the 2008 book list

Or, “At least it’s not as big and scary as last year’s.”

This year was kind of funny, because I’d have months when I’d read two books, and then months when I’d read nine…school and general burnout, I think, contributed to that. There are times when you need to slow down a bit and savor a text, and do stuff besides sit around your house and read.

That being said, I still read more than about 98% of Americans. What can I say? Besides, I was forced to read some of these. *shrug*

Usual rule applies: These are all the books that I finished in 2008. I forgot to get the page count this year, alas, but I did get the date I finished each book on. I tend to have several going at a time, so don’t get too freaked out by the close proximity of some of those dates. An asterisk means I’ve read it before. Anyway, here we go:

January 2: Craig Dunham and Doug Serven, Twentysomeone
January 8: Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
January 15: Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
January 19: John Piper et al., The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World
January 25: Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mystery
*January 28: Lauren Winner, Girl Meets God
*February 8: Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
February 15: Frederick Buechner, On the Road With the Archangel
February 18: J.P. Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind
*February 25: Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?
March 1: Michael Chabon, Summerland
March 7: Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird
*March 12: Michka Assayas, Bono: In Conversation
March 13: Ann Patchett, Run
March 25: Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
March 26: Michael Chabon, Gentlemen of the Road
April 10: Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
April 21: N.T. Wright, Surprised By Hope
*May 2: Donald Miller, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance
May 4: Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God
May 11: Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
May 15: Tim Keller, The Reason for God
*May 25: C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
June 3: Walter Wangerin, Jr., Jesus
June 17: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
June 19: Jeffrey Yamaguchi, 52 Projects
*June 21: Lauren Winner, Mudhouse Sabbath
July 2: Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
July 13: Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
July 14: Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
August 12: Henry David Thoreau, Walden
*August 14: Donald Miller, Searching For God Knows What
August 19: Stephenie Meyer, Twilight
September 1: Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society
September 4: David Weinberger, Everything is Miscellaneous
September 7: Michael Ward, Planet Narnia
September 11: Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth
September 20: Elaine Lally, At Home With Computers
September 25: Maria Bakardijeva, Internet Society: The Internet in Everyday Life
September 27: Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things
September 27: Robert Farrar Capon, Bed and Board
*October 12: Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
*October 17: C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
November 9: Eric J. Hunter, Classification Made Easy
November 10: Maria Metzer Rose, Muscle Beach
November 12: David Brooks, On Paradise Drive
November 17: Lucy Suchman, Plans and Situated Actions
*November 17: Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey
November 20: John Battelle, The Search
November 21: Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb
November 28: Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
*December 18: C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet
December 19: John Irving, The Cider House Rules
*December 24: Walter Wangerin, Jr., The Book of God
December 31: Carolyn Custis James, When Life and Beliefs Collide

Total: 55
Read for class: 8
Fiction: 18
Non-fiction: 37 (which is rather surprising–I don’t usually read that much non-fiction)
Most read author: C.S. Lewis, with 3 (if you count the Chronicles as one book).
Re-reads: 13

Top 5:
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. I first got familiarized with O’Brien’s work last year, reading Going After Cacciato for a class, so I had to check out his most famous work, and I don’t regret it at all. It’s a fascinating collection of short stories about the lives of Vietnam soldiers before, during, and after the war, and while it can seriously get rough at times, it’s still an interesting, multi-layered read.

The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon. How do you write a book on the theological implications of food? Start like Robert Capon does–start by meditating on the goodness of creation and matter, on the beauty of the mundane, and how food nourishes the body and the soul in one fell swoop. Throw in what look like really good recipes (the first 2/3 or so of the book is one recipe for lamb, thus the title), and you have yourself a great book.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. It’s a day in the life of…well, who, really? Everyone, really–the title character, Septimus Smith, and, well, the whole city of London. What could’ve been really boring becomes really rich; sure, there are descriptions of the characters’ everyday actions, but what makes this a good book is the fact that we get to see what they’re thinking in the meantime, memories and musings and all. Woolf handled this one well.

Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright. If you think the point of Christianity is simply to take us out of the world and into heaven…well. I think you need to read this book. N.T. Wright has some controversial views on the atonement (which I haven’t really ever gotten a clear explanation of…I need to read his book), but I think his thoughts on Christ’s resurrection and His second coming are pretty spot-on. He didn’t come only to save our souls, but our bodies and the physical world as well–but Tom Wright explains it a lot better than I can.

Planet Narnia by Michael Ward. On the surface, this doesn’t sound that fun: It’s an expansion of Ward’s doctoral dissertation on the role of medieval astrology in C.S. Lewis’s works, especially in the Narniad. But, weirdly enough, this was easily my favorite book this year–it fired my theological and literary imagination, it made me want to reread everything I’ve ever read by Lewis, and it gave me a deeper understanding of both who I am as a believer and what I am to do with that calling. Crazy, eh? But I recommend it, especially if you’re already a Lewis fan.

Honorable mentions: Summerland by Michael Chabon, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (if you don’t mind slogging through theological debates and semiotics), Jesus by Walter Wangerin, Jr., Twentysomeone by Craig Dunham and Doug Serven, When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James (seriously, this is required reading for every Christian)


For the Keeper of Our Days

When summer’s dawn upon us shines,
And rest and mirth both rule our days,
We sing Thee, Father, Love divine,
This joyful hymn of grateful praise.
Thy gracious hand hath sent us light–
For this, our God, be glorified;
In salty spray and child’s delight,
Be lifted up, be lifted high.

In autumn’s sunset colors, Thou
That painted skies with crimson stain
Did give Thyself and show us how
Thy strength is stronger in our pain.
Jesus, our Lord, who gives us life
And bids us come to Thee for bread–
Thy blood has healed us from our strife
And raised our spirits from the dead.

And blessed ever be Thy name
In midst of winter’s chilling death;
When all the world does coldness reign
And forests draw their fleeting breath,
Thou our great King did come to earth–
Emmanuel, yes, God with us–
And we, rejoicing at Thy birth,
Glad tidings and great grace confess.

In springtime’s gladness, Son of God,
Thou climbed up Calvary’s broken hill
And on the serpent’s head did trod
Through sacred blood which Thou has spilled!
You gave new life to those who trust,
You made us new in spring’s bright days,
And for Thy gracious love we must
Lift up our voice in grateful praise!

Oh Keeper of our pilgrim days,
Of seasons, weeks, and months, and years,
Thy mercy with us ever stays,
And Thy name only calms our fears!
And whether good or evil comes
To us, all for Thy glory flows,
And while the sand of time still runs
Our humble praise to Jesus goes.

mix tape monday: top 50 edition

So, this is a little different…every year since 2004, I’ve thrown together a compilation of my 50 favorite songs from the year. They don’t have to have been released in that year; I just have to have listened to them a lot and liked them and found them worthy of sharing with other people. If you’re interested in getting a copy, drop me a note in the comments. Feel free to ridicule or praise anything on here.

Disc 1
1. Rihanna, “Don’t Stop the Music” (Good Girl Gone Bad)
2. Daft Punk, “Technologic” (Musique, Vol. 1 (1991-2004))
3. Party Ben, “Galvanize the Empire”
4. Robert Randolph and the Family Band, “Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong With That” (Colorblind)
5. Shaded Red, “Rat Race” (Red Revolution)
6. Michael Franti & Spearhead, “Say Hey (I Love You)” (All Rebel Rockers)
7. No Doubt, “Hey Baby” (Rock Steady)
8. Róisín Murphy, “Ramalama (Bang Bang)” (Ruby Blue)
9. Eric Darby, “Scratch and Dent Dreams (live)” (The Secret Dream Lives of Engineers)
10. In the Heights OBC, “96,000” (In the Heights)
11. Jamie Lidell, “Another Day” (JIM)
12. The Submarines, “You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie” (Honeysuckle Weeks)
13. Duffy, “Mercy” (Rockferry)
14. Robyn, “Cobrastyle” (Robyn)
15. MGMT, “Time to Pretend” (Oracular Spectacular)
16. Coldplay, “Lovers In Japan/Reign of Love” (Viva La Vida)

Disc 2
1. Billy Bragg and Wilco, “Airline to Heaven” (Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2)
2. Foy Vance, “Shed a Little Light” (Hope)
3. Counting Crows, “Los Angeles” (Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings)
4. Eric Hutchinson, “Rock & Roll” (Sounds Like This)
5. The Khrusty Brothers, “Whittle Down” (The Khrusty Brothers)
6. Taylor Mali, “Totally Like Whatever” (Totally Like Whatever)
7.The Verve, “Bittersweet Symphony” (Urban Hymns)
8. Brandi Carlile, “The Story” (The Story)
9. Iron & Wine, “Boy With a Coin” (The Shepherd’s Dog)
10. The Weepies, “All That I Want” (Happiness)
11. The Duhks, “Mighty Storm” (Fast Paced World)
12. Adele, “Hometown Glory” (19)
13. Bruce Springsteen, “My City of Ruins” (The Rising)
14. Matthew John Conley, “Prayer”
15. U2, “Bad” (The Unforgettable Fire)
16. Hillsong, “Mighty to Save” (Mighty to Save EP)

Disc 3
1. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, “Falling Slowly” (Once)
2. Rent OBC, “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)” (Rent)
3. Collin Herring, “Punches” (Past Life Crashing)
4. Jars of Clay, “What Wondrous Love” (Roots & Wings EP)
5. Sufjan Stevens, “For the Widowers in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti” (Michigan)
6. Raúl Esparza & Company, “Being Alive” (Company)
7. Colin Melloy, “Wonder (Live)” (Colin Melloy Sings Live!)
8. John Mayer, “Slow Dancing In a Burning Room” (Continuum)
9. Bob Dylan, “Ring Them Bells” (Oh Mercy)
10. Derek Webb, “Wedding Dress” (How to Kill and Be Killed)
11. Andrew Peterson, “Come Lord Jesus” (Carried Along)
12. Keith Lancaster and the Acapella Company, “We Will Glorify” (Awesome God)
13Joe Pug, “Hymn #101” (Nation of Heat EP)
14. Jon Foreman, “White As Snow” (Winter EP)
15. Sandra McCracken, “Saturn’s Fields” (Red Balloon)
16. Andrew Osenga, “Good Things Always Are” (Letters to the Editor, Vol. 2)
17. Andrew Osenga, “Let Us Know You” (Letters to the Editor, Vol. 2)
18. Obadiah Parker, “Hey Ya” (Obadiah Parker Live)

fourth week of advent

And the herald went forth through the city,
Shouting to the people both inside and out:
“Come, all ye faithful to the true King,
Come and rejoice in his triumph over our enemies!
Come and pay your homage!

“And come all ye unfaithful, you adulterers
And thieves and traitors, come join and receive
Forgiveness and blessing!
Come receive mercy and clemency,
Reconciliation and peace!

“For he comes with healing in his wake,
Riches for the poor, justice for the oppressed,
Food for the hungry, exaltation for the humble!
He will come and turn the world upside-down.”

And the king came to the city with his bride,
Now both arrayed in royal splendor,
And looked on the people, and he started the work
Of rebuilding.

Thursday 13.

I know I’ve done this one before, but I’m curious: The thirteen last albums you bought or otherwise obtained.

1. The Duhks, Fast Paced World
2. The Decemberists, Her Majesty The Decemberists
3. Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken, Ampersand EP
4. Sean Watkins, Blinders On
5. U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind
6. Sixpence None the Richer, Sixpence None the Richer
7. Ben Folds Five, Whatever and Ever Amen
8. John Mayer, Continuum
9. The Khrusty Brothers, The Khrusty Brothers
10. Paste Sampler #48
11. Sandra McCracken, Red Balloon
12. Paste Sampler #47…
13. Jon Foreman, Fall & Winter

music check

Because we haven’t done one in a while, and I’m not having any good ideas for blog posts…

1. U2, “Ultraviolet (Light My Way)”
2. Radiohead, “Electioneering”
3. U2, “One Step Closer”
4. The Frames, “Revelate”
5. The Scott Silipigni Band, “San Francisco”
6. Jimmy Eat World, “Dizzy”
7. Rosie Thomas, “I Play Music”
8. Caedmon’s Call, “Climb On (A Back That’s Strong)”
9. Old Crow Medicine Show, “I Hear Them All”
10. Quiet Lovely, “What a Good Boy Am I”
11. The Normals, “We Are the Beggars At the Foot of God’s Door”
12. Pedro the Lion, “A Mind of Her Own”
13. Caedmon’s Call, “Oompah Loompah Song”
14. Terry Kelly Band, “All My Life”
15. Michael W. Smith, “Thy Word”
16. Ben Folds Five, “Adelaide”
17. Ben Folds, “The Ascent of Stan”
18. Robyn, “Cobrastyle”
19. Christ Tabernacle Choir, “We Have Overcome”
20. Charlie Hall, “Glorify”