Since I finished a volume of “The List” last week, this might be an appropriate time to update you on my reading so far this year. I’ve finished 33 books, which means I’m on target to read 120 this year — that’s a book every three days or so, 10 per month. My progress toward the goal has been fairly steady, though March was a bit slower than some other months. I did manage to catch up at the beginning of April.
7 of the 33 books I’ve read have been non-fiction. Three of the non-fiction books are worth mentioning here — The Last Divine Office by Geoffrey Moorhouse, Why Narrative? edited by Stanley Hauerwaas and L. Gregory Jones, and A Pathway into the Holy Scripture edited by Philip E. Satterthwaite and David F. Wright. The Last Divine Office is about a bit of England I don’t know much about, and gave a different view of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII than I’ve read before. Reading it made me want to visit Durham Cathedral. The book itself isn’t a particularly well-written history, but I was fascinated by the subject matter. Why Narrative? is a collection of key texts on narrative theology. I chose this book as my Pick-of-the-Month in the bookshop where I work. The Famous Chaplain, whose office is down the hall from the bookshop, came through one day, picked up Why Narrative? and announced that this was the best book ever as a starting point for learning about narrative theology. I have to agree with him. I’m sad I didn’t read the book earlier in my theological career. I’m also sad that I didn’t read A Pathway into the Holy Scripture earlier in my theological career. This is a nice collection of essays on biblical studies that I’ve had sitting on my shelf for at least 12 years. I dipped into it before, but reading them through was very interesting. I particularly appreciated the metaphors in I. Howard Marshall’s essay on Biblical and Systematic Theology.
If 7/33 books I’ve read have been non-fiction, that means the other 26 books have been fiction. Elsewhere in this blog I noted that I began reading Robertson Davies. In addition to Davies, the literary books I’ve read are Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (about Henry VIII, who has been a featured character in my reading this year), The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis (a reflection on life after death told as a dream-story), and The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (though my friends have been loudly debating whether this book is literature or pop-fiction with no staying power). 11 of the fiction books have been mysteries, which are my favoured form of brain candy. One of the mysteries also features Henry VIII, Sovereign by C.J. Sansom. That is one of the best mysteries I’ve read so far this year. Of course I really really liked Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James, but I’m afraid Sovereign wins on plot twists. The rest of my reading has been fantasy, short story collections, and science fiction. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is the stand-out of those books.
What have you read so far this year? Any recommendations?