This past year I used my blog to keep track of the books I read. I had a healthy competition with my friend Mark Nenadov, although my list only included real books, while his also had e-books and audio books (!). Mark read 40 actual books (I won’t tell you the number if you include the others), and I, sadly, only hit 39. I’ve posted the titles and date of completion below as a more permanent record of them. I didn’t include a book if I didn’t finish it, so I have a number that could possibly be on the list. For instance, I read Tom Sawyer by Twain, but I didn’t finish Huckleberry Finn, but they were both part of a single volume. Also, I read about 95% of Pelikan’s 5th volume in his The Christian Tradition series. Honesty is the policy!
What’s interesting to me is to see how many works of fiction I read. It hit me over a year ago that for the last ten or so years of my life I’d been reading theology, history, and philosophy to the neglect of literature. I finished my master’s thesis in September 2010, so I devoted my time afterwards to try and catch up on fiction. Noteworthy books of 2011 were those by or on Orwell, Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea.
What’s also interesting is that when I look back on the list, it doesn’t seem that long ago that I read those books, and I can often remember with some clarity where I was when I read a particular book. It’s strange to be able to mark our your year by the books that were read.
This coming year, with the hope of being in a doctoral program, means that the next list will have a lot more non-fiction. But with the good start I had last year with literature, I hope to keep it up—in fact, I want reading literature to maintain a life-long interest. I hope to read some more Dickens because it is the 200th anniversary of his birth this February. I’m also hoping to finish the Orwell corpus this year, as well as Taylor’s biography of him. I’ll keep a record of it here.
So, here’s the list of 2011:
1) Stephen R. Holmes, God of Grace and God of Glory: An Account of the Theology of Jonathan Edwards (completed Jan. 9, 2011).
2) Adam Nicolson, God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible (completed Jan. 17, 2011).
3) George Orwell, Why I Write (completed Jan. 29/30, 2011).
4) Carl R. Trueman, Histories and Fallacies: Problems Faced in the Writing of History (completed Jan. 31, 2011).
5) David W. Bebbington, The Dominance of Evangelicalism (completed Feb. 3, 2011).
6) Evelyn Waugh, Scoop (completed Feb. 6, 2011).
7) John D. Woodbridge, Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal (completed Feb. 11, 2011).
8 ) Alexander Carson, Characteristics of the Style of Scripture, As Evidential of Its Inspiration in Works 3 (completed Feb. 17, 2011).
9) George Orwell, A Clergyman’s Daughter (completed Feb. 22, 2011).
10) Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion, and Death (completed Mar. 12, 2011).
11) Owen Strachan and Douglas Sweeney, Jonathan Edwards: Lover of God (completed Mar. 16, 2011).
12) Conor Cruise O’Brien, Camus (completed March 30, 2011).
13) G. K. Chesterton, Manalive (completed April 4, 2011).
14) Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea (completed April 4, 2011).
15) Michael Shelden, Orwell: The Authorised Biography (completed April 9, 2011).
16) Martin Amis, The Second Plane: September 11: Terror and Boredom (completed April 10, 2011).
17) Saul Bellow, The Bellarosa Connection (completed April 24, 2011).
18) Peter Hitchens, The Abolition of Britain (completed May 8, 2011).
19) Arnold Dallimore, Forerunner of the Charismatic Movement: The Life of Edward Irving (completed May 11, 2011).
20) Arnold Dallimore, Spurgeon: A New Biography (completed May 23, 2011).
21) Mark Noll, The Rise of Evangelicalism (completed June 2, 2011).
22) William Zinsser, On Writing Well (completed July 3, 2011).
23) Michael Coren, Why Catholics Are Right (completed July 9, 2011).
24) Arnold Dallimore, Susanna Wesley (completed July 22, 2011).
25) George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (completed July 28, 2011).
26) Christopher Hitchens, Why Orwell Matters (completed July 30, 2011).
27) Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (completed Aug. 1, 2011).
28) Graham Greene, Doctor Fisher of Geneva or the Bomb Party (completed Aug. 6, 2011).
29) Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four (completed Aug. 8, 2011).
30) Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (completed Aug. 18, 2011).
31) Rob Bell, Love Wins (completed Aug. 20, 2011).
32) George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia (completed Sept. 6, 2011).
33) Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle, Erasing Hell (completed Sept. 9, 2011).
34) Graham Greene, A Sort of Life (completed Sept. 18, 2011).
35) C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (completed Sept. 26, 2011).
36) Martin Amis, Experience: A Memoir (completed Oct. 20, 2011).
37) C. John Collins, Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? (completed Nov. 18, 2011).
38) Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (completed Dec. 4, 2011).
39) Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, including A Christmas Tree (completed Dec. 18, 2011).