I’m not a great reader, but I love to read. I finished 2011 reading some mission books and several older novels (Moby Dick, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Scarlet Letter). I’m trying to plan my 2012 reading a bit more, enabling me to read more widely and intentionally. (I’ll default to old novels sans a plan.) Here (in no particular order) are some at the top of my list for the new year, along with an explanation of why they’re there. I’d appreciate recommendations of some that should be there but aren’t. Please chime in.
1. Unbroken by Laura Hildebrand. I enjoyed her Seabiscuit and I enjoy WWII era stories (like Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys). I started this in 2011 but didn’t finish it. Weird. I just got into other books. Anyway, I’m eager to finish it up, especially because several friends have spoken so highly of it.
2-3. Preaching and Preachers by D. Martin Lloyd Jones and Between Two Worlds by John Stott. Because my brother-in-law recommended the first to me and gave the second to me. Because I haven’t read either, and I should have. Because I think it’s healthy for pastors to at least annually read something to help them improve their ministry, whether on preaching or pastoring or church life.
4. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. It’s a book about expressing ideas in memorable ways. As a preacher and writer, this fascinates me. It comes recommended by a friend.
5. God’s Wisdom in Proverbs by Dan Phillips. I enjoyed Dan’s The World-Tilting Gospel very much (and was surprised to be cited a few times, which was fun). I appreciate both his insights and his engaging and comical writing style. I need to spend more time in Proverbs—as a man, father, and pastor. And Dan’s a friend who has been unduly kind to me.
6-7. The Atonement by Leon Morris and Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray. Both are standards on the doctrine of salvation, and I’d like to read them for my personal nourishment and the good of those to whom I minister.
8. Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism. The project has fascinated me sense I first heard of it from my friend Andy Naselli, one of the book’s editors. I’m looking forward to finally reading it. I also need to read Andy’s Let Go and Let God? on Keswick Theology. I’ve heard lectures on it, but I need to read through it myself. Make it 8.5 on the list.
9. George Whitefield by John Pollock. I love Pollock’s biographies (like Hudson Taylor and Maria and The Cambridge Seven), and I’m eager to learn more about this man who had such a sweeping influence on American evangelicalism and gospel advance. If you’re not working through a biography every year, you should be.
10. Communicating Christ Cross-Culturally by David J. Hesselgrave. I’m endeavoring to keep reading more on missions, having recently started playing “catch up” for earlier neglect. Hesselgrave’s books come highly recommended by friends I admire, and he kindly endorsed Gospel Meditations for Missions.
11. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I’m always working through a classic novel, both because I enjoy them and because I believe that reading well is essential to speaking or writing well. A friend recently told them that my ignorance of this modern American classic should be remedied right away. (It would be already, but amazingly, I can’t find the book on Kindle. What’s up with that?)
12. Puritans in the New World by David D. Hall. This was recommended to me and reviewed by a friend at a local pastor’s fellowship. It’s an anthology, so it will serve as a good introduction to Puritan writings, which is a weak point of mine.
That should keep me busy for a while. There are many on my desk calling for attention. I’m sure that many of your favorites aren’t here. What would you recommend, and why?
Favorites of mine from 2011:
- A Biblical Theology of Missions by George Peters.
- To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson. (This should be your next read.)
- All Things for Good by Thomas Watson.
- Good to Great by Jim Collins. I listened to this business/leadership book in 2011 and plan to read it in 2012. I’m surprised how often concepts from the book come to mind.
- Middlemarch. It’s not short, but I enjoyed it. And it’s free on Kindle.
- Moby Dick. I enjoyed most of it. Some of the non-plot sections were quite tedious. But it’s a classic of American literature and I’m glad to have both experienced it and knocked it off my bucket list.