Books 2012

Here I will keep track of and offer brief descriptions of books that I have read or am reading this year. This is more for my benefit than yours.  I've always wanted to keep track of how many books I read in a year and this year I'm really going to give it a shot.  Its almost embarrassing in terms of sheer number as well as the number of YA books in the list, but nevertheless, here it is in all of its glory. 

1. The Return of the King-J.R.R. Tolkien
     The thrilling conclusion to the greatest book ever written.  I love this book so much, and yet I hate it because it marks the end of the Lord of the Rings.  How sad!

2. The 39 Steps-John Buchan
     In the words of Fortescue, this is the classic british spy novel.  Nonstop action from beginning to end.  Reminds me a bit of the The Man Who Was Thursday: a Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton, but without the spiritual implications of that book.

3. Orthodoxy-G.K. Chesterton
     This is a must read for any thinking believer.  I really cannot express how much of an impact this book has had on me. Many apologetic books that I have read have had a bit of a defeatist attitude.  This one however, was so joyful in its conclusions that it left me warm all over ( a feeling I try not to indulge). 

4. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from it Cultural Captivity - Nancy Pearcey
     The tagline to this book could be "See smart woman make dumb arguments."  Instead of reading this you should just read C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and even Francis Schaeffer, who articulate their arguments much more eloquently than Mrs. Pearcey

5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Battle of the Labyrinth - Rick Riordan
     I like YA fiction, ok? This isn't my favorite of the PJ books, but its still pretty good.  Loads of action and adventure.  What more does a YA book need?  (other than Aslan of course)

6. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian - Rick Riordan
     A couple of years ago, I took Hazel to see The Lightening Thief when it came out.  We hadn't read the books and honestly weren't that crazy about the movie, but we did go get the first book afterward just to give it a shot.  I am so glad we did.  People often compare them to Harry Potter.  This is obsurd.  The Harry Potter books are deep.  Percy Jackson books are just fun!  I don't mean that negatively either.  This final book more than does justice to the rest of the series.  If anything, it may be the best of them all.

7. On Grace and Freewill - St. Augustine
     I can always count on St. Augustine to blow my mind.  I read him some during college, but then almost all of my time was taken up with either goofing off, or studying for exams etc.  What I'm trying to say is, I didn't study except what I had to. Now, I find myself studying because I enjoy it.  Recently I have begun working through some of the works of the early church fathers.  This was my jumping point.  It is an amazing thing that through writing, the body of Christ can have communication and growth from over centuries.  I, now in the year 2012 C.E., can receive encouragement and instruction from a brother in 427 C.E.  Many Augustine's points in this book could be aimed at believers today.  Each of his arguments is backed up with scripture (almost to the point of being obsessive) and he argues difficult truths with the simplest manner.  Very glad I read this book.

8. The Wasteland and Other Poems - T.S. Eliot
     Ok, this is both a "Have Read" and a "Still Reading" again and again and again.  If you have read this blog for very long then you know that I love T.S. Eliot.  I even did a School Assembly based almost exclusively on Eliot. I actually hesitated to put this on this list because I am reading this book continually.  The Wasteland may be despairing, but there is wisdom and even a glimpse of the hope that T.S. Eliot was on the cusp of finding when he wrote these poems.  A hope that he would eventually convey in the next book on the list.

9. Four Quartets - T.S. Eliot
     As with The Wasteland, this book is not necessarily the 9th book on this list chronologically. I am always reading this book.  Some mornings this takes the place of my normal devotional reading (aside from the Word). To go from the anguish and lostness of The Wasteland and Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock to poetry as hopeful and humble as this collection is inspiring.  There is hope here.  There is grace.  There is humility before an awesome God that we all need to learn.

10. The Ball and the Cross - G.K. Chesterton
     This book is the hilarious story of an ardent Scottish Catholic and an ardent Scottish Atheist dueling to the death in order to defend their worldviews, all the while becoming closer and closer friends.  If I ever have as dear a friend as these friends become (even with the dueling) I will count myself fortunate.   There are very beautiful passages in this book.  The very absurdity of the story gives it a striking truth for all of us.  While I will not be doing any dueling, it did cause me to question how much I really believe what I say that I believe.

11. Eragon - Christopher Paolini
My dad actually first got me to read these books, an unusual feat because, as he can tell you, I don't usually follow up on recommendations, but I'm glad I did with these.  They aren't perfect and as amazing as it may be that a 14 year old wrote the first book, you can tell that he was very young when he wrote it.  Even so, even after the Tolkien nerd in me screams that he stole certain words from Elvish, I really enjoyed these books.
12. Eldest - Christopher Paolini      
Like I said before, as much as the Tolkien fan in me screams in agony sometimes, I really enjoyed reading these books.  Flying with Eragon and Saphira is no end of fun and I find some reflection of myself in Eragon's inner struggles in this book.
13. Brisingr- Christopher Paolini

14. Inheritance - Christopher Paolini

15. The Gunslinger - Stephen King

16. The Drawing of the Three -  Stephen King

17.  The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien

18.   All Things Considered- G.K. Chesterton

19. Shoeless Joe - W.P. Kinsella

20. The 28th:  A Record of War Service with the Australian Imperial Force, 1915-1919 Vol 1. Egypt, Gallipoli, Lemnos Island, Sinai Peninsula - Colonel H.B. Collett

21-28. Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowing

29. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

30. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

31. Clouds of Witness - Dorothy Sayers

32. Salem's Lot - Stephen King

33. It - Stephen King

34. Thirst - Andrei Gelasimov (trans. by Marian Schwartz)

35. The Heroes of Olympus Book 1: The Lost Hero - Rick Riordan

36. The Heroes of Olympus Book 2: The Son of Neptune - Rick Riordan

37. Spiritual Writings of Soren Kierkegaard - Soren Kierkegaard

38. The Eagle - Rosemary Sutcliff

39. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart

40. The Mysterious Benedict Society  and the Perilous Journey - TLS

41. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma - TLS

42. The Book of Three - Lloyd Alexander

43. Ender's Game - Lloyd Alexander

44. Minority Report - Philip K. Dick

45. The Black Cauldron - LLoyd Alexander