Every year I try to read 50 books. The only time I actually accomplished this was 2019. Until this year, when I finished 67 books.
There are two main reasons why I read so many books this year. First, I began researching the Psalms in preparation of starting my PhD in 2022. Through the summer I set a goal of reading a book a week for this research and I finished 25 books by the end of the year.
Second, I have had a lot of teaching opportunities. I taught courses I have taught before, and new ones, and am currently preparing new courses for 2022. I read 11 books to help me directly with these courses.
This fall I transitioned from being a pastor and a professor to just being in the academic world for the next little while as I teach and work on my PhD. Because of this, my categories of reading have shifted a little bit. “Craft” once meant books related to worship and the arts, but now it is filled mainly with books to strengthen my courses and me as a teacher.
As always, books often fit into more than one category. I have listed them in alphabetical order and highlighted just three books per category by putting them in bold and adding an annotation.
- A Happy Death by Albert Camus.
- The Plague by Albert Camus.
- Re-reading this story about a plague, while living through a pandemic, was fascinating.
- The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- I am not one for the fantasy genre, but Coates laced the fantasy elements into this historical fiction narrative quite beautifully and naturally.
- A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway.
- For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.
- The Odyssey by Homer.
- The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
- The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor.
- This was my first time reading any of O’Connor’s writing, and it was worth the time. I especially was drawn into the stories The River and The Enduring Chill.
- Native Son by Richard Wright.
- A Pentecostal Hermeneutic: Spirit, Scripture and Community by Kenneth J. Archer.
- Psalmody and Prophecy by W.H. Bellinger Jr.
- Let Justice Roll Down: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Christian Life by Bruce C. Birch.
- Perhaps this book is a bit dated, but it offers a compelling look at justice and righteousness, traced through the story of the Hebrew Bible.
- From Whom No Secrets Are Hid: Introducing The Psalms by Walter Brueggemann.
- The Bible Makes Sense (Revised Edition) by Walter Brueggemann.
- The Psalms and The Life of Faith by Walter Brueggemann.
- Reading From The Beginning: The Shaping of the Hebrew Psalter by Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford.
- The Shape and Shaping of the Book of Psalms: The Current State of Scholarship ed. by Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford.
- Sanctifying Interpretation: Vocation, Holiness and Scripture (2nd ed) by Chris E.W. Green.
- Green offers a provocative look at how we read Scripture, framed by what we are called to do as Christ followers.
- The Holy Spirit and Social Justice: Interdisciplinary Global Perspectives: Scripture & Theology ed. Antipas L. Harris.
- Receiving Scripture in the Pentecostal Tradition: A Reception History ed. ed. Daniel D. Isgrigg, Martin W. Mittelstadt, Rick Wadholm, Jr.
- Interpreting the Psalms: Issues and Approaches ed. Philip S. Johnston, David G. Firth.
- Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom by Steven J. Land.
- God in the Dock: Dialogic Tension in the Psalms of Lament by Carleen Mandolfo.
- Pentecostal Hermeneutics: A Reader ed. by Lee Roy Martin.
- The Lord Reigns: A Theological Handbook to the Psalms by James L. Mays.
- Joel and the Spirit: The Cry of a Prophetic Hermeneutic by Larry R. McQueen.
- Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Restoration: Multidisciplinary Studies from a Pentecostal Perspective ed. by Martin W. Mittelstadt and Geoffrey W. Sutton.
- Pentecostal and Postmodern Hermeneutics: Comparisons and Contemporary Impact by Bradley Truman Noel.
- A Distinct Twenty-First Century Pentecostal Hermeneutic by Harlyn Graydon Purdy.
- The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ by Fleming Rutledge.
- At 700 pages, this took a long time to work through, but I am grateful I did. Rutledge provides a deep dive into so many different perspectives and images of the cross in the new testament imagination.
- Social Justice in Ancient Israel and the Ancient Near East by Moshe Weinfeld.
- Psalms as Torah: Reading Biblical Song Ethically by Gordon J. Wenham.
- A God of Vengeance?: Understanding the Psalms of Divine Wrath by Erich Zenger.
- Reading Ecclesiastes Intertextually edited by Katharine J. Dell and Will Kynes.
- Reading Job Intertextually edited by Katharine J. Dell and Will Kynes.
- Wisdom’s Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible’s Wisdom Literature by William P. Brown.
- Interpreting The Historical Books: An Exegetical Handbook by Robert B. Chisholm Jr.
- Introduction to the Psalms: A Song from Ancient Israel by Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford.
- Reading the Historical Books: A Student’s Guide to Engaging the Biblical Text by Patricia Dutcher-Walls.
- An Introduction to the Old Testament: Exploring Text, Approaches & Issues by John Goldingay.
- Different in format from any other introduction text I have read, Goldingay provides short, foundational insights into reading and studying each of the books in the Old Testament.
- Pentecostal Formation: A Pedagogy Among the Oppressed by Cheryl Bridges Johns.
- I found this dissertation surprisingly impactful as it touched on the old testament understanding of knowing and looked at formation in Pentecostalism.
- Seeing A Sustainable Trajectory: A Pedagogical Theory for Christian Worldview Formation by Rob Lindemann.
- Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship by David G. Peterson.
- Open and Unafraid: The Psalms as a Guide to Life by W David O. Taylor.
- A Theology of the Spirit in the Former Prophets: A Pentecostal Perspective by Rick Wadholm Jr.
- Bloody, Brutal, and Barbaric?: Wrestling with Troubling War Texts by William J. Webb and Gordon K. Oeste.
- Built on six theses, Webb and Oeste present a convincing method on how to read and understand some of the more difficult texts in the Bible.
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.
- The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth by Beth Allison Barr.
- Mixing her work as a historian of medieval church history and her own personal testimony, Barr frames patriarchy within the church not as biblical truth, but as cultural corruption.
- Everything Happens For A Reason: and Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler.
- Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder.
- A Burning In My Bones: The Authorized Biography of Eugene Peterson by Winn Collier.
- I did not read any books by Eugene Peterson this year, but I made up for it by reading Collier’s beautiful biography of the man behind some of my favourite theological writing.
- Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation by Kristin Kobes Du Mez.
- If you want to understand some of the major issues within the evangelical church today, read this historical survey of how evangelicalism was shaped in ways contrary to the gospel over the last one hundred years in the U.S.
- Insider Outsider by Bryan Lorritts.
- Love, Henri: Letters on the Spiritual Life by Henri J. M. Nouwen.
- Early Pentecostals on Nonviolence and Social Justice: A Reader ed. by Brian K. Pipkin and Jay Beaman.
- All That’s Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment by Hannah Anderson.
- Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human by John Mark Comer.
- How To Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Your Life by Darryl Dash.
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell.
- Saving Us: A Climate Scientists’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe.
- Kayhoe somehow manages to present the reality of climate change’s devastating effects on the most vulnerable, as well as the fact that we are not doing enough to fight it, all while being profusely hopeful on every page.
- Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair by Duke L. Kwon and Gregory Thompson.
- Looking at racism not just as personal prejudice, relational division, or systemic, but as as a cultural (dis)order, Kwon and Thompson outline all the ways that Black people in America have experienced theft, compelling the Church to be part of making reparations.
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.
- The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See by Richard Rohr.
- Pentecostals and the Poor: Reflections from the Indian Context by Ivan Satyavrata.
- Reappearing Church: The Hope for Renewal in the Rise of Our Post-Christian Culture by Mark Sayers.
- On The Road with Saint Augustine: A Real-World Spirituality for Restless Hearts by James K. A. Smith.
- Prayer In The Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep by Tish Harrison Warren.
- This is a timely book on prayer in the face of suffering, grief, and pain from one of my favourite writers. Go read it.
So there is my reading list from 2021. Have any questions about a specific book on my list, or want to share some of your favourite? Comment below.