Have You Read a Book Yet This Year?

"A week is plenty of time to have finished, or at least to have begun, a new book. Of course it’s also plenty of time to have binged a few series on Netflix or to have spent several evenings mindlessly scrolling through the endless dopamine-stimulating social networks" - Challies

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Mark_Smith's picture

Over the last two weeks I have read two new astronomy textbooks I am using for my classes, and made reading question guides for each chapter. Does that count Mr. Challies?

Andrew K's picture

Counting the number of books you read is middlebrow (as is much of Challies' content). And I intend that term with a faint whiff of scorn.

How about just reading a few books of excellent quality during the year and thinking about them deeply?

Jay's picture

I've finished Soul Repair by Jeff VanVonderen, read Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow, and have a slew of others to read.  Do I get a prize? Biggrin

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Kevin Miller wrote:

Does SharperIron count as a "dopamine-stimulating social network"?

For me, it's not usually dopamine.

Anyway, books: I'm roughly half way through three....

C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

Harold m. Schulweis For Those Who Can't Believe  (Basically Reform Juadiasm Apologetics, in connection with conversations with a Jewish friend. It's actually a fascinating, sometimes very disturbing, book.)

Dean Taylor The Thriving Church  (This is kind of an introduction to church life, an exposition of Ephesians 4. So far, I'd say best for new members class or deacon board or adult SS -- assuming you're not in a location with a large number of Bible college grads, who should already know all of this... but maybe they don't anymore.)

 

TOvermiller's picture

josh p's picture

Dombey and Son-Dickens

The Meaning of Marriage-Keller

Up From Slavery-Washington

I cheated and listened to every one of them though. I’m about half way through, “The Souls of Black Folk” right now but haven’t read any in several days. Need to get back at it.

RajeshG's picture

I have finished reading 3 books of the Bible: James, 1 Thessalonians, and Job. I'm also more than halfway done with reading Proverbs and Matthew.

Of other books, I have read 45 pages of The Beauty of Holiness: A Guide to Biblical Worship by Michael P.V. Barrett.

Don Johnson's picture

josh p wrote:

Dombey and Son-Dickens

Dombey is an incredible story. I've listened to it at least twice. Really goes after pride, humility (humiliation), and repentance and redemption. Some of Dickens' most memorable characters,too. I like all Dickens, but this is one of the best. (Bleak House number 1)

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Andrew K's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

Dombey and Son-Dickens

 

 

Dombey is an incredible story. I've listened to it at least twice. Really goes after pride, humility (humiliation), and repentance and redemption. Some of Dickens' most memorable characters,too. I like all Dickens, but this is one of the best. (Bleak House number 1)

Anyone who has ever tangled with govt bureaucracy gains a deep appreciation for Bleak House

josh p's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

Dombey and Son-Dickens

 

 

Dombey is an incredible story. I've listened to it at least twice. Really goes after pride, humility (humiliation), and repentance and redemption. Some of Dickens' most memorable characters,too. I like all Dickens, but this is one of the best. (Bleak House number 1)

Dickens is probably my favorite secular author next to Solzhenitsyn. I have read all of his major novels except Martin Chuzzelwit and Edwin Drood. The thing about Dombey that I liked is that he didn't overdo the father's repentance. His pride brought about his own ruin and he knew it so he tried to rectify it but I didn't get the impression that he was somehow now a perfect man. 

josh p's picture

Andrew K wrote:

 

Don Johnson wrote:

 

 

josh p wrote:

 

Dombey and Son-Dickens

 

 

Dombey is an incredible story. I've listened to it at least twice. Really goes after pride, humility (humiliation), and repentance and redemption. Some of Dickens' most memorable characters,too. I like all Dickens, but this is one of the best. (Bleak House number 1)

 

 

Anyone who has ever tangled with govt bureaucracy gains a deep appreciation for Bleak House

Or who has ever been involved in a car accident law suit. I'm four years in and the person drove in our lane and knocked us down an embankment. I now refer to it as Jamdyce and Jamdyce. 

Andrew K's picture

josh p wrote:

 

Andrew K wrote:

 

 

Don Johnson wrote:

 

 

josh p wrote:

 

Dombey and Son-Dickens

 

 

Dombey is an incredible story. I've listened to it at least twice. Really goes after pride, humility (humiliation), and repentance and redemption. Some of Dickens' most memorable characters,too. I like all Dickens, but this is one of the best. (Bleak House number 1)

 

 

Anyone who has ever tangled with govt bureaucracy gains a deep appreciation for Bleak House

 

 

Or who has ever been involved in a car accident law suit. I'm four years in and the person drove in our lane and knocked us down an embankment. I now refer to it as Jamdyce and Jamdyce. 

Did you get sent to the Circumlocution Office (Little Dorrit)? I also loved that one. :D 

josh p's picture

Haha man I forgot all about that one! That is one of the funniest books I have ever read. Right up there with Jeeves.

Don Johnson's picture

Andrew K wrote:

Did you get sent to the Circumlocution Office (Little Dorrit)? I also loved that one. :D 

Dickens was a great wit and very perceptive of injustice. Sadly, he decidedly rejected the gospel as a boy of ten (lived next door to a Baptist preacher). His family was C of E, but his father would sometimes take him to the Baptist church because it was closer. He rejected the message preached. I don't know if the preacher was as bad as Dickens saw him, but he certainly portrays evangelicals in a bad light in many books, including Bleak House.

Still, his novels are entertaining and thought provoking. That's why they've stood the test of time.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

I hate Dickens.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Andrew K's picture

TylerR wrote:

I hate Dickens.

You.

You can leave.

Go back to your teenage-vampire fiction, Amish romance novels , and Jack Hyles' "poetry." 

;D

 

josh p's picture

TylerR wrote:

I hate Dickens.

This is what is so great about the body of Christ. Even illiterate rube's have a place :). 

josh p's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

 

Andrew K wrote:

 

Did you get sent to the Circumlocution Office (Little Dorrit)? I also loved that one. :D 

 

 

Dickens was a great wit and very perceptive of injustice. Sadly, he decidedly rejected the gospel as a boy of ten (lived next door to a Baptist preacher). His family was C of E, but his father would sometimes take him to the Baptist church because it was closer. He rejected the message preached. I don't know if the preacher was as bad as Dickens saw him, but he certainly portrays evangelicals in a bad light in many books, including Bleak House.

Still, his novels are entertaining and thought provoking. That's why they've stood the test of time.

Thanks for this Don. I got the impression in his writing that he was no fan of the gospel but I hadn't heard the whole story. Is there a biography of Dickens that you can recommend? 

TylerR's picture

Editor

I really like Joseph Conrad, if that redeems me. I read Lord Jim this past year,

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

josh p wrote:

Thanks for this Don. I got the impression in his writing that he was no fan of the gospel but I hadn't heard the whole story. Is there a biography of Dickens that you can recommend? 

The biography I have is Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph by Edgar Johnson

It is two volumes, includes chapters of literary analysis on most if not all of his novels.

Here is the bit about the Baptist preacher

The minister of the Zion Baptist Chapel in Chatham during the time the Dickenses lived in St. Mary's Place was the Reverend William Giles. He has been said to have been also the minister of the Providence Baptist Chapel, next door to their house, although it is not likely that he officiated at both churches at the same time. However this may be, Mr. Giles was acquainted with the Dickens family. They were Church of England, although not at all devout, or interested in matters of doctrine. They were not ritualistic nor straitlaced nor iconoclastic, just completely and cheerful and worldly. They did not even attend church very regularly. They had no objection, however, to hearing their neighbour preach occasionally, and Charles evidently suffered bitterly from his or some other preacher's long-winded two-hour sermons.

Sitting there uncomfortably on a Sunday, he felt as if his mind were being steamed out of him, hating the minister's 'big round face,' looking 'up the inside of his outstretched coat-sleeve as if it were a telescope,' and loathing 'his lumbering jocularity.' Haled out the chapel, the boy would find himself 'catechized respecting' the minister's 'fifthly, his sixthly, and his seventhly,' until he 'regarded that reverend person in the light of a most dismal and oppressive Charade.' These experiences laid the foundations for his lifelong hatred of Nonconformity and his revulsion from any formal religious affiliatation. (pp. 19-20, vol 1)

Dickens was just about 10 years old when forming these life-long opinions. It's a kind of sobering thought. What do children think of us when we preach? 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Andrew K's picture

TylerR wrote:

I really like Joseph Conrad, if that redeems me. I read Lord Jim this past year,

It does a bit, actually. Though it's probably going to take Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, or Cervantes to get you completely out of the hole.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Two books, in order to understand the roots and history of the Progressive Evangelical Christian Left better. 

Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism https://www.amazon.com/Moral-Minority-Evangelical-Conservatism-Politics/dp/0812223063/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice https://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Evangelicals-Pursuit-Social-Justice/dp/1469617722/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

josh p's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

Thanks for this Don. I got the impression in his writing that he was no fan of the gospel but I hadn't heard the whole story. Is there a biography of Dickens that you can recommend? 

 

 

The biography I have is Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph by Edgar Johnson

It is two volumes, includes chapters of literary analysis on most if not all of his novels.

Here is the bit about the Baptist preacher

The minister of the Zion Baptist Chapel in Chatham during the time the Dickenses lived in St. Mary's Place was the Reverend William Giles. He has been said to have been also the minister of the Providence Baptist Chapel, next door to their house, although it is not likely that he officiated at both churches at the same time. However this may be, Mr. Giles was acquainted with the Dickens family. They were Church of England, although not at all devout, or interested in matters of doctrine. They were not ritualistic nor straitlaced nor iconoclastic, just completely and cheerful and worldly. They did not even attend church very regularly. They had no objection, however, to hearing their neighbour preach occasionally, and Charles evidently suffered bitterly from his or some other preacher's long-winded two-hour sermons.

Sitting there uncomfortably on a Sunday, he felt as if his mind were being steamed out of him, hating the minister's 'big round face,' looking 'up the inside of his outstretched coat-sleeve as if it were a telescope,' and loathing 'his lumbering jocularity.' Haled out the chapel, the boy would find himself 'catechized respecting' the minister's 'fifthly, his sixthly, and his seventhly,' until he 'regarded that reverend person in the light of a most dismal and oppressive Charade.' These experiences laid the foundations for his lifelong hatred of Nonconformity and his revulsion from any formal religious affiliatation. (pp. 19-20, vol 1)

Dickens was just about 10 years old when forming these life-long opinions. It's a kind of sobering thought. What do children think of us when we preach? 

Thanks. After reading thousands of pages of Dickens, it will be worth reading about his life. These days I find a good biography more interesting than almost anything else. 

josh p's picture

TylerR wrote:

I really like Joseph Conrad, if that redeems me. I read Lord Jim this past year,

I have yet to read Lord Jim but another sailing book that is great is London's The Sea Wolf. Probably a top five book for me. An amazing critique of evolutionary/naturalism and its logical conclusions. On Conrad, have you read The Secret Agent yet? I enjoyed that one. I also read Heart of Darkness. I must be dumb or something because I didn't get what was so great about it. 

josh p's picture

Anyone who has a Goodreads account and who wants to friend me there my name full name is Josh Peglow. I get a lot of book ideas from friends there. 

Andrew K's picture

josh p wrote:

 

TylerR wrote:

 

I really like Joseph Conrad, if that redeems me. I read Lord Jim this past year,

 

 

I have yet to read Lord Jim but another sailing book that is great is London's The Sea Wolf. Probably a top five book for me. An amazing critique of evolutionary/naturalism and its logical conclusions. On Conrad, have you read The Secret Agent yet? I enjoyed that one. I also read Heart of Darkness. I must be dumb or something because I didn't get what was so great about it. 

The Secret Agent  was great. I also enjoyed Victory. Fascinating protagonist, there.

Yeah, I consider Heart of Darkness rather overrated, on the whole. Not sure how it managed to practically eclipse much better works in the Conrad corpus.