Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014's List of Books

In keeping with established precedent here's a list of books I completed in the year just past with a sentence or two of description:

1. Knowing Christ Today (Dallas Willard): A contemporary examination of who Jesus Christ is and was.
2. Coming Apart (Charles Murray): A sociological study of the increasing divergence in attitudes between upper and lower class whites toward traditional values.
3. The Rebel (Albert Camus): A study in European nihilists and nihilism.
4. Human Traffic (Craig MacGill): A look at the worldwide problem of human trafficking.
5. The Possessed [2nd reading](Fyodor Dostoyevsky): Dostoyevsky's novel about 19th century Russian leftist anarchists.
6. The Idiot (Fyodor Dostoyevsky): An allegorical account of innocence in the midst of a materialist superficial culture.
7. The Fault in Our Stars (John Green): A rather implausible story of two teenagers both afflicted with cancer.
8. Crime and Punishment [2nd reading](Fyodor Dostoyevsky): Dostoyevsky's classic treatment of a man who believes himself beyond the slave morality categories of good and evil. Dostoyevsky guides the reader through the man's fall and redemption.
9. The Pursuit of God (A.W. Tozer): A classic in Christian devotional literature.
10. Poor Folk (Fyodor Dostoyevsky): An exchange of letters between an impoverished man and the similarly poor younger woman he loves illustrating both the hopelessness of their condition and of his love for her.
11. Who's Afraid of Relativism (James K.A. Smith): Smith defends postmodern epistemological relativism.
12. How (Not) to be Secular (James K.A. Smith): A helpful commentary on philosopher Charles Taylor's massive work A Secular Age.
13. Return to Life (Jim Tucker): Fascinating accounts of young children who apparently have memories of events that occurred long before they were born.
14. Nothing to be Frightened of (Julian Barnes): Barnes' amusing and thoughtful meditation on death. Written from an atheistic point of view.
15. The Book Thief (Marcus Zusak): A novel about a girl living in Munich toward the end of WWII and how she coped with the war.
16. How the West Won (Rodney Stark): Stark enumerates the virtues of western civilization and why it has achieved cultural ascendancy.
17. Quantum Enigma [2nd reading](Rosenblum and Kuttner): A lucid and fascinating introduction to the mysteries of quantum mechanics.
18. Finite and Infinite Goods (Robert M. Adams): A fairly technical treatment of Adams' version of Divine Command ethics.
19. Five Views on Apologetics (S. Cowen, ed.): Five approaches to Christian apologetics by practitioners of each.
20. Flags of Our Fathers (James Bradley): An account of one man's experiences during the WWII battle for Iwo Jima.
21. Diary of a Superfluous Man (Ivan Turgenev): The diary by a man who has a few days left to live as he recounts incidents of his life.
22. The Divine Comedy (Dante Alighieri): Dante's famous journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Highly recommended that anyone reading this work do so with a commentary in hand.
23. The House of the Dead (Fyodor Dostoyevsky): A novel based on Dostoyevsky's own experiences in a Russian prison camp.
24. The Broker (John Grisham): A novel set in Italy read enroute to Italy to get me in the mood for my visit.
25. The Harbinger (Jonathan Cahn): A book by a rabbi who finds current events foretold in the book of Isaiah.
26. Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh): A novel about life among the British upper crust in the early years of the 20th century.
27. Ameritopia (Mark Levin): Levin traces the history of utopian ideas and discusses how these same ideas are extant today among contemporary statists.
28. From Union Square to Rome (Dorothy Day): Dorothy Day's account of her conversion from atheistic communism to devout, socially-conscious Catholicism.
29. Scholastic Metaphysics (Ed Feser): A treatment of the metaphysics of Aristotle, Aquinas, and their medieval successors.
30. Mysteries of the Middle Ages (Thomas Cahill): Fascinating details of of the lives of some figures whose names are often the only thing about them that appears in our history books.
31. Morality: It's Critics and Defenders (Timm Triplett): A fictional series of student discussions on ethics.
32. Being as Communion (William Dembski): A metaphysical analysis of information and the difficulties it poses for naturalism.
33. Bonhoeffer (Stephen Nichols): A look at Bonhoeffer's Christian beliefs.
34. True Paradox (David Skeel): A collection of arguments in support of the Christian faith.
35. This Town (Mark Leibovitch): An amusing exposé of the foibles and conceits of the Washington elite.
36. Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson): A wonderful book written by a man who has given his life to providing legal and emotional support to poor people on death row in Alabama.
37. Bad Religion (Russ Douthat): An account of the decline of the Christian church from the years prior to WWII up to the present. Douthat prescribes what he thinks is needed to reverse the decline.

I wish you all much personal growth and accomplishment in 2015.