My Year in Books (2014)

For as long as I can remember, I love to read, especially books. Below are the ones I completed during 2014.

I reread favorites regularly, and a number on my list fall into that category, and particularly this year as I prepared my class syllabi at RTS. Shakespeare, Bunyan, Lloyd-Jones, Still, and Wells are among those that fall into that reread category.

Some of this year’s most-liked:

I enjoy no contemporary novelist more than Marilynne Robinson. In anticipation of this year’s release of Lila, I reread Gilead and Home, and enjoyed them even more the second time around. Her deep insights into human nature, the struggles of the soul, and the stresses of community and family life merit a pastor’s careful attention. Lila is the remarkable story of an impoverished, highly intelligent yet uneducated woman without religious upbringing.  Her introduction to the Christian religion is moving.

The Protestant Reformation was a recovery not only of biblical doctrine, preaching,  and worship, but also of word-centered pastoral care. Scott M. Manetsch’s Calvin’s Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609 is a gem, and required reading for my doctor of ministry course.

For a new Christian and serious reader, my recommended introduction to the Christian faith is now David Wells’s God in the Whirlwind, a robust and elegantly written exposition of the character of God, the biblical message of redemption, and the believer’s sanctification.

My new church home is First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, so I am most grateful for Sean Lucas’s Blessed Zion: First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi 1837-2012. 

Historical accounts of human courage and perseverance never fail to inspire me. Rick Atkinson’s final volume in his Liberation Trilogy, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 achieves what few military histories do: it weaves together gripping combat narratives, and concise accounts of strategic and operational movements –  all recounted through the experiences of men from every rank. Charles Eagles’ The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss recounts the key players in one of the pivotal events of the civil rights movement.

In my opinion, Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death remains the best overall introduction to media ecology.

In 2014 I began several books that I found profitable, but was unable to finish before the end of the year. They include Christ-Crucified, Donald Macleod; The Cave and the Light: Plato versus Aristotle and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization, Arthur Hermann; Essays in Biography, Joseph Epstein; A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life, Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones; and Systematic Theology, John M. Frame.  Along with Theodore Dalrymple, Joseph Epstein is my favored contemporary essayist.

My 2014 list of books completed (books I reread are marked*):

  1. Allan Harman, Matthew Henry: His Life and Influence
  2. William Shakespeare, Hamlet*
  3. Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. Reading for Preaching: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists
  4. Dale Ralph Davis, The Word Became Fresh: How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts*
  5. T. David Gordon, Why Johnny Can’t Preach*
  6. Christopher Ash, The Priority of Preaching*
  7. Eudora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter
  8. David Wells, God in the Whirlwind
  9. Joseph Epstein, Envy
  10. Bryan Chapell, Christ-centered Preaching*
  11. Ian Murray, The Life of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, 1899-1981 
  12. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preachers and Preaching*
  13. Daniel da Silva, The English Woman
  14. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress (1)*
  15. Mark Jones, Antinomianism
  16. Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light
  17. David Robertson, Awakening: The Life & Ministry of Robert Murray McCheyne
  18. Eric Blehm, Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown
  19. William Shakespeare, The Sonnets*
  20. Scott M. Manetsch, Calvin’s Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609
  21. Sean Lucas, Blessed Zion: First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi 1837-2012
  22. William Still, Towards Spiritual Maturity: Overcoming all evil in the Christian Life
  23. Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure
  24. Marilynne Robinson, Gilead*
  25. Donald Macleod, From Golgotha to Glory
  26. Alec Motyer, Preaching? Simple Teaching on Simply Preaching
  27. David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant*
  28. Elizabeth Strout, Abide with Me
  29. James Oscar Farmer, Jr., The Metaphysical Confederacy: James Henley Thornwell and the Synthesis of Southern Values
  30. Leland Ryken, The Liberated Imagination: Thinking Christianly about the Arts
  31. Charles Eagles, The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss
  32. David Helm, Expositional Preaching
  33. Marilynne Robinson, Home*
  34. Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture
  35. Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House
  36. Carolyn Renee Dupont, Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975
  37. William Still, The Work of the Pastor*
  38. Marilynne Robinson, Lila
  39. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death*
  40. Thomas Sowell, Black Rednecks and White Liberals
  41. J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God*
  42. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter*
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