I've made it something of a habit at the end of a year and beginning of a new year to post a list of the books I read in the last year. One fun little tradition my dad and brother and I have is that we share our reading lists with each other at the end of the year, as well, and I always pick up interesting suggestions for future reads from their lists. Since I won't be finishing any books today, I can go ahead and post my 2018 list, and the book I'm currently reading will have to go on the list for 2019. This is a little unsatisfying to my sense of completeness since it is the third in a series and I would have liked it to go on this list with the first two from the series, but it is what it is. 😊 As always, just because it's on the list doesn't necessarily mean I might wholeheartedly endorse a book, so if anyone has a question, please feel free to ask. I didn't always write whether I liked a book or not, and, looking back, I kind of wish I had done that more often - I find that when I look back, I don't always remember all of them very well. Some of them stick with me quite a bit, while others are less memorable. Anyway, for what it's worth, here is the list of books I read in 2018.
- From the Resurrection to his Return: Living Faithfully in the Last Days - D.A. Carson (NF)
- East of Eden - John Steinbeck (F)
- A Specter of Justice - Mark De Castrique (F). My brother-in-law gave me an autographed copy of this book for Christmas, written by a friend of his. I enjoyed it very much and plan to look for more in the series.
- Wonder - R.J. Palacio (F). Wow, this is such a great book. I cried so often while reading it - sad and happy tears. My daughter's cousin gave it to her for Christmas last year and she loved it and has talked and talked about it and wants to see the movie, and she begged me to read it, so I just finished it, and it is just so good. We're planning to go see the movie tomorrow. :-) The writing is so good and I love how the story is told from the perspective of several characters, and very believably. I love the message of not only choosing kindness, but going beyond and choosing to be even kinder than necessary. Highly recommended.
- Who is the Holy Spirit? (Crucial Questions Series) - R.C. Sproul (NF)
- Foundation - Isaac Asimov (F)
- Can I Be Sure I'm Saved (Crucial Questions Series) - R. C. Sproul (NF)
- Foundation and Empire - Isaac Asimov (F)
- Not God Enough: Why Your Small God Leads to Big Problems - J. D. Greear (NF). Recommended! I very much appreciated this book.
- Second Foundation - Isaac Asimov (F)
- The Cold Dish: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 1) - Craig Johnson (F)
- Growing Up Christian - Karl Gaustein with Mark Jacobsen (NF). This is a great tool to use for discipling our children who are growing up as 'church kids' to help us to help them to recognize the blessings and dangers in growing up 'Christian.' It is very helpful at encouraging them to examine themselves to be sure they truly understand the gospel and are in the faith, rather than merely mimicking their parents' faith. Very much recommended.
- Death Without Company: A Walt Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 2) - Craig Johnson (F). I've found a new favorite series. Some language caution (a couple of characters can at times be a bit salty in their language). Interesting and believable characters, humor, intriguing stories.
- Race and Economics - Walter E. Williams (NF).
- Christy - Catherine Marshall (F). I loved this book!
- Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J.D. Vance (NF). This is such a good book, sad, poignant, but somewhat hopeful. I have so many thoughts I wish I could discuss with someone after reading this, I'm going to have to call my mom. I see many similarities, yet many differences to things she has told me about her family and grandparents and great-grandparents. To some extent, the 'hillbillies' are my ancestors, too, though there are differences to mom's and dad's stories that are significant. One thing that made me angry while reading, though, is that the Christianity that is pictured is more cultural than Christian. While I know I'm reading through the author's lens and it's possible that in his youth and struggles he just missed the larger message, it seems that even when he went to church he was more inundated with outward things and changes rather than the actual gospel message. We all need the gospel, not mere separation from the world, but we need to know reconciliation with God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. This is what changes us and grants us true hope. I agree with a lot of the cultural issues discussed and analyzed so well and insightfully in the book, they are real and need to be addressed, but I'm angry and saddened at the shallow Christianity presented in many churches that preach Americanism on one hand and focus on separating from the world but seem to miss the point ultimately in preaching true gospel salvation. Our identity needs to be in Christ, we need to be following HIM, we need Him and His righteousness to save us from ourselves. It isn't enough to have our own version of Christianity apart from any church but remaining in our deep-seated, individualistic, I'll-do-it-my-way pride, nor is to legalistically change outward behavior and stop watching movies, listening to certain music, and fill our minds reading Left Behind books and steeping ourselves in the evangelical subculture while seeing the devil behind everything else. That is not Christianity. Christianity is dying to ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Christ. It is to see Jesus as more precious and worthy than anything else in life. I have so much more I'm thinking, but this isn't the place to share it, and I need time to think. I really am glad I read this book.
- Kindness Goes Unpunished: A Walt Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 3) - Craig Johnson (F).
- Another Man's Moccasins: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 4) - Craig Johnson (F).
- The Alice Network: A Novel - Kate Quinn (F).
- The Dark Horse: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 5) - Craig Johnson (F).
- None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different From Us (and why that's a good thing) - Jen Wilkin (NF). Recommended!
- Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology - Leah Remini (NF).
- Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God - Athena Dean Holtz (NF).
- Junkyard Dogs: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 6) - Craig Johnson (F).
- The Quest for Cosmic Justice - Thomas Sowell (NF). Wow. I would love to see this as recommended reading for every high school senior. Very well thought out and written.
- Hell is Empty: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 7) - Craig Johnson (F).
- Memory Man - David Baldacci (F).
- The Last Mile (Memory Man Series Book 2) - David Baldacci (F).
- As the Crow Flies: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Book 8) - Craig Johnson (F).
- Believe Me - JP Delaney (F).
- Watchfulness - Brian G. Hedges (NF). Recommended! I took my time reading this short little book because it is packed with wisdom and I want to remember, not just read it, put it down, and move on to other things, but to take to heart what I've read.
- The Things You Find in Rockpools - Gregg Dunnett (F).
- A Serpent's Tooth: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 9) - Craig Johnson (F).
- Divorce Horse (Longmire Short Story) - Craig Johnson (F).
- Christmas in Absaroka County: Walt Longmire Christmas Stories - Craig Johnson (F).
- Messenger: A Walt Longmire Story - Craig Johnson (F).
- Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices - Thomas Brooks (NF).
- Pushing Brilliance (Kyle Achilles, Book 1) - Tim Tigner (F).
- Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng (F). Having lived in Shaker Heights, OH for a year, I enjoyed this book. Definitely captures the feel of living in Shaker Heights. Some things I liked, many I did not.
- The Storyteller's Secret - Sejal Badani (F). I loved this book.
- Any Other Name (Walt Longmire Books Book 10) - Craig Johnson (F).
- Gilead - Marilynne Robinson (F). Beautifully written, I loved this.
- Wait for Signs:Twelve Longmire Stories - Craig Johnson (F).
- Made For His Pleasure - Alistair Begg (NF). This is the book I will be recommending to anyone I can. Such an encouraging book! How I want to love and serve Jesus more.
- Them: Why We Hate Each Other - And How to Heal - Ben Sasse (NF). HIGHLY recommend. How I long for more voices like Ben Sasse to speak into the current public discourse. Whether you agree with him on policy or not, what he says about regaining a sense of being fellow countrymen, good neighbors who invest in community, and recognizing and honoring the dignity of all people, even those with whom we disagree, is a refreshing and MUCH needed corrective to the current mess that we find ourselves in.
- Sing!: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church - Keith and Kristyn Getty (NF).
- Black Rednecks and White Liberals - Thomas Sowell (NF). One of the premier thinkers of our day. He really ought to be required reading for those who want to talk about 'social justice.'
- Frankenstein - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (F). My high school senior was reading this for English and I realized I don't remember if I've actually read the original book or not, so now I have. Didn't really like it all that much.
- 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You - Tony Reinke (NF). This is probably one of the most useful and important books I've read this year. I would go so far as to say I HIGHLY recommend this to any Christian who has a smartphone or engages at all with social media. Truly well written and thought-provoking, on a topic that is vital that we think well and deeply about - how to use smartphones and social media wisely and to God's glory and not get lost in the trivial and idolatrous, examining carefully our habits and motivations in this area. This is a warning and a message that is desperately needed today. I've been thinking a great deal for some time about how and why I use social media, and I found this a refreshing and much needed discussion. I'm going to put this in front of all three of my kids and insist that they read it thoughtfully.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart (F). I bought this for my daughter after a recommendation from several friends, and it's very good. I hope she will listen to me and try it - I think she will enjoy it.
- Dry Bones: A Walt Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries, Book 11) - Craig Johnson (F).
- An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery - Craig Johnson (F).
- Home - Marilynne Robinson (F). This is the second in the Gilead trilogy and I truly enjoy her writing. I love how she took the same characters and time period as Gilead and told it from different characters' perspective. Well-done. I'm currently reading the third book in the trilogy, Lila, but it will have to go on the list for 2019 since I'm not finished with it yet.
- The Highwayman: A Longmire Mystery - Craig Johnson (F).