My Year in Books (2022)


When I finish reading or listening to a book, I add it to my annual “books read” list. My 2022 list is at the end of this post.

2022 Reading Highlights

Harry Lee Poe’s The Completion of C. S. Lewis surveys the final eighteen years of Lewis’s life. The author provides concise information about the books and articles, placing them in the context of Lewis’s unfolding life and the broader world of English literature. The circumstances of Lewis’s transition from Oxford to Cambridge are thoroughly reviewed. Attention is given to his many friendships and marriage, late in life, to Joy Davidman Gresham. Regarding Lewis, Helen Gardner wrote, “It was impossible to be indifferent to him” (75). And I am not. His books have enriched my life for more than four decades. Nor am I indifferent to Poe’s three-volume biography. It serves as a splendid introduction to the man behind the books.


My colleagues at RTS Jackson publish many books. I read two this year. John Fesko’s The Birth of Christ gives readers five finely crafted and theologically rich meditations on the meaning our Savior’s birth. In Well Ordered, Living Well: A Field Guide to Presbyterian Church Government, Guy Waters correctly contends that “we all need church government to live our Christian life well.” The ensuing pages give clear biblical instruction on the church — its members, its officers, its assemblies, and the ordination of men to the offices of the church.

A highlight of this semester has been reading and discussing with four RTS students the lives of several key leaders in 19th and early 20th century American Presbyterianism. Rereading David Calhoun’s two-volume history of old Princeton was especially rewarding. The piety of its professors, the plan of the seminary, and its commitment to preparing theologically minded and biblically grounded pastors makes its history timely for anyone who cares about the future of the Presbyterian church in the United States.

For a second straight year, Theology for Ministry: How Doctrine Affects Pastoral Life and Practice appears on my list. (I was asked to review the book and reread it). Twenty-six pastor-theologians, touching upon every major area of ministry, winsomely demonstrate how theology gives shape to a godly pastorate. That this book honors Sinclair Ferguson is especially appropriate — his books, lectures, and sermons mine God’s word and Reformation theology, and set their riches before God’s beloved church. I can think of no better model of ministerial work.

Where the Children Take Us: How One Family Achieved the Unimaginable is a gem. CNN anchor Zain Asher tells the story of her mother Obiajulu, a Nigerian immigrant and widow who worked tirelessly to educate her four children while living in a poor and dangerous London neighborhood. By the time Ms. Asher became a teenager, Obiajulu was determined to see her attend Oxford University, an ultimately successful endeavor.
Louise Perry is a feminist situated on the political left. So, many will find The Case Against the Sexual Revolution surprising. She persuasively argues that the sexual revolution has been disastrous for women. Her concluding chapter makes a strong case for marriage. She concludes, “The marriage system that prevailed in the West up until recently was not perfect, nor was it easy for most people to conform to, since it demanded high levels of tolerance and self-control. Where the critics go wrong is in arguing that there is any better system. There isn’t.”
During his lengthy life,  Henry Kissinger has worked with a number of the 20th century’s most consequential leaders. In Leadership, he reflects on six of them – Konrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan Yew, Richard Nixon, and Margaret Thatcher – and gives a penetrating study of  their lives, character, and critical decisions. Kissinger’s formidable scholarly and diplomatic abilities makes Leadership an exceptionally rewarding read.
Tori Murden McClure is President of Spalding University, an endurance athlete, and adventurer. In 1999 she became the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She tells her inspiring story in A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean.
Hockey is a game played on ice with intermittent brawls – that exhausts my knowledge of the sport. Still, I immensely enjoyed  John U. Bacon’s Let Them Lead: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High School Hockey Team. I love reading books by and about coaches, and this is among the most inspirational I’ve come across.
George Eliot is my favorite novelist. During the past eighteen months I have been reading and rereading her novels. Middlemarch is my favorite. This go around, I decided to listen to Juliet Stevenson’s splendid audio reading. I also very much enjoyed Gordon Haight’s fine biography of Eliot. As I wrote last year,  “I’ve long felt that Christian pastors and counselors would find her novels to be helpful as counseling manuals. In connection with her, one of my colleagues reminded me of Yogi Berra’s aphorism, you can observe a lot just by watching.”

My 2022 Reading List

  1. Harry Lee Poe, The Making of C.S. Lewis: From Atheist to Apologist (1918-1945)
  2. Malcolm Gladwell, The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, A Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War
  3. David Murray, Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture
  4. George W. Knight III, The Pastoral Epistles
  5. Patrick Fairbairn, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus
  6. John R.W. Stott, Guard the Gospel: The Message of 2 Timothy
  7. J.I. Packer, Knowing God
  8. George M. Marsden, C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity: A Biography
  9. Jim Newheiser, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage: Critical Questions and Answers
  10. George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss
  11. Tori Murden McClure,  A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean
  12. David Strain, Ruth & Esther: There Is a Redeemer & Sudden Reversals
  13. Augustine, The City of God (Books 11-22; New City Press)
  14. Alan Jacobs, The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography
  15. Alan Jacobs, Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a More Tranquil Mind
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
  17. Thomas Foxcroft, The Gospel Ministry
  18. Jonathan Gibson, Be Thou My Vision: A Liturgy for Daily Worship
  19. Zain E. Asher, Where the Children Take Us: How One Family Achieved the Unimaginable
  20. J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John (vol. 3)
  21. Colin G. Kruse, John:  An Introduction and Commentary
  22. Gordon J. Keddie, A Study Commentary on John (vol. 2)
  23. D.A. Carson, The Gospel according to John
  24. Anna Lembke, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence
  25. James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations
  26. J.R.R. Tokien, The Two Towers
  27. B.B. Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible
  28. J.R.R. Tokien, The Return of the King
  29. J.I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way\
  30. Harry Lee Poe, Becoming C.S. Lewis: A Biography of Young Jack Lewis (1898-1918)
  31. Seamus Heaney, Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
  32. David Philipps, Alpha: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALs
  33. Andrew Roberts, The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III
  34. B.B. Warfield, The Person and Work of Christ
  35. Dale Ralph Davis, Looking on the Heart: Expositions of the Book of  1 Samuel (vol. 1)
  36. C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
  37. C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew
  38. Paul C. Gutjahr, Charles Hodge: Guardian of  American Orthodoxy
  39. Gordon S. Haight, George Eliot: A Biography
  40. C.S. Lewis, Perelandra
  41. C.S.Lewis, That Hideous Strength
  42. C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
  43. Albert N. Martin, The Man of God: His Shepherding, Evangelizing, and  Counseling Labors
  44. Damon Galgut, The Promise
  45. George Eliot, Adam Bede
  46. David B. Calhoun, Princeton Seminary: Faith & Learning, 1812-1868
  47. Simon Armitage (translator), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (first reading)
  48. Douglas Kelly, Preachers With Power: Four Stalwarts of the South
  49. George A. Blackburn (editor), The Life Work of John Girardeau
  50. Simon Armitage (translator), Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (second reading)
  51. Iain M. Duguid, Esther & Ruth
  52. Karen H. Jobes, Esther
  53. Debra Reid, Esther: An Introduction and Commentary
  54. Louise Perry, The Case Against the Sexual Revolution
  55. Marilynne Robinson, Jack
  56. Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
  57. Harry Lee Poe, The Completion of  C.S. Lewis: From War to Joy (1945-1963)
  58. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress (part 2)
  59. Paul Miller, The Religion of American Greatness: What’s Wrong with Christian Nationalism
  60. Seamus Heaney, The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles’ Antigone
  61. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress (part 1)
  62. Sophocles, Antigone (translated by David Grene)
  63. David B. Calhoun, Princeton Seminary: The Majestic Testimony, 1869-1929
  64. Henry Kissinger, Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy
  65. William M. Baker, Making Many Glad: The Life and Labours of Daniel Baker
  66. Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers
  67. David B. Calhoun, Our Southern Zion: Old Columbia Seminary (1828-1927)
  68. Sally Bedell Smith, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch
  69. Henry Alexander White, Southern  Presbyterian Leaders, 1683-1911
  70. Guy Prentiss Waters, Well Ordered, Living Well: A Field Guide to Presbyterian Church Government
  71. Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future
  72. P.G. Wodehouse, Right Ho, Jeeves
  73. J.V. Fesko, The Birth of Christ
  74. William R. Edwards, John C.A. Ferguson, and Chad Van Dixhoorn (eds.), Theology for Ministry: How Doctrine Affects Pastoral Life and Practice
  75. Kerri K. Greenidge, The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family
  76. Mark Jones, If I Could Speak: Letters from the Womb
  77. Ian Hamilton, Our Heavenly Shepherd: Comfort and Strength from Psalm 23
  78. John U. Bacon, Let Them Lead: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High School Hockey Team
  79. Shelby Steele, The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America
  80. John Baillie, A Diary of  Private Prayer (updated and revised by Susanna Wright)
  81. Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11
  82. The Bible
  83. Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
  84. David Cecil, Victorian Novelists
  85. George Eliot, Middlemarch

1 Comment

  1. M. Carherine Coik on February 6, 2023 at 11:33 am

    Thank you for both the reviews and the booklist foe next year. I am glad you publish this so young pastors can see the breadth.
    Catherine Cook

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