Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A 2019 Reading Retrospective

Since everyone else is doing it and I wanted to get a blog post written before the year runs out, I’ve decided to post a lightly annotated list of books I finished reading in 2019.

First, a few stats: My Zotero records tell me I finished reading 33 books in 2019, including Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, The 21 Balloons, and The Hound of the Baskervilles. That’s up from 32 in 2017, and tied with 2018, but this year I didn’t read War and Peace, so 2018 still takes the cake.

All but 7 were completed before I returned to Canada and to full-time teaching. (Go figure.) I count 15 novels and children’s books, 5 audiobooks, and 5 that I read aloud. (As long as my 12-year-old daughter will consent to having books read to her, I will keep reading them. We are currently enjoying The Screwtape Letters.)

Without further ado, here is the list, followed by my "best of" selections:

Ash, Christopher. The Book Your Pastor Wishes You Would Read. The Good Book Company, 2019.

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1985. (Audiobook)

Balme, Maurice, Gilbert Lawall, Luigi Miraglia, and Tommaso Francesco Bórri. Athenaze: Introduzione al greco antico. Parte I. 2d ed. Montella, Avellino: Accademia Vivarium Novum, 2018. (Not including the Italian)

Campbell, Douglas A. Paul: An Apostle’s Journey. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018. (Audiobook)

Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur. The Hound of the Baskervilles. London: George Newnes, 1902.

Forster, E. M. The Longest Journey. London: Arnold, 1907.

Forster, E. M. Where Angels Fear to Tread. London: William Blackwood & Sons, 1905.

Forster, E. M. Howards End. London: Edward Arnold, 1910.

Johnson, Luke Timothy. Prophetic Jesus, Prophetic Church: The Challenge of Luke-Acts to Contemporary Christians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011. (Re-read for class for the 4th or 5th time.)

Kugel, James L. How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now. New York: Free Press, 2008. (Audiobook)

Lewis, C. S. That Hideous Strength. London: The Bodley Head, 1945. (Read aloud)
(I read this novel multiple times as a child; this was the first time in probably 20+ years.)

Lewis, C. S. The Great Divorce. New York: Macmillan, 1946. (Re-read after @ 20 years; read aloud)

Martínez, Carlos. A Strange Odyssey. Confessions of a Classicist. Grupo Editorial Círculo Rojo S.L., 2019.

Martyn, J. Louis. Theological Issues in the Letters of Paul. Nashville: Abingdon, 1997.

Matthews, Shelly. Perfect Martyr: The Stoning of Stephen and the Construction of Christian Identity. Oxford University Press, 2010.

McKnight, Scot. Reading Romans Backwards: A Gospel of Peace in the Midst of Empire. Waco: Baylor, 2019.

Meeks, Wayne A. The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983.

Millar, Fergus. The Roman Near East: 31 BC - AD 337. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993.

Milne, A. A. The House at Pooh Corner. London: Methuen, 1928.

Milne, A. A. Winnie-the-Pooh. London: Methuen, 1926.

Myers, Benjamin. The Apostles’ Creed: A Guide to the Ancient Catechism. Lexham Press, 2018. (Read aloud)

Noll, Mark A. Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013.

Pène du Bois, William. The 21 Balloons. New York: Viking Press, 1975. (A book I remember reading as a child; read aloud after hearing about the eruption on Anak Krakatoa.)

Pullman, Philip. Golden Compass. New York: Random House, 1996.
(I checked this one out from the library for my daughter, decided to double-check it myself first, and got hooked. Pullman is a fine writer, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Oxford and East Anglia settings. Aside from the abrupt in-your-face anti-Christian moralistic ending, it’s a fine read.)

Ransome, Arthur. Swallows and Amazons. London: Vintage Children’s Classics, 2012.

Rico, Christophe, and Lior Ashkenazi. Polis: Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language, Level One, Student’s Volume. Edited by Michael Daise. Polis Institute Press, 2015.

Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief. New York: Hyperion, 2005. (A daughter's recommendation.)

Siegel, Robert. Alpha Centauri. Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1980. (Read aloud)
(I remembered my grade six teacher, Miss Fehr, reading this book to the class, but couldn't remember how it ended. I now think she never finished it--and I can see why.)

Spiegelman, Art. The Complete Maus: A Survivor’s Tale. New York: Pantheon Books, 2011.

Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. Translated by Richard Crawley. London: Dent, 1874. (Audiobook)

Williams, Leslie Winfield. Emblem of Faith Untouched: A Short Life of Thomas Cranmer. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016. (Audiobook)

Williams, Peter J. Can We Trust the Gospels? Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018.

Woolf, Virginia. To the Lighthouse. London: Hogarth Press, 1927.

"Best of":

  • Best book published in 2019: I seldom read books in the year they were published. Of the three 2019 books I read this year--surely a record--Carlos Martínez's, A Strange Odyssey gets the prize for being the most stimulating.
  • Most Educational (in a good way): Balme, Maurice, Gilbert Lawall, Luigi Miraglia, and Tommaso Francesco Bórri. Athenaze: Introduzione al greco antico. (The Greek parts; I don't read Italian.)
  • Most Relaxing Bedtime Reading: Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons. (Strangely satisfying. I looked forward to the end of the day when I could read a few pages before my own bedtime.)
  • Best of: C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength. (Published in 1945. Still very relevant.)