resist the lure of reading free or cheap books (which some publishers are kind enough to offer me in exchange for a review) in favor of deliberately choosing books that will help me grow in important areas.
What other books would you recommend I put on my list this year?
5 thoughts on “10 Books I’d Like to Read in 2013”
To Change the World by James Davidson Hunter. I know you have it but don’t know if you read it and would be interested in your thoughts.
I don’t think I’ve read anything on your list. I’ve read about half of The City of God, and probably will finish it eventually. The two that look most interesting to me are The Idiot and the Wendall Berry book. I’ve enjoyed the two books I’ve read by Dostoyevsky and the one by Berry. Both writers have a wonderful moral vision. Right now, I’m a third of the way through Great Expectations, and really like it. If you haven’t read it, you might consider doing so at some point.
Jas, yes, To Change the World is also on my shelf waiting to be read, as is Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age. I’ll see what I can do about getting to it this year. And Dad, I read Great Expectations in high school. I’m sure I would get a lot out of it if I read it again as an adult, though.
It is one of my favorite things to do – re-read the books I was required to read in high school/college to see if my adult perspective changes or enhances my enjoyment of them! I never liked Dickens, but I do like the story of Great Expectations, which I had to plow through as a little 9th grader. I also had zero appreciation for To Kill a Mockingbird back in 10th grade – as an adult, I can love it the way it’s meant to be loved. I HATED The Scarlet Letter in 11th grade, but I re-read it a few years ago and I actually enjoyed it. I’m fairly confident I would not enjoy The Grapes of Wrath again, though. That was a bear to get through! This would make an interesting blog post, I can see, since I’m rambling all through your comments section.
That is a great idea, to re-read the books you were required to read in high school. I also read Great Expectations, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Scarlet Letter back then, but I haven’t revisited them since. There are just too many other books that I haven’t read! I have thought about re-reading The Brothers Karamazov, though.
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