What I read in 2017 and what I (briefly) thought.

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As noted in my review roundup post, reflecting a little on my 2017 reading challenge, I had a mixed success in reading and widening my reading this year. Thanks to tools like Kindle, my blog, a pile of books, and Logos, I can roughly quantitfy how many books I managed to get through. Some I read digitally, some I read physically. But here they are. I’ve decided to divide them into 2 categories (Reviewed/Not Reviewed), with the latter subdivided into Fiction, Christian/Theology and Other (Poetry, History, Biography, etc)

Read and Reviewed – 44

God With Us by Rowan Williams – one of the world’s most prominent theologians writes beautifully on the Easter weekend.
A Better story by Glynn Harrison – a superb look at the why, how and what to do of the sexual revolution.
Being Human in God’s world by J. Gordon McConville – a brilliant Old Testament Theology of being human.
Silence by Shusaku Endo – a classic novel of faith, religion, persecution and a brilliant read.
Raising Teens in a Hyper-Sexualised World by Eliza Hulse – a practical look at some of the challenges the title captures!
Words, Wonders and Power by Martyn Percy – a sociological/theological (more of the former than the latter, in my opinion) classic.
A Wilderness of Mirrors by Mark Meynell – an absolutely superb book that I wish I’d read a year earlier.
A Doubters Guide to the Ten Commandments by John Dickson – a superb introduction with an apologetic twist to the Ten Commandments.
Kingdom, Hope and the End of the World by Ian Paul – a brilliant and short introduction to the important topic of eschatology.
The World on Our Doorstep by Dewey Hughes – great book on doing international mission without leaving the UK.
Revolutionary Work by William Taylor – a helpful short book about working as a Christian.
Justification Reconsidered by Stephen Westerholm – a useful short primer on one of the hard words at the heart of the Gospel.
Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall – a brilliant book, combining history and geography, and one that informs a range of conversations.
Christian Tradition and the Practice of Justice by Nick Sagovsky – a helpful technical book on Justice in/and the Christian tradition.
Knowing Christ by Mark Jones – a powerful and nourishing book, in modern language but drenched with ancient/Puritan wisdom.
Identity and Idolatry by Richard Lints – a superb NSBT on what it means to be human.
Impossible is a Dare by Ben Cooley – an inspiring, rapid read that will challenge you.
Evangelical, Sacramental & Pentecostal by Gordon T. Smith – an immensely helpful book for bridge-builders and ecclesial identity construction.
Transgender by Vaughan Roberts – probably the best short introduction to this contentious conversation.
Where was God when that happened by Christopher Ash – another great entry in a solid series, pastoral, biblical, wise.
Unpopular Culture by Guvna B – an encouraging read from a Rapper!
Same Sex Relationships by John Stott – an interesting piece of publishing – with timeless wisdom.
When Evangelicals Care by Brian H Edwards – a fascinating and encouraging history of an oft-forgotten but important charity.
The Selfish Gospel by Freddie Pimm – a superb book about the Gospel we usually forget.
The Art of Turning by Kevin DeYoung – a rather slim book about the conscience.
What Makes Us Human by Mark Meynell – a good little primer for most people on this vital topic.
The Forgotten Cross by Lee Gatiss – the best short book on the Cross I’ve read in a while.
A Theology in Outline by Robert Jenson – one of the most readable, rich and enjoyable overviews of theology I’ve ever read.
Suffering and Singing by John Hindley – a powerful book about worship, the Psalms, and the real world.
The Introvert Charismatic by Mark Tanner – a vital book if you identify with either or both of the words in the title.
In Search of Ancient Roots by Kenneth Stephen – a superb history of evangelicalism’s place in the church.
Theology of the Body by Jean-Claude Larchet – a short Eastern Orthodox book on this important topic.
Serving the Church, Reaching the World edited by Richard Cunningham – a worthy but mixed readable festschrift for Don Carson.
Living the prayer by Trystan Owain Hughes – a helpful little book on the Lord’s Prayer
Still Christian by David Gushee – a disappointing but illuminating read – helpful for understanding ‘American’ ‘evangelicalism’.
Being Disciples by Rowan Williams – I’m late to the party on this: a brilliant book on discipleship for today.
Sin, Grace and Free Will Vol. 1 by Matthew Knell – a superb historical overview of some vital topics, focused on the early church/Fathers/Augustine
Radical Leadership by Michael Green – my favourite recent short book on Leadership.
Hops and Glory by Pete Brown – a brilliant history/travel book about beer. Strong language.
Reading Scripture with the Saints by C. Clifton Black – a book that reads like a brilliant museum. Recommended.
Paul: A Very Brief History by John Barclay – not enough time for Paul and the Gift? Read this!
The Goldilocks Zone by Mike Ovey, edited by Chris Green – a worthy tribute to a brilliant theologian.
God and the Transgender Debate by Andrew T. Walker – a sound and helpful contribution to this conversation from a conservative position.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit by Bruce Ware – a book with two brilliant opening chapters, that got me thinking (hence the long review…)

Read but not Reviewed

Fiction – 22

Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magicians Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanters End Game – all by David Eddings. A brilliant epic fantasy series, that I’ve read before, and recommend strongly.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I make a point of re-reading this every year – and I always thoroughly enjoy it.
The United States of Europe by Ken Jack – this is a hilarious (both narratively and in how badly it is actually written) near-future parody/history. Well worth reading.
Dragon Strike, Dragon Fire, and The Third World War by Humphrey Hawksely. Again in the near-future genre, these are brilliantly written, carefully researched, and rather chilling.
Space Wolf, Ragnar’s Claw, Grey Hunter and Wolfblade by William King. Four novels forming a series following space marine in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Relatively violent but well written and great narratives.
Death Comes for the Deconstructionist by Daniel Taylor. An interesting thriller with a Christian heart, this is a difficult but rewarding read.
Five on Brexit Island. This is a hilarious little book in the new Famous Five for adults series. A great distraction.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I finally got around to reading this classic novel – after loving the film. Enthralling and beautiful, whilst haunting.
Realms of Glory by Catherine Fox. The final (And apparently much anticipated) book in a trilogy. Not really my cup of tea.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It was good to finally read this classic, which I was meant to have read at school. That is all I’m wiling to say.
Versailles by Elizabeth Massie. This was an enjoyable diversion, a pseudo-historical novel based on the popular tv series.

Theology/Christian – 25

Rowan’s Rule by Rupert Short. A fascinating potted biography of a recent Archbishop of Canterbury. I read it as part of preparation for a paper for SST.
The Holy Spirit by John Owen. I’ve been reading this sporadically throughout the year as a reminder of some great pneumatology.
Lessons from a Hospital Bed by John Piper. This short book makes a helpful companion in illness, and would be useful reading for those involved in a ministry of visiting.
Imagining the Kingdom by James K. A Smith. This second volume in Smith’s excellent Cultural Liturgies project was well worth reading. I re-read it in preparation for the final volume towards the end of the year.
Kingdom Evangelism by John Wimber. At well under 100 pages, this is a great book explaining how proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, as taught and inaugurated by Jesus, go hand in hand.
The Incomparable Christ by John Stott. Encouraged to read this by a church mens group, this was great soul food in a frantic year.
Dare to Date by Aukelien van Abbema. Published by SPCK last year, this is an interesting new book on dating.
Nomad, by Brandan Robertson. An infuriating but well-written memoir. The problems and promise of this book deserve a full review at some point.
The Busy Christians’ Guide to Busyness by Tim Chester. This modern classic was worth reading, but I personally prefer Kevin DeYoung’s Crazy Busy
Teenagers by Ann Benton. A solid IVP book by my old pastor’s wife, this is a bold and biblical look at how to love and parent teenagers.
Cross the Line by Liam and Olly. This fast-paced SPCK book features interviews of Christian Professional footballers. A surprising bestseller for us, and linked to a popular blog.
Holiness by J. C. Ryle. This is a classic that I need to re-read more often than I do (last time was probably 2012/2013!) – if you haven’t read it, and call yourself a Christian, please do so.
Generous Spaciousness by Wendy Gritter. This was a disappointing book on a vital topic, and the trajectory of the author’s organisation since she wrote it would seem to prove that.
When God Breaks in by Michael Green. This is a great little book on revival from a charismatic evangelist committed to Gospel proclamation in difficult secular spaces. Recommended.
The Practice of the Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggeman. This is probably one of the most on-fire books on preaching I’ve ever read. If you preach, or care about preaching, do read it.
God and the Victim by Jennifer Erin Beste. A sobering but important book, which I will review fully in the new year.
Glorious Union by Adrian and Celia Reynolds. This good little book was a helpful reflection by a long-term couple in ministry.
A little book of big words by Warren Wiersbe. This is a helpful introduction to some key theological terms, for those who love the bible but perhaps don’t think they are theologians.
Jesus wants to save Christians by Rob Bell. I just didn’t get this.
What Angels Long to Read by Mark Meynell. This Langham monograph on reading and preaching the New Testament is a helpful and practical book – recommended.
The Ministers Wife by Ann benton. Another solid IVP book, which I read as pseudo-preparation for reading some books about spouses of those in ministry. Watch this space.
I thought there would be cake by Katherine Welby-Roberts. A poignant and amusing account of grappling with mental illness whilst learning how to be an adult.
William Tyndale: A Very Brief History by Melvyn Bragg. I’ve described this as ‘horrible history for grownups’ – and this is what makes the book so good! Recommended.
Don’t Call it a Comeback by Kevin DeYoung. A helpful cautious book about the calvinist/reformed resurgence.
Awaiting the King by James K. A. Smith. This final volume in the excellent cultural liturgies trilogy is a superb piece of thoughtful public theology. Review coming in the new year.

Other – 7

Cowper’s Poetical Works, William Cowper. This is a beautiful, tortured, powerful and reflective set of poems that have provided a shape to my year of reading.
Dating Jesus by Susan Campbell. This was a fascinating memoir that I’m still mulling over. Possibly expect a review in the New Year
Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord by Max Hastings. This is a great historical portrait of one of my flawed heroes. Well worth a read.
London, The Biography by Peter Ackroyd. A great narrative history of the wonderful and flawed city in which I presently live.
A World of my Own by Robin Knox-Johnston. A brilliant, terrifying, engaging and honest account of an amazing voyage. One of my heroes.
Do Not Alight Here by Ben Pedroche. A fascinating look at some of the disused London Underground stations on the network.
That was the Church that was by Linda Woodhead and Andrew Brown. This book was such a farce that I moved it to ‘other’ (though, perhaps, ‘fiction’ would also be an accurate description of much of it). A disappointing read, which I’ll review in the New year if I can be bothered.

For more about how I got on with trying to read 125 books in 2017, check out these two posts:

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