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 a group of 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: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (REVISIONING HISTORY Book 3) by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
I am intentionally trying to read American history from the perspective of those who were on the outside of power. This is in part because most of my training in American History focused on the the major events as viewed by the people in power. I think that books like this are valuable correctives to the history I have learned and help me to create a wider lens through which I can understand the past and the trends that are moving the present.
Other history books I hope to read: Bad Faith: Race and the Rise of the Religious Right by Randall Balmer
Novel: Hawaii by James A. Michener
I read Michener’s The Source several years ago and have been waiting to read another of his books. In that book he showed himself to be a well informed writer who is able to create a captivating story. By comparison Hawaii might not have the grand sweep of The Source but I fully expect his prose to be captivating and I expect to be looking for my next Michener book for the coming years.
Other novels I hope to read: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee;
Science: God, Stephen Hawking and the Multiverse: What Hawking said and why it matters by David Wilkinson & David Hutchings
David Wilkinson is brilliant and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and listening to him. I am intrigued and perplexed by the concept of a multiverse and I am excited to understand it better. Further Wilkinson is a believer and I hope that he brings some of that background to bear on the subject, even if it isn’t in an overt manner.
Other science books I hope to read: Quarks, Chaos & Christianity: Questions to Science And Religion by John Polkinghorne
Bible: How Repentance Became Biblical: Judaism, Christianity, and the Interpretation of Scripture by David Lambert
When I think of Christianity and Judaism repentance is one of the key themes that comes to mind, indeed it is a major theological topic especially in the traditions with which I am most familiar. Lambert has me intrigued with the idea that repentance might be somehow less important or have a different history than what I had thought. Either way I would like to know more about the Biblical conception of the term and how it might apply to my theology.
Would also like to read: African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation by Lisa M. Bowens
Additional Books: Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse by Timothy P. Carney
One of the reasons I think populism thrives is societies is because whole demographics of people are overlooked for an extended period of time. I am excited to see Carney offers an opinion on this as well as learn about the factors that led to regions in America being forgotten. I have lived in both the Rust Belt and Appalachia, two regions which have been forgotten in recent times, and I would like to understand more of why this has happened.
The Rise and Reign of the Mammals: A New History, from the Shadow of the Dinosaurs to Us by Steve Brusatte
This book just looks fun, I have no better way of describing it. Obviously anything with the scope of this book is simply going to hit the highlights and hopefully tell the cool stories while providing some valuable insights along the way.
A Week in the Life of a Slave by John Byron
It’s just pain bad I have not yet read this book. I know the author and have heard from others that it is one of the best in a good series (A Week in the Life). I am going to make it a priority to read this one this year.
One last book I am hoping to get to but might not: The Quest for the Historical Satan by Miguel A. De La Torre & Albert Hernandez
Let me know what books you are reading or the books you think I should pick up.