Thursday, December 24, 2009

20 books John plans to read in 2010

Jean inspired me with her list of books to read in 2010.

Four novels:

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen 22nd January - 4th December

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin 6th - 14th March

My brother will probably be surprised that I haven't read this... but I received it as a Sinterklaas present from Kara, so I have no excuse now.

Bachelors Anonymous by P. G. Wodehouse 7th - 8th January

This is one of ten Wodehouse books that Kara brought into our marriage. :)

Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle 7th - 11th January

I've been getting back into Sherlock Holmes lately - maybe as a result of the recently released film. I read all the short stories when I was a kid, but I hadn't read this novel.

Four books of theology or Biblical studies:

Four Gospels, One Jesus: A Symbolic Reading by Richard Burridge 3rd January - 11th February

Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament 14th February - 16th May

This will be the third book I've read in Zondervan's Counterpoints series - and this is an important subject.

The Drama Of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach To Christian Theology by Kevin Vanhoozer Commenced 5th September

Deep Exegesis by Peter Leithart 27th May - 2nd July

I've read half a dozen books by Leithart now, and enjoyed every one.

Four books to help me in my work as a pastor:

Quitting Church: Why the Faithful Are Fleeing and What to Do about It by Julia Duin 1st - 10th May

Preaching That Speaks to Women by Alice Mathews 16th May - 30th June

This looks like a book that's worth reading, but I really don't know if I will agree with it at all. After all, Steve Schlissel says, "Preaching should be self-consciously directed to the men of the covenant... Preach to women, have women; preach to men, have men, women and children."

Church and the Older Person by Robert Gray and David Moberg 7th November - 15th December

Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman 13th November - 9th December

No, this isn't a book that discusses the need for evangelism - rather, it examines how we can evangelize by asking questions. "It worked for Jesus; it will work for you," proclaims the back cover.

Four more Christian books:

Wages of Spin by Carl Trueman 11th June - 18th July

I really liked Trueman's Minority Report, which I read a few months ago. I also heard Trueman speak in Melbourne last winter, and he was excellent.

Through Painted Deserts by Donald Miller 7th - 30th January

This is by the author of Blue Like Jazz, which was great, and Searching for God Knows What, which was pretty good. I also read Miller's blog.

The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life by Joan Chittister 24th January - 20th March

This is a review copy from Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger scheme.

Brave New Family: G. K. Chesterton on Men and Women, Children, Sex, Divorce, Marriage and the Family 9th April - 19th June

This will be, I believe, the 18th book I've read by GKC. It's a fairly recent compilation of essays.

Four other books:

The Diary of Anne Frank Commenced 20th December

The Two Cultures by C. P. Snow 30th July - 13th August

The two cultures Snow refers to are the humanities and the sciences. He argues that our society's intellectual life is characterized by a division between the two.

Poincaré's Prize: The Hundred-Year Quest to Solve One of Math's Greatest Puzzles by George Szpiro Commenced 12th November

It's been a while since I've read a book on mathematics. This is about the Poincaré conjecture, the only one of the so-called Millennium Prize Problems to be solved.

The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life by Angelo Pellegrini 1st February - 30th April

Now that I live on gourmet food, I thought I might as well read about it. According to the back cover, this book "inspired a seismic culinary shift in how America eats."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Book giveaway at Kingdom People

Trevin Wax at Kingdom People is having his annual book giveaway at the moment. Trevin is giving away his ten favourite books of 2009 to one lucky winner. With interesting titles like The God Who Smokes and unpronouncable authors such as Tullian Tchividjian, this stack is a treasure trove for Reformed Christians.

To enter, subscribe to Trevin's blog, and send him an email.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

John's December Reading

Currently Reading:

My Soul Magnifies the Lord: Meditations on the meaning of Christmas by Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This book consists of four expositions on the Magnificat - Mary's song in Luke 1. I've been reading one chapter in each Sunday of Advent.

Powers by John B. Olson

I received a copy of this as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers scheme. Stay tuned for the full-length review coming soon.

Science and Christianity: Four Views edited by Richard F. Carlson

This book is published by IVP, in apparent imitation of Zondervan's Counterpoints series. I'm reading this in preparation for a workshop I will be running at PYV Summer Camp on "Can I be a Christian and believe in science?"

The Faithful Sayings in the Pastoral Letters by George W. Knight III

I am in the middle of a series on the faithful sayings in the Aspendale evening services. Five times in the pastoral epistles (I & II Timothy and Titus), Paul says "this is a faithful [or, "trustworthy"] saying. The first one in particular is a great Christmas text: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief," (1 Timothy 1:15)

Finished Recently:

The Path to Rome by Hilaire Belloc

Rather than being the story of Belloc's conversion (he was a life-long Catholic), this is a travel book, written in 1902. Read the book online here.

Belloc undertakes to walk from Toul (in France) to Rome. He does end up cheating, however - twice he catches a train, and twice he hitches a ride on a cart. Here is a Google map of Belloc's trip - I would love to follow in his footsteps one day. By car, of course - it's a 22 hour trip:

Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom

This is the sequel to Dissolution, which I read on my honeymoon. There are currently four books in this series of historical mystery novels, featuring a hunchbacked lawyer as the hero. "Dark Fire" is another name for Greek fire, the long-lost formula of which, in the book, has apparently been rediscovered.

Bound for Glory: A Practical Handbook for Raising a Victorious Family by R. C. Sproul, Jr.

This is the fourth and probably the best book I've read by R. C. Sproul Jr. This has some challenging things to say about Christian family life - and although I have read a fair bit on this subject, I found much in the book that I hadn't thought about before. For example, Sproul argues that a church Session can function as a sort of "court of appeal" for a wife (p. 93):
My wife and I have a dispute. We are not agreeing. I am asking her to do something she doesn't think we ought to be doing. So she goes to court. The court she comes to however, is the church, not the state. That I am not Jesus is painfully apparent. But here, in a church that is willing to exercise discipline and recognizes its rightful calling in these circumstances, she has protection.
The Old Church Book by Robin Langley Summer

This is coffee table book of churches in North America. Although it was a bit frustrating that not all the churches discussed were pictured, I was particularly interested in what it said about revival styles (Greek, Gothic, Romanesque), since they are also to be found in Australia. So, for example, when Kara and I visited Hobart last month, we saw St George's, Battery Point (left) whose pillars are clearly Greek revival. Notice the (architectural!) similarities to the United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachusetts (right) which is one of the churches featured in the book: