Saturday, January 2, 2016

Books of 2015

Each January I indulge myself by posting an annotated list of the books I managed to read during the year just past. This list does not include every book, but it does include most of them.

(RR) stands for Reread. There are some works which, no matter how many times I've read them, I always benefit from reading them again a few years, or many years, later.

The diversity of the list is largely explained by the fact that I'm in a reading group which often selects books that I probably would never have otherwise sat down with, but which I'm invariably glad I was compelled to read to fulfill my obligation to the group.

Here's the list with a very brief description of each:
  1. The Third Target - Joel Rosenberg: An apocalyptic novel set in the Mid-east in the near future.
  2. The Legacy Journey - Dave Ramsey: How to be sure you leave an inheritance for your children.
  3. The Existence of God - Richard Swinburne (RR): Prominent philosopher of religion discusses some reasons for believing that God exists.
  4. The Coherence of Theism - Richard Swinburne (RR): Swinburne refutes the criticism that the concept of God is incoherent.
  5. Washington's Secret Six - Brian Kilmeade: True story about a revolutionary war spy ring.
  6. God's Battalions - Rodney Stark (RR): An outstanding account of the causes and conduct of the Crusades and why the crusaders were able to defeat their Muslim foes in virtually every encounter despite working from serious strategic disadvantages.
  7. Metaethics: An Introduction - Anthony Fisher (RR): A discussion of the possibility and nature of ethics.
  8. Being As Communion - William Dembski (RR): All reality reduces not to matter but to information and thus to mind.
  9. Why Football Matters - Mark Edmunson: Life lessons from the authors experience playing high school football in the late 1960s.
  10. Consciousness and the Existence of God - J.P. Moreland (RR): A prominent philosopher of mind explains why conscious experience leads to theism.
  11. Finding Truth - Nancy Pearcey: An excellent summary of the failures of the naturalistic worldview.
  12. Atheists: The Origin of the Species - Nick Spencer: A history of atheism and atheistic thought in the West.
  13. Heroes and Heretics - Thomas Cahill: Interesting biographical sketches of medieval personalities.
  14. The Italian Renaissance - J.H. Plumb: A historical overview of the major personalities of the Renaissance.
  15. Theodicy - Gottfried Leibniz: Leibniz's famous work in which he seeks to explain why God allows suffering and evil in the world.
  16. Roman Life in the Days of Cicero - Alfred Church: A look at some of the famous historical personages of Rome prior to the Christian era.
  17. Time and Eternity - William Lane Craig (RR): Philosopher William Lane Craig lays out his view of the nature of time.
  18. Discourse on Metaphysics - Gottfried Leibniz: Leibniz discusses his metaphysical views.
  19. Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding - David Hume (RR): Perhaps skeptical philosopher David Hume's most famous work.
  20. The Grand Design - Hawking and Molodinow: Two famous cosmologists discuss the origin and nature of the universe.
  21. Lives of the Artists - Georgi Vasari: Vasari was Florentine artist living toward the end of the fifteenth century who undertook to collect all the biographical information he could on the artists who gave us the Renaissance. Many of these men he knew personally.
  22. Reasonable Faith - Wm. Lane Craig (RR): Philosopher W.L. Craig's major work on Christian apologetics.
  23. Atheist's Guide to Reality - Alex Rosenberg: Duke philosopher and atheist lays out the case for nihilism as a consequence of atheism.
  24. The Agony and the Ecstacy - Irving Stone: Classic novel recounting the life of Michaelangelo.
  25. On Guard - Wm. Lane Craig: A simpler version of Craig's Reasonable Faith (see above).
  26. Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible - Jerry Coyne: Atheist biologist argues that coexistence between the two spheres is impossible.
  27. Things That Matter - Charles Krauthammer: A collection of essays from Krauthammer's long career as a syndicated columnist.
  28. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus - Nabeel Qureshi: Story of one man's journey from devout Muslim to devout Christian.
  29. Killing Reagan - O'Reilly and Dugard: Story of Reagan's presidency with emphasis on the assassination attempt by John Hinckley.
  30. Aquinas - Ed Feser (RR): Scholastic philosopher Ed Feser discusses the life and philosophy of the great 13th century philosopher theologian Thomas Aquinas.
  31. Not in God's Name - Jonathan Sacks: Jewish Rabbi Sacks weaves a fascinating explication of the book of Genesis with a strong message of reconciliation important for our own time.
  32. Jesus and the Jihadis - Evans and Johnson: A comparison of the teachings of Christ and Mohammad, Christianity and Islam.
  33. Fool's Talk - Os Guinness: Guinness explains how to, and how not to, talk to others about Christianity.
  34. Locke - Ed Feser: Feser considers the thought of John Locke in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, the Two Treatises of Civil Government and A Letter Concerning Toleration.
  35. All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr: An elegant novel about a blind girl in the midst of the German invasion of France during WWII.
  36. Là Bas - J.K. Huysmans: An autobiographical novel by the late 19th century French writer who writes about the depravity of fin de si├Ęcle Paris and man's need for God.