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?