16 books to consider reading this year

First of all, it's far too late in the year to be writing a list like this. But here I sit. Secondly, I was going to do a top 10 or 15 book from 2015 post, but then I realized I hadn't put together such a post in about 3 years (what have I been thinking?!). So what I decided to do instead is try to compile a list of books I've read in that span that I would commend to you to consider this year. My memory is sketchy, and I've not done well at actually recording my reading, so this is off the top of my head (The order is semi-intentional, but not firm). The content of this list reflects the directions of my reading, obviously, but I did intentionally throw in some things off the beaten path of my typical diet.

1: Til We Have Faces, CS Lewis
This is the best book I've read from Lewis, and I've read a substantial amount of Lewis. I cut my teeth on his non-fiction, but fiction was his true genius. 

2: Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
I picked this book up after reading numerous positive reviews. I did not regret doing so. Every sentence from Robinson is an absolute delight, and worth turning over in one's mind repeatedly. 

3: Home, Robinson
The sequel to Gilead, I actually enjoyed Home more than its predecessor. But series should be read in order, should they not?

4: Life Under Compulsion, Anthony Esolen
The subtitle of the book is, "Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child," which is intriguing, to say the least. I believe this book should be required reading for parents and educators. Esolen does an excellent job of asking probing questions into a number of our current habits and compulsions, and pointing toward a more excellent way.

5: Eats, Shoots, and Leaves, Lynne Truss
What's the difference between "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" and "Eats Shoots and Leaves"? If you don't know, you should read this book. If the answer is obvious to you, then you will love reading this book.

6: Beowulf, Douglas Wilson
Wilson, of course, is not the author of this poem. But his verse rendering is more pleasing to read in terms of cadence and rhythm when compared to more literal translations, and I enjoyed it immensely.  

7: Heretics, GK Chesterton
Better, in my opinion, than his follow-up, Orthodoxy, though it also appears later on in this list. Though many of the individuals he addresses are long-gone, most of their ideas still hang in the air. Well, they float along waiting for him to shoot their thought balloons with razor-sharp arrows of reason and wit.

8: The Question That Never Goes Away, Phillip Yancey
I never fail to find Yancey helpful. I disagree with many of his theological convictions, yet the grace-saturated nature of his ponderings always point me toward the God we both serve.

9: The Triumph of Christianity, Rodney Stark
This book is far and away the easiest to read history book I've ever picked up. It will also challenge your thinking in many areas.

10: The Great Divorce, Lewis
Again, Lewis shines in fiction...this is the only book on this list that I have re-read (so far). Lewis opened my eyes with this book into how little fallen man desires to be saved.

11: The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Rod Dreher
I'm now a regular reader of Dreher's blog, mostly because of this book. Reflections on small towns, big cities, religion, running from life, and facing death.

12: The Message of Ecclesiastes, Derek Kidner
I've read a number of commentaries on Ecclesiastes over the past few years, and while I think there are some who understand the overall tone of the book better, Kinder's reflections on individual passages were invaluable in helping me think through and teach the words of the Preacher.

13: Embracing Obscurity, Anonymous
Read it.

14: Living By The Book, Howard Hendricks
Could there really be anything more important than reading God's Word? Yes. Understanding it. Hendricks gives you tools for your mental and hermenuetical toolbox that will help you in coming to grips with the meaning of the most important Book you'll ever read: The Bible.

15: The Indiscretions of Archie, PG Wodehouse
Do you like to laugh? I figured you did. In that case, Wodehouse is for you.

16: Wordsmithy, Wilson
One of the more fun books I've read from Wilson. His style is one I simply enjoy. Plus there is a bunch of good advice in this little volume.

2nd Tier: Books that are also worth a look, but just didn't crack the top 16.

Housekeeping, Robinson
Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung
Future Men, Wilson
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, JD Greear
Coping With Change, Walter C. Kaiser
Joy at the End of the Tether, Wilson
What's So Amazing About Grace?, Yancey
Orthodoxy, Chesterton


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