I still remember the first chapter book that I learned to read: Miss Suzy. I was so proud to read all by myself this book that my parents had been reading to me forever. Later on, I spent summers wearing out the path between our home and the Bridgeport Public Library. One summer, it was to see if I could read all the Hardy Boys series in one summer. The next summer it was Nancy Drew. My parents bought the Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Civil War, and I read that one summer; we also had the Worldbook Encyclopedia in our home. I didn’t read it cover to cover, but I got my licks in.
Reading continues to be important to me as an adult — as a pastor, as a curious resident of this amazing world, and as a responsible citizen of this nation and the global community. Reading also goes hand in glove with my vocation as a writer. The aspiration to be a good writer requires reading good writing.
2017 has been a year of transition, leaving one call in the western suburbs of Chicago and taking a position as pastor of a church Door County, Wisconsin. Transitions require a tremendous amount of my physical, intellectual, and emotional resources. For me, that means I haven’t done as much writing this year as I had hoped.
Reading, however, has remained constant. And I have read some books this past year that I thought were pretty great. Below is a list of the ones that really stood out for me.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll post a short review of each, a new review posted every few days. They’re not listed in any order that would suggest that I liked one better than the other. They are from different genres and I liked them for different reasons. They appear here roughly in the order in which I read them, simply a random list of my favorites from the past year. If there’s anything that looks intriguing, come back and take a look at the review.
The Age of Anger: A History of the Present, by Pankaj Mishra
Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders
Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit
The Day the Revolution Began, by N. T. Wright
Do I Make Myself Clear?, by Harold Evans
Tears We Cannot Stop, by Michael Eric Dyson
The Daughters, by Adrienne Celt
Original Blessing, by Danielle Shroyer
White Rage, by Carol Anderson
How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds, by Alan Jacobs
Faith Formation in a Secular Age, by Andrew Root
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond
Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari