50 Plus Good Reads and Authors from 2015

Theological and Christian Living

1. God in the Whirlwind by David Wells
This is the follow-up to Wells’ four books on Christianity and Modern Culture. A heavy theological application.

2. The Prayer of the Lord by R. C. Sproul
A study of the Lord’s Prayer. I preached on that prayer several times before reading this book, but I would read it again before preaching on the prayer.

3. The Philippian Fragment by Calvin Miller
A really fun spoof on much that happens in Christianity and Churchianity. I stumbled upon a used copy of this book, which turned out to be a really funny and yet sometimes convicting book.

4. In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life by Sinclair Ferguson
50 chapters of a few pages each. Most mornings, I read 2 of them. Very good, heart-centered, theologically sound reading for the start of the day. Ferguson is a great writer and Christian teacher.

5. God Dwells Among Us: Expanding Eden to the Ends of the Earth by G. K. Beale and Mitchell Kim
A very good study of the recurring Biblical images and uses of Eden and the Temple. Worth a second and more detailed reading.

6. The Case for the Psalms by N. T. Wright
Good. Worth another read.

7. For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper, edited by Storms and Taylor Like many collections of essays, the content varied. Some were a bit too scholarly for my early morning comprehension. Lots of good material. A great tribute to a great preacher.

8. On the Brink: Grace for the Burned-Out Pastor by Clay Werner
Good and right on target on so many issues.

9. Calvinism in Times of Crisis
A collection of talks by such men as G. C. Berkouwer, H. G. Stoker, and others given in Grand Rapids in 1946. Weighty and dated, but these men were solid Calvinists who were applying the Faith to the current crises.

10. Books by R. J. Rushdoony
The Sermon on the Mount by R. J. Rushdoony
A brief study of the SOTM. Complements the work of others. Insights aplenty. Very good book for theological and devotional reading.
Sermons in Obadiah and Jonah by R. J. Rushdoony
A short book of 8 messages. Good for morning reading. Rushdoony always has something worth reading, meditating on, and remembering.
Van Til and the Limits of Reason by R. J. Rushdoony
A difficult short book. This is a reprint and slight expansion of the Thinkers of the Modern Mind (?) series that Presbyterian and Reformed did back in the 1960s-70s. A challenging introduction that reveals the thinking of both author and subject.

11. Concerning the True Care of Souls by Martin Bucer
A Banner of Truth reprint. Good study of Reformation theology. A manual of church oversight and Seelsorge–soul care. Interesting detailed study of penance, which was not just a Catholic practice.

12. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done by Matt Perman
I read this book in 2013 and went to Perman’s lecture at the ACCS conference in June in Dallas. I re-read it with the commitment to try to implement what he says. Very good book, worth multiple readings and applications.

13. Our Faith by Emil Brunner
Since I read Emil Brunner: A Reappraisal, I thought I should read something by Brunner. This is a very basic, almost catechetical study of Christian doctrines. Only a few points of detected differences. His opening chapter sounded like Van Til.

14. Prayer by Philip Yancey
Yancey writes the most powerful honest assessments of Christian struggles of anyone I know. I felt, however, the book went on a bit long with too many unanswerable dilemmas. In spite of that, it was a profitable and convicting read.

15. Living the Cross Centered Life by C. J Mahaney
A really good and soul nourishing book. Great quotes, great content.

16. Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale by Frederick Buchner
Outstanding morning read. Received this book as a birthday gift from Toni Lemley. Loved the book and plan on reading it and the author some more.

17. The Concordia Psalter.  This is a handy, beautiful collection of the Psalms with prayers following each Psalm.

Great Works by Great Writers

18. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
This is my second or third read and the first really good understanding of this much neglected classic, which we read in Humanities class. I am almost persuaded to pursue much more reading of Scott’s many volumes.

19. The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold by Evelyn Waugh
A strange, even haunting, but enjoyable book.

20. Books by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Apricot Jam and Other Stories by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
I read the first story over a year and a half ago. Then last year, I plodded through the rest of them. Several of them were hard to follow, but perhaps the book needs more attention. I am trying to fill a big Solzhenitsyn deficit in my life.
The Russian Question at the End of the Twentieth Century by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Much of the book is a survey of Russian history. Solzhenitsyn laments Russia’s failure to help its own people through the years. The last part is about the failure of progress to satisfy man’s most important needs. Worthy of a second reading.
The First Circle by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
This book took a while to get through, but the last 100 pages made it worth the effort. It definitely needs another reading, but more thought before that time. Also, I read the older 87 chapter version and now need the 96 chapter version.

21. Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene
A very enjoyable novel. Based on Don Quixote, this story is about a poor priest and a defeated Communist mayor in Spain who travel throughout the country. Profound and funny.

22. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  It is always fun to teach this book which often becomes a favorite for students.

23. Fierce Wars and Faithful Wars (Book I of The Faerie Queene) by Edmund Spenser
Really enjoyed reading and teaching through this book again.

History

24. Two by Paul Johnson
The Renaissance by Paul Johnson
Read this because it is…well, by Paul Johnson, and because I have had it for a long time, and because it fit with what I was teaching at the time. A lot about art, which is one of Johnson’s specialties.
Eisenhower by Paul Johnson
Johnson has become the master of the short biography. It is a great survey of the life and gifts of a very skilled leader. Convincing and enjoyable. Typical Paul Johnson delightfulness.

25. Foundations: The History of England From Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors by Peter Ackroyd.
This is the first volume of a multivolume history of England. Not very easy reading, in part, because I am still vague about the chronology of English kings prior to the Tudors. Worthy read and one that makes me anxious to read the other volumes. My first reading of an Ackroyd title.

26. Our Supreme Task: How Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech Defined the Cold War Alliance
By Philip White
A really enjoyable book. How many Churchill books does it take to satisfy me? At least a few more.

27. Nations and Nationalism by Eric Hobshawm
Very challenging and detailed book. While reading this, I knew I was in the presence of a great thinker. Would have to read it again to more fully engage with it.

28. The Last Cavalryman: Lucian K. Truscott by Harvey Ferguson
Long break between the start and finish of this book. Truscott was a first rate general, but he has not received adequate attention. Good study of his role in the Italian and southern France campaigns.

29. Riots, Revolutions, and the Scottish Covenanters: The Works of Alexander Henderson by L. Charles Jackson
Scholarly, heavily documented, and weighty study of the man and his times. There are lots of lessons to draw from this book regarding the interaction between faith and politics. Really glad that Reformation Heritage Books has published this and other fine books.

Books about Books and Authors

30. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
Enjoyable entry into the world of rare and antiquarian books. But the thief, John Gilkey, who loved books, was a totally disgusting amoral person.

31. On Writing by Stephen King
Overall, a really good book. King is often profane, but also often profound, and sometimes both in the same paragraph. I would like to read some, or at least one, of his books at some point.

32. When Books Went to War by Molly Guptil Manning
After a slow start, this turned out to be an interesting book. Much of the focus and many of the stories concern the American Service Editions of books that were printed by the millions to provide reading for the troops. Great story and an overlooked aspect of World War II.

33. Walking a Literary Labyrinth: A Spirituality of Reading by Nancy M. Malone
A surprisingly good book. Ms. Malone is a nun and of a slight liberal persuasion, but her discussion of the place of reading in our lives was totally agreeable and enjoyable.

34. How Dante Can Save Your Life: The Life-Changing Wisdom of History’s Greatest Poem
By Rod Dreher
An enjoyable book that doesn’t easily fit into a niche. Not exactly a study of Dante or his poem; not exactly a Christian read, although it made the list of the best evangelical books of the year; largely autobiographical with a focus on Dreher’s physical and emotional breakdown and recovery.

35. The Other Solzhenitsyn: Telling the Truth about a Misunderstood Writer and Thinker by Daniel J. Mahoney
A great study. After some troubles getting into the book, I began read some of Solzhenitsyn himself. This is a necessary companion volume to Solzhenitsyn books and biographies.

Political Readings

36. Silent Revolution by Barry Rubin
An in-depth look at the Third Liberalism of our day. A good account of how Pres. Obama’s political views are far off course from those of liberals of the past. The book was repetitive, but useful.

37. Statism: The Shadows of Another Night, edited by Charlie Rodriquez
A collection of essays and speeches by Christian writers and former Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan . The theme is, of course, statism. Good and timely collection.

38. Insider Books about Politics
The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour Hersh
After showing the video in class for years, I finally decided to read the book. I am astounded at how corrupt and evil the Kennedy brothers were. This book was quite a contrast with The Hawk and the Dove, which was one of the top reads for 2015.

Hell of a Ride: Backstage at the White House Follies1989-1993 by John Podhoretz
A fun but shocking look at the disorder and lack of coherence in the George H. W. Bush White House.
At Ease in the White House: The Uninhibited Memoirs of a Presidential Social Aide
By Col. Stephen Bauer
Very interesting book and very interesting job. I learned quite a bit about the social side of the White House. Bauer was a Vietnam vet. Very favorable views of Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. Carter was so stingy and unaware of how things ought to be done.
The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents
And/or In the President’s Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect By Ronald Kessler
Fun for the inside look at the personalities, foibles, and faults of Presidents and families. Also a good study of the role, history, and inside fault lines within the Secret Service. Lots of overlapping stories in these two books.

How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life by Peter Robinson
Read this mostly as an afternoon read. Very enjoyable. Along with the expected anecdotes and stories, there was lots that I did not know. Robinson was the main author and proponent of the “tear down this wall” line.

39. Hard America; Soft America by Michael Barone
Read this book a few pages at a time. Although it is over 10 years old, it is still relevant and useful as a cultural analysis of good (hard) and bad (soft) trends in our country. Barone is a fine political and social commentator of a consrvative nature.

40. Christian Political Action in the Age of Revolution by Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer
Being that Groen is the author, what more needs to be said? This was written later than the Revolution and Unbelief collection. Quite good, but not an easy book to glean from. Groen describes the struggles and opposition he faced while laboring in Dutch politics.

41. Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics by Charles Krauthammer                                                                          A really fine collection of essays on a wide variety of topics. Krauthammer is a good stylist. I got this fine volume at a used book source for $2 and it was in new condition. What a find.

Coming Soon:  Favorite Popular Fiction Reads of 2015

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