Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Best Books From My 2019 Reading

I love to read book lists and recommendations. So I wanted to pass along my favorite reading from this year. I copied the entries from my reading list.

One thing I've learned after reading and tracking my reading for the last 20 years is that time is too short to read bad books. I read 43 books this year and gave most of them 4 or 5 stars. I put books down that I'm not enjoying or don't have a purpose for reading. My advice is be selective and read really good stuff--part of defining really good stuff is "is it interesting?"

*These were my favorites--5 stars.

759. Simply Jesus, N.T. Wright. 1/17/19 * * * * * (I fell in love with Jesus all over again. This is an almost literary book in the way he sets up the situation and weaves different strands that come together in the end. The hard thing about this--and other Wright books--is that he refers to Jesus in human terms which feels almost denying his divinity; and Wright focuses so much on cultural backgrounds that the clarity of Scripture can get lost.)

761. Boom Town, Sam Anderson. 2/8/19 * * * * * (This history of Oklahoma City is amazing. It feels like a romping history at first with a little humor thrown in. Then three-quarters of the way through, it becomes so much greater.)

777. Systematic Theology, John M. Frame. 6/6/19 * * * * * (Grudem’s Theology was comprehensive, introductory, and user-friendly. Frame’s Systematic is more of an argument for his views. It is excellent as he applies his triperspectival strategy to every area of theology. The strongest sections of the book come in the first half. That is more his specialty and he gives more time to fewer topics. The later part of the book is more of quick attempt to cover all the important topics of a systematic text. Well worth reading.)

791. Range, David Epstein. 8/16/19 * * * * * (I ordered this as soon as I heard he had a new book. I love his writing. This is a book on how breadth of experience and interests is actually better than narrow specialization alone. He actually talks about research that shows having both a specialty and wide-ranging interests can make both better. If I ever led an internship program, I would recommend this book.)

796. After You Believe, N.T. Wright. 10/11/19 * * * * * (This is so good. It is harder to read than some of Wright’s other books, but it is so good and so needed.)

*I really enjoyed these as well--4 stars.

760. Dopesick, Beth Macy. 1/20/19 * * * * (This is a really important book. Macy’s writing is perfect and illuminates the problem by focusing on one place. She also gives a few solutions and some hope for ways forward.)

768. Future Crimes, Marc Goodman. 3/23/19 * * * * (Audiobook. This is so important to digital literacy. Everyone should read it.)

769. Let There Be Water, Seth M. Siegel. 3/31/19 * * * * (This is really good. It’s about how Israel developed and uses their water resources.)

776. Midnight in Chernobyl, Adam Higginbotham. 6/4/10 * * * * (This is a fascinating look at what happened at Chernobyl. This is a much bigger and far reaching event than I realized. And Higginbotham includes so many great details.)

781. The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing, Tarquin Hall. 6/27/19 * * * * (This is a really fun vacation read. The mystery is puzzling and the Asian food and culture made me miss Indonesia and Thailand.)

792. The New Girl, Daniel Silva. 8/25/19 * * * * (This is another excellent book. I thought the plot would be too close to real life events to enjoy it, but Silva used a real-world event to go in whole new directions and pull in global political dynamics and old characters and villians.)

794. The Weather Machine, Andrew Blum. 9/17/19 * * * * (I’ve read several books on the weather recently. This one is on how the observations, theories, and models come together and where they are headed in the future. The weather models are what is so interesting.)

797. Tubes, Andrew Blum. 10/19/19 * * * * (This is an important book on the physical structure of the internet. Since we all use it everyday, we should understand what it is and how it works.)

798. Spillover, David Quammen. * * * * (This is a fascinating book on animals diseases and how they spillover to humans. It explains and explores what future pandemics might/will involve.)

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