Each year I set two reading goals for the year, one is a number of books to read (usually 25-30 books) and the second, 3-5 books I will prioritize reading. I set a goal that is attainable but not easily, and since I am a competitive person it pushes me to continue to read throughout the year. And, as happened last year, if I recognize that I am behind my pace I become determined to catch up. I also select books I am very excited to read, I intentionally space these out so that through the year I have at least one book I want to read which can be motivating when I am halfway through a book I am not enjoying but should finish. While I try to read a variety of books each year, there are four categories from which I read at least one book in the year.
- History (I studied history and recognize a need for me to continue to read in this area)
- Fiction (storytelling is an essential part of life and reading novels helps me grow as a storyteller and story hearer)
- Science (I enjoy reading about science and especially the overlap between science and faith, this is an underappreciated field by most Christians and needs to be recovered)
- The Bible (I like to understand what scholars say about the Bible, particularly since it so impacts my life & work)
This year when I looked at the books I had queued I had a difficult time deciding on which books I wanted to write about, but I was able to narrow it down to these six. I have also included several books I hope to have time to read, but I recognize that my reading list is not always dictated by what I most hope to read on January 1. Some of the books listed today might well end up on next year’s list.
History: On Account of Race: The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of African American Voting Rights by Lawrence Goldstone
I may have studied American history but two subjects I did not emphasize were racial and judicial history, meaning this book should provide me with a wealth of new information. This is the type of book that many I know will label “too scholarly”, but these types of books are important for having informed opinions. It will be the first book I dive into in 2022.
Other history books I hoe to get to in 2022: Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse by Timothy P. Carney; An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (REVISIONING HISTORY Book 3) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Novel: The Pillars of the Earth: A Novel (Kingsbridge Book 1) by Ken Follett
Hopefully you have that list of classics you mean to get to one day, well this year I intend to scratch this one off that list. Again, I enjoy history so a historical novel of this magnitude needs to be on my list at some point, right?
Science: The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine by Francis Collins
After reading The Language of God in 2021 I want to hear what else Collins has to say. Hopefully he will stay engaged in the public realm even after resigning from the NIH.
Other science books I hope to read: God, Stephen Hawking and the Multiverse: What Hawking said and why it matters by David Wilkinson & David Hutchings; Quarks, Chaos & Christianity: Questions to Science And Religion by John Polkinghorne
Bible: Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters by Catherine Joy Imes
I have heard Catherine speak on several podcasts and I know the thesis of this book- bearing God’s name is about acting like God not about saying “God” or even “Yahweh”. Still I am excited to find out her rationale for this approach even though to a large degree I expect this book to confirm the idea of which she has already convinced me.
Would also like to read: How Repentance Became Biblical: Judaism, Christianity, and the Interpretation of Scripture by David Lambert & A Week in the Life of a Slave by John Byron (this is a novel but it is designed to highlight elements of 1st century Rome which will help in understanding the Bible)
Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World by Tara Isabella Burton
This look at modern spirituality looks intriguing. Non-traditional religious practices seem to be on the rise in America and I am curious what is fueling this shift and where people are headed. I am hopeful this book will provide some insights to modern non-religious spirituality.
One of the realities of our world is that outside of a few areas, violence is tolerated. What is worse is that within many Christian traditions violence done in the name of country is applauded. Moral injury is a very real ordeal and any time we ask someone to kill on our behalf we must be willing to help that person heal. I am hoping that this book will better help me understand the price soldiers pay for killing and to be better prepared to advance healing.
One last book I am hoping to get to but might not: Secular Government, Religious People by Ira C. Lupu and Robert W. Tuttle
Let me know what books you are reading or the books you think I should pick up.